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Grand New England Coastal Cruise 2018 July 21 – August 2 ~~~My Trip to Boston, July 21st~~~ Since my nonstop American Airlines flight to Boston was not until 1:50 pm, SuperShuttle picked me up around 11 am, a few minutes early. Being a Saturday morning I expected the traffic to LAX would be light. So much for expectations, the traffic was unusually heavy with periods of stop and go on the I 405 freeway, but we finally arrived at Terminal 5 at 12:30 pm, plenty of time for my TSA Pre-check through security. Everything appeared normal with our boarding right on time and pullback, and we were soon zooming down the runway. But then there was a loud bump and the captain powered down the aircraft, returning us back to the terminal. Apparently there had been an indication that a door was open. After some time of seeing mechanics going back and forth down the aisles, we were requested to depart the aircraft. Shortly it was announced that there would be a change in aircraft and departure gate to 40B in Terminal 4, a fair walk down the connecting tunnel from Terminal 5. Once there we were met with a series of delays: new aircraft had not yet arrived, then the new aircraft had not finished being cleaned, and then a further wait for the catering to be completed. Finally at 4:30 pm, we were allowed to reboard our new aircraft, again waiting for pullback and departure. Then around 5 pm, over THREE HOURS LATE, we took off for Boston. I was expecting a rather bumpy ride over the Midwest with all of the storms present, but it turned out to be a rather smooth flight, arriving in Boston at 2 am instead of the scheduled 10:23 pm arrival. Luckily my luggage had survived the plane change and turned up on the carrousel shortly. After figuring out just where to get a taxi to my hotel, The Constitution Inn in Charlestown, I was on my way in the first available one, the driver of which knowing exactly where to go, and by 3 am I was comfortably settled in my room, #616. I had emailed The Inn about my possible late arrival and that had caused no problem, so I soon found my bed - actually only midnight at home! Needless to say, I slept well! Sunday I had made no plans except to have dinner at a nearby restaurant, the Navy Yard Bistro, which I had found on the Internet. Also I had chosen The Constitution Inn because of its close proximity to Pier 8, the location of the American Constitution ship’s docking on Monday morning, close enough to just drag my luggage the three blocks to the ship for check in. Rising about 10 am I decided to go out exploring to find the Tedeschi’s Deli, also nearby and found on the Internet. It turned out to be just around the corner from the Navy Yard Bistro, but had been acquired by 7-11 and now named TD’s Deli. Hungry, I ordered a freshly made steak and cheese sandwich which was delicious, enjoyed back in my room at The Constitution Inn. Starting off on the rainy side, the afternoon cleared to beautiful sunshine and when I returned down the street to the Navy Yard Bistro for dinner at around 6:30 pm, I decided to choose one of the tables out front and the atmosphere was absolutely delightful! The pedestrian street connecting the Navy Yard Bistro to The Constitution Inn is cobble-stoned and covered by a canopy of huge trees. A most pleasant place to dine! My menu selection was Ancho Chile & Coffee Braised Short Ribs - DELICIOUS! accompanied by a half bottle of Sauvignon Blanc wine; dessert was a fantastic Crème Brûlée. I thoroughly enjoyed my huge, delectable dinner, so much so that I asked to purchase one of monogrammed wine glasses, but was told to just take it! I was thrilled! Then it was back to my room and repacking for my departure the next morning, Monday. I slept VERY well that night! ~~~The American Constitution Cruise Ship, July 23rd~~~ Fearing an upcoming rain, I left The Constitution Inn this morning around 9:00 am, while it was still clear, to drag my luggage the three blocks to Pier 8, where I was met by an ACL crew who took my luggage the rest of the way down the pier to a waiting golf cart for the trip down the dock area to the ship: obviously I was the first aboard although that was no problem. Soon I was resting comfortably in the Chesapeake Lounge on Deck 3, just above my cabin 203, which was not yet ready for me. Sure enough, at 10:00 am, the rain came, but only a short shower. Soon a staff member brought out a table full of goodies: cheeses, crackers, tiny muffins - SO good! - as well as a rum punch which was true to its name. Then about 11:00 am we were told that our cabins were then available although luggage delivery would follow shortly. So an hour later I am nowalmost unpacked in my spacious stateroom for one, with a large picture window, and just answered a rap on my door. It was Dakota, one of the ship’s managers, with a gifted bottle of wine - Clos du Bois chardonnay from Patric, my friend and travel agent. It was quite a surprise! And a pleasant one at that! Thank you Patric so VERY much!!! I am enjoying a glass as I speak. Normally check in isn’t until 10:30 am but my very early arrival created no problem at all, AND I avoided the rain! Lunch was served at 12:30 pm, the customary time, and the ship had almost filled to capacity. Tables are set for 4 or 6 and everyone aboard is seated at one time. Servers are, in general, college students and have been well trained by ACL. Wine and beer are offered complimentary at lunch and at dinner, and if the wine offered is not to one’s liking, then another will be found! Afterwards I returned to my comfortable room #203 to rest - until Happy Hour from 5:30 pm ‘til 6:30 pm, our dinnertime. Happy Hour is quite an occasion with an open bar serving whatever your heart desires, along with a table loaded with delectable goodies; servers circle the Chesapeake Lounge with trays of delicious hors d'oeuvres. Then it was time for dinner in the Main Restaurant. The menu offers a choice of soup or salad along with a selection of entrees from which to choose. Then comes dessert! Magnificent desserts! I have absolutely no complaints about the food served aboard! The ship departed right on schedule at 1:30 pm, next stop Portland, Maine. Due to the surrounding rain flurries, rather rough seas hindered our cruise during the night, largely because of the wind. I especially was affected since my stateroom was the second from the bow. ~~~Portland, Maine - July 24th~~~ A heavy fog as well as strong winds creating a rather bumpy ride from Charlestown, complicated our arrival at 10:30 pm on Monday, July 23rd in Portland. Being near the bow I got to hear the ship’s foghorn throughout the night and was relieved when we finally docked. I got very little sleep until then. Breakfast is served in the Dining Room from 7:30 am until 9:00 am, with an early breakfast offered in the Chesapeake Lounge at 6:30 am. When I arrived at 8:00 am, the Room was already full and I hunted for a place to sit. This would become a routine, selecting a seat in the Dining Room, often sitting with new acquaintances. People were generally very friendly and most had previously sailed with ACL before. Scheduled for the day was a Portland City Tour of 2 hours length, at 9:30 am, and again in the afternoon at 2:30 pm. I decided to do the afternoon tour. My breakfast was routinely a Western Omelet accompanied with a side of bacon, along with both cranberry and orange juices - and coffee, of course. There is a Keurig coffeemaker in each room that, after several failed attempts, I was able to get working. Good coffee is very important with me and I found the ship’s coffee to be such. Still groggy from lack of sleep I returned to my stateroom #203 to rest and take a nap. Lunch would be served at 12:30 pm. There was still some room organization left to be done. Lunch is served at 12:30 pm and beer or wine is served complimentary. Again my choice is for one of their excellent salads in addition to a tasty entree; dessert also, of course. At 2:30 pm I departed the ship with others on the afternoon City Tour, first recording my exit from the ship by placing my key card on the receptor at the door. When returning, this process was repeated enabling the ship’s management to know who’s back aboard. Loading into a comfortable tour bus conveniently located near the gangplank, we were off on our tour of Portland, first traversing through downtown streets. The unique architecture caught my eye and I found the ride to be most enjoyable as well as informative, due to our guide’s narration. Leaving the downtown area we then traveled out to the coastline, to a very rocky outcropping atop which sat the famous Portland Head Lighthouse where we were given time to walk around the structure and admire the fantastic vista presented. I returned to the bus pickup area a few hminutes early, with just enough time to enjoy a blueberry gelato at a wagon shop; it was delicious! Then back on the bus for our return to the ship, promptly at 4:30 pm, just enough time to briefly rest and get ready for the daily Happy Hour held in the Chesapeake Lounge, just above my stateroom on Deck 3, forward. As I mentioned before, most passengers were repeats and the Happy Hour is WELL attended! Everything one could desire as far as drinks and hors d’oeuvres. My choice was my usual Sauvignon Blanc. Then it was time for dinner at 6:30 pm, announced by a crewmember striking chimes. It reminded me of how, on Holland America ships in the old days, dinner was similarly announced by a crewmember wearing a pillbox hat, striking chimes. Dinner was always an enjoyable experience. First taking our drink orders, our server then took our preferences: salad or soup (the salads were consistently good and ingenuously created, using spinach leaves with different toppings), and then our choice of entree - always a fish, chicken or meat offered. The desserts were extra special and absolutely delectable! I found the food to be exceptionally and consistently good. Each evening after dinner in the Chesapeake Lounge, a crewmember would give a discussion of the next day’s schedule, preceding nightly entertainment, accompanied by more drink service. Alcohol was easy to find on this ship! I routinely skipped this session, preferring to return to my cabin for the night. So ended our day in Portland; the next stop would be in Bar Harbor. ~~~Bar Harbor, Maine - July 25th~~~ Again, traveling during the night from Portland, we encountered strong winds, rough seas, and dense fog, which made for another night of broken sleep for me, listening to the ship’s foghorn and swaying with the motion of the ship. Arrival in Bar Harbor at 7:00 am came none too soon! We are at anchor today in Bar Harbor with our own launch used to transfer passengers from ship to shore. This launch is attached to the rear of the ship using two hoists, not visible in most views of the American Constitution. The Dining Room was surprisingly full at 7:30 am when I went down to breakfast, contrary to what I had expected after the rough night. Evidently not everyone was as susceptible to the ship’s motion as was I. The Dining Room is on Deck 1, aft, and the exit to the launch is through a door at the rear of this Room. My Western Omelet, juices, bacon and coffee were a welcome repast from the night’s trip. Scheduled for the day were optional (charge applies) tours to the Acadia National Park, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Due to the persisting foggy conditions, I chose to wait for the afternoon tour. Instead, I returned to my stateroom to try to sleep some more. Lunchtime saw a slight let up of the fog and the waters inside the confines of Bar Harbor were calm. Again I enjoyed my glass of Sauvignon Blanc along with a delicious spinach salad, followed by an entree that I don’t recall at present. Then it was time to get ready for the Acadia National Park tour for which the launch to shore would depart the ship at 1:20 pm in order to be on the 1:45 pm tour bus. Bar Harbor sits on an island, Mt. Dessert, the summit of which is Cadillac Mountain from which fantastic views are usually possible on a clear day. Not today! Fog was still intermittent but our excellent driver/guide decided to proceed up the highway to the top of Cadillac Mountain anyway, hoping that the fog would have cleared by the time we got there. It hadn’t! So we left the top and headed for the coastal part of our tour, including a stop at Thunder Hole. We also had a brief stop along the way at a delightful natural garden providing a chance to stretch our legs and soak in the calm coolness of this shaded retreat. A convenient bathroom break also. Back on the bus we then proceeded on to a parking area on the coast road near a set of hand-railed stairs down to this remarkable inlet in the rocky shore where the surf gets trapped in the narrows, creating a loud “thunder” sound, as water is thrust upward into the air. And the surf was certainly cooperating at the time, provided thundering sounds on a frequent basis. A truly remarkable experience! The return ride back to the town of Bar Harbor was equally enjoyable, arriving with plenty of extra time for a quick visit to a local Irish Pub for a pint of Harp beer. There was a slight wait at the dock for the next launch back to the ship but it was delightful sitting in such a pleasant setting with the fog now gone. The launch ride back to the ship was smooth and uneventful, returning us to our “home afloat” just before 5:00 pm, at which time in the Chesapeake Lounge staff members were available to discuss future cruises, giving a whopping 15% discount in addition to forgiveness of the port fees and taxes (up to $330). I decided to investigate. Long story short, I booked the “Northwest Pioneers” cruise from Portland, Oregon, to Clarkston, Washington, along the Columbia and Snake Rivers, a trip of 11 days starting October 11, 2019, with a complimentary pre-cruise hotel stay in Portland. Everyone I talked with that had taken this cruise raved about it. AND, saving over $1700 on the fare is substantial! Besides, I got to choose a prime Single Balcony stateroom #409 on the new American Song cruise ship. I will fly into Portland from Orange County Airport and then fly home from Spokane, Washington, about a 2-hour drive from Clarkston. The ship will provide a bus transfer, for a fee. Happy Hour followed, attended by most everyone aboard, followed by another delightful dinner. So ended my day in Bar Harbor, Maine. ~~~Bucksport and Rockland, Maine - July 26th & 27th~~~ Due to high winds, the Captain thought it best to forego our scheduled stop in Camden where we would have been at anchor, requiring the use of the ship’s launch to go ashore, instead docking at nearby Bucksport and doing the Camden tours by means of buses. I chose not to go ashore in this small town of 5,000 but remained on board for the day. The difference between high and low tides is substantial in this area and during the day I observed the change in the height of docking platform relative to the dock itself; it was up to 7 or 8 feet. Of course there was plenty to do aboard: breakfast, lunch, Happy Hour and dinner! No one goes hungry on this ship! At 5:00 pm there was a tour of the Pilot House on Deck 4 that I attended, finding the Captain’s explanations quite interesting. Unlike larger ocean liners, the Captain has sole responsibility for the ship’s movements and safety. He also discussed the special operations of this small ship including operating within 20 miles of the coastline. Finally, I got a full night’s sleep because we did not depart for the next port of call, Rockland, Maine, until 4:30 am the next morning. It was such a treat! ~~~Rockland, Maine~~~ Anchoring off the port of Rockland at 7:00 am, the ship’s launch would be used throughout the day to get back and forth from ship to shore. Breakfast proceeded as usual, of course with my usual Western Omelet, side of bacon, cranberry and orange juices, and coffee. It was always interesting to see just where I would sit: at a table with Bonnie and Haynes from Tennessee, or at the table with Richard and Pat from Maryland, or at the table with M.J. and John from South Carolina, or at the table with Lynne and Jack from Arizona. With most tables set for 6, it was often not possible to sit where desired because the table was filled. Once or twice, however, the group decided to move in a seventh chair so that I could join them. I felt very honored! The highlight of the day was the Lobster Bake scheduled for 12:30 pm ashore at a location near the water, beneath a giant tent. I took an earlier launch ashore with plenty of time to walk around the 1-mile path along the bay to the site of the Lobster Bake, arriving shortly after 12 noon. Several pots of boiling water were placed on grates under which a roaring fire had been built. Piles and piles of fresh lobsters were put into the pots along with scores of ears of fresh corn still in the husk; mussels were also added, and then the entire contents were covered by seaweed and allowed to cook. Very traditional! I had selected one of the many picnic tables, near the “action”, and attempted to seat myself, throwing my leg over the seat, failing to observe a bolt protruding out of the lower structure of the table. At once I knew I had hit something but was not prepared for the bloody wound that resulted. Fortunately there was a roll of paper towels on each table, which I helped myself to, but the bleeding would not stop. Richard came up, noticing I was in trouble, and FORTUNATELY he had some Band-Aids on him that he offered me. So temporarily, I got the Band-Aids applied and seemed to stop the bleeding. I also got the attention of Dakota, one of the ship’s managers, who offered his assistance. He ordered my lobster plate with corn, cold slaw, and potato salad delivered to me, which was very thoughtful. The entire serving crew from the ship was on hand to assist passengers with their WHOLE lobsters, breaking the lobster into pieces and extracting the meat from the claws and tail. It was all delicious! Despite my injury, I thoroughly enjoyed this highly anticipated event. Needless to say, I chose to ride the bus back to the landing from which the launch returned to the ship. The bleeding seemed to have stopped. Onboard I had the services of Willis, one of the ship’s officers, trained in EMT, who came to my room to clean and treat my puncture wound, putting on a salve of some sort, placing a thick gauss and then wrapping it securely. It felt good. Happy Hour was as usual with everyone commenting on my injury, but I felt okay. Richard came up and gave me two more Band-Aids of a larger size, which turned out to be very helpful. After dinner I returned to my cabin, prepared to spend another restful night as our departure for the next port of call, Boothsbay, Maine, would not be until 4:00 am the next morning. And the night started off well, UNTIL around midnight when I got up to go to the bathroom. The bandage had managed to come undone and my wound had opened up again, bleeding all over my bed, the floor, and into the bathroom. Luckily I still had the two large Band-Aids that Richard had given me and, after some effort, I got them in place, stopping the bleeding. It was quite a chore, trying to clean up all the blood from the bathroom floor as well as the spots on the carpet, but I got it done, using wet towels that I rinsed out in the sink. There was nothing I could do about the blood on my bedding but apologize to my room steward the next morning. The rest of the night I finally got some sleep, using wet towels to protect from further bleeding in the bed. At breakfast the next morning my wound had remained covered with the bleeding controlled, but I knew that expert attention was needed. ~~~Boothbay Harbor, ME and Gloucestor, MA - July 28th, 29th~~~ After breakfast I returned to my room where I did some research on my iPad in regard to an “Urgent Care” facility in Boothbay Harbor where we were at anchor for the day. I found one at the LincolnHeath Center, 6 Street Andrew Lane. With the help of one of the managers in the ship’s office, who called to make sure their Urgent Care would be open on Saturday, we also arranged for a taxi to be waiting at the dock for me upon my arrival by launch from the ship. And so it went; I took the ship’s launch to the dock on shore where, as arranged, a taxi was waiting to take me to the Urgent Care Center. The driver knew exactly where to go, and within minutes we were there. The taxi fare was only $10 and the driver refused a tip, saying that he got a cut of the fare. Inside I waited only a short time until being called to speak to a clerk who took all of my personal information. Then I was ushered into an examination room where a nurse removed the old bandage; my wound immediately began to drain. She cleaned the wound with a liquid - NOT alcohol, and then a female doctor came in to examine it. Apparently this Urgent Care Center was an all woman operation! A piece of Surgifoam was applied directly to the wound, to encourage clotting as well as containing an antibiotic. It was not to be removed even if the dressing were to be changed. Then a gauss pad was placed and secured by wrappings, the last of which was a flesh-colored elastic fabric. This all took less than 30 minutes! Before leaving I had the receptionist call my taxi to take me back to the dock and the launch back to the ship. I felt SO MUCH BETTER and relieved that I had had proper medical attention. I was back aboard in a little over an hour! With my injured calf properly bandaged I then proceeded to rejoin my cruise, more thoroughly enjoying lunch, Happy Hour, and then dinner. HNo further draining of my wound was evident and I got a wonderful night of sleep. The ship departed Boothbay Harbor at 6:00 pm. ~~~Gloucester, Massachusetts – July 29th~~~ Docking at 3:00 am after a restful night of sleep with smooth seas, the optional tour (charges apply) for the day was the morning Maritime Heritage Center and Narrated Sightseeing Tour, which departed after breakfast at 9:00 am. “Gloucester is a city on Cape Ann primarily known for its fishing industry. It was one of the first English settlements in what would become known as The Massachusetts Bay Colony. The town took its name from the city of Gloucester in Southwest England where many of its occupants originated.” The Heritage Center turned out to be quite small but still very interesting. Outside and down stairs were aquarium exhibits displaying local sea life. A large tank contained skates and halibut, all very interesting to see and actually touch. The City tour took us around the many scenic streets of Gloucester with the typical New England type architecture prominent among the homes. Charming on such a sunny day but I could imagine how cold and dismal it could be during the winter. Returning by bus to the dock and our ship at 11:15 am, there was just enough time to visit my stateroom for a while before going to the dining room for lunch. As usual a creative salad topped my choices along with a tasty lobster roll. Lobster was plentiful on our menus; one night we were served an entire lobster for dinner! I had as much lobster as possible; it was SO GOOD and fresh! For some reason, the ships had to leave the dock at 12:00 noon and move to anchor in the harbor. On such a nice sunny Sunday afternoon, many people were out on their boats and the harbor was bustling. Boating is quite popular in this region. My afternoon was spent resting in my stateroom. My leg was doing just fine after its expert treatment the day before, and I decided to leave the bandage alone for the duration of the cruise. Happy Hour went according to plan with many caring passengers inquiring about my injured leg. The Chesapeake Lounge was crowded as usual and the liquor and wine flowed freely! Dinner was announced as usual by the ringing of chimes by a staff member, Gabby, I believe. Who knows with whom I was seated? It is all beginning to blend into a good memory by now. The ship would be pulling up anchor and departing at 12:01 am and setting sail for our next port of call, Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. ~~~Martha’s Vineyard, MA and Newport, Rhode Island - July 30th, 31st~~~ Our ship arrived at Vineyard Haven on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, at 8:00 am and docked at 62 Beach Road, Tisbury, MA. “Martha’s Vineyard is an island south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Vineyard Haven is one of the 5 towns of Marty’s Vineyard. The indigenous Wampanoag Indians called it Noepe, which meant ‘land amid the streams’. Did you know, Martha’s Vineyard’s beautiful scenery was immortalized in Steven Spielberg’s highly successful movie, Jaws? Three islanders were given important roles in the film and numerous others were involved as extras.” After my usual breakfast of a Western omelet, bacon, cranberry and orange juices, and coffee, I joined others from Staterooms 120 - 308 aboard a school bus for our 9:00 am narrated tour around Martha’s Vineyard to take in the sights of the island. (Passengers in Staterooms 390 - 510 took the 10:45 am tour.) We traveled all over the island, visiting the several small towns along the way, and taking in the absolute beauty of this island. It is quite wooded, which was surprising to me, and the road meandered through many charming neighborhoods. We returned to the dock at 10:30 am. With my leg now bandaged expertly and showing no further signs of draining, I was happy and tried to put my unfortunate injury in the past. Of course, many passengers expressed their concerns, insisting that I would seek further medical attention when back home. The people on this cruise have been wonderfully friendly and kind. We departed Vineyard Haven at 5:30 pm, next stop Newport, Rhode Island. ~~~Newport, Rhode Island - July 31st~~~ Being such a short distance across from Martha’s Vineyard, our arrival in Newport, Rhode Island occurred at 10:30 pm the previous evening and we were docked in the harbor requiring the ship’s launch to go ashore. Choosing to take the afternoon tour see the mansions, I took the morning launch over to the downtown dock, along with Bonnie and Haynes, new friends from Tennessee. Newport is the home of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and I wanted to again visit it, not recalling just what a walk it was from the dock area. Bonnie and Haynes joined me since Haynes plays tennis, and we walked and walked before finally reaching the Hall of Fame. We went inside and viewed all of the grass tennis courts, also visiting the arena where recently there had been the annual championship matches, and then it was time to walk back to the dock in order to catch the noon launch back to the ship. It was QUITE a physical exercise, and Bonnie and Haynes were doubting the wisdom of taking it! But we made back in time for the launch. After a rest and lunch I was ready to board the launch over to Fort Adams where we boarded the trolley for the following: Avenue of Mansions Tour - Enjoy a narrated trolley tour down Bellevue Avenue and journey back in time through one of America’s premier collections of historic houses. There will be a stop for a self-guided audio tour of The Breakers, originally built by the Vanderbilts, the grandest of all the “cottages”, as they were called. Having been here before I again enjoyed the unparalleled splendor of our last stop and was sorry that we had only limited time to investigate further. Back on the trolley we then proceeded down Bellevue Avenue, again passing by the International Tennis Hall of Fame which we had visited during the morning, and returned to a different dock near Fort Adams from which we boarded the launch back to our ship. At 5:00 pm on the dot, we hauled anchor and departed Newport, Rhode Island, next stop: Provincetown, Massachusetts. ~~~Provincetown and Boston, Massachusetts - August 1st and 2nd~~~ We arrived at dock in Provincetown at 12:30 am while I was still deep asleep. I had been sleeping much better since getting my leg attended to in Boothbay Harbor at the Urgent Care Center, and it still was looking good - no discharge. When I did wake up we were securely tied up at the dock at the end of a long pier. During the night we had passed through the Cape Cod Canal from Newport, Rhode Island, into the Cape Cod Bay; this is an artificial waterway of approximately 7 miles length. I saw lights on shore as we did this transit but not much else. Then back to sleep. “Located at the northern tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Provincetown is the home of the Mayflower’s landing in 1620. Today, the landing is commemorated by the Pilgrim Monument and the Provincetown Museum, and the town is populated with galleries, restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping.” After enjoying my breakfast at around 8:00 am, I had to decide between the morning or afternoon Trolley Tour; I chose the afternoon one departing at 3:00 pm, returning at 4:30 pm. At 3:00 pm I went down to the dock to catch the Trolley Tour which departed from just outside the ship. There were two such trolleys, both open air, with somewhat uncomfortable wooden bench seats. The pier at the end of which our ship was docked was unbelievably crowded with tourists; big tour boats from Boston make frequent runs to Provincetown that evidently is a very popular tourist destination. Making our way down the pier to the street took much care and caution by the trolley driver. Once off the pier the crowd got even worse; very slowly we proceeded down the front street passing many restaurants, bars and shops - all crowded to capacity. Finally reaching the end of that street, our route took off towards the headland of this spit on which Provincetown is situated. Once out of town we encountered many sand dunes along the rugged coastline, as well as wooded hills. Quite a relief from the downtown crowds. At one point, a National Park, I believe, there was a brief stop for restrooms and leg stretching. I chose to just stay on the trolley. I did notice that our driver, a big muscular man, had gotten out and was enjoying his cigarette. Strange, because I hardly see anyone smoking anymore. Then it was back around to the other side of the spit, returning to the downtown area. The coastline here was open to the Atlantic and the surf was quite active. Back in town, we again traversed the pier, now less crowded as the tour boats had departed back to Boston. Right on schedule we were back at the ship, our behinds reminding us of the hour and a half ride on those hard bench seats! With just enough time for a quick rest in my stateroom, it was soon time for the daily Happy Hour in the Chesapeake Lounge. Apparently everyone aboard was taking full advantage because the Lounge was packed, this being the last night before disembarkation. And of course I was one of those enjoying my two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc wine! Dinner was extra special with one menu item being “Surf-and-Turf” which was my choice. I was not disappointed! The steak was cooked to medium- rare perfection! The jumbo shrimp were spectacular! ~~~Boston, Massachusetts - August 2nd~~~ Departing Provincetown at 11:59 pm, our arrival back at Pier 8 in Charlestown was at 6:00 am. Breakfast was served earlier than usual at 6:30 am and we were told to be out of our staterooms by 8:00 am. Luggage was requested to be placed in the hallway the previous night before midnight; mine was put out around 10:30 pm, before I went to bed. Packing is always the most unpleasant part of a cruise but I was able to get everything packed away after dinner. By previous arrangement I had booked the ship’s bus to the airport for $20, and a tag was placed on my suitcase indicating my airline - American Airlines - and terminal - B - at Logan International Airport. Also a departure group number sticker was given signifying which bus one was on; mine was 4. So between 8:30 and 9:00 am, I departed the American Constitution for the last time and walked along the dock to where I boarded my bus, first identifying my suitcase that traveled in the same bus. The ride to the airport was complicated by the mid morning Boston traffic that is horrific! But we soon arrived at Logan and disembarked our bus, collected our luggage, and proceeded towards Security. I had gone online on the ship’s computer the day before to print my boarding pass, but this turned out to be unnecessary; checking in my suitcase outside the terminal, and paying my $25 luggage fee, I had to present my ID which apparently was enough for the agent to access my reservation, and print another copy of my boarding pass! With my TSA Pre-check, I was through Security quickly and on my way to the gate area, mine being B35, to await the 11:55 am boarding time for my nonstop 12:25 pm flight to Los Angeles. Boarding in Group 5 I quickly found my seat, 8C, a Main Cabin Extra seat for which I had paid extra. Unfortunately, it was a bulkhead seat but didn’t make all that much difference, since my carryon was only my Princess bag. The flight departed a little late but the Captain came on the PA to announce our flight time would be only slightly over 5 hours. The flight went well with three small bottles of Sauvignon Blanc for me - no charge being seated in a Main Cabin Extra seat, and our arrival at LAX was indeed right on time. Being forward I was one of the first off the airplane, my first stop being the bathroom. My luggage appeared after a moderate wait - I struggled getting it off the carrousel, and soon I was outside Terminal 5 at the SuperShuttle Dispatcher. Forgetful me, I had packed my paperwork but used my iPad to bring up my reservation number and soon I was seated in a van on my way to Orange County and home. Unfortunately, the driver had allowed the Dispatcher to load our van with 6 passengers; usually 3 is the limit. And of course, I was number 5 to finally be delivered home after driving all over Orange County, but home is home! All was found to be okay when I entered my house, after a ride of 3 hours from the airport, but it was very hot and stuffy inside. I immediately opened all of my doors and turned on the box fans that I use. But I was HOME! Ron

Grand New England Coastal Cruise 2018

American Constitution Cruise Review by CdMAgFox

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2018
  • Destination: USA
Grand New England Coastal Cruise 2018

July 21 – August 2

~~~My Trip to Boston, July 21st~~~

Since my nonstop American Airlines flight to Boston was not until 1:50 pm, SuperShuttle picked me up around 11 am, a few minutes early. Being a Saturday morning I expected the traffic to LAX would be light.

So much for expectations, the traffic was unusually heavy with periods of stop and go on the I 405 freeway, but we finally arrived at Terminal 5 at 12:30 pm, plenty of time for my TSA Pre-check through security.

Everything appeared normal with our boarding right on time and pullback, and we were soon zooming down the runway. But then there was a loud bump and the captain powered down the aircraft, returning us back to the terminal. Apparently there had been an indication that a door was open.

After some time of seeing mechanics going back and forth down the aisles, we were requested to depart the aircraft. Shortly it was announced that there would be a change in aircraft and departure gate to 40B in Terminal 4, a fair walk down the connecting tunnel from Terminal 5.

Once there we were met with a series of delays: new aircraft had not yet arrived, then the new aircraft had not finished being cleaned, and then a further wait for the catering to be completed.

Finally at 4:30 pm, we were allowed to reboard our new aircraft, again waiting for pullback and departure. Then around 5 pm, over THREE HOURS LATE, we took off for Boston.

I was expecting a rather bumpy ride over the Midwest with all of the storms present, but it turned out to be a rather smooth flight, arriving in Boston at 2 am instead of the scheduled 10:23 pm arrival. Luckily my luggage had survived the plane change and turned up on the carrousel shortly.

After figuring out just where to get a taxi to my hotel, The Constitution Inn in Charlestown, I was on my way in the first available one, the driver of which knowing exactly where to go, and by 3 am I was comfortably settled in my room, #616. I had emailed The Inn about my possible late arrival and that had caused no problem, so I soon found my bed - actually only midnight at home! Needless to say, I slept well!

Sunday I had made no plans except to have dinner at a nearby restaurant, the Navy Yard Bistro, which I had found on the Internet. Also I had chosen The Constitution Inn because of its close proximity to Pier 8, the location of the American Constitution ship’s docking on Monday morning, close enough to just drag my luggage the three blocks to the ship for check in.

Rising about 10 am I decided to go out exploring to find the Tedeschi’s Deli, also nearby and found on the Internet. It turned out to be just around the corner from the Navy Yard Bistro, but had been acquired by 7-11 and now named TD’s Deli. Hungry, I ordered a freshly made steak and cheese sandwich which was delicious, enjoyed back in my room at The Constitution Inn.

Starting off on the rainy side, the afternoon cleared to beautiful sunshine and when I returned down the street to the Navy Yard Bistro for dinner at around 6:30 pm, I decided to choose one of the tables out front and the atmosphere was absolutely delightful! The pedestrian street connecting the Navy Yard Bistro to The Constitution Inn is cobble-stoned and covered by a canopy of huge trees. A most pleasant place to dine!

My menu selection was Ancho Chile & Coffee Braised Short Ribs - DELICIOUS! accompanied by a half bottle of Sauvignon Blanc wine; dessert was a fantastic Crème Brûlée. I thoroughly enjoyed my huge, delectable dinner, so much so that I asked to purchase one of monogrammed wine glasses, but was told to just take it! I was thrilled!

Then it was back to my room and repacking for my departure the next morning, Monday. I slept VERY well that night!

~~~The American Constitution Cruise Ship, July 23rd~~~

Fearing an upcoming rain, I left The Constitution Inn this morning around 9:00 am, while it was still clear, to drag my luggage the three blocks to Pier 8, where I was met by an ACL crew who took my luggage the rest of the way down the pier to a waiting golf cart for the trip down the dock area to the ship: obviously I was the first aboard although that was no problem.

Soon I was resting comfortably in the Chesapeake Lounge on Deck 3, just above my cabin 203, which was not yet ready for me. Sure enough, at 10:00 am, the rain came, but only a short shower.

Soon a staff member brought out a table full of goodies: cheeses, crackers, tiny muffins - SO good! - as well as a rum punch which was true to its name.

Then about 11:00 am we were told that our cabins were then available although luggage delivery would follow shortly. So an hour later I am nowalmost unpacked in my spacious stateroom for one, with a large picture window, and just answered a rap on my door.

It was Dakota, one of the ship’s managers, with a gifted bottle of wine - Clos du Bois chardonnay from Patric, my friend and travel agent. It was quite a surprise! And a pleasant one at that! Thank you Patric so VERY much!!! I am enjoying a glass as I speak.

Normally check in isn’t until 10:30 am but my very early arrival created no problem at all, AND I avoided the rain!

Lunch was served at 12:30 pm, the customary time, and the ship had almost filled to capacity. Tables are set for 4 or 6 and everyone aboard is seated at one time. Servers are, in general, college students and have been well trained by ACL. Wine and beer are offered complimentary at lunch and at dinner, and if the wine offered is not to one’s liking, then another will be found!

Afterwards I returned to my comfortable room #203 to rest - until Happy Hour from 5:30 pm ‘til 6:30 pm, our dinnertime. Happy Hour is quite an occasion with an open bar serving whatever your heart desires, along with a table loaded with delectable goodies; servers circle the Chesapeake Lounge with trays of delicious hors d'oeuvres. Then it was time for dinner in the Main Restaurant.

The menu offers a choice of soup or salad along with a selection of entrees from which to choose. Then comes dessert! Magnificent desserts! I have absolutely no complaints about the food served aboard!

The ship departed right on schedule at 1:30 pm, next stop Portland, Maine. Due to the surrounding rain flurries, rather rough seas hindered our cruise during the night, largely because of the wind. I especially was affected since my stateroom was the second from the bow.

~~~Portland, Maine - July 24th~~~

A heavy fog as well as strong winds creating a rather bumpy ride from Charlestown, complicated our arrival at 10:30 pm on Monday, July 23rd in Portland. Being near the bow I got to hear the ship’s foghorn throughout the night and was relieved when we finally docked. I got very little sleep until then.

Breakfast is served in the Dining Room from 7:30 am until 9:00 am, with an early breakfast offered in the Chesapeake Lounge at 6:30 am. When I arrived at 8:00 am, the Room was already full and I hunted for a place to sit. This would become a routine, selecting a seat in the Dining Room, often sitting with new acquaintances. People were generally very friendly and most had previously sailed with ACL before.

Scheduled for the day was a Portland City Tour of 2 hours length, at 9:30 am, and again in the afternoon at 2:30 pm. I decided to do the afternoon tour.

My breakfast was routinely a Western Omelet accompanied with a side of bacon, along with both cranberry and orange juices - and coffee, of course. There is a Keurig coffeemaker in each room that, after several failed attempts, I was able to get working. Good coffee is very important with me and I found the ship’s coffee to be such.

Still groggy from lack of sleep I returned to my stateroom #203 to rest and take a nap. Lunch would be served at 12:30 pm. There was still some room organization left to be done.

Lunch is served at 12:30 pm and beer or wine is served complimentary. Again my choice is for one of their excellent salads in addition to a tasty entree; dessert also, of course.

At 2:30 pm I departed the ship with others on the afternoon City Tour, first recording my exit from the ship by placing my key card on the receptor at the door. When returning, this process was repeated enabling the ship’s management to know who’s back aboard.

Loading into a comfortable tour bus conveniently located near the gangplank, we were off on our tour of Portland, first traversing through downtown streets. The unique architecture caught my eye and I found the ride to be most enjoyable as well as informative, due to our guide’s narration.

Leaving the downtown area we then traveled out to the coastline, to a very rocky outcropping atop which sat the famous Portland Head Lighthouse where we were given time to walk around the structure and admire the fantastic vista presented. I returned to the bus pickup area a few hminutes early, with just enough time to enjoy a blueberry gelato at a wagon shop; it was delicious!

Then back on the bus for our return to the ship, promptly at 4:30 pm, just enough time to briefly rest and get ready for the daily Happy Hour held in the Chesapeake Lounge, just above my stateroom on Deck 3, forward.

As I mentioned before, most passengers were repeats and the Happy Hour is WELL attended! Everything one could desire as far as drinks and hors d’oeuvres. My choice was my usual Sauvignon Blanc. Then it was time for dinner at 6:30 pm, announced by a crewmember striking chimes. It reminded me of how, on Holland America ships in the old days, dinner was similarly announced by a crewmember wearing a pillbox hat, striking chimes.

Dinner was always an enjoyable experience. First taking our drink orders, our server then took our preferences: salad or soup (the salads were consistently good and ingenuously created, using spinach leaves with different toppings), and then our choice of entree - always a fish, chicken or meat offered. The desserts were extra special and absolutely delectable! I found the food to be exceptionally and consistently good.

Each evening after dinner in the Chesapeake Lounge, a crewmember would give a discussion of the next day’s schedule, preceding nightly entertainment, accompanied by more drink service. Alcohol was easy to find on this ship! I routinely skipped this session, preferring to return to my cabin for the night.

So ended our day in Portland; the next stop would be in Bar Harbor.

~~~Bar Harbor, Maine - July 25th~~~

Again, traveling during the night from Portland, we encountered strong winds, rough seas, and dense fog, which made for another night of broken sleep for me, listening to the ship’s foghorn and swaying with the motion of the ship. Arrival in Bar Harbor at 7:00 am came none too soon!

We are at anchor today in Bar Harbor with our own launch used to transfer passengers from ship to shore. This launch is attached to the rear of the ship using two hoists, not visible in most views of the American Constitution.

The Dining Room was surprisingly full at 7:30 am when I went down to breakfast, contrary to what I had expected after the rough night. Evidently not everyone was as susceptible to the ship’s motion as was I. The Dining Room is on Deck 1, aft, and the exit to the launch is through a door at the rear of this Room. My Western Omelet, juices, bacon and coffee were a welcome repast from the night’s trip.

Scheduled for the day were optional (charge applies) tours to the Acadia National Park, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Due to the persisting foggy conditions, I chose to wait for the afternoon tour. Instead, I returned to my stateroom to try to sleep some more.

Lunchtime saw a slight let up of the fog and the waters inside the confines of Bar Harbor were calm. Again I enjoyed my glass of Sauvignon Blanc along with a delicious spinach salad, followed by an entree that I don’t recall at present. Then it was time to get ready for the Acadia National Park tour for which the launch to shore would depart the ship at 1:20 pm in order to be on the 1:45 pm tour bus.

Bar Harbor sits on an island, Mt. Dessert, the summit of which is Cadillac Mountain from which fantastic views are usually possible on a clear day. Not today!

Fog was still intermittent but our excellent driver/guide decided to proceed up the highway to the top of Cadillac Mountain anyway, hoping that the fog would have cleared by the time we got there. It hadn’t! So we left the top and headed for the coastal part of our tour, including a stop at Thunder Hole.

We also had a brief stop along the way at a delightful natural garden providing a chance to stretch our legs and soak in the calm coolness of this shaded retreat. A convenient bathroom break also.

Back on the bus we then proceeded on to a parking area on the coast road near a set of hand-railed stairs down to this remarkable inlet in the rocky shore where the surf gets trapped in the narrows, creating a loud “thunder” sound, as water is thrust upward into the air. And the surf was certainly cooperating at the time, provided thundering sounds on a frequent basis. A truly remarkable experience!

The return ride back to the town of Bar Harbor was equally enjoyable, arriving with plenty of extra time for a quick visit to a local Irish Pub for a pint of Harp beer. There was a slight wait at the dock for the next launch back to the ship but it was delightful sitting in such a pleasant setting with the fog now gone.

The launch ride back to the ship was smooth and uneventful, returning us to our “home afloat” just before 5:00 pm, at which time in the Chesapeake Lounge staff members were available to discuss future cruises, giving a whopping 15% discount in addition to forgiveness of the port fees and taxes (up to $330). I decided to investigate.

Long story short, I booked the “Northwest Pioneers” cruise from Portland, Oregon, to Clarkston, Washington, along the Columbia and Snake Rivers, a trip of 11 days starting October 11, 2019, with a complimentary pre-cruise hotel stay in Portland. Everyone I talked with that had taken this cruise raved about it. AND, saving over $1700 on the fare is substantial! Besides, I got to choose a prime Single Balcony stateroom #409 on the new American Song cruise ship. I will fly into Portland from Orange County Airport and then fly home from Spokane, Washington, about a 2-hour drive from Clarkston. The ship will provide a bus transfer, for a fee.

Happy Hour followed, attended by most everyone aboard, followed by another delightful dinner.

So ended my day in Bar Harbor, Maine.

~~~Bucksport and Rockland, Maine - July 26th & 27th~~~

Due to high winds, the Captain thought it best to forego our scheduled stop in Camden where we would have been at anchor, requiring the use of the ship’s launch to go ashore, instead docking at nearby Bucksport and doing the Camden tours by means of buses.

I chose not to go ashore in this small town of 5,000 but remained on board for the day. The difference between high and low tides is substantial in this area and during the day I observed the change in the height of docking platform relative to the dock itself; it was up to 7 or 8 feet.

Of course there was plenty to do aboard: breakfast, lunch, Happy Hour and dinner! No one goes hungry on this ship! At 5:00 pm there was a tour of the Pilot House on Deck 4 that I attended, finding the Captain’s explanations quite interesting. Unlike larger ocean liners, the Captain has sole responsibility for the ship’s movements and safety. He also discussed the special operations of this small ship including operating within 20 miles of the coastline.

Finally, I got a full night’s sleep because we did not depart for the next port of call, Rockland, Maine, until 4:30 am the next morning. It was such a treat!

~~~Rockland, Maine~~~

Anchoring off the port of Rockland at 7:00 am, the ship’s launch would be used throughout the day to get back and forth from ship to shore. Breakfast proceeded as usual, of course with my usual Western Omelet, side of bacon, cranberry and orange juices, and coffee.

It was always interesting to see just where I would sit: at a table with Bonnie and Haynes from Tennessee, or at the table with Richard and Pat from Maryland, or at the table with M.J. and John from South Carolina, or at the table with Lynne and Jack from Arizona. With most tables set for 6, it was often not possible to sit where desired because the table was filled. Once or twice, however, the group decided to move in a seventh chair so that I could join them. I felt very honored!

The highlight of the day was the Lobster Bake scheduled for 12:30 pm ashore at a location near the water, beneath a giant tent. I took an earlier launch ashore with plenty of time to walk around the 1-mile path along the bay to the site of the Lobster Bake, arriving shortly after 12 noon.

Several pots of boiling water were placed on grates under which a roaring fire had been built. Piles and piles of fresh lobsters were put into the pots along with scores of ears of fresh corn still in the husk; mussels were also added, and then the entire contents were covered by seaweed and allowed to cook. Very traditional!

I had selected one of the many picnic tables, near the “action”, and attempted to seat myself, throwing my leg over the seat, failing to observe a bolt protruding out of the lower structure of the table. At once I knew I had hit something but was not prepared for the bloody wound that resulted. Fortunately there was a roll of paper towels on each table, which I helped myself to, but the bleeding would not stop.

Richard came up, noticing I was in trouble, and FORTUNATELY he had some Band-Aids on him that he offered me. So temporarily, I got the Band-Aids applied and seemed to stop the bleeding. I also got the attention of Dakota, one of the ship’s managers, who offered his assistance. He ordered my lobster plate with corn, cold slaw, and potato salad delivered to me, which was very thoughtful.

The entire serving crew from the ship was on hand to assist passengers with their WHOLE lobsters, breaking the lobster into pieces and extracting the meat from the claws and tail. It was all delicious! Despite my injury, I thoroughly enjoyed this highly anticipated event.

Needless to say, I chose to ride the bus back to the landing from which the launch returned to the ship. The bleeding seemed to have stopped. Onboard I had the services of Willis, one of the ship’s officers, trained in EMT, who came to my room to clean and treat my puncture wound, putting on a salve of some sort, placing a thick gauss and then wrapping it securely. It felt good.

Happy Hour was as usual with everyone commenting on my injury, but I felt okay. Richard came up and gave me two more Band-Aids of a larger size, which turned out to be very helpful.

After dinner I returned to my cabin, prepared to spend another restful night as our departure for the next port of call, Boothsbay, Maine, would not be until 4:00 am the next morning. And the night started off well, UNTIL around midnight when I got up to go to the bathroom. The bandage had managed to come undone and my wound had opened up again, bleeding all over my bed, the floor, and into the bathroom. Luckily I still had the two large Band-Aids that Richard had given me and, after some effort, I got them in place, stopping the bleeding.

It was quite a chore, trying to clean up all the blood from the bathroom floor as well as the spots on the carpet, but I got it done, using wet towels that I rinsed out in the sink. There was nothing I could do about the blood on my bedding but apologize to my room steward the next morning. The rest of the night I finally got some sleep, using wet towels to protect from further bleeding in the bed.

At breakfast the next morning my wound had remained covered with the bleeding controlled, but I knew that expert attention was needed.

~~~Boothbay Harbor, ME and Gloucestor, MA - July 28th, 29th~~~

After breakfast I returned to my room where I did some research on my iPad in regard to an “Urgent Care” facility in Boothbay Harbor where we were at anchor for the day. I found one at the LincolnHeath Center, 6 Street Andrew Lane. With the help of one of the managers in the ship’s office, who called to make sure their Urgent Care would be open on Saturday, we also arranged for a taxi to be waiting at the dock for me upon my arrival by launch from the ship.

And so it went; I took the ship’s launch to the dock on shore where, as arranged, a taxi was waiting to take me to the Urgent Care Center. The driver knew exactly where to go, and within minutes we were there. The taxi fare was only $10 and the driver refused a tip, saying that he got a cut of the fare.

Inside I waited only a short time until being called to speak to a clerk who took all of my personal information. Then I was ushered into an examination room where a nurse removed the old bandage; my wound immediately began to drain. She cleaned the wound with a liquid - NOT alcohol, and then a female doctor came in to examine it. Apparently this Urgent Care Center was an all woman operation!

A piece of Surgifoam was applied directly to the wound, to encourage clotting as well as containing an antibiotic. It was not to be removed even if the dressing were to be changed. Then a gauss pad was placed and secured by wrappings, the last of which was a flesh-colored elastic fabric. This all took less than 30 minutes!

Before leaving I had the receptionist call my taxi to take me back to the dock and the launch back to the ship. I felt SO MUCH BETTER and relieved that I had had proper medical attention. I was back aboard in a little over an hour!

With my injured calf properly bandaged I then proceeded to rejoin my cruise, more thoroughly enjoying lunch, Happy Hour, and then dinner. HNo further draining of my wound was evident and I got a wonderful night of sleep. The ship departed Boothbay Harbor at 6:00 pm.

~~~Gloucester, Massachusetts – July 29th~~~

Docking at 3:00 am after a restful night of sleep with smooth seas, the optional tour (charges apply) for the day was the morning Maritime Heritage Center and Narrated Sightseeing Tour, which departed after breakfast at 9:00 am.

“Gloucester is a city on Cape Ann primarily known for its fishing industry. It was one of the first English settlements in what would become known as The Massachusetts Bay Colony. The town took its name from the city of Gloucester in Southwest England where many of its occupants originated.”

The Heritage Center turned out to be quite small but still very interesting. Outside and down stairs were aquarium exhibits displaying local sea life. A large tank contained skates and halibut, all very interesting to see and actually touch.

The City tour took us around the many scenic streets of Gloucester with the typical New England type architecture prominent among the homes. Charming on such a sunny day but I could imagine how cold and dismal it could be during the winter.

Returning by bus to the dock and our ship at 11:15 am, there was just enough time to visit my stateroom for a while before going to the dining room for lunch. As usual a creative salad topped my choices along with a tasty lobster roll. Lobster was plentiful on our menus; one night we were served an entire lobster for dinner! I had as much lobster as possible; it was SO GOOD and fresh!

For some reason, the ships had to leave the dock at 12:00 noon and move to anchor in the harbor. On such a nice sunny Sunday afternoon, many people were out on their boats and the harbor was bustling. Boating is quite popular in this region.

My afternoon was spent resting in my stateroom. My leg was doing just fine after its expert treatment the day before, and I decided to leave the bandage alone for the duration of the cruise.

Happy Hour went according to plan with many caring passengers inquiring about my injured leg. The Chesapeake Lounge was crowded as usual and the liquor and wine flowed freely!

Dinner was announced as usual by the ringing of chimes by a staff member, Gabby, I believe. Who knows with whom I was seated? It is all beginning to blend into a good memory by now.

The ship would be pulling up anchor and departing at 12:01 am and setting sail for our next port of call, Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

~~~Martha’s Vineyard, MA and Newport, Rhode Island - July 30th, 31st~~~

Our ship arrived at Vineyard Haven on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, at 8:00 am and docked at 62 Beach Road, Tisbury, MA.

“Martha’s Vineyard is an island south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Vineyard Haven is one of the 5 towns of Marty’s Vineyard. The indigenous Wampanoag Indians called it Noepe, which meant ‘land amid the streams’. Did you know, Martha’s Vineyard’s beautiful scenery was immortalized in Steven Spielberg’s highly successful movie, Jaws? Three islanders were given important roles in the film and numerous others were involved as extras.”

After my usual breakfast of a Western omelet, bacon, cranberry and orange juices, and coffee, I joined others from Staterooms 120 - 308 aboard a school bus for our 9:00 am narrated tour around Martha’s Vineyard to take in the sights of the island. (Passengers in Staterooms 390 - 510 took the 10:45 am tour.)

We traveled all over the island, visiting the several small towns along the way, and taking in the absolute beauty of this island. It is quite wooded, which was surprising to me, and the road meandered through many charming neighborhoods. We returned to the dock at 10:30 am.

With my leg now bandaged expertly and showing no further signs of draining, I was happy and tried to put my unfortunate injury in the past. Of course, many passengers expressed their concerns, insisting that I would seek further medical attention when back home. The people on this cruise have been wonderfully friendly and kind.

We departed Vineyard Haven at 5:30 pm, next stop Newport, Rhode Island.

~~~Newport, Rhode Island - July 31st~~~

Being such a short distance across from Martha’s Vineyard, our arrival in Newport, Rhode Island occurred at 10:30 pm the previous evening and we were docked in the harbor requiring the ship’s launch to go ashore.

Choosing to take the afternoon tour see the mansions, I took the morning launch over to the downtown dock, along with Bonnie and Haynes, new friends from Tennessee.

Newport is the home of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and I wanted to again visit it, not recalling just what a walk it was from the dock area. Bonnie and Haynes joined me since Haynes plays tennis, and we walked and walked before finally reaching the Hall of Fame.

We went inside and viewed all of the grass tennis courts, also visiting the arena where recently there had been the annual championship matches, and then it was time to walk back to the dock in order to catch the noon launch back to the ship. It was QUITE a physical exercise, and Bonnie and Haynes were doubting the wisdom of taking it! But we made back in time for the launch.

After a rest and lunch I was ready to board the launch over to Fort Adams where we boarded the trolley for the following:

Avenue of Mansions Tour - Enjoy a narrated trolley tour down Bellevue Avenue and journey back in time through one of America’s premier collections of historic houses. There will be a stop for a self-guided audio tour of The Breakers, originally built by the Vanderbilts, the grandest of all the “cottages”, as they were called.

Having been here before I again enjoyed the unparalleled splendor of our last stop and was sorry that we had only limited time to investigate further. Back on the trolley we then proceeded down Bellevue Avenue, again passing by the International Tennis Hall of Fame which we had visited during the morning, and returned to a different dock near Fort Adams from which we boarded the launch back to our ship.

At 5:00 pm on the dot, we hauled anchor and departed Newport, Rhode Island, next stop: Provincetown, Massachusetts.

~~~Provincetown and Boston, Massachusetts - August 1st and 2nd~~~

We arrived at dock in Provincetown at 12:30 am while I was still deep asleep. I had been sleeping much better since getting my leg attended to in Boothbay Harbor at the Urgent Care Center, and it still was looking good - no discharge. When I did wake up we were securely tied up at the dock at the end of a long pier.

During the night we had passed through the Cape Cod Canal from Newport, Rhode Island, into the Cape Cod Bay; this is an artificial waterway of approximately 7 miles length. I saw lights on shore as we did this transit but not much else. Then back to sleep.

“Located at the northern tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Provincetown is the home of the Mayflower’s landing in 1620. Today, the landing is commemorated by the Pilgrim Monument and the Provincetown Museum, and the town is populated with galleries, restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping.”

After enjoying my breakfast at around 8:00 am, I had to decide between the morning or afternoon Trolley Tour; I chose the afternoon one departing at 3:00 pm, returning at 4:30 pm.

At 3:00 pm I went down to the dock to catch the Trolley Tour which departed from just outside the ship. There were two such trolleys, both open air, with somewhat uncomfortable wooden bench seats. The pier at the end of which our ship was docked was unbelievably crowded with tourists; big tour boats from Boston make frequent runs to Provincetown that evidently is a very popular tourist destination. Making our way down the pier to the street took much care and caution by the trolley driver.

Once off the pier the crowd got even worse; very slowly we proceeded down the front street passing many restaurants, bars and shops - all crowded to capacity. Finally reaching the end of that street, our route took off towards the headland of this spit on which Provincetown is situated.

Once out of town we encountered many sand dunes along the rugged coastline, as well as wooded hills. Quite a relief from the downtown crowds. At one point, a National Park, I believe, there was a brief stop for restrooms and leg stretching. I chose to just stay on the trolley. I did notice that our driver, a big muscular man, had gotten out and was enjoying his cigarette. Strange, because I hardly see anyone smoking anymore.

Then it was back around to the other side of the spit, returning to the downtown area. The coastline here was open to the Atlantic and the surf was quite active. Back in town, we again traversed the pier, now less crowded as the tour boats had departed back to Boston. Right on schedule we were back at the ship, our behinds reminding us of the hour and a half ride on those hard bench seats!

With just enough time for a quick rest in my stateroom, it was soon time for the daily Happy Hour in the Chesapeake Lounge. Apparently everyone aboard was taking full advantage because the Lounge was packed, this being the last night before disembarkation. And of course I was one of those enjoying my two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc wine!

Dinner was extra special with one menu item being “Surf-and-Turf” which was my choice. I was not disappointed! The steak was cooked to medium- rare perfection! The jumbo shrimp were spectacular!

~~~Boston, Massachusetts - August 2nd~~~

Departing Provincetown at 11:59 pm, our arrival back at Pier 8 in Charlestown was at 6:00 am. Breakfast was served earlier than usual at 6:30 am and we were told to be out of our staterooms by 8:00 am. Luggage was requested to be placed in the hallway the previous night before midnight; mine was put out around 10:30 pm, before I went to bed. Packing is always the most unpleasant part of a cruise but I was able to get everything packed away after dinner.

By previous arrangement I had booked the ship’s bus to the airport for $20, and a tag was placed on my suitcase indicating my airline - American Airlines - and terminal - B - at Logan International Airport. Also a departure group number sticker was given signifying which bus one was on; mine was 4.

So between 8:30 and 9:00 am, I departed the American Constitution for the last time and walked along the dock to where I boarded my bus, first identifying my suitcase that traveled in the same bus.

The ride to the airport was complicated by the mid morning Boston traffic that is horrific! But we soon arrived at Logan and disembarked our bus, collected our luggage, and proceeded towards Security.

I had gone online on the ship’s computer the day before to print my boarding pass, but this turned out to be unnecessary; checking in my suitcase outside the terminal, and paying my $25 luggage fee, I had to present my ID which apparently was enough for the agent to access my reservation, and print another copy of my boarding pass!

With my TSA Pre-check, I was through Security quickly and on my way to the gate area, mine being B35, to await the 11:55 am boarding time for my nonstop 12:25 pm flight to Los Angeles.

Boarding in Group 5 I quickly found my seat, 8C, a Main Cabin Extra seat for which I had paid extra. Unfortunately, it was a bulkhead seat but didn’t make all that much difference, since my carryon was only my Princess bag. The flight departed a little late but the Captain came on the PA to announce our flight time would be only slightly over 5 hours.

The flight went well with three small bottles of Sauvignon Blanc for me - no charge being seated in a Main Cabin Extra seat, and our arrival at LAX was indeed right on time. Being forward I was one of the first off the airplane, my first stop being the bathroom.

My luggage appeared after a moderate wait - I struggled getting it off the carrousel, and soon I was outside Terminal 5 at the SuperShuttle Dispatcher. Forgetful me, I had packed my paperwork but used my iPad to bring up my reservation number and soon I was seated in a van on my way to Orange County and home.

Unfortunately, the driver had allowed the Dispatcher to load our van with 6 passengers; usually 3 is the limit. And of course, I was number 5 to finally be delivered home after driving all over Orange County, but home is home!

All was found to be okay when I entered my house, after a ride of 3 hours from the airport, but it was very hot and stuffy inside. I immediately opened all of my doors and turned on the box fans that I use.

But I was HOME!

Ron
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Cabin Review

Cabin 203
See above for description.