Tuesday, 19th July
Left for London Gatwick at 9.30 am for a 5pm flight. A journey of approx. 4 hours max! But you have to allow for road works, accidents, flies in the ointment and the 3 hours it takes to check in!
I flew Norwegian Air Shuttle to New York on the new Dreamliner. One of the cabin crew told us the plane was lighter and faster with lighting designed to reduce jetlag, purer air, roomier seats, bigger windows and more luggage space.
The flight was uneventful (thankfully!) until we reached New York where we sat on the tarmac for 1.5 hours while ground crew got their act together. So much for a speedier crossing! The technology worked a treat. It was, as usual, the humans that let it down.
Making my way to the taxi rank I was approached by a driver asking where I wanted to go. I told him, he took my suitcase and started heading across the road. The rank gaffer asked him where he was going and was told “I’m taking this lady to the Wellington Hotel”. “OK” he said, and to me “follow him”. So off we go at speed across the road into a car park and we are on our way.
My first clue was that there was no meter or licence number in the car. My second clue was when we reached the hotel he told me the fare was $150! What can you do? Just put up and shut up!! At this stage I wasn’t even sure that he wasn’t going to pull a gun on me. He didn’t take cards and I didn’t have that much cash so he took me to an ATM where my cash card was eaten up! We had mild words and he finally agreed to accept that I only had $126 and had now lost my main source of finance. I wrote that up as a close shave.
New York was not kind to me that night but I did manage to put a block on the cash card. Now I had no cash, only had my Debit and Credit Card to rely on and I couldn’t remember if I had told the bank I was taking this trip! Cheers! I remembered mentioning it when I let them know about the Norwegian trip but, in hindsight, wasn’t sure if I was told “let us know before you go”, or did I imagine that?!
The following morning I met up with my friends Jill and Angelo. At last, someone to look after me. We set of for the ship in another taxi. After a while I said, “are we going the right way”? Angelo reassured me that we were and half an hour later, when we pulled up at an empty cruise terminal in Brooklyn, we found that actually we weren’t! We should have been at the cruise terminal in Manhattan, where we had just come from. I didn’t want to say “I told you so” but I did.
It transpired that Angleo had received an email with incorrect final boarding instructions so we had our taxi fare refunded.
Bliss to be on the ship, safe at last, but with the nagging worry, what am I going to do about money? But I’ll worry about that when we get to Saturday.
Saturday, 23rd July
The ATM on the ship offers me $60 for a charge of $6.50 + any other charges my bank may make (no “may” about it mate). But needs must. So we set off for Hamilton to have a wander around. Now Bermuda is a place I could happily live in. Picture perfect, smiley people, lovely day. Bliss.
Then I spot an ATM. Should I take the risk? Yes, be brave. This is when paradise turned into something a lot less appealing. The ATM won’t let me have money and my bank started sending me frantic messages which my phone wouldn’t let me respond to, panic. I rush back to the ship and spend a gut wrenching hour trying to contact the bank by ships phone. Finally sorted! Whew! Now I can relax.
Tuesday, 26th July
Two uneventful days sailing through the Bermuda Triangle and incidentally, according to the Captain, the most dangerous waters in the world. I thought the danger was that the triangle would eat us up, just like my card, but apparently the danger is that we are navigating through narrow channels between reefs. Now I did wonder why he couldn’t have kept that information to himself but I guess he was just trying to big his job up.