I’m in the Atlantic Ocean somewhere and literally have no idea where we are headed. They give us a new note each day with an updated itinerary. Something about ports and people changing the rules. I figure when the ship docks somewhere, that’s how I will find out for sure.
It is all part of the adventure, that began the night before I left New York City and the snow started falling. I dropped back into Niles for dinner and a drink, only to find my chair had been given away to an Englishman. Fortunately he was a very nice Englishman with an interesting job transporting antiques and the graciousness to be extremely embarrassed about the Ashes.
By the time dinner and the Rangers game were over, the snow was falling in earnest. I walked the 13 blocks back to my very favourite hotel in NYC, the only one with a swim up bar, and was covered in snow by the time I got home.
When I opened the curtains in the morning there was nearly half a metre of snow on the ground. This was going to be a challenge!
After a quick stop at Walgreens, one of several huge pharmacy chains in the USA, to buy all the sea sickness tablets they had in stock, it was time to brave the elements.
I did consider getting an uber or taxi to take me the three kilometres to the cruise terminal. But one look at the roads and the lack of any kind of snow tyre or chains on the cars made me pause. “I’ve got this.” I put on my waterproof Salomon hiking boots, gathered my bags and channelled my inner backpacker. After all, this was my long-awaited gap year. What could go wrong?
Around Times Square, the footpaths weren’t too bad. (That’s a sidewalk for the people who don’t speak properly.) Americans salt the ground constantly, so for the first ten minutes, I was feeling pretty confident. But once I got down past 8th Avenue, towards the Hudson, things took a turn for the worse.
Have you ever tried to drag a bag through half a metre of snow? Me neither, but I can cross that off my bucket list now. I’m standing on the corner of W50th and 9th Avenue faced with piles of snow on all corners. There was no way around it. Only through it.
At that point I decided to dispense with the footpaths and just wheel my bag up the middle of the road. There weren’t many cars, and anyway, they could just wait. I was determined to get to that cruise terminal, by hell or highwater.
A shout out at this point to my sons, who gave me travel bag for my birthday. This bag is incredible. It survived Everest!
Finally, I reached 12th Avenue and the cruise ship was in my sights. One more road to cross. I stepped up to the curb and promptly found myself knee deep in snow. I dragged that bag through it and made my way into the car park under the terminal. I showed no paperwork, or ID but the boys found my name on the list, took my bag and directed me to the Covid test area.
Everyone had to do a Rapid Antigen Test prior to boarding. The best part was Covid Bingo after your test. You had to sit in the waiting area and wait for your number to appear. BINGO. I passed the test (well I failed it, which is what you want).
Once that was done, it was over to Jennifer at the check-in desk. She is the Robyn Keyes of the NY cruise terminal. Just the lovely, friendly kind of person who gives your Caribbean cruise the best possible start.
The cruise is only about a quarter occupied and all the pools are still closed because they are full of snow. But the bars are open, the entertainment excellent and the food divine.
Who knows, I might even find out where we’re going.