The temperature is a brisk 28 this morning, the skies are clear. It is doubtful that the highs today will reach 50. The Zuiderdam left last night to be replaced by an NCL cruise ship early this morning. Roughly 1900 passengers disembark and will be replaced by new ones. In addition to the usual buses and taxis meeting passengers at the terminal, many can be seen walking to town with luggage in tow. Probably a 2 mile jaunt depending on their destination. Parts of the walk into town are across grass, gravel, or in the roadway as there are not always sidewalks. It won't be easy.
Dozens of trucks are lined up waiting to unload grain at the grain elevator just across the dock from our ship. Once they start unloading the air looks foggy from the grain dust released into the atmosphere. I'm sure the crew is thrilled with the fallout after having just cleaned the ship.
There are 121 passengers that are staying on since the last cruise. We were told to meet in the dining room to exchange seas pass cards. Once the ship reaches a zero count, our cards will be scanned as if we were boarding the vessel for the first time. The exchange works smoothly except for those passengers that want to keep their old cards for sentimental reasons, the ship has them. They are told they can get them later at guest services.
The ship can't be cleared, two passengers are unaccounted for. They are paged twice and eventually found in the dining room with the back to back passengers that are staying on the ship. Confused, or just hoping they could remain on board is unknown.
After an hour we are officially on board for the next cruise to Bayonne, NJ. Unlike newly boarded guests, our cabins remain available at all times. My room steward is excellent and always seems to clean my cabin during the small span of time that I leave for breakfast.
A few minutes after we are processed, new passengers begin to board. I spend several hours finishing an audio book that I had loaded onto my phone. I can now say that in all my years of cruising I have completed one book at sea.
Three or four trucks are lined up with provisions. There is just one or I should say at least one issue. They are near the bow of the ship, and provisions are loaded near the stern. The gangway prohibits just driving down the dock, they must navigate around all the arriving traffic, go thru the grain elevator facility and return to the other end of the pier.
The reprovisioning process is rather complicated. Fork lift 1 unloads the pallets from the truck and sets them on the ground. Then fork lift 2 picks up same pallet seconds later and loads it into a cage. The cage is then lifted with a crane and swung towards the ship where crew members pull it inside as it is lowered. I then imagine an additional fork lift stores the pallets in the proper location of the ship. I'm sure they will have everything loaded before we leave tonight, Several pallets of fresh eggs are the first items to be loaded.
At noon there is a lunch in the dining room just for the back to back cruisers, no fighting the crowds in the Windjammer. I choose Caprese salad and cheese ravioli. Lunch is good.
I take a few more pictures of the city from the ship and will spend most of the afternoon listening to my next book. About 4:15 there is the customary muster drill. As usual we don't need to take our life jackets, but a winter jacket is in order due to the cool temperatures. Unlike 10 days ago several passengers are missing. I have always known that the room stewards check all cabins to make sure no one is in them during the drill. What I didn't know was that as each cabin is checked, a red tag is placed in the key slot indicating that particular cabin has been checked.
I review all the paper work left in my room, excursion tickets, notice of on board credits, etc. Glancing at our itinerary for the next 12 days it is worth pointing out that we work our way South to Boston and then return North to Bar Harbor, Me. and then go South again to eventually arrive in Bayonne. I imagine this route is dictated by available docking space, not the desire of the Captain to just take us on a longer voyage. Over the next 12 days there are only 2 sea days, every other day we are in a different port. Not all ports are the same as our northbound voyage, but there is much duplication. Being several weeks later, the fall colors may be better.
I make a decision to avoid the dining room on this leg, but probably will dine with the officers. A perk that I really care little about, but should.
We turn our clocks ahead 1 hour tonight. We are currently cruising 20 knots, but at some point need to slow for the restricted speed area. The seas are fairly calm with negligible motion on the ship. Tomorrow is a sea day.