Leigh & Bob, Lurline and her sister Barbara, had planned this cruise for months. Little did they know the adventure they were about to embark on. This is one vacation they'll never forget. It all began September 9th, 2001.
NCL'S "Norwegian Sea"
In Leigh's own words:
We had just stopped at our first port, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, after a full day at sea the day before. After our tour of Peggy's Cove there, Bob and I were in a rather large pierside shopping mall, which had areas for each individual type store. We were browsing thru one and I noticed people intently listening to a boom box there. It was obvious that something was wrong, so I inquired to a nearby shopper. It turned out she was a passenger from another cruise ship and she told us the Trade Towers had been bombed a few hours earlier. My immediate response was to fight to hold back the tears. From that moment on, it seemed like one thing after another was happening.....the Pentagon...Pennsylvania... We were headed for Bar Harbor, Maine the next day and for a while, it was thought that we would not be allowed to re-enter the United States. The captain didn't tell us we were forging ahead until about 5pm that night.
From that moment on, there was a mood of doom and gloom aboard ship and lots of tears from many people. They set up large screen TVs in several areas and there were many other TVs all over the ship too. The ship was gracious enough to offer us free email service and free long distance service...it was supposed to be for emergencies but that policy wasn't strictly observed.
Lurline & Barbara at Email Station
All week, we were 2-3 hours late reaching each port. At the end of the cruise, since we were not allowed to return to the pier in New York City, we had to go back to Boston to disembark. This resulted in an extra day aboard ship, compliments of the cruise line. Everyone had to change their transportation home...whether it was to change their flight or to be bussed to wherever their car was. Our car was parked in NJ, so this meant a 6-1/2 hour bus ride from Boston to Mt. Laurel, NJ. We then drove Lurline and Barbara back to their house and set out for another 6 hour drive back home to Virginia Beach. Now do you all understand why we were so "out of it" for days afterwards?
In Lurlines own words:
On September 9, 2001, Leigh, Bob, my sister Qricket (Barbara) and I boarded the beautiful Norwegian Sea - one of Norwegian Cruise Line's several cruise ships - and headed north to Halifax, Nova Scotia as our first stop. Little did we know that only two days after boarding our ship would that terrible tragedy hit back home. As we sailed down the Hudson River and past the familiar New York City Skyline almost everyone took pictures of both the skyline and of course the World Trade Center's Twin Towers. Little did we know - or for that matter neither did the people who were in those two buildings what was to come in just two short days.
Well, we went on...under very tense conditions as all the ports on the eastern seaboard were closed and we had no idea where we would be allowed to dock. So, for many hours we just circled around until we finally heard that we would be docking in Bar Harbor, Maine.
We did get to go on all the shore excursions we had signed up for but there was a lot of tenseness and of course a lot of the fun of the trip was not there. But we all managed to do the best under the circumstances and the staff and crew of The Norwegian Sea did a superb job in keeping things running smoothly and trying to divert our attention to a more upbeat feeling if only for a brief hour or two at various times..
We visited Arcadia National Park, on our Bar Harbor stop and then on to Boston, Martha's Vineyard (where it was quite chilly, windy and rainy - then on to Newport, RI the next day where we saw the beautiful huge mansions of the wealthy from another era.
Then, it was time to return home. Our week was up. But due to the terrible circumstances which unfolded just a week before, we found that we would not be returning to New York City as scheduled, but we would be docking in Boston a shame though that something we all looked forward to for so long will now be remembered more for the events of September 11, 2001 than for our long awaited fun filled cruise. But we all DID get home safe and sound eventually and were thankful for that.
Thanks so much Lurline and Leigh...I felt this was too important for me to put this together, I'm glad it came from the both of you. A time neither of you will ever forget. I was especially appreciative of the emails that came from the ship, as our friends waited to hear you were all safe. Me, and all our online buddies were happy to know you arrived home safe and sound.