Norwegian Breakaway Transatlantic – New York Arrival

A VERY early start on the 7th May, so early it wasn’t worth going to bed! Despite the info channel constantly saying all week we would arrive at 8am, we would actually be going under the Verrazano Bridge around 3am. I finished my internet and got to bed at 1.30am, the alarm set an hour later. The fog had gone – yes!!!!! I went on deck with Mark and Marie Kennedy and would like to ask whose bright idea was it to wash the decks during arrival and with so much water your feet squelched? I had canvas shoes so you can imagine how my feet were! The decks were crowded with people as we first went under the bridge then passed the Statue of Liberty. Some girls came up about 4am and asked if it was near us. Oh dear. It was wonderful arriving in TRUE New York, not that awful Brooklyn, and the skyline was amazing, though would have been better an hour or two later. We stopped a while as they removed the forward two lifeboats port side so we could dock. It was something to do with new gangways not arriving and having been at sea a month. At least she didn’t have to remove the lot like Epic, another mistake corrected. Someone had done the transatlantic from Southampton on Epic and said they too arrived in the dark with no fanfare.
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I returned to my cabin to try and get a couple of hours sleep as my disembarkation time wasn’t until 9am. The info channel said we arrived at 0354 but were docking around 5am.
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I was woken by announcemens from Julie, the cruise director, telling the first lot they could bugger off so decided to go for breakfast in O’Sheehan’s. Despite my order being taken the same time as the next table, my waitress vanished so they had almost finished theirs by the time the man called a waiter over to tell him. Mine reappeared at 8am. “I’m back, madam. Is there anything else I can do for you?” We had to wait in the Manhattan Room except we were actually not allowed in due to crew immigration! This was a complete joke really as they took the entire room for people to just walk in and out. Could have gone elsewhere – or the crew area! We were told to go 20 minutes early and the immigration queue for us was horrendous. It was as bad as Fort Lauderdale in 2011. When I reached the front, I was pointed to the right side which was for non-Americans. Why not do that all along as they had in Los Angeles in 2008??? Then it was off and onto the bus where my friend Howard Paulman was waiting to say a quick hello. It was great seeing him again and I can’t wait for him and Patty to come back to the UK in June.
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Last time I did NCL transfers in Barcelona for Epic in 2011 things didn’t go well. This didn’t either. Too many for La Guardia but the bus company hadn’t been told so needed to find another bus or put some on ours, which was JFK only. Thankfully we didn’t get the extras but still didn’t leave until about 11.10am. Then the driver stopped at the Novotel to drop people off but it was the Holiday Inn in another part of the city. JFK appeared easier. Terminal 1, Terminal 2 then he drove past the drop off for Terminal 4 (ours) and went to Terminal 8, saying this was for the rest of us. He denied he went to T4, insisting Virgin Atlantic was T8 so several of us argued the toss. He was quite prepared to just dump us there and was an English ex-pat. Once in the airport, check in wasn’t until 2pm, flight 6.20pm and nowhere to wait laid on by NCL for the two hours until we could ditch our hold luggage. Seats were at a minimum in the terminal even at arrivals, where we ended up waiting and finding something to eat. I met my Facebook friend Byron Huart for a quick hello and goodbye then went through security. Out plane had about 230 passengers so loads of empty seats but they’re so small and the cabin crew don’t apologise for bashing into you with themselves or the trollies. It was my first Virgin flight, arranged by NCL, and after this experience I would be unlikely to book them myself. So off I went, the opposite direction to the one I’d come a week before, arriving back at Heathrow in the rain – normal weather has been resumed!
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