Monday, September 27, 2010

Bar Harbor, Maine

Sunday, we make our first port of call in Bar Harbor, Maine. My daily routine is to work out in the fitness center a little after breakfast. This is followed by a swim in the water jet swim-master. It isn’t really called that but it is directly analogous to a Step Master. This is the first time I have ever seen one in person. My total prior experience had been their regular little ads in the New Yorker. My first concern was that since I swim a slow modified breast stroke the machine would be too fast for me unless there were some way to slow it down. That fear proved groundless in that the further away you get from the one central jet, the slower the apparent speed of the current against you. The second fear was that since it was placarded as being a comfortable 82.4 F degrees that it might be too warm for serious swimming. I seriously doubt that temperature posting to be accurate in that the water was so cool that it took me quite a while to get used to it. But it did prove to be fine for swimming.



We take our lunches in the main dining room known as Windows. It probably holds 500 diners comfortably, but the typical lunch crowd is less than 50. Yet, these can be some of the finest experiences in both food and service. It is funny to us how so many of the 2,000 passengers stream ashore to ride, but mostly wait for, the motor coaches and pay yet again for their meals of far lesser quality. Surely, the cruise-line marketers are doing yeoman work in their convincing so many to overspend so much.

In the afternoon we explore the town on foot, searching for free wireless so as not to use too many of the expensive ship-board satellite-fed WiFi. We had prior experience in Bar Harbor. It was a destination for several days on our first trip with little trailer the Casita back in 2000. The town is touristy to the nth degree, but that was okay – it was still nice to stroll around and see the sights. We did find a little art fair set up in the town park that was delightful. We also shopped for some t-shirts for our house sitters. In this port the ships must anchor in the harbor and we are tendered ashore except that on the return leg we draw a whale watch vessel that is much more comfortable and speedy.
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