Monday, August 29, 2016

Voyage of the Vikings Cruise - Cruise Day 2: Bar Harbor, Maine

We weren’t due to arrive in Bar Harbor until 10:00 AM so we slept in and then went down to the Neptune Lounge to get some breakfast.  There are no docking facilities in Bar Harbor so today we had to tender in.  A couple from the Cruise Critic roll call arranged a private tour today and we are joining them for a tour of Acadia National Park and the surrounding area.  I didn’t realize this, but Bar Harbor is actually on an island connected to the mainland by a causeway.  The island is Mount Desert Island and is the second biggest island on the east coast.  Besides Bar Harbor, there are several other towns on the island.  Our guide told us that the population of Bar Harbor is 18,000 in the summer but drops to only 4,500 in the winter.

We sail into Bar Harbor, Maine.
We got on one of the first tenders (another suite perk) and were in Bar Harbor by 10:30.  The tour people were there to greet us, but our new friends from the roll call were not there so we waited for a while.  The weather was clear and beautiful and unusually warm for Maine, but not too hot to ruin the day.  We chatted with our guide Judy while we waited for Steve and Jan to show up.  They didn’t make it until 11:30 because of the long wait they had for the tenders.  We were finally underway.

We drove into the park and were shown the sights of the park by our guide.  We had a great time, but it was very crowded everywhere we went.  Acadia National Park was very nice, but it was not as spectacular as we thought it would be; I guess we are a little spoiled by the parks of the west.  The best season is the fall when the trees start to turn colors and I would like to return sometime to see that, it sounds spectacular.  The first place we went was up to the top of Cadillac Mountain which is the tallest mountain on the east coast of the US at 1530 feet.

The view of Bar Harbor and our ship from Cadillac Mountain.

We had plenty of company on top of the mountain.
After Cadillac Mountain we drove through the park and stopped at various viewing points.

It was a nice warm day and many were out enjoying the beach.

We left the park and visited some very beautiful botanical gardens that had an amazing array of flowers blooming; that’s not something we see in the summer in California.


Next we stopped at the Thuya Garden Preserve which was a very beautiful and peaceful place.  There were many paths that wound through the dense foliage and passed by small ponds and a stream.  There were many secluded and quiet places where you could sit and enjoy the nature around you.

It was getting to be mid-afternoon so we stopped for a late lunch at Beal's Lobster Pier.  Val and I had never had lobster in the shell so that was something we thought we had to do while we were in Maine so we ordered one hard shell and one soft shell lobster to share.  Lobster is not Val’s favorite, but she gamely tried it all and we managed to finish off both lobsters.  I really liked the soft shell lobster the best, but for the high cost and little meat you get, I will probably not be eating lobster on a regular basis.  Steve and Jan were from New Hampshire so they gave us pointers on how to peel away the shells and get to the meat.  It is a pretty messy experience, but we did enjoy and are glad we did it.

Before ...
and after.

By the time we finished our lunch it was time to head back to Bar Harbor and end our tour.  We were back by 5:00 and after walking around town for a little bit, we caught the tender back to the ship.  It was a very enjoyable day in Maine.

After boarding the ship, we spent the evening relaxing until it was time for dinner.  Next to our table there is another table for two and last night it was empty, but tonight there was a couple sitting there who we met and spent dinner talking with them.  They were Ken and Mary Beth from the Chicago area and were very nice.  It’s nice having a nearby table that’s close enough to have a conversation, but we still have the room of a table for two.

The ship left Bar Harbor at 8:00 so that meant the casino would be open when we finished dinner so after a good meal and good conversation, Val and I made our way to the casino.  My night’s allotment went quickly and I spent the rest of the evening watching Val.  Ultimately she lost all her money she had allotted for the night, but much slower than I did.  Tomorrow is a welcome sea day.

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