2019 Grand New England

Awfully Costly Lines

Discover the majestic seafaring heritage of coastal towns and quaint island villages on the 10-night Grand New England cruise. Your ship will dock in the heart of each historic harbor, amidst working boats and luxurious private yachts. Steps away you'll find whaling and maritime museums, scenic bluffs, beaches, cobblestone streets and unique shops. By meticulously selecting the ports of call from southern New England to Maine, ACL offers this epic New England cruise. Discover America's birthplace and savor the local cuisine, and a warm slice of fresh blueberry pie.

Day 1, Sat, July 13 Fly to Boston
Day 2-3, Sun/Mon, July 14-15Visit with Ann and Russ
Day 4, Tue, July 16 Transfer Mendon to Boston
Day 5, Wed, July 17 Boston
Day 6, Thu, July 18 Portland, Maine
Day 7, Fri, July 19 BAH-Habah
Day 8, Sat, July 20 Camden, Maine
Day 9, Sun, July 21 Rockland, Maine
Day 10, Mon, July 22 Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Day 11, Tue, July 23 Gloucester, Mass
Day 12, Wed, July 24 Newport, Rhode Island
Day 13, Thu, July 25 Martha's Vinyard, MASS
Day 14, Fri, July 26 Provincetown, MA
Day 15, Sat, July 27 Fly home

Day 1, Sat, July 13 – Visit Russ and Ann
By doing the first part of the trip with Russ and Ann, the start date is up to them (July 13). Fly up a few days early to visit with them. Going then would maybe make it easier for another possible trip to the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum on Monday. I’m looking forward to that – besides the great pleasure of seeing Ann and Russ.

Since there is no cruise connection deadline, I had planned to choose a “convenient” flight schedule and start the trip mid-morning. But then Unfriendly Skies cancelled the flight so I had to switch to Delta and start with an earlier flight. It also means a 1-stop flight and a departure from HOBBY airport rather than IAH. Then Delta changed some of the flight schedule so I have to take a later flight than planned into Boston in the mid-late-afternoon which may give Russ some traffic hassle when picking me up in Framingham. Delta: G2A3AY

Delta DL 1439HOU – Atlanta6:40A – 9:44A2:042:46
Delta DL 2792ATL - Boston12:30A - 3:05P2:307:25

Arrive in Boston about 3:05 and take the Logan Express shuttle to Framingham with Russ picking me up there about 4:15, and going on to Mendon for a few days.

Day 2-3, Sun-Mon, July 14-15 – Russ and Ann
Have Saturday-Monday nights with Ann and Russ, with Monday for the possible drive up to the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum (but that is NOT "required.", just a "maybe.")

Day 4, Tue, July 16 – Transfer to Boston – Pre-Cruise Night
(D) Use the Pre-Cruise night hotel to cut down on transportation problems of travelling from Mendon into Boston and on the ship, and if Russ takes me to the Logan Express sometime Tuesday afternoon, the drive will be MUCH EASIER on him and we won't have to worry about delays for traffic and or weather. First travel into Framingham, then second, catch the Logan Express shuttle to Logan, then third, a taxi from the airport to the hotel. Since there is nothing scheduled by ACL, not even meals, there is definitely no rush.

Our custom Boston Pre-Cruise Package provides you with a seamless way to experience the city and easily board the ship. Arrive the day before your cruise and American Cruise Lines will handle the rest. The package includes a premium 4-star hotel stay in downtown Boston, where you can enjoy the city at your leisure.

Note: It turns out that the "Complimentary" Pre-cruise night is definitely NOT COMPLIMENTARY. I've "scratched" most possible future ACL cruises.

Day 5/1, Wed, July 17 - Boston, MA
(BL?D) Begin your journey in one of America's most storied cities, Boston. Rich in culture and maritime history, Boston provides guests with the perfect port from which to launch a Grand New England cruise/tour.

There are NO included Boston excursions. On the morning of the cruise, meet in the hotel lobby after breakfast and we will transport you to to board our “cattle barge,” the American Constitution, before 1PM or so, to begin your cruise. All luggage will be brought directly from the hotel and placed in your stateroom aboard the ship.

The ports order got changed - not as good as before.

Day 6/2, Thu, July 18 - Portland, ME
Maine's most historic seaport overlooks beautiful Casco Bay. Spend your visit exploring its gallant 360-year history or check out its amazing cultural scene. Big-city excitement blends delightfully with small-town charm here, as fishing vessels bustle in the harbor and Victorian-era buildings still line cobblestone streets.

Portland City Excursion - Complimentary Excursion
Meet your local guide for a narrated tour of Portland - Maine’s largest city-by-the-sea. View Longfellow’s boyhood home, sea captains’ houses and the elegant Victorian Mansion as you drive through historic neighborhoods overlooking the islands of Casco Bay in Portland Harbor. Your tour includes a stop at Portland Head Lighthouse in Fort Williams Park, a historic landmark and the most photographed lighthouse in America.

Day 7/3, Fri, July 19 - Bah Hahbah, ME
Nestled on the east side of Mt. Desert Island and surrounded by Acadia National Park, Bah Hahbah's vistas and abundant wildlife have welcomed visitors for over one hundred years. Some cruises may go to Bah Hahbah via coach from Bucksport.

Acadia National Park - NO, not AGAIN!
"Been there, done that!" Nestled on the east side of Mount Desert Island and surrounded by Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor has welcomed visitors for centuries. During the 1800's, the breathtaking mountains and seascapes were a source of inspiration for many artists and writers. Prominent figures like Joseph Pulitzer and William Proctor built magnificent cottages in this beautiful coastal community. This bus tour of Acadia National Park includes stops at the summit of Cadillac Mountain, the first land in the United States touched by the morning sun, and Thunder Hole, an inlet naturally carved out of rocks where the waves spout water as high as 40 feet.

Day 8/4, Sat, July 20 - Camden, ME
Full of classic schooners, this charming village is considered the "tall ship capital of Maine". Enjoy the summer sun and refreshing sea breeze as you watch beautiful ships sail into the harbor, or browse the quaint shops and art galleries. Bring your camera to capture ocean vistas, placid coastlines and panoramic views of Camden, Penobscot Bay and surrounding islands from atop Mount Battie.

Camden Historical Walking Tour - Complimentary Excursion
Join a local tour guide for a walking tour through Camden, the prettiest harbor on the Maine Coast. The tour will cover the history of Camden with its industrial beginnings through its current status as the hub for yachting in Maine. Enjoy the beautiful architecture and landscaping design as you weave through the streets of this quaint port. Following the tour, you will have time to explore Camden on your own.

Narrated Bus Tour – Camden Hills State Park Tour - $$
Camden is proud to call itself the "Jewel of the Coast." A quaint seaport town, Camden features 19th century architecture, a harbor full of classic schooners, and a beautiful backdrop provided by the Camden Hills. A 90-minute narrated bus tour takes you through Camden Hills State Park, with a stop at the top of Mt. Battie, where you can enjoy panoramic views of glistening lakes, Camden Harbor, and the islands of Penobscot Bay

Day 9/5, Sun, July 21 - Rockland, ME
Before arriving in Rockland, you'll have the pleasure of experiencing Maine's most beautiful cruising areas. Your ship will pass through the gorgeous 6-mile passage lined with evergreens known as Merchants Row. In Rockland, passengers can follow the Rockland Harbor Walk, visit the Shore Village Museum or take an interesting narrated tour of the area.

Rockland Exploration & Farnsworth Art Museum - Complimentary Excursion
Famous for its mountainous and rugged shore, Rockland is one of Maine's unique treasures. Enjoy a narrated tour of Rockland, which will make frequent stops around town, including the famous Farnsworth Art Museum where you will enjoy a one-hour tour. The Farnsworth Art Museum pays homage to Maine artists throughout its permanent collection, "Maine in America." Moreover, it is one of only two centers in the country dedicated to the three generations of Wyeths.

Owls Head Transportation Museum - Complimentary Excursion
Take a step back in time at the Owls Head Transportation Museum, where pioneer-era aircraft and automobiles from the late 19th century and early 20th century are on permanent display. Enjoy a guided tour of the museum's outstanding collection. Also, don't miss out on your chance to ride in a Model T.

Sail, Power, and Steam Museum - $$
Enjoy a guided tour of this “hands-on” museum with sail making and rigging rooms. View steam engines, old shipbuilding tools, and architectural builder’s half modes. Explore a complete boat shop with caulking tools, a working sailmaker’s bench, and a navigation room with two working radars. Visit the shipwreck room displaying wrecks from 1898, a real working lime kiln, and an extensive model display of schooners and steamboats.

Day 10/6, Mon, July 22 - Boothbay Harbor, ME
This lovely, historic town is lined with shops, boutiques, and picture-perfect harbors dotted with lobster boats, pleasure craft, and windjammers. Boothbay is the largest boating harbor north of Boston, earning the moniker of "Boating Capital of New England."

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Tour - $$
The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is one of the most distinguished botanical destinations in the country, and one of Maine's top attractions. Its exquisite gardens, dramatic natural landscape, and scenic waterfront will captivate you. A guided tour will introduce you to the history, horticultural details, and colorful explanations of these gardens. Included will be the visitor favorite, the Lerner Garden of Five Senses, a garden designed to appeal to each sense. After the tour, visit the gift shop or stroll the gardens on your own.

Day 11/7, Tue, July 23 - Gloucester, MA
Located a few miles from Boston, Gloucester is the home to America's original seaport and the oldest working art colony in North America. The town’s picturesque waterfront has drawn fishermen, artists and visitors for over four hundred years. With over 60 miles of coastline, there is a wealth of stunning views to enjoy and plenty of fresh seafood to savor.

* Schooner Lannon Cruise - $$$
Relax on the deck of this beautiful 65-foot schooner as she sails out of Gloucester harbor. Join us for a 2-hour sail and experience sailing on a fishing schooner. Help raise the sails, or just sit back and take in the sights and sounds of Gloucester's coastline.

** Maritime Heritage Center Guided Tour - $$
During a 45-minute group tour, you will have the opportunity to explore the many features of the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center. On this tour, you will visit the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, New England's only marine sanctuary. Explore the Sea Pocket Lab, Burnham Brothers Marine Railway, Eleanor; a reproduction of one of the three ships that participated in the Boston Tea Party, and the Main Pier.

After visiting the Maritime Heritage Center, enjoy a narrated tour of Gloucester and Rocky Neck. Tour highlights will include Stacy Boulevard where passengers can view the famous statue, “Man at the Wheel,’ Downtown Gloucester, and East Gloucester, also referred to as Rocky Neck.

Day 12/8, Wed, July 24 - Newport, RI
Nestled within Narragansett Bay is Newport, the yachting capital of the world. As you stroll along the beautiful beaches, historic neighborhoods, bustling wharves and scenic waterfront, you'll find Newport offers something for everyone. Visit the Herreshoff Marine Museum and America's Cup Hall of Fame. Explore Newport's fabled past with glimpses of opulent seaside estates along the "Avenue of the Mansions."

Avenue of the Mansions - NO
Travel back in time to the epicenter of 19th century opulence as a knowledgeable guide takes you down one of the most architecturally impressive avenues in the world. Learn about the owners of the homes and their monetary successes as you travel along the spectacular Ocean View Drive and Bellevue Avenue, before concluding at the “grande dame” of them all, The Breakers Mansion. A portrayal of the social and financial prominence of the Vanderbilt family at the turn of the century, the architecture of this seventy-room Italian renaissance-style palazzo is remarkable. Take a leisurely audio tour of the home and learn about the Vanderbilt family and the inspiration for their building this impressive summer “cottage.” At the conclusion of the tour, you will have time to explore the bustling Newport waterfront at your own pace.

* Guided Tour of Fort Adams - Complimentary Excursion
Newport, RI boasts one of the finest natural harbors in the world. The night before your arrival, engage in an enlightening lecture of how Newport’s earliest settlers protected the harbor from intruders and also used it to achieve monetary successes. The intimate size of our ship allows us to dock right at Fort Adams, the well-known fort used to protect the harbor, and puts us just a short ride away from Newport’s bustling riverfront. Our onboard lecturer will walk you over to the fort and answer any questions. There a Park Ranger will take you on a guided tour of Fort Adams, a colonial First System fortification. View the “Officer’s Quarters,” and ascend to the scenic overlook for a breathtaking view of Newport Harbor. Learn about past and future plans for restoration of the Fort and enter the restored casemates to visit the “Technological Transformation & the Defenses of Narragansett Bay & the Nation” exhibit. The listening tunnels beneath the walls of the Fort are a marvel of architecture and engineering and represent 180 years of American military history and culture.

Day 13/9, Thu, July 25 - Martha's Vineyard, MA
During the 18th and 19th centuries, Martha's Vineyard was a hub for merchant ships carrying exotic cargo from far corners of the world. Today, the island is one of the most popular vacation spots in New England, comprised of six distinct towns. Historic Edgartown is the most genteel town on the island, featuring freshly painted, white clapboard colonial homes and manicured gardens.

Views of the Vineyard Tour - Complimentary Excursion
As we dock in Vineyard Haven, you will be immediately surprised by the charm of the quaint seaside village. Our local island guide will greet us at the harbor and take us on a personalized tour of Martha’s Vineyard. Visit the many historic towns, including, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, and West Tisbury. Enjoy ample free time to explore the village and local shops of Edgartown. Once back at the ship, meet up with our onboard lecturer who will take the group to Oak Bluffs for a narrated tour of the gingerbread cottages. Your tour will conclude with a visit to Bill Ewen’s gingerbread home for freshly made lemonade and cookies. In the evening, musical great, Mark Alan Lovewell will entertain everyone onboard with popular sea chantey sing-a-long songs.

Day 14/10, Fri, July 26 - Provincetown, MA
Originally settled as an artist’s colony, Provincetown is now one of the most popular summer destinations on Cape Cod. Known for its quaint shops, colorful architecture and relaxing beaches, Provincetown offers guests a great opportunity to explore historic Cape Cod culture.

Provincetown Trolley Tour - Complimentary Excursion
Located at the very tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is a popular summer vacation destination known for its beaches, harbors and local art community. Affectionately referred to as “P-Town,” learn all about the area’s rich history and culture. Experience Commerce St. and enjoy the diverse shops and restaurants before heading to the National Seashore with a stop at Provincelands for a photo opportunity. A trip to Provincetown would not be complete without visiting the Provincetown Library, whose unique interior features an actual sailing ship, Rose Dorothea.

Day 15/11, Sat, July 27 – Boston, MA
(B) Welcome back to the historic city of Boston. No need for local tours – I’ve been here many times before. Disembark the ship about 8:30. Arrive at the Boston airport for my flight home. A transfer to the airport is included. I had originally booked a 1PM flight but D*Delta changed their schedule so I had to go with a much later flight - and a very long wait in the Boston Airport.

Delta DL 2792Boston-Atlanta4:00P - 7:003:002:13
Delta DL 2284Atlanta-HOU9:13P - 10:17P2:047:17

Home about 11:30, maybe.

American Constitution

American Constitution. The newly-announced American Constitution is scheduled to begin cruising the East Coast in spring of 2018. With a capacity of 175 passengers, the American Constitution will feature the latest in technology, modern design, and sophisticated décor. The American Constitution will also feature large well-appointed staterooms with private balconies, as well as a variety of spacious lounges.

Grand dining room accommodates all guests together
Satellite TV and DVD player in all staterooms
Complimentary Wi-Fi
Private balconies
Sliding glass balcony doors offer panoramic views
Laundry facilities
Onboard historians and naturalists
Open picture window
Complimentary cocktail hour each evening
Evening entertainment focuses on "Moo-Sick" (music) and history

The cabins on this ship are almost “luxurious.” Single (Private Balcony) 4 in purple on the deck plans. Solo travelers will find relaxing comfort in our Single staterooms complete with a walk-out private balcony. Enjoy one of the largest single staterooms in the industry at 250 sq. ft., featuring "a comfortable twin bed", large sliding glass door, and "spacious full-size bathrooms". My cabin is #222 on the 2nd deck.