|Norway Farewell Transatlantic 2001|
The trip seemed an impossible extravagance, but equally impossible to miss.
Norwegian Cruise Line had announced a decision to send the Norway to Asia, where she would serve in a market known primarily for short gambling cruises. Before heading to the Far East, she would go to Bremerhaven for refurbishing and refitting for her new role.
And before that refit, Norway would make a 17-day transatlantic voyage, a long arc along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, and across to Scotland, Ireland, and France before terminating in Southampton. This would be the last chance to see the former France and appreciate her interior spaces before (it was feared) they would be ripped out to make way for acres of green felt and flashing slots.
With my wife Lisa committed to job responsibilities until September 7, for the first week of the trip I would go solo. After some tentative red tape from NCL, she was cleared to board in Halifax. So I went down to Miami, arriving a day early for a visit on Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas, the newest megaship, and heir to the tradition of big ship/destination ship cruising begun by Norway.
September 1, 2001
Arriving in Miami a full day before Norway, I splurged on two nights at the Marriott Biscayne Bay, booking a room with a view of the cruise ship basin. After the Chicago redeye, and a few hours restless sleep, I awoke at dawn to this scene. Underneath that dramatic sky was Explorer of the Seas, which I was to visit later that morning, and, further down the channel, Carnival Triumph.