In July, the Lovely Doreen and I boarded a cruise ship for the very first time. Our cruise through the British Isles took us to Dublin, Liverpool, Isle of Man, Belfast, Wales (via Glasgow), Invergordon (Loch Ness), Dundee and Edinburgh. We traveled on the Azamara Journey, a smaller, luxury cruise ship with a group of Wisconsinites who are listeners to the Jay Weber Show on WISN-AM.
This would be Weber’s last time leading a group of listeners abroad. During a “question and answer” session aboard the ship, Weber told a listener that since Cruise & Tour was sold, he no longer had the same desire to support the tour company. However, if there was a diminished desire to mingle with his fans and share their travel experiences, it certainly
wasn’t evident on this trip.
All of our stops on this cruise were unforgettable. Because the Journey is smaller, the ship is able to get into smaller ports and actually stay there. This allowed us to have more time to explore at each stop. The cruise ship was also good about providing us shuttles from the dock to the city center without charging additional fees.
This led to a moment of eye-rolling in Belfast. The shuttles there, provided by the Visit Belfast, only left the port every half hour due to the time it takes to make a round trip. This gave the Lovely Doreen and I time to talk to one of Visit Belfast’s guides who gave us information about the port.
The transit time also gave a golfer passenger time to complain about having to wait more than 15 minutes which he thought was the maximum someone should wait. After five minutes of listening to him complain, I finally said, “There are taxi cabs right over there,” and pointed to a line of them just waiting to take passengers into the city.
“Do you know where we are?” he asked. “I’ve been to Belfast before. We’re a lot farther out than you think. It will cost $15 just to get out of the port. I’m not paying for a cab when there are free shuttles.”
And then he went back to complaining about how long the shuttles will take. If you’re going to be an ugly American, wearing a golf cap does help complete the look.
Of course, I knew precisely where we were which is why we didn’t attempt the walk into town. Because we’re planners, Doreen and I knew there would be a shuttle bus and we even knew where the bus would take us. And because we’re nice people, the good folks at Visit Belfast helped us find the right city bus (Glider 2 takes you right to the Titanic museum).
As for the golfer, I hope he missed his tee time.
James Wigderson, Waukesha, August 9, 2023Receive the Life, Under Construction newsletter every Monday and Thursday!
Note: I strongly recommend the Titanic Museum in Belfast, even if you think you know everything about the ill-fated ship. The museum itself is an architectural marvel which fulfills the mission of representing the ship and the sea. Get the “White Star Pass” which gives you a guided tour of the museum grounds and the nearby Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices where the ship was designed. Included with the ticket is museum admission and a store credit at the gift shop.
Our guide at the museum spoke as if she had a personal connection to the ship. It turns out her grandmother was present at Titanic’s launch.
Something we learned on the trip, the Titanic (like other White Star Line ships) did not have a christening ceremony when it was launched. Maybe that was a mistake.