This visit we decided not to take any any of the offered excursions but instead to find our way around the city following the Freedom Trail.
Day 15: Saturday 8th October 2023: Boston
The pilot boat arriving on our side of the ship was an early morning, wake up call. Later, from the balcony I did get these images as we approached Boston.
Before breakfast we called at reception to enquire again about our bill. Yesterday evening, we were not sure what if anything had been done. This time we watched as an email was sent enquiring to the bar in question about the charge.
Breakfast was again upstairs in the quiet half of the buffet. The choices there are quite limited and most passengers seem to avoid it Probably because there are no full cooked breakfasts. For us granola and fruit were in plentiful supply and was absolutely fine for us.
Our ride into Boston centre
Once of the ship, we walked along the quay. There were other cruise ships docked in front of Sky Princess.
After passing the row of excursion coaches, we came to another row, this was of school buses. These were available for Sky Princess passengers as a shuttle service into Boston. They may have been a bit dilapidated and certainly were uncomfortable but unusually they were free so who cared?
The coordinator for the busses shouted to everyone that he would do would be soon back in Boston and would be responsible for putting us back on the buses for our return trip.
The drop-off point was outside the Boston Aquarium. This was a very busy tourist place as it was a pick up point for other tourist buses as well as close to the pier for boat trips.
Even better we knew it would be an easy place to find when we wanted to leave.
Into the City
We crosse Interstate 93 and then walked up State Street took us to Merchants Row. From there we went to Quincy market. Everywhere was very busy, so rather than going to any of the market we retraced our steps and joined the Heritage Trail.
The trail is a painted line on the pavement. Sometimes the trail is marked by coloured tiles and sometimes it is completely missing.
Parade along Washington
As we walked along Washington we could hear banging drums and shouting and the road was closed.
Then towards us was a march of children and adults holding banners.
After the march had passed we crossed over to Dunkin Donuts. Definitely time for an early sit down with coffee and Boston Cream doughnuts.
At first, we were the only customers sitting inside. From the notices on the table we would not be welcome if we stayed too long!
Granary Burying Ground
Back on the trail on Tremont Street, we came to the Granary Burying Ground. as we entered we were handed a folder by a random guy just standing there. The folder had sheets inside that gave us the position of famous graves plus included lots background information and pictures.
We spent quite some time in the graveyard, looking at the graves of historic figures and those of their relatives.
When we left the graveyard we handed the folder back and gave him a small contribution.
The trail lead to the bottom of Boston Common. Our way was blocked by a protest about the land rights of Native Americans. This was being aggressively protected, as apparently taking pictures of the demo or the participants was somehow frowned upon.
Instead, we walked to outside of the Common on Park Street until we reached the golden domed State house and walked along Beacon.
Below us there was another protest. This was about abortion rights and was in full swing with perhaps over 200 people cheering on the speakers. We decided not to go down those steps and carried on walking until the next steps.
However, at the bottom of these steps, an anti-abortion protest was taking place. This demo had perhaps 30 to 40 people. They were very vocal and doing their best to drown out the other protest only 100 yards away.
Walking down the Common, I was accosted by a woman as she thrust a pamphlet into my hand. She was protesting at the USA helping Ukraine against Russia. In her opinion this was pushing the world towards nuclear war.
At this point of the day I felt I needed a strong drink but the Common had no bars that we could see.
Boston Common Visitor Center
The Historic Trail actually starts at a small building on the Common, the Boston Common Visitor Center.
We had simply walked it in reverse direction. Probably missing out some of the places after we had started. The building was packed and inside there were queues at the both ladies and gentleman’s toilets. These queues were mixed up with the queue to pay for souvenirs or for the tickets for a guided tour along the Historic Trail. Outside a guide in historic dress was puling together his group to walk the Trail.
We checked our map and decided to head back to the aquarium by a slightly different route.
Down West Street
Opposite the center was West Street that would take us back onto Washington.
On it we came across a simply amazing bookshop selling second hand books. I spent a lot of time going through the racks of books on art and photography.
Outside in the lot next door, the books were in bookcases that were mounted on the walls or simply stacked in the middle of the space.
We went into a Target store that was below a multi storey car park on Franklin. Unfortunately, nothing leapt out at us to buy despite the typically bargain prices there.
The Indian Rights protesters that we had encountered on the Commons marched past us. They were reminding everyone that this was their American native land and again do not take pictures of the protest.
Back to Sky Princess
After walking back down State Street to get to the aquarium we had to cross a very busy I-93. The Interstate on our way into the city had been almost empty but now cars, large trucks and semi rigs streamed past.
Once on the other side, we walked along the Greenway Open Market looking at some of the scores of craft stalls.
We could see a queue of people on the corner of Central Street and crossed over to check if this was for Sky Princess. Unfortunately this queue though was for Royal Caribbean and we walked down until we reached Old Atlantic Avenue.
Outside the Aquarium
Turning left there the area outside the Aquarium was even busier than when we arrived. At first we could not find our ride back to Sky Princess. Every parking space on the sides of the square had a coach, bus or mini bus. Other buses were stopped in the middle and cars were driving through the middle of this. Add in people like us who were searching for their ride and it was totally chaotic (and dangerous!)
The pavement on the river side of the square was crammed with people queuing for river attractions. We were lucky and spotted the organiser that we had seen earlier and he directed us to one of the school buses.
Back at the cruise terminal buildings security had been tightened up since our last visit. Back then we walked up to a policemen, showed our cruise card and were simply waved through a side gate. Now we had to pass through security checks and be scanned before walking back down to Sky Princess along the quay.
Alfredos was empty, and we gratefully sat down for a pizza and a drink. Back in our cabin, we switched on the TV and watched a film as we definitely needed a rest.
Evening after Boston
After 5 pm, we went down to the Captain’s Circle in the Vista lounge. Again having a light snack or sometimes sushi if it was on offer had by now become our secret pleasure.
We were joined by the ship’s officers who managed the bars on the ship. She explained how we have been overcharged for a full bottle of wine rather than for a glass. Over the next few days we were promised this would be corrected.
As Sky Princess was now on her way North and the cruise was over half over we had booked a second meal at the Crowne Grill.
After we had ordered our wine, one of the couples we had met over dinner in the Vista lounge came into the restaurant. We joined them and had a long evening meal together in the not too busy restaurant.
This was a great way to finish what had been a very busy day.
Bar Harbor in Maine was our next port – another first for us.