Los Angeles, California.
I am writing this post in response to Amy’s “A Day in My Week” photo challenge. She wrote in her challenge, “I hope you will join us sharing one of your days of the week, either a traveling day or a day near your home.” You can read her entire challenge post here.
On October 24, we rose early, much earlier than we’d have liked on this specific day, our 51st Anniversary, but we had places to go and things to see. We flew into Los Angeles the day before and stayed in a hotel. We’d learned from others that it’s a good idea to arrive at a cruise port city by air the day before. It allows for canceled and delayed flights with enough time to still board the ship on embarkation day.
After two shuttle bus rides, we arrived at berth 93, and in front of us was the Norwegian Bliss seeming larger-than-life. We were much too close at the pier to take it all in one photograph. Besides, the large gangway covering several stories blocked a clear view. For this opening photo, I substituted a shot captured of the Bliss at Mazatlan, Mexico from a few days later.
The port at Long Beach/San Pedro where the Bliss is docked for sailing to the Mexican Riviera is a working port. On the way there, we saw thousands of containers stacked up wherever we could see. One of the largest import/export ports in the United States, this harbor has been in the news due to the many container ships docked offshore awaiting unloading. I plan to do an entire post on this issue based upon what we saw on that day while we awaited departure.
Once we got off the shuttle, we masked up as we were in a federal terminal facility, just like an airport. We dropped off our luggage, then we were shepherded into a separate area where we were given a rapid antigen Covid test. The next 15 minutes were a bit nerve-wracking as we awaited our results. Then our numbers came up on the board and we walked over to a desk where we were both told our tests were negative.
Hooray! We were allowed to board the ship. Once we were on the ship, we were comfortable and felt safe without masks as Norwegian Cruise Lines requires 100 percent vaccinated guests and crew, all tested prior to departure. In addition, the ship sailed with only about 50 percent of full passenger capacity. There was no one under 12 on the ship and very few teenagers.
Since this was the first sailing of the Bliss with passengers, we were able to drop off our carry-on luggage immediately in our cabin, and it was then we proceeded to the upper deck for a celebratory drink prior to sail-away. After that, a quick lunch, then time to explore the ship before our 4 PM departure.
From the upper decks, we could see they were unloading a container ship, even though it was Sunday. I realized as I watched them pull containers off with those big cranes, they had to pull them from different areas to maintain the ship’s balance in the water. I was fascinated watching the cranes as they dropped a container onto a waiting truck with an empty trailer that then drove away to be replaced by an empty truck and trailer.
At precisely 4 PM, the Bliss pulled away from the pier and we headed out the channel to the sea. That ship docked on the right is the U.S.S. Iowa, a battleship turned museum. The U.S.S. Iowa is on our agenda to explore sometime when we aren’t getting ready to board a cruise ship.
Near the end of the channel is the U.S. Coast Guard station. This base provides a wide variety of services in direct support of Coast Guard activities in Southern California. Among these are local and area housing, warehousing, health care, work-life, transportation of household goods, and personnel support services.
As we approached the breakwater at the edge of the harbor, we got closer views of the many container ships awaiting a berth at the pier to unload. On the port (left) side of the ship, I counted 31 ships, and there were probably just as many on the other side, out of my range of vision.
We shared our 51st-anniversary dinner with my niece and her husband who joined us on this, our first cruise since April 2020. We enjoyed dinner and sparkling wine at Cagney’s Steakhouse on the ship.
What better way to end this post than with a sunset on the Pacific Ocean from the upper decks of the Norwegian Bliss. If you click on any of the images above, you can view it in 2K HD on my Flickr site. From there, you can scroll through the images. If you click on the album link here, you will see several more images captured in and around the harbor on our Sail Away Day on the Norwegian Bliss.