Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Day 18 - Mon August 27, 2018 Charleston, South Carolina - Crystal Symphony - San Francisco to New York

Day 18 - Mon August 27, 2018 Charleston, South Carolina

We had our traditional walk on the Promenade Deck – but cut it to 45 minutes this morning as we were doing a walking tour in Charleston. We enjoyed the sail in to Charleston, passing by Fort Sumter, a castle, an aircraft carrier, a view of their beautiful bridge before docking right in the heart of the city. Only a couple of blocks from the ship into the city. Note - pictures of the bridge and the aircraft carrier Yorktown are from the afternoon when it was clear and the sun was in the best position.

This is our first port back into the USA, therefore we all had to appear for Customs and Border Patrol. We were given groups of when we could disembark so that there wouldn’t be crowds of people and lines trying to get off at the same time. Interestingly enough, no one would be let back on the ship until everyone was off and checked by Customs. The process began with group 1 at 8:15 am and it was anticipated that passengers would be able to re-board at about 10:30 am. However, that time turned out to be a bit optimistic and re-boarding was allowed shortly after 11:00 am. We were assigned group 3 and were off the ship approximately 8:40 am. There was a line to clear customs and we waited our turn.

Julie had booked a private walking tour at 10:30 am, however ended up canceling it because we were unsure what time we would be able to leave the ship and whether or not we could make. We asked at the desk if we could be in an early disembarkation group, but were told they were not taking requests. Not a great loss – we have toured Charleston before. We decided to try a new for us option and download an audio tour on our phones and see how that worked out for us. Once onshore we paid for the tour on the App Store ($1.99 each) and downloaded it. The starting point of the tour was a couple of blocks from the ship and we proceeded there. There were 14 stops on the walking tour. The directions were very clear from one point to the next, and the narration at each place was several minutes. We thought the tour quite good and enjoyed it. The only downside was that you had to keep taking out your phone, listen to the narration, proceed to the next place and then start the narration again. It would be nice if it had a pause feature where you could just use the pause feature on your headphones to start and stop the narration. Here is a pictorial view of our walking tour:

St Phillips Church-oldest congregation in South Carolina

St Phillips Graveyard (notice the Spanish Moss in the tree)

Dock Street Theater-opened in 1736

Huguenot Church-built in 1845, the third church on this site

Pink House-built around 1712, believed to be the second oldest remaining residence in Charleston

Old Slave Mart Museum-only surviving building in South Carolina that had been used as a slave auction gallery

Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon-public slave auctions were held outside and along the wharves.

Rainbow Row-a series of row houses, painted in bright colors dating back to about 1740.

Charles Towne Wall-only visible remains of the wall from 1680. Charleston was once a walled city.

The High Battery-all these houses were built on landfill by the wealthiest of the town.

The sea wall in front of the High Battery

View of Walled City-shows the breadth of the walled city.

Nathaniel Russell House and Gardens – built in 1808 by a wealthy merchant.

South Carolina Society building (not part of the tour, but a great looking building)

Four Corners of the Law- City Hall, Old State House, Old Post Office/Court House, and St Michael’s Church

We ended at The Charleston Market

Back onboard we enjoyed a salad in The Marketplace.

We went to the afternoon movie “Backstabbing for Beginners” about the UN and Iraq Food for Oil scandal.

There was a lecture at 5:00 pm with Bob Arno titled “Adventures of a Thiefhunter-Smart Solutions to Real Threats in a Hostile Environment.” Arno is a white-hat pickpocket and crime prevention specialist. He shared information on how to protect ourselves from these modern day thieves.

On our way to the Silk Bar for pre-dinner cocktails we noted that we had a Coast Guard escort complete with machine guns. There was a sailboat headed towards the ship, and the Coast Guard vessel went over to them and made it turn away from us. One of the crew shared with us that the Coast Guard had come aboard in Charleston and checked some crew and passenger cabins. Apparently this is a common occurrence with ships coming to the US from Colombia and Mexico.

As we were sailing out, we saw Fort Sumter, the location where the Civil War started.

We enjoyed dinner in The Churrascaria, having salad, no sides, and a couple of pieces of meat. Dessert was grilled cinnamon pineapple - wonderful.

We watched a few minutes of the concert pianist and then decided to go see the set in the Avenue Saloon. Tonight was the Crystal White Extravaganza at 10:15 pm. We didn’t make it – retired before that.

Today we walked 21,611 steps and 9.33 miles – A record on this trip!

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