Thursday, 28 April 2011

Cruising the English Channel to Southampton

Tuesday April 26th

Spent most of the morning and some of the afternoon packing and can’t believe how long it’s taking…very little help from Vance…of course!! Luckily it’s very windy in the English Channel today so apart from our noon beer no-one is spending much time on deck so I don’t really mind doing the packing.

‘Blake’ had a CD signing this morning so I popped along and grabbed a copy and had my photo taken with them. They really are gorgeous.

This evening we arranged a ‘Last Supper’ dinner for four other Worldie friends and our favourite staff members Marc and Melissa. Unfortunately Michelle was unable to make it. We had a fabulous meal and the wine really flowed freely and a lot of the waiting staff came to say their goodbyes to us just in case they miss us tomorrow morning. It was quite emotional. Boo Hoo!!

After dinner we went to the Grand Salon as ‘Blake’ agreed to give another performance. Again they were brilliant and received yet another standing ovation – bye boys.

We moved on to the Club for the farewell night of music, dancing and drinking and as you’ll see from the photos a good time was had by all.


Wednesday April 27th

The time has come for us to leave our home away from home. More farewells, hugs, kisses and tears were the order of the morning. I really found it hard to leave. At 9:30am we left the ship to be greeted by our BMW 7 series chauffeured car for the drive home. Seabourn style to the end!!

Guess what?.....when I got home I weighed myself and I've lost 9lbs and loads of inches.....I must be the first person to come back from a 4 month cruise who's lost weight.....perhaps I can persuade Vance to take me on next years Quest world cruise...just so I can lose some more weight of course!!

Our sojourn and this blog is now at an end. Thank you to everyone who has followed us around the world.

That’s All Folks – and thanks again Seabourn – we’ll be back.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Leaving Bordeaux

Monday April 25th

Another wonderful day as it’s hot and sunny on this Easter Monday morning so another chance to top up the tan.

Left Bordeaux at noon timed by our beer ritual of course and passers-by on the quay stopped to wave us off.


Tonight is our last formal dinner as we will be packing our finery away tomorrow. After dinner we went to the Grand Salon to see ‘Blake’ a classical boy band well known in the UK. Their style is a mix of classical and pop songs sung in rich harmony vocals. They were absolutely fantastic and well deserved their standing ovation. It also helped that they were gorgeous looking young men!!

We managed to find the words to the World Cruise song that Jon Courtenay wrote for us at the World Event the other night. Here they are.

World Cruise Song by Jon Courtenay To The Music ‘You Took Advantage Of Me’

Today’s your hundred and fourth day with new friends
Just a week left before the World Cruise ends.
It wouldn’t have been any longer if you’d made Roratonga.
You had an extra day at sea.

There were sixty-four “Worldies” from L.A.
You picked up a few “Seggies” along the way
And then a few leftcha in Civitavecchia.
Then another day at sea.

You made a lot of memories along the way
Like in New Zealand when you all had tea
The Singapore big wheel and Arabian Nights
Rough weather in the Tasman Sea.

When we get to England some of you may be found
Makin’ like the Pope and kissin’ the ground.
On your hundred and twelfth day since leaving L.A.
Fifty-six days spent at sea.

You’ve been playin’ bridge and monopoly.
Eating breakfast, lunch and dinner and the afternoon tea
The Trivia’s done, the jigsaw is done.
Fifty-six days spent at sea.

I bumped into the Captain and I asked him where
Is the nearest land or town
He said land is never further than a mile away
That’s if you go straight down.

Christopher Columbus sailed the seven seas
Searching for America’s shore
With all the cocktail parties and formal nights
What the hell do you think his wife wore.

I know you’ve had some fun along the way.
From the fifth of January to the U.K.
The hours have been great,
All two thousand, six hundred and eighty-eight.
Fifty six days spent at sea

The other fifty-six in twenty four countries
The hundred and fourth day spent with me
They say the best things in life are free
Then why did this cruise cost so much money?

Monday, 25 April 2011

Cruising To Bordeaux

Saturday April 23rd

Dreary day today so caught up with some computer work and ‘The Blog’ then mid-morning coffee and danish in the Square which was very crowded as everyone else had the same idea.

The sun came out late morning and Sarah joined us for our Corona beer noon day ritual and lunch in the sun. We will be arriving in Bordeaux at about midnight tonight after  travelling about 75 miles up the Garonne river to our berth in the old part of Bordeaux.

Bordeaux is one of the world’s wine industry capitals and its wine has been produced since the 8th century.

Sunday April 24th

 Happy Easter!!  We all received a chocolate Easter bunny and a plate of mini chocolate eggs...yum!!


A lovely warm sunny spring day today so we walked (and walked!!) around old Bordeaux and even visited the Cathedral St. Andre for the Sunday Easter service.

Returned to the ship for you know what and lunch in the sun and then topped up our tans. We even had a swim as it was so hot...have to keep the tan topped up as it won’t be long now until we’re home...boo!! At 4:30pm the heavens opened and the rain poured down...back to normal then!!

This evening we visited the Chateau Kirwan located in the Margaux appellation boundary for our final World Cruise Event. After a short journey through the Medoc vineyards we had a guided tour of the Chateau Kirwan cellars followed by a tasting of some of their chateau bottled reds and then a delicious four course dinner...with more wines of course.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Cruising the Atlantic Ocean

Friday April 22nd

After losing an hour and experiencing some rough seas last night we arrived at the Colannade for breakfast to find the staff outnumbered us guests by about three to one!! Apparently Room Service was inundated by requests for just dry toast and ginger ale – and we haven’t even reached the notoriously rough Bay Of Biscay yet – newbies eh!!!

Just in case we have won the Lottery Jackpot when we get home we took a tour of the vacant Winter Gardens Suite this morning - the most expensive suite on this ship. It was justifiably luxurious and we have decided it would be our suite of choice for our Quest cruise next January. All we need now is for lady lucky to shine on us!!  I took loads of pictures.

Click Here For More Photos

It is really quite cold and wet today but we braved the elements and wrapped up warmly for our noon ritual beer. Most people thought us mad.

At 2pm after 107 days we finally got around to joining the ships Bridge Tour and I even got to sit in the Captain’s Chair. Beware other shipping in the area - woman driver on board!!

This evening we were invited to a cocktail party in The Signature Suite where our friends Ralph and Mark have moved into for the last segment. We’re very envious of the boys!!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Cruising the Strait Of Gibraltar To Lisbon

Wednesday April 20th

Today we are cruising the Strait of Gibraltar which is the narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Spain in Europe from Morocco in Africa. At its narrowest point it is 7.7 nautical miles across and the depth ranges between 300 and 900 metres. We had hoped to view ‘The Rock’ of Gibraltar at about 9am this morning but the visibility, due to heavy sea mist was not good – all we saw was a ghostly triangular outline. There is a photo but if you can see the Rock in it you have better eyes than me.

We’ve just heard that an arsonist started a fire in the sacristy of Gaudi’s cathedral in Barcelona causing significant damage. It seems that trouble follows our progress around the world.

Met Carol Thatcher (daughter of former British PM Margaret Thatcher) at lunch on deck today, she’s really down to earth and we’re going to have a good gossip over coffee soon.

Clocks back one hour tonight making us now same time as UK.....I think!!

Thursday April 21st

Arrived in Lisbon, the capital and largest city of Portugal, at 8am and it is much colder today and cloudy – I guess we were spoiled in Spain!! We hear that it’s hot and sunny in Bordeaux but I bet it will be raining by the time we arrive in a few days time.


Spent the morning walking around Lisbon and visited the  squares, monuments and shops...of course!! Surprise,  surprise I didn’t buy any shoes....in fact I didn’t buy anything.

We got back to the ship just in time for our 12 noon ritual and sat in the sun sipping an ice-cold Corona when the heavens opened and we dashed for cover – taking our beer with us of course. It was a real downpour which we’ve not had for ages.....must be getting closer to the UK and the usual rainy weather.

This is so weird the clocks go forward 1 hour tonight...it’s hard to keep up.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Cartagena

Tuesday April 19th

Vance is now calling today Tuesday – Shoesday!! As I bought three pair of shoes and Vance one pair, what a result.


Cartagena is a fabulous city... for me it’s the best of our stops in Spain on this cruise. We started by walking through the marina and climbed up to the old fort that today is protected by noisy peacocks. The views from the top of the fort were incredible ... we could look down on the old and new amphitheatres and had a 360 degree view of the whole city.. We then descended to the streets of Cartagena and enjoyed the wonderful shopping as the sun came out to dry the pavements before returning to the ship for our on deck noon ritual and a goodly wine assisted lunch.

Within the marina, in front to the ship is an extraordinary sight....a primitive submarine. This cigar shaped curiosity was invented by a local man Isaac Peral who launched it in 1888 and some say this was the first submarine in the world.

Tonight we had a Venetian Masquerade Party in the Observation Lounge. On arrival we World Cruisers chose and wore fabulous masks and enjoyed cocktails and entertainment on piano by Jon Courtenay a UK comedy pianist. He wrote a special song about our World Cruise to date which was so funny and apt...of course you had to be here!! I will try to get the words and publish them later.

After the party we moved into the Colonnade for another tremendous World Cruise dining experience. What a fabulous evening.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Valencia

Monday April 18th

Another beautiful day. We caught the shuttle bus into the centre of Valencia this morning and just walked around viewing the buildings and architecture. We found a fabulous church and then the main cathedral which was packed with tourists and locals as it is holy week here in Spain. We even found yet another market but this time didn’t buy anything...surprise...surprise.


Valencia is a wonderful city but much too busy for us. We caught the pre noon coach back to the ship for a late noon beer ritual followed by a sunny lunch on deck. Spent the afternoon stretched out on the sun lounger but fully clothed...no swimming for us at the moment.

Played Baggo and horror of horrors...I lost...must have been fixed!!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Cruising the Med To Barcelona

Saturday April 16th

Day at sea on our way to Spain and it’s a lovely warm day today. The first officer said it was 18 degrees at noon so another alfresco meal on deck at the patio grill – making the most of the good weather – while we can!!

Played shuffleboard this afternoon after a few glasses of red and I won...again...hooray.

Sunday April 17th

Happy Birthday Vance......60 minus 1 today!!!....sounds better than plain old 59.

Arrived in Barcelona at 8am to another beautiful warm sunny day. Palm Sunday today so we decided not to brave the queues to visit Gaudi’s famous cathedral The Sagrada Familia. Instead we walked Las Ramblas the pedestrian promenade that runs down to the port. It is something for everyone.... somewhere to see and be seen, a meeting place, a street market and somewhere to just stroll or take a cup of coffee in the warm morning sun. Apparently it’s even better at night with mime artists and musicians but we sail at 7pm so we’ll miss it. We have decided to ‘do’ Barcelona again on a long weekend direct from Bristol.

In the afternoon I visited the Codorniu cellars on a complimentary shore excursion. Vance stayed onboard in the suite as he’s still a bit poorly and wanted to rest up ready for his big night!! The tour of the famous Cava cellars was amazing. We were taken around on a little train that sped through miles of underground tunnels. Afterwards we were treated to flamenco dancing while we enjoyed drinks and snacks.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Civitavecchia the Port For Rome

Friday April 15th

Today is the last change-over day of our World Cruise and we have lost some of our world cruisers and there are now only forty of us left - the rest of the guests are ‘seggies’. So glad we are staying on for the final segment to Southampton...I would have hated to leave early because we have become one big family.

We went into Civitavecchia to do some shopping and then just walked around looking at the local sights. Lots of the guests took  the train, coach or taxi into Rome – about 90 minutes -  but we didn’t bother as we’ll probably do a long weekender direct from Bristol later.


Civitavecchia is a major cruise and ferry port and the main starting point for sea connections from central Italy to Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Tunis and Barcelona. Iin fact docked next to us in port was the MSC Fantasia - a huge cruise ship with over 3000 passengers - that dwarfed our beautiful Sojourn. But ours is best!!

Today was very cold at just 13 degrees – not what we’ve been used to – can we go back to Papeete please???

We left Italy at just after 6pm and will sail between Corsica and Sardinia this evening heading for Barcelona in Spain.

Cruising the Strait Of Messina to Sorrento - Italy

Wednesday April 13th

Day at sea today and we meet up with the Seabourn Spirit around 9am this morning. Good to see one of what is known as The Little Sisters again as she circled our Sojourn as the captain brought us to a full stop for the event. Both ships greeted each other with the traditional three blasts of the ship’s horn.


At 6:30pm we sailed through The Strait of Messina which separates Sicily from mainland Italy. Not really much to see but I took a couple of photos anyway. Later that evening at 10:30pm we sailed by the volcanic island of Stromboli which is still active. I hoped to see the fire and smoke erupting from the top but due to cloud cover all we saw was a triangular silhouette in the dark. Sorry folks no photos of this one.

Thursday April 14th

Arrived in Sorrento at 8am to a beautiful clear, sunny, warm morning. The town overlooks the bay of Naples and its luxury hotels which hug the vertical rocky coastline regularly attract the rich and famous...and us!! It’s also famous for Limoncello, a digestive made from lemon rinds, alcohol, water and sugar. Most people drink it neat or ‘on the rocks’ but I like mine with Champagne...surprise, surprise.

We went up to the town square and wandered the old cobbled alleyways and shopping areas buying little gifts and trinkets. We met most of the other guests, apart from those who had taken the ship tour to Pompei, who also had the same idea.

Back on ship for an Italian lunch of pizza, salad and wines in the lunchtime sun at the Patio Grill – bliss!!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Heraklion – Crete

Tuesday April 12th

Arrived 8am at Heraklion which is the largest city and capital of Crete. It is also the fourth largest city in Greece.


Our tour today was to the ruins of Knossos which were excavated and restored by Sir Arthur Evans an English gentleman of independent means. It was March 16th 1900 that archeologist Sir Arthur purchased the entire site and started massive excavations. He named the culture he discovered as Minoan and the whole site he named The Palace of Minos.

It’s amazing that even though we’ve been to Crete so many times over the years this is our first visit to Knossos.

Returning to the ship we had a lazy lunch on the back deck of The Colonnade and drinking dry crispy white wine while watching the stunning coastline of Crete pass by. What a lovely way to spend a Tuesday afternoon!!

Clocks go back one hour tonight so we must be almost back to GMT...I think!!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Cruising the Med

Monday April 11th

There is a real temperature change today – downwards - so no sunbathing. We spent most of the day in the Sojourn Square catching up with friends, drinking coffee (with a danish...or two) and reading the Daily Mail.


Tonight was a special World Cruise Event – The Black & White Party. It started with a cocktail party in the Grand Salon which the staff had decorated in the black and white theme and it looked really stylish and fabulous. Everyone was dressed in black or white.During cocktails we were shown a DVD of highlights of our world cruise to date with pictures of us all in different places around the world. It will be updated at the end of our sojourn and we will all get a copy.

We then moved upstairs to the Colannade restaurant where the tables and surroundings had been decorated in black and white for a fabulous meal. A great evening was had by all.

Transiting The Suez Canal To Ashdod – Israel

Saturday April 9th

We have a convoy!! There are 21 ships in our transit convoy – we are first (of course!!) and The Queen Elizabeth is 18th in line astern from us.


It’s amazing to spend the day seeing land on both sides of us and still cruising as usually all we see on sea days is water.

The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt connecting the Med and the Red Sea. It opened in November 1869 after ten years of construction work and allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without having to navigate around Africa.

The canal is 120 miles long, 79 feet deep and in places 673 feet wide. We were told that Egypt charges $250,000 for our ship The Sojourn to transit – big bucks...wonders who has been getting all the money Mr former prime minister!! We were all asked to keep our balcony doors closed during the transit due to the high concentration of flies in this area – sun bathing today was a bit annoying as they were all over you...hope they stay in Egypt when we leave the canal.

Clocks go forward one hour tonight as we will be going eastwards to Ashdod in Israel tomorrow.

Sunday April 10th

Arrive 7am at Ashdod in Israel. The port of Ashdod is Israel’s largest port accounting for 60% of the countries imported goods.

Most people have gone on tour to Jerusalem but as we are both still feeling a bit under the weather we have decided to stay on board and recharge our batteries. It’s a pity to miss the holy city but I’m sure we can share in other people’s stories when they get back.

Decided to play the golf putting game again this afternoon...and I came second!!...Vance reminded me that there were only two people playing!!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Sokhna, Pyramids and The Sphinx – Cairo

Friday April 5th

Arrived 7am at Sokhna the state of the art port that is the gateway to the legendary city of Cairo. After an early morning call and breakfast we took the two hour drive through the barren desert to Cairo. The city is a mix of poverty, filth and the last remaining Wonder of the Ancient World – The Great Pyramid Of Cheops.

First we visited the Giza Plateau to see the three pyramid complex known as The Great Pyramids for a photo stop. We then descended to The Great Pyramid of Cheops where we could walk around and actually touch the stones and if you wanted to you could go inside. As the tunnel was only four foot high we decided against it. No bad backs for us thank you.

From here we further descended to visit the mysterious guardian of this ancient mortuary complex, the Sphinx. This massive statue with the body of a lion and the head of a human was carved from a single piece of Giza Plateau bedrock  - we took some fabulous photos.


After a wonderful photographic session which included beating off the local trinket sellers who after offering to take our photos then wanted dollars for their help we travelled to the Nile to board a river boat for lunch. We cruised along the Nile through Cairo viewing all the local sights which included the burnt out building made famous by the People’s Revolution in Tahrir Square this February.

While on the riverboat we heard the sounds of the celebration protest being held in the square and then the sound of what we thought was gunfire but turned out to be firecrackers. However later that night it turned ugly and there was gunfire and two demonstrators were shot. Luckily we were back on board by then.

A long day but well worth the experience and we’re so glad we made the effort.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Sharm el Sheikh - Egypt

Thursday April 7th

Arrived in Sharm el Sheikh at 6am this morning but as we have been here numerous times before we decided not to go ashore.


This afternoon Seabourn put on a complimentary shore experience for all guests called ‘Tea In The Bedouin Desert’

We drove to a campsite erected in a secluded valley in the mountains of the Sinai. On arrival we were greeted by colourfully dressed locals and several very large camels. We were all given the chance to be photographed with or ride on a camel and so I took my chance and after scrambling aboard rode the beast for a very short distance amidst Vance’s laughter!! It was ok apart for the camel getting up and down which they achieve in three moves in what seems opposite directions and you have to hang on for dear life – the main sound was me...screaming.

We then had tea and afternoon snacks sat on cushions on the floor of the tent and were entertained by Bedouin dances followed by a show of the mystical whirling dervish. This is a dance where the men twirl continuously for up to twenty minutes wearing huge weighted skirts which flare out. It was great to watch but how they kept their balance I’ll never know.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Aqaba – Jordan

Wednesday April 6th

Arrived at Aqaba at 8:30am. Aqaba is a coastal town in the far south of Jordan and is strategically important as it is the country’s only seaport. In 1965 King Hussein traded 6000 square kilometers of  desert land in Jordan for just 12 kilometres of prime coastline with Saudi Arabia giving Jordan room to expand the Aqaba port and gain access to the coral reefs.

We left Aqaba to travel to Petra a two hour drive going up and up all the time into the barren hills viewing stunning rock formations all the way.


On arrival at Petra (pronounced Peetra after St. Peter) we had the choice of walking down to the canyon or using the horse drawn taxis or horseback. No way after two hours in a coach...we wanted to walk and Vance didn’t fancy the horses!!

Arriving at the bottom we strolled through the mile long ‘Siq’ - the narrow gorge whose steeply rising sides all but obliterate the sun providing a dramatic walk before we turned the corner and caught our first glimpse of ‘The Treasury’ with its towering columns and intricate carvings.

It was amazing to see this rose-hued building carved out of solid sandstone. We then proceeded down into the Petra basin where there are hundreds of buildings, tombs, temples and even an amphitheatre that had all been carved from the sandstone rocks and then we climbed up to a Byzantine church and viewed the fantastic mosaics.

Several hours later we returned back up to the top of Petra for a well deserved cold beer and lunch at the local Movenpick Hotel before the long drive back down the mountains to home.... everyone is absolutely shattered but awestruck by this UNESCO site.

Clocks back one hour tonight.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Cruising The Red Sea To Safaga

Sunday April 3rd

Here we are on the Red Sea which is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean lying between Africa and Asia.

We did ‘nada’ today just lazing around on deck catching the rays so I’ll give you a tour of the ship’s gym and exercise room. The gym is well equipped with running machines, cross trainers, cycle bikes, weigh machines and free weights.

The other exercise room is where the kinesis wall is located and where Vincent our kinesis class instructor regularly tortures us!!

Tonight we received out one hundred day sailing pins at the Seabourn Club Members special cocktail reception in the Grand Salon – now we start the work on our two hundred day pin!!

Click Here For More Photos

Monday April 4th

Arrived in Safaga Egypt. No tours for us today so we decided to go to the local beach for a few hours where we walked the whole length of the beach and paddled but we’re both feeling a bit rough today as we’ve caught the “ship’s” cold that’s going around.

Decided to go back to the ship early rather than staying on the beach for lunch and as most people have either stayed at the beach or gone to Luxor on a tour we had the ship to ourselves again for the day...wonderful.
On the way to and from the beach we noticed there were military vehicles and soldiers with machine guns on the streets.....it seemed to be every two or three hundred yards....obviously increased security since the people’s revolution a few weeks ago.

Tuesday April 5th

Still in Safaga but we stayed onboard again today as we are both feeling poorly. Hooray...some good news...we found out today that we can stay on to Southampton so that really cheered us up...look out credit card!! Will now alter the title of this blog...see top of page....and we will now be back on the 27th April.

Tonight is Tuscany Market buffet at The Colonnade which is one of our favourite evening meals so looking forward to that.

Clocks go forward one hour tonight as we’re going east again – hmm one hour less in bed!!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Cruising – Cruising - Cruising

Thursday March 31st

Today we’re cruising the Gulf of Aden which is now known as Pirate Alley. The Captain has said we will be travelling in convey with several other ships, like tankers, freighters etc. There is even an Indian Naval Frigate to escort us backed up with close British Naval support if required. This morning we were circled by a British Naval Sea King helicopter a few times to make sure all was well...good old Brits!!

As an extra security measure Wayne the ship’s security officer and his team have been laying out razor wire around the aft decks of the ship.


As of 6pm this evening the outside deck areas are out of bounds and we have been told not to use our balconies until further notice.

Tonight the show time entertainment is Journey South the brothers from Manchester UK who came third in the UK reality show X Factor back in 2005. They were brilliant and got a standing ovation at the end of the performance. Vance missed the show as he stupidly ate a crab fishcake for lunch...as many will know he’s allergic to crab...I tried not to laugh too much...he stayed in bed for the evening so I got to dine “tete a tete” with a ship’s officer...and a gentleman.

Friday April 1st – Happy April Fool’s Day to you all!!

Still cruising...and still locked in.

Shuffleboard divorce!! – Vance and I played in the competition as partners.....bad move as we were well ahead and Vance had the last ‘shove’ of the game. I told him to just move the puck a few feet and we would have won – what did he do? – he pushed it right down the court and it landed on minus ten ...and we lost!! This is the first time I’ve lost at shuffleboard on this cruise and divorce proceedings will start immediately!! Is there a lawyer on board please. He had to do some serious groveling that evening...love him.

6:30pm and most decks are now open as we’ve passed through the Gulf of Aden into the Red Sea and into safety!!

7:00pm – Captain’s Message – Egypt is back on. Huge cheers around the ship as everyone is so happy.

Saturday April 2nd

Still cruising the Red Sea but safely on our way to Egypt so the razor wire is now coming down.

The special event I told you about earlier is a poolside party organised originally because we were not going to Egypt due the security worries. This is now a celebration party called Arabian Nights. The majority of the guests have come dressed in the costumes bought earlier in Oman in the souks. The staff and crew did a wonderful job transforming the pool deck into an Arabian wonderland. We even went to dinner that evening in our costumes before returning to deck for dancing under the stars...Arabian style. Thank you Seabourn it was a wonderful night.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Cruising To Salalah – Oman

Tuesday March 29th

Today we are cruising the Arabian Sea on our way to Salalah in Oman and I’m calling today Prize Day because not only did I win ‘Baggo’ (again!!) my prize being a Seabourn teddy bear which I’ve christened Karlo Bear after our captain Karlo Buer ha ha!! but also I won the deck shuffleboard or I should say our team won the event. Vance was in the team (his first ever shuffleboard game) and our prizes this time were Seabourn USB flash drives. Definitely a good day.


Wednesday March 30th

We arrived at Salalah at 7am and we took the Beach, Bazaar and Biblical tour. Firstly we visited the golden sand of Mughsail Beach where we saw flamingos and dolphins and the famous blowholes which unfortunately were disappointing as the tide was too low.

Next we travelled to an exotic bazaar. The bazaar was next to the Sultan Of Oman’s beach palace and sold frankincense, spices, textiles and jewellery. Vance took the opportunity to buy a headscarf for the special event that will come shortly. After this we travelled into the hills overlooking Salalah to visit Job’s Tomb. This is a sacred site of pilgrimage for Muslims, Christians and Jews. All the ladies had to wear a scarf to cover their heads and everyone had to remove their shoes to enter the tomb. The tomb was very simple and was very long, the guide said that Job was nearly 12ft tall – yeh right!!

Ali our guide said that Omani men prefer their ladies to be slightly on the large side and then offered Vance 100 camels for me. I expected Vance to haggle upwards to 150 camels but he said “50 will do”...cheek.

Muscat – Oman

Monday March 28th

We arrived at Muscat the capital of Oman at 8am this morning to beautiful clear and hot sunny skies.


Muscat has always been an important trading port between the west and the east and during its history it has been ruled by powers such as the Persians and the Portuguese Empire which is reflected in its architecture.

We decided to do our own thing today and not take an organised tour as we wanted to shop for a special ship board event on the 2nd of April. The event is being held because we have been told we are NOT going to any ports in Egypt due to the US Department of State travel warning.

We started by walking the length of the corniche around the harbour before making our way to the local souk for some shopping and it seemed that half the ship were there as everyone is getting very excited by ‘The Event’

Vance bought an Omani hat and I bought some more shoes which Vance has named my slappy flatties. We also bought some local saffron for when we eventually have to return home and do our own cooking...or should I say when Vance does the cooking!!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Khasab – Oman

Sunday March 27th

Arrived at 8am and by 8:30am we were off on a dhow trip for a scenic cruise though some of the deepest fjords on the Musandam Peninsula.


We also stopped at Telegraph Island where we saw the ruins of a 19th century British cable base for the 1250 mile cable from India to Iran. Some guests swam off the dhow or went snorkeling – I stayed onboard.

The man who is always complaining about people being late for trips and holding up the tour…was late himself today, so late in fact that he forgot his swimmers so he went overboard in his shorts -  no names but you know who I mean Paul!!

On the way back we were raced by playful dolphins… at times there were three of them swimming alongside the boat, jumping out of the water and seeming to want to play – it was wonderful.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Dubai Day 2

Saturday March 26th

Another change over day we are now starting segment 5 - our last segment…boo hoo…unless we stay on until Southampton…working on it…will let you know later!!

As we got off the ship we saw a banner across the aft of the ship ‘SECURITY WARNING KEEP 50 METRES AWAY’ ….we’re now getting close to pirate waters.


Spent the morning shopping in the Dubai Mall and treated myself to a new swimsuit from wait for it…Marks & Spencer!! In the afternoon we went back into town especially to see the renowned 6pm Fountain Show. We had a sudden sandstorm accompanied by a fierce wind so instead of the fountains  reaching 50ft in the air they could only go to about 10ft as the winds sent the spray horizontal ..soaking the hundreds of people watching.

The fountains are right beside the Burj Khalifa Tower and at 2717ft is now the tallest building in the world.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Dubai Day 1

Wednesday March 23rd

Today we are cruising the Arabian Sea on our way to Dubai and are being escorted by an India submarine until we get closer to Dubai…just in case!!


Thursday March 24th

Now cruising the Strait Of Hormuz a narrow and strategically important waterway between the Gulf Of Oman and the Persion Gulf. On the north coast is Iran and on the south the United Arab Emirates. The Strait at its narrowest is 29 miles wide and about 15 tankers carrying millions of barrels of crude oil transit it every day.

Friday March 25th

We arrived in Dubai at 5pm and immediately left the ship for our next world cruise event –Arabian Nights Adventure. We drove in 4x4’s through bustling Dubai on route to an Arabian camp site hidden in the golden sand dunes. On arrival there were groups of camels and we could be photographed with them or even take a ride on one. Luckily they were muzzled as they can bite!!

The camp site was setup for a traditional Arabian meal where we sat on cushions around a central carpeted area. There was also a shisha corner where we all could try the hubbly bubbly water pipes…apple tea only!!

You could also have a traditional henna design applied but as I still have my last one from India I declined as Vance still calls me trailer trash – hopefully it’ll fade soon.

After a delightful dinner and lots of wine, beer etc we watched a lively belly dance performance - a beautiful evening was had by all. Our return journey at night over the dunes at speed became a race between the 4x4 drivers…scream Helen scream!!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Mangalore To Mumbai

Sunday March 20th

Arrived in Mangalore and have decided that this port would probably win the ‘Ugliest Port In The World’ award. Didn’t go ashore – we stayed on board and slobbed around on deck.

Monday March 21st

Cruising the Malabar Coast today so a day at sea chilling!! and enjoying the noon ritual of the cold beers.

Tuesday March 22nd

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Arrived in Mumbai previously and still locally known as Bombay. It lies on the west coast of India and has a population of over 14 million and is also the richest city in India.

Our tour today was to Elephanta Island. We boarded our coach at the pier side and braved the thousands of cars, buses, taxies and people to drive to our little boat which was waiting at the iconic Gateway Of India. This is a basalt arch in mixed Muslim–Hindu style which stands over eighty five feet high and was built as a tribute to King George V and Queen Mary’s visit to the then Bombay in 1911. Originally it was an entry point for passengers arriving on P&O steamers from England. On February 8th 1948 the last British soldier passed through it marking the end of Britain’s dominance in the sub-continent.

The trip to the Island took about an hour and then we boarded the local ‘toy’ train to the bottom of the 125 step accent to the caves of the Island. Anyone not fit enough could have been carried to the top in a sedan chair hoisted by 4 scrawny Indian porters….no I didn’t do it!! …not brave enough.

The caves and the carving they contained were fascinating as they depicted sculptures of Shiva and Vishnu amongst others and had been painstakingly hewn from the rock between 450 AD and 750 AD.

The journey back took almost twice that of going out as it was into a fierce headwind, the tide AND with an old slow engine….meaning we missed our 12 o’clock beer!!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Cochin – India

Saturday March 19th


Paul, Sarah and the two of us hired a local taxi for a private three hour tour of Cochin.

We visited The Dutch Palace, The Catholic Basilica (which was hosting a wedding at the time), the famous fishing nets where the massive nets are lowered into the river on a cantilever system and numerous local attractions and side street stalls for even more shopping.


That afternoon most of the guests on the Sojourn travelled across to Gundu Island where we had a Kerala Feast and enjoyed the coconut-influenced cuisine including crispy lentil and rice crepes that were loaded with prawns and chicken and looked like small pizza’s. They were delicious. The entertainment included a Kathakali performance where through facial expressions and hand gestures the artist enacts various emotions. These artists are always male…must be something to do with the weight of the costume. We also could have a henna tattoo – I had a small one on my hand – and had our fortune told. Apparently I am going to have a long and healthy life living to be 90…..I like the healthy bit …but 90 !!??!!

We were pleasantly surprised with how nice Cochin was – hope the rest of our trips in India turn out as well as today.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Three Days At Sea

Wednesday March 16th


Thought I’d give you a photo tour of the ship today around The Seabourn Square and other guest facilities on deck seven. Clocks go back one hour tonight…goodie…extra hour in bed!!


Thursday March 17th

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! The cocktail waiters created two special drinks - The Irish MacMarga and The Irish Frog – needless to say they were green...and we didn’t try them.

Huge storm this morning torrential rain, thunder and lightning…I love it…no sunbathing today and it also means I have time to catch up on admin and this blog – but needless to say we didn’t forego our noon beer ritual on deck.

Friday March 18th

Still at sea heading for Cochin in India and cruising the Bay Of Bengal - supposedly the largest bay in the world occupying an area of 2,172,000 sq kms. Have decided to eat in Restraunt 2 this evening as we like the menu.

The clocks go back thirty minutes tonight – now so confused I don’t know what the time difference is between us and the UK!!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Phuket Thailand

Tuesday March 15th

A quiet day for us – we decided not to go on the tour to Phang Nga Bay – too similar to Halong Bay in Vietnam so missed landing on Ping Gun Island where some of the James Bond film ‘Man With The Golden Gun’ was shot so we went for a short walk outside of the dock area and saw the local elephant – you must see the photos.


However the locals vendors set up a market right on the dock outside the ship so more shopping and this gave us time to be back for our noon day ritual – hic!!

Captain Karlo always walks the pool deck at 12:03 every day on his way to lunch and says he sets his watch to our beers!! Cheers Mon Capitan!!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Onward To Penang

Sunday March 13th

Today we are cruising the Straits of Malacca on our way to Penang in Malaysia. Another beautiful day so we have decided to top up the tan – again – lazing by the pool.
Just a note to say that our break-away bridge group has fallen apart and our group is no more…come back Pat and George we miss you.

Monday March 14th

Arrived in Georgetown, Penang at 8am. No tours for us today so we visited the UNESCO World Heritage site of Little India where we strolled along the Esplanade passing Fort Cornwallis and the lighthouse then walked through the park which is bordered by the Town Hall and other beautiful old buildings. Afterwards we walked to the old pier at the marina where we took some great photographs of the ship.

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This evening we went to Showtime in the Grand Salon where we saw a Welsh comedian called Kenny Smiles – he was brilliant. His advertising strap line said..’ Warning – hysterical laughter can damage the hearing of the person next to you’…it was spot on … I laughed so much it hurt.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Singapore

Saturday March 12th

Yet another change over of guests and staff as we’ve arrived in Singapore – goodbye Valentina - breakfast at The Colonnade without you won’t be the same.

I’ve not said much lately about the weather as it’s been so fabulous I didn’t want to rub your noses in it!!

This morning we caught the cable car to Sentosa Island which we’d previously visited over twenty years ago and what a difference. In our humble opinion they have really ruined what was a fabulous natural Island - it is now just full of Disney type attractions and hot-dog stands – and they are still building!!.

What we missed on Sentosa all those years ago was Fort Siloso – Asia’s largest collection of World War II memorabilia.. It displays (through photos, videos, personal effects and big guns) the British surrender of Singapore in 1942 and the hardships the locals went through plus the eventual Japanese surrender in 1947. We spent two hours walking around the Fort and even went down into some of the tunnels.


This evening we had another World Cruise Event (no segers or newbies!!) on the Singapore Flyer. This is the world’s largest observation wheel similar in concept to The London Eye. This fantastic ride took us to a height of 540 feet and we had a 360 degree panoramic view of Singapore’s iconic landmarks including the Formula One motor racing circuit.

Our capsule had been preloaded with hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer etc which we of course enjoyed to the full as the sun set over Singapore.

Cruising The South China Sea To Singapore

Thursday March 10th

Day at sea today. We have been following the social revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and have not been sure if the ship will be able to sail through the Suez Canal.

We heard today that if everything remains as it is we will sail through but may not stop at any of the Egyptian ports – a real shame as lots of the guests had tours booked to Cairo, Luxor and Sharm El Sheikh..

Friday March 11th

Still at sea but grumpy weather today – grey and drizzley – where’s the sun gone!! The newbies found it quite rough last night as the ship has increased speed to cover the distance of 788 nautical miles from Laem Chabang to Singapore – they should have been here when we crossed the Tasman Sea from New Zealand to Tasmania – that’s what you call rough!!

An 8.9 earthquake hit Japan today at 2:15pm our time here and the Tsunami that followed has caused huge destruction as all of you will have seen on the news channels – poor buggers. There was a small concern on the ship that the wave would cause us problems but it rode under the ship at about 3am without a problem here.

Galley Market Buffet today - there’s always one of these the day before the end of each segment so that the whole ship can have a farewell lunch together.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Cruising The Gulf Of Thailand To Laem Chabang

Tuesday March 8th

Day at sea again – love it – it’s so relaxing – so topping up the tan with another ‘Caviar In The Surf’ event – except it’s held in the swimming pool – especially for the Newbies!!


Wednesday March 9th

Arrived in Laem Chabang which is as far up the Chao Phraya River as the ship can go for the city of Bangkok. Most people have gone into Bangkok today – some on an organized tour (11 hrs!! no thanks) and other on a DIY basis. It’s about a three hour drive into Bangkok but that’s not for us – anyway been there, done that and even have the tee-shirt.

Instead we popped (25 minutes) into Pattaya – we were first here about twenty years ago and it’s really changed. It’s still seedy but bigger and brasher now with more hotels, shops, Malls, people, working girls!! Etc.

We walked along the beach promenade and then did yet more shopping – I finally got the watch I wanted at a real bargain price – what a clever girl!! and we still managed to get back for our noon ritual of cold beer etc.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Sihanoukville – Cambodia

Monday March 7th

This morning we took a tour of Sihanoukville a port city in Southern Cambodia. The name ‘Sihanouk’ is formed from two Sanskrit words : Siha and Hanu. Siha means Lion and Hanu means Jaw so therefore it means Jaws of the Lion and we saw many statues of lions around the city.


We visited a local school that is provided free by the city for the kids and also a village house to see how the locals live. We also visited the Wat Krom Temple which depicts the life of Buddha. Afterwards we went to the Sokha Beach Resort where we had a barbeque lunch after which we swam in the clear warm waters. Vance then had a beach massage – typical!!

We should have set sail at 5:30pm but one person had left their passport at Angor Wat and the ship had to send a courier all the way back to collect it which delayed the sailing till 10:30pm – the Captain was none too pleased!!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

World Cruiser’s Ice Cream Party

Sunday March 6th -

Day at sea cruising the South China Sea on our way to Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

We world cruisers have been invited to an ice cream party hosted by the ships officers held at the outer desk of the ships spa at 3:30pm. We arrived to find the officers dressed in large white aprons which they had decorated with pictures and words of their own choice.

We were then given our own blank white aprons and felt tips pens to decorate and annotate our own apron in any way we choose. We were also given lampshade hats that they wear in Vietnam to keep off the afternoon sun – and keep the ice cream from melting too quickly!!

Huge choice of ice creams with decorations like nuts, chocolate sauces, fruits…etc…you name it they had it.,,,delicious.

I decorated my apron by getting the officers including the Captain to sign their names or write a message – keep it clean gentlemen please!!

Vance get Melissa, the assistant cruise director to decorate his with the wording ‘ Wish I Had A Big Scoop’ – some of the officer’s aprons were more original but just as saucy!!

Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam

Friday March 4th


Arrive Ho Chi Minh City also known as Saigon and is the largest city in Vietnam.

Went shopping in the hot and really humid market and managed to buy some good bargains – real authentic copies – a Jimmy Choo bag and a pair of flattie shoes for me and golf shirts for Vance. Didn’t get the watch I haggled for – more haggling lessons for me: Note to self – ‘Must Do Better’

This evening we went to the Rex Hotel made famous by the American high command who used it as a base in the Vietnam War. The hotel was built in 1927 during the French colonial rule and is very ornate and opulent.

We had cocktails and local delicacies on the roof top terrace – with sweeping views of the city at night – followed by a performance of Vietnamese music and dance.

Saturday March 5th

Still in Saigon and back to the market again to practice my newly honed haggling skills and they worked!! More shirts and a pair of ‘Converse’ shoes for Vance and for me a lovely white cotton top with Vietnamese lettering down the front – hope it doesn’t say anything rude!

Back to our home from home for our 12 o’clock beer and lunch ready for our 3pm sail away on route to Cambodia.

Cruising To Vietnam

Monday February 28th

First day with our new bridge teachers as Pat and George Bettes left us in Hong Kong. Only four of us continuing so we have started a break away group as the ‘newbie’ beginners are starting from scratch.

We are starting the home journey today as we are now heading westward at 55 days into our ‘Sojourn’

Clocks back one hour tonight so we are now 7 hours ahead.

Tuesday March 1st

Arrived in Cai Lan in the north region of Vietnam and took a tour to Halong Bay which literally means “Decending Dragon Bay” and is a UNESCO world heritage site. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts in all shapes and sizes. We sailed around  the bay in a traditional junk which was interesting but not very comfy on the bum!!



Wednesday March 2nd

Day at sea today on our way to Ho Chi Minh city – the old Saigon. Tonight we danced under the stars – only the second time since LA as all the others were moved to The Club due to being “rained off”. We danced all evening on deck – the old legs will pay the price tomorrow morning.

Thursday March 3rd

Still at sea so we will be having a lazy day on deck and catching up with the gossip.

It’s fascinating to watch the dynamic of the ship. There are some people who are like magnets (Vance!!) and other people naturally gravitate towards them, wanting to speak to them and be part of a group….then others just sit alone or in their pairs and hardly seem to mix at all. Guess it’s a good thing we are all different or life could get very boring!!