At Sea – Thursday 26th February 2015

Another lovely day with the temperature reaching 31c/87f at noon and a slight but steady breeze which made it feel cooler…needless to say we were in our usual spot on the pool deck or lazing in the pool to cool off.

Today the Captain and Gail, his wife, joined us for a noon Corona and then stayed with us for lunch on the Patio Grill.

The Bake Off Competition

The Bake Off Competition

There was a Cook-Off between Marco, the Food & Beverage Manager and Neal, the Executive Chef, to see who could make the best subway sandwich. Marco was offering roast turkey with all the trimmings whilst Neil made pulled pork…and then we had to vote for our favourite…decisions, decisions. Gail originally chose to try the turkey sandwich and voted for Marco, but then when I said how good my pulled pork sandwich was…she tried one and then voted for Neal as well. Actually a vote for each of them was probably the fairest as both sandwiches were delicious.

Come On Marco...Come On Neal

Come On Marco…Come On Neal

Da Nang, Vietnam – Wednesday 25th February 2015

Located midway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) the port of Da Nang is Vietnam’s third largest city. Established in the second century it was once the centre of the India influenced Champa Kingdom and is home to the world’s largest collection of Cham art and artefacts.

South of Da Nang is the historic town of old Hoi An, an UNESCO World heritage Site, that has remained virtually unchanged for centuries. Hoi An’s narrow streets are lined with well preserved architecture that gives the centuries old town a wonderfully quaint atmosphere.

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We caught the shuttle bus into the centre of town near the Han market at 09.15 but I didn’t like the area and you couldn’t walk on the pavements as they were covered with parked motorbikes so we had to keep stepping out into the road which to put it mildly was taking your life into your own hands…so we just grabbed a fridge magnet for assistant cruise director Michelle, who wasn’t able to get ashore today, and then caught the same shuttle back at 10.00 arriving at the ship about 10.15…so in and out in about one hour…duh!!

Also I forgot to take the camera…blonde moment…not that there was much to see. But I did take some photos later of the atmospheric scenery…what Vance calls my artistic moments.

Got back just in time to catch a crew safety drill…this time they were deploying an inflatable life raft on the dock which was very informative to see happen…a huge raft emerging from its tiny pod.

Life Raft Training

Life Raft Training

At Sea – Tuesday 24th February 2015

It was busy at the pool deck today with everybody trying to get either a sunbed or a shaded bed and people were constantly in and out of the pool…the temperature reached 30c/86f at mid-day …but    how dare they use our pool without asking our permission!!

The Colannade was doing the British lunch again today but we knew if we dined there I’d be unable to resist the fish, chips and mushy peas so we just had a salad at The Patio Grill…isn’t that good of me!!

For dinner we had intended to go to the Chef’s Market Buffet at The Colannade but when we got there it was really all French dishes so we about-turned and went down to the main restaurant where there was more choice. I ended up having two starters…carrot & ginger soup followed by wild mushroom vol-au-vent while Vance had red beet & goat cheese ravioli followed by garlic & lemon sautéed shrimps.

We ended the evening at the “Rock The Boat” dance party poolside on deck 8.

Techie bits …here they are:
Time: 18:11
Location: 13.46 north, 109.35 east
Speed: 14 knots
Temp: 24c/75f
Distance from Ho Chi Minh City: 340.6 nms
Distance to Da Nang: 173.9 nms
Humidity: 84%
Sunrise: 06:01
Sunset: 17:49
Sea Depth: 1800 ft
Winds: 22mph from South East

On Our Way To Da Nang

On Our Way To Da Nang

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2 days) – Sunday 22nd and Monday 23rd February 2015

Ho Chi Minh City formerly named Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam with a population of more than 9 million people. There are beautiful colonial buildings lining the streets but the lasting impression is the thousands of motorbikes that fill the roads.

Sunday 22nd – Early Morning Techie bits …here they are:
Time: 07:13
Location: 10.37 north, 106.50 east
Speed: 10 knots
Temp: 24c/75f
Distance from Sihanoukville: 401 nms
Distance to Ho Chi Minh City: 11 nms
Humidity: 87%
Sunrise: 06:10
Sunset: 18:01
Winds: 6mph from East

We intended to take the shuttle into Union Square at 10:30 but there was a small delay as the gangway got stuck…this provided some entertainment for a while with everyone suggesting solutions to the problem, including ‘hit it with a hammer’ and ‘jump up and down on it’ (this was mine) …but we were on our way by 11:00. From Union Square we walked to the huge Cho Ben Thanh covered market.

We have been here before and got some good bargains so we were soon walking up and down the aisles haggling over everything we wanted to buy. But wow it was so humid in there.

I Scream You Scream...Ice Cream Party

I Scream You Sceam…Ice Cream Party

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This evening we were given Oscar competition forms…we had to select our winners for all 24 awards – hope I win (again) but the selections are more difficult this year …still fingers crossed.

Monday 23rd – Lots of guests have gone off on more tours this morning as we do not leave until 16:00 this evening so once again we can enjoy the pool deck virtually to ourselves. Hope none of the tours are late back as today we have to leave on time due to the tides…hate to see anyone left behind…!!

There was an ice cream sail away party while we watched the Captain and the pilot spin the ship virtually on the spot so we could sail back down the delta. We only just got under the main road bridge due to the tide levels…we only cleared it by 2-3 metres, but it looked much closer than that when we were standing there looking up…phew, very impressive…

Hey Captain..This Is Close

Hey Captain..This Is Close

At Sea – Saturday 21st February 2015

Finally catching up with my blogging now but if I have forgotten anything please just call it an aged moment.

Formal tonight in the main dining room so instead we are dining with Suzie & Lance at the Colonnade – neither Lance or Vance like formal attire.

It wasn’t too breezy so we sat outside at the back of the Colonnade and dined under the stars. Quite a good menu with a choice of ossetra caviar, twice baked goat cheese soufflé or white tomato cappuccino soup for starters and lobster or steak diane for mains and a classic crème brulee for dessert…oh…and plenty of good wine all around.

Hi Ted & Big Brother

Hi Ted & Big Brother

When we got back to our suite we found an anniversary card and a bottle of wine from the staff and crew – a day late but a nice thought – and Oggie our suite stewardess had made Ted a big bear brother out of towels…thank you Oggie.

Sihanoukville, Cambodia – Friday 20th February 2015

Happy Wedding Anniversary to us!!

Sihanoukville, originally called Kompong Som, is the only deep water port in Cambodia. Its beaches have become a magnet for holiday makers.

I was talking to the Captain’s wife the other day about how it would be nice to have a fact sheet about the places the ship was visiting for guests who weren’t going off on organised tours. This morning when I went to Seabourn Square, lo and behold there was a travel guide sheet to Sihanoukville covering places of interest, local beaches, where to lunch, souvenir shopping and how to get around in the area…it was perfect…thank you Gail.

Having been here before, we decided to just take the shuttle bus to the Psar Lu Market. It was really busy as it was the third day of the lunar celebrations – Chinese New Year. The market was just as we remembered it from our last visit a few years ago…crowded, cluttered, dark & hot…but good fun and really good prices. After lots of haggling we bought a few bits and pieces and then it was back to the ship for our traditional noon Corona and a lazy lunch at the Grill.

This evening we went to the R2 Restaurant for a special anniversary meal…very romantic.

Yummy!!

Yummy!!

Koh Kood, Thailand – Thursday 19th February 2015

Koh Kood is an island in the Gulf of Thailand and the eastern most island before Cambodia.

We arrived at Koh Kood about 08:00 this morning for a beach BBQ for the whole ship and guess what…after weeks of perfect hot, sunny weather…it was raining…actually it was pouring down. However at breakfast the Captain assured me that by 10:00 the rain would be gone and all would be well…and he was right.

At 10:00 the tender service started to ferry all the guests to the shore where there were beach chairs for our use and a little further along the beach the kitchen staff had set up tables and chairs for lunch and an area for the BBQ and accompaniments…oh, and the bar!! We quickly ‘bagged’ our spot and grabbed two Corona’s before exploring the beach…it’s thirsty work exploring.

At 11:45 the staff provided Caviar in the Surf…and I have to say that the staff really threw themselves into the moment…well into the sea anyway!! Then at 12:00 the BBQ started…the food was delicious…and the wine flowed freely…then from 13:00 to 15:30 water sports were available from the beach…a banana boat, a ringo chair, water skiing and lots of kayaks. People were queuing to get their turn.

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Late afternoon me and Vance moved our beach chairs out into the sea and sat with our feet in the water with our drinks…a wonderful way to end a wonderful day. Definitely the best day of our cruise so far. Thank you Seabourn.

Chilling Out

Chilling Out

Laem Chabang, Thailand – Wednesday 18th February 2015

Laem Chabang is Thailand’s largest port and lies about a 45 minute drive north of Pattaya and about 2 hours south of Bangkok.

Nearly 300 guests went on tours today but as usual we stayed on the ship (been there, done that and bought the t-shirts!!)…and we had the pool totally to ourselves again for the morning…brilliant.

All To Ourselves

All To Ourselves

While we were relaxing by the pool we heard the call sign oscar-oscar-oscar which means ‘man overboard’. We rushed to the side to see a body in the water…luckily it was only a crew drill and the ‘body’ was a dummy!!

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Sojourn had laid on a welcome back event on the dock side for the returning tours but they were late back due to traffic congestion in Bangkok so staff, crew and the band were ready on the dock for about an hour – not that they seemed to mind as they just enjoyed the music and danced.

2 Days at Sea – Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th February 2015

Monday 16th – It seems really strange without our Brit friends onboard…

Actually the whole ambiance of the ship has changed…when you replace 306 long term cruisers with 304 mostly newbies it’s bound to be different. The newbies just want to eat, drink and enjoy the 2 weeks they have onboard and are not really interested in mixing outside their own groups. That’s not a problem on 1 week or 2 week rotating cruises as the guests are regularly changing anyway, but when you introduce 2 week cruisers into an established group of 30 or 40 day cruisers it doesn’t really gel…IMHO…

Clocks go back 1 hour tonight so we are now 7 hours ahead of UK time.

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Tuesday 17th – We’re getting to know a few of the newbies so hopefully we can make some new friends…the only trouble is we will have to say goodbye to them in 12 days time.

I wish Seabourn wouldn’t promote extended journeys (30+ cruise days) and then sell off the section at a later date in small blocks…our 40 day cruise was later sold as a 12 day segment, a 14 day segment and another 14 day segment. I know it’s just business to Seabourn but a lot of cruisers don’t like it…me included.

We went to Stephen’s birthday bash this afternoon…a little get together at the Sky bar…actually it was his Chinese birthday (apparently you can Google your real birth date and find your equivalent Chinese birthday…if I did it correctly my Chinese birthday is 7th July…). Anyway it was good fun and we were all given prosperity gifts…hope mine works!!

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Techie bits …here they are:
Time: 07:46
Location: 08.09 north, 102.52 east
Speed: 14 knots
Temp: 25c/77f
Distance from Singapore: 461 nms
Distance to Laem Chabang: 330 nms
Humidity: 75%
Sunrise: 06:26
Sunset: 18:18
Sea Depth: 240 ft
Winds: 22mph from Southeast

Singapore (for the second time) – Sunday 15th February 2015

It’s that time again…saying goodbye to friends who are disembarking…Irene & Alan and Trish & Trevor and many other good friends get off today…306 guests got off and 304 newbies got on and I don’t think we have met any of them before…boo hoo we are going to be billie-no-mates now…who will we have our 12 noon Corona with…sob, sob.

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We were at a different port terminal than the last time we were in Singapore (Tuesday 3rd February 2015) so we took the shuttle to Marina Bay Sands Hotel where there is a huge shopping mall. The shops are unbelievable, if you made a list of all the most expensive clothes/bags/shoe brands in the world they had a shop in this Mall. They even had a Ferrari shop and a river running through the ground floor… the river had a bowl type contraption at one end that continuously poured water into the river so that it appeared to flow through the Mall… as I said, unbelievable.

We didn’t take our credit card with us or I could easily have bankrupted us in about 2 hours.

I'll Buy It...If I Win The Lotttery

I’ll Buy It…If I Win The Lotttery

Dinner at the Grill tonight…fillet steak and jacket potato for me, fillet steak with peppercorn sauce and chips for Vance…we are eating simpler and simpler food as the days go by. The newbies however who are on for just 14 days have the lot…starters, mains and desserts…thy don’t have to worry about putting on too much weight.