Monthly Archives: 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.

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?

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.

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!!

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.

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.

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!!

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.

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!!