Tuesday, 31 January 2012

3 Days At Sea

Friday, Saturday & Sunday January 27th To January 29th - Days 23, 24 & 25

Friday - Have now left St. Helena and have the next three days at sea before reaching Namibia. This is just as well as I feel terrible this morning as I have the sore throat that seems to be sweeping around the ship - Vance says I've just been talking too much - not true!!  Feeling so bad that I am just having a quiet day in the shade feeling sorry for myself.... although I did manage to soldier on and imbibe in our noon day cold beer - good for the throat!!
Have managed to get some photos of the Fashion & Jewellery show from last week...thank you Juvy for the photos.

It's Saturday now and still not feeling 100% but Graeme our executive chef has invited us to lunch and a catch-up. He has cooked Vance and I a Brit meal so we joined him in the main dining room at 1pm for individual meat pies with English cut chips and Heinz baked beans with HP brown sauce.....delicious.

Clocks forward another half an hour today at 2pm making it then 2:30pm...hmm less snooze time...but made up for it by having a really early night after a quiet meal for just the two of us.
Sunday - last day at sea. Feeling a lot better today so back out in the sun and had lunch at the Patio Grill after, of course, our noon day beer.  Rumour has it that there are now only two Coronas left on board the ship....disaster ...what will we do .....hope they manage to get some more in Namibia tomorrow or we will be on rations (one bottle between two) until Cape Town.

Another half an hour today at 2pm so we are now two hours ahead of British time. Not sure I like this west to east travelling losing time every couple of days.... thank goodness next year we'll be cruising east to west again and getting an extra hours sleep from time to time...although losing a complete day when we eventually cross the International  Date Line.
Kinesis this afternoon and even though the ship was rocking and rolling our instructor Marvin 'The Stritch' - decided that the Kinesis wall exercises would be supplemented with the balance board. Needless to say I fell off a few times.

Went to the show tonight in The Grand Salon with the new cast who joined the ship in Rio. The show was called 'Unforgettable' with tributes to Rosemary Clooney (Vance says 'Who's she...George's wife'), Perry Como and Nat King Cole. It wasn't our cup of tea but their voices were fabulous.
Techie bits: At 8am we were:
21° south and 9° west
Travelling on a compass course of 114°
Speed = 15.5 knots
Apparent wind speed = 26 knots off the starboard bow
Air temperature = 21°c (70°f)
Total nautical miles sailed = 7700
Sea depth = 3800 metres
Humidity = 67%

Sunday, 29 January 2012

St. Helena - Helen's Island

Thursday January 26th - Day 22

After a late but fantastic Beatles music night on deck the captain decided to arrive early at St. Helena. The anchor went down at 7:15am waking me up...thanks captain!!
A little history lesson: St. Helena was discovered by a Portuguese navigator on May 21st 1502 which is the feast day of St. Helena.  It is the second oldest remaining British territory after Bermuda and the capital Jamestown was founded in 1659 by the English East India Company and named after James, Duke Of York, the future King James II of England.

We took the scenic St. Helena tour leaving Jamestown harbour and driving up the narrow, steep and tortuous roads to our first stop - Napoleon's Tomb. Napoleon had been exiled here after his defeat at the battle of Waterloo  and died here in 1821 although his remains were later taken to the Invalides in Paris in 1841.

From here we drove on to Longwood House his home whilst in exile. It is now a museum containing paintings, documents and mementoes of his imprisonment including his coat and hat and his bathtub. He spent the last six years of his life here and apparently he was allowed to go anywhere within a five mile radius of the house - a nice place to be banged up!!
Next stop was the governor's residence The Plantation House but everyone was more interested in meeting the island's oldest resident - Jonathan the tortoise reputed to be 180 years old.

From here we drove to Ladder Hill which is at the top of Jacob's Ladder where we took photos of our ship in the outer harbour and photos of the town and harbour below us. The ladder built in 1829 consists of 699 steps and rises 600 feet. It was originally used to haul manure up and send goods down and is now a landmark of St. Helena.
Back down in Jamestown we strolled around the town exploring the shops and chatting to the locals - they don't get many visitors dropping in here - and then said hello to the local "bobbies" (policemen) one of whom had served two years in the Gloucester police force back in the UK which is quite close to our home in Bristol - small world!!  As we had missed our noon day beer onboard we found the local pub where we quenched our thirst with the local brew.

Today is also Australia Day which commemorates the arrival of the first fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the proclamation at that time of British sovereignty. Happy Australia Day to all our Aussie friends both onboard and across the world.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Last Day At Sea Before St. Helena

Wednesday January 25th - Day 21

It's blowing a 'hooley' today so have decided not to fight the towels - Seabourn...we need towel clips or pillow ended towels to fit over the top of the sunbed on windy days!!
Off for coffee, skinny white latte for me and cappuccino for Vance - no Danish though - I am determined to keep the weight off even if I don't actually lose any on this cruise.....although the waistband of my trousers is definitely looser so all those "planks" and sit ups in the Kinesis class are beginning to work.....slowly but surely.

Late morning we sat out by the pool as the sun filtered through the clouds and watched the water in the pool get rougher and rougher - not many swimmers today. Despite the wind we persevered in true Brit style to make our noon beer - well done chaps!!
Kinesis this afternoon and Restaurant Two for our evening meal.

At 10pm The Quest held an open air 'Rock The Boat' British style Beatles Party and yes the weather was kind to us for once. A fab evening as everyone knew most of the Beatles songs so we sang along and danced under the stars until late.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Fourth Day At Sea

Tuesday January 24th - Day 20

Getting ever closer to St. Helena but still a long way to go. The temperature is lower than we thought it would be, only 75°f, but the wind has dropped and it's like a beautiful English mid-summer day.
Clocks forward thirty minutes at 2pm today so I think we're now on UK time.

At 3pm there was the infamous Seabourn event The Tug Of War where teams from the ship's crew challenge each other in a tug of war knock out system.

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The teams this year were:
Housekeeping - The Zorras
Dining Room - Caviar
Bar Department - The Rob Roys
Bridge Staff - The Skimmers
Chefs - Caviar Defenders
Dining Room (another team) - The Pancakes
Deck Department - The Bulldozers
Pursers - Zulu Pursers
Engine Room - Boiler Room Boys
Entertainers - High C's
Carpenters - The Screwers
Galley Utilities - The Blue Boys

John Barron our cruise director was the master of ceremonies and the captain was the starter and referee. It was the best of three pulls for each challenge and each of the teams were noisily supported by us, the watching guests and other staff and crew members.

After a close contest the final came down to The Rob Roys against The Pancakes. John said 'what a dilemma, who do I support...it's between drinks and food...guess I'm on a drinks only diet tonight' .... a prophesy as The Rob Roys finally won...well done Seabourn Quest teams.
Decided to have room service tonight just pizza and a bottle of Chianti Classico sitting on the bed watching the film Contagion, then early to sleep.

Techie bits: At 9:30am we were:
19° south and 17° west
Travelling on a compass course of 078°
Speed = 14.5 knots
Apparent wind speed = 33 knots off the starboard bow
Air temperature = 24°c (75°f)
Total nautical miles sailed = 6145 (it seems we're right in the middle of the Atlantic - see photo)
Sea depth = 3730 metres
Humidity = 67%

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Third Day At Sea Heading For St. Helena

Monday January 23rd - Day 19

Have decided that today will be a slob-out day - the day where we haven't done things. We haven't done the bridge tour or the shuffleboard tournament or the enrichment lecture or trivia in fact apart from laying by the pool in the sun the first we have done is have our noon day beer and gone to lunch!!
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Another half an hour forward at 2pm today and then more of the same...not doing things...chill!!
I don't know if I'm coming or going at the moment, these time changes are doing my head in - I lay down to have a snooze after lunch and it's time for the gym (not the wine at lunch of course!!).

Yes it's kinesis day again and it's still not getting much easier. While we were at kinesis there was a fashion show in the observation bar featuring the fashion and jewellery items from the boutique. We missed it because we were in the gym but I will try and get photos from one of the guests and post them up here later.
We have decided to have some fun with Dan The Diver - he will have a fan club with people posing for pictures and he will enjoy some fashionable moments throughout the rest of our cruise - so keep checking back folks.

Formal night tonight, Murat the guest services manager invited us to his hosted table which we have accepted. We had a lovely time but Vance has put his foot down and said 'that's enough of hosted tables - too many people'  - but we will join John Barron (Cruise Director and a brummie boy) on his hosted table at some time before the end of our quest - we promised!!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Another Day At Sea Crossing The Atlantic

Sunday January 22nd - Day 18

Laundry day today - whoopee...Had an early breakfast so that I could grab a washing machine to do a full load of washing. There  are only four machines and four dryers on the ship for the guests to use. Luckily they are all on our deck - deck 5 - so I can run along the corridor and check when one is available. There are also four ironing boards available ... I don't usually iron but I've made an exception for Vance's shirts on this cruise...phew, thank goodness that's over for another week.
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Actually Seabourn are now offering a "laundry in a bag" service where they will launder and press all the items you can fit into the laundry bag (no dry cleaning though) at a total charge of $50 per bag. If you could cram more than ten items in the bag it works out at good value. Vance says "no, you do the washing Helen and I'll have the $50 towards my massage!!"
Another half an hour forward this afternoon so we're now only an hour behind UK time.

Disaster  this afternoon...Vance ripped his favourite cut-off pirate pants on the back of the sunbed. Several guests came up with a few ideas on how 'I' could repair them but those of you who know my needlework skills will know it's a no go area. Instead I gave the pants to Jerry the resident tailor who returned them a few hours later with a perfect invisible mend...thanks Jerry and Seabourn!!
Those of you who followed our last year's Sojourn blog may remember a picture of the ship's mascot on deck 5 - the dachshund. The Quest has a different mascot - 'The Diver' by Ola Enstad. Vance has christened him 'Dan The Diver'.

Techie bits: At 8am we were: 22° south and 31° west
Travelling on a compass course of 081°
Speed = 18 knots
Apparent wind speed = 32 knots off the bow
Air temperature = 25°c (77°f)
Total nautical miles sailed = 5310
Sea depth = 4650 metres (when the sea depth first came up on the TV screen it read 9 metres...we thought we were having a Costa moment then we realised the screen hadn't refreshed properly...luckily for us it was a mistake...phew!!
Humidity = 66%

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

At Sea Crossing The Atlantic

Saturday January 21st - Day -17

We now have five days at sea crossing the Atlantic from Rio to the island of St. Helena. For some people this will be too long a period without stepping on terra firma but Vance and I really enjoy the restful time and the social buzz around the ship which seems to get greater the longer you are at sea.
Today we received a note from Vitor the hotel manager to say that there will be four hours worth of time changes between now and Cape Town. With this in mind the captain has decided to soften the blow for both guests and crew and the clocks will be put forward by thirty minutes at 2pm for the next four days and then again between St. Helena and Namibia (2 days) and the final hour change will be made at night as usual  just before we arrive in Cape Town.
So at 2pm today our clocks read 2:30pm. Vance made our lunch party laugh when a waiter asked him at about 1:59pm if he would like another glass of wine. Vance replied 'no thanks I'll wait until 2:30pm' ....with that the ship's intercom announced the time had changed and Vance said 'OK I'll have that wine now thanks'...you had to be there of course!!
This afternoon Vance finally managed to 'bag'  a Massage Moment - a complimentary 10 minute massage on deck...lovely ...I have pictures!!. The problem is - as Seabourn obviously intend  - he loved it so much he now wants to book the full one hour ($140) massage...no chance!!
Thai menu in The Colonnade tonight so we couldn't resist it...it was brilliant especially the green chicken curry. Very romantic as the sun set behind us off the bow of the ship as we dined by candlelight.
Techie bits: At 8am we were: 23° south and 39° west
Travelling on a compass course of 084°
Speed = 18 knots
Apparent wind speed = 37 knots off port bow
Air temperature = 25°c (77°f)
Total nautical miles sailed = 4876
Sea depth = 3100 metres
Humidity = 67%

Monday, 23 January 2012

Christ The Redeemer

Friday January 20th - Day -16
Oh what a day. Up at 6:30am for 7am breakfast to leave the ship by 7:30 to start our morning tour and despite my moans about getting up so early - just a few moans - aren't we glad we did.
We were in the first group of people to catch the 8am cog railway up the Corcovado mountain travelling through the jungle almost vertically - or so it seemed at the time.
Already behind us there were hundreds of people - today is a bank holiday in Rio - waiting to buy tickets for the next train - they were every 20 minutes. Corcovado, also known as the Humpbacked Mountain, is over 2326 feet high and is topped by the statue of Christ the Redeemer which has become the symbol of modern Rio. It is made of reinforced concrete and was completed in 1931. It weighs over 1000 metric tons and stand 98 feet tall.
When we reached the top there were only about 30 of us there from  the first train up so we really enjoyed the tranquillity of the views and the almost spiritual feel as we gazed up at the face of Jesus. We took so many photos - it was a beautiful moment that we'll never forget. Twenty minutes later as the next train arrived we were swamped by hundreds of people and the peaceful moment was then gone. The viewing area was soon covered with noisy crowds, pushing and shoving, trying to get the best spots for their photo moments...time to go!!
So it was back down the mountain by the train where we rejoined our coach ready for our next stop at the beaches. First stop was Ipanema beach where we just drove along the promenade as the traffic made it difficult to stop. Then it was onward to Copacabana beach where the driver was lucky enough to find a place to stop for ten minutes. We rushed across the promenade to get our first sight of this famous beach which due to the bank holiday was already crowded by the locals.
Whilst taking photos we were approached by a TV film crew who were making a documentary on the affect tourists have on Rio. We were interviewed and asked about our impressions of Rio and why we had decided to come there. The TV company was called Global and they do a daily lunchtime programme that is broadcast to over 28 million viewers in Brazil. The show went out at 1:30pm so I guess by now we're famous - in Brazil anyway - unless they edited us out of course...but we'll never know as we couldn't  get that station on our ship. By now it was 31°c so it was back to the ship in our air conditioned coach in time for our noon day ritual.
Sail away on deck was at 5:45pm where we enjoyed the departing views of Christ The Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain...bye, bye Rio and thank you - we'll be back!!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

At Sea On The Way To Rio

Thursday January 19th - Day 15

Following the success of Tuesday night's carnival party on deck the Quest has now run out of fresh limes and lemons. They used over 50kgs of limes!! - we must all have over indulged in caipirinhas.
However my ex boy scout husband is always prepared and had his own private supply - delivered daily - for his pre-dinner drink(s)... so we took our own limes up to the pool bar (much to the amusement of the waiters) for our noon corona with a wedge of lime...of course.

This afternoon we had our second and final Samba class as our Brazilian Samba troupe will be leaving the ship tonight in Rio when we dock at 6pm. I think we're getting the hang of it a bit more now. Although our footwork is still a bit slow our finishing flourish is magnificent...well so we think!!
We sailed into Rio a little earlier than the planned 6pm arrival and it was light enough for us to have superb views of the Sugar Loaf Mountain standing sentinel at the harbour entrance and the famous Christ The Redeemer statue standing high on the Corcovado Mountain. This was a really breathtaking sail in.

A few facts: Rio is Brazil's second largest city and is separated from the rest of the country by a mountain range. From its beginnings as a Portuguese colonial trading outpost it has spread to fill the space between the mountains and the sea.  Add to this the superb white beaches fringed with palms, the fabulous temperature that rarely dips below 20°C (68°F) and the Carnival this really is a "Cidade Maravilhosa" - Marvellous City.
This evening half the ship's guests seemed to have gone ashore to enjoy their first taste of Rio but we decided to have a quiet alfresco meal at the Patio Grill before an early night because of our early sightseeing tour tomorrow morning. And what a meal...at 8:30pm the heavens opened for a twenty minute torrential downpour and really tested the waiters ingenuity in getting our food to us dry. Thank goodness for Seabourn umbrellas - well done Valentina and her staff. I love storms like this so for me it was a perfect welcome to Rio - there was thunder, lightning and rain...by the bucket load!!

After a quick trip to the Samba Carnival Show now moved  inside to the Grand Salon it was early to bed for a 6:30am alarm call.
Techie bits again. At 9:45am this morning we were:
22° south and 41° west
Travelling on a compass course of 229°
Speed = 15 knots
Wind speed = Northerly 3 knots
Air temperature = 25°c (77°f)
Total nautical miles sailed = 4544
Sea depth = 55 metres (hope the captain's not got any Italian blood in him!!)
Humidity = 67%

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Party Time

Wednesday January 18th - Day 14

Last night in The Colonnade there was a Brazilian themed dinner followed by a 'Rock The Banana Boat' show on deck followed by a Samba Show.
A local Samba troupe joined the ship in Salvador and will stay with us until Rio. They really got the party going with some great music and dance routines.
This afternoon we went to a Samba class run by the dancers for an hour. It was so hard like having an aerobic workout. Vance was really good - that's his dance background coming out  - but teacher says I must do better!!
After returning to our suite after a formal dinner in the Main Restaurant we found our first Seabourn gift of the cruise - two CDs - one of Brazilian music and one of South African music...now I'll be able to keep up the Samba moves at home.
Techie bits again. At 8am this morning we were:
16° south and 38° west
Travelling on a compass course of 176°
Speed = 15 knots
Wind speed = 16 knots off the port bow
Air temperature = 28°c (82°f)
Total nautical miles sailed = 4119
Sea depth = 2200 metres
Humidity = 69%

Salvador de Bahia

Tuesday January 17th - Day 13

Arrived at 8am in Salvador where the temperature was already in the high seventies...just like home!!...not.
Salvador was the first colonial capital of Brazil and one of the oldest in the Americas and is now the third most populous Brazilian city after Sao Paulo and Rio. A notable feature is the escarpment that divides the town into the upper town and the lower  town. The former being nearly 280 feet above the latter and an elevator know as the 'Elevador Lacerda' -an Art Nouveau building has connected the two sections since 1928 and is one of the greatest landmarks of Salvador. The elevator trip only cost 15 cents per person each way....a real bargain.

We did our own thing again today as opposed to an organised tour taking the elevator to the upper town where the view to the harbour area below was amazing. We strolled through the old cobbled streets viewing the beautiful  baroque buildings on our way to the main square with its churches and the cathedral which was rather austere on the outside but stunning inside with the walls and ceiling of the sacristy adorned with paintings.....no flash photography was allowed so no photos to show you how beautiful it is.
Some local women dressed in their national dress asked if we'd like a photograph with them...of course after the photo was taken their hands were soon out for some money...a typical tourist rip off!!....and we got caught!!
We bought a few local souvenirs and I bought a panama style hat that can be folded or rolled up small...saves on the packing. Vance bargained the vendor down from 20 to 10 reais - just under £4. The temperature was now in the high eighties so we made our way back down to the harbour and the ship ready for a cooling noon time ... yes you've guessed it ... beer.

We enjoyed Brazilian cocktails and canapés with live music on deck for the 5:30pm sail away.  Later this evening after the Brazilian themed dinner in the Colonnade there will be a samba party out on deck but I'll tell you about that tomorrow.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

At Sea On Our Way To Salvador de Bahia

Monday January 16th - Day 12

A strange morning, first it's hot and sunny - really hot about 87f - then out of nowhere there is a sudden downpour. Everyone runs for cover and the pool boys and waiters rush to bring the towels and cushions under cover. Ten minutes later the sun comes out and we start the cycle all over again. After the third time we gave up and went to The Square for coffee - no danish though.
There was an obstacle course golf putting competition at The Retreat on deck 11 but we didn't make it...rained off...Vance should have brought his wet weather gear - he might have won!!
We also didn't make it to that morning's line dancing class (sorry Michelle) or the cooking demo (sorry Graeme) in fact it seems that once we get into The Square and I bury my nose in The Daily Mail time seems to disappear...Vance gets some him only time...ah...
Kinesis this afternoon where the class seems to be getting smaller as the exercise become harder - we're still there though. After class I spent some time on the computer catching up with blog text and emails etc.
We were invited to dine on a hosted table by Michelle our social hostess and this time we accepted  and really enjoyed meeting the nine other guests.
No Photo Show Today - but there will be loads of photos tomorrow in Salvador.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Recife - Brazil

Sunday January 15th - Day 11

Recife which means reef was named for the coral which lies off its coast. It is made up of three sections - the mainland, the peninsula and the Island. Bridges of stone and iron connect the three and it is known for its canals, rivers, bridges and one-way streets making it locally know as the Venice of Brazil.
We decided to take the local shuttle service and do our own thing rather than do an organised tour.

The shuttle from ship to town dropped us at The Casa da Cultura - a former prison turned handicraft market. It was really interesting to walk down the corridors of cells and see how the prison was originally - but now each cell houses a different craft shop.
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Back to the ship for noon day beer and lunch before leaving again on a complimentary Seabourn tour to The Carvalheira Distillery which makes cachaca the most popular alcoholic drink in Brazil. After a tour of the facility we enjoyed several caipirinhas and canapés while we watched local Brazilian folkloric dancers.
On the way back to the ship we drove along the local beach coast and were amazed at the length of the beach and being Sunday it was full of locals.

A caviar sail-away party tonight - I had a "virgin" caviar canapé i.e. wafer with egg, egg white, onion and sour cream but no caviar - I learnt my lesson many years ago by over indulging on caviar at a beach party on Prickly Pear Island in the Caribbean on New Year's Eve ...I haven't touched it since.
As everyone was back on board early the captain brought the sail-away forward - certainly a first on this cruise .

Clocks forward one hour tonight.

Galley Market Lunch

Saturday January 14th - Day 10

Today it was Galley Market Lunch where Executive Chef Graeme and the entire food and beverage department presented a culinary feast. The cold starters and desserts were laid out in the main restaurant while the hot foods - starters and mains - were prepared and served throughout the galley.
It's a great chance to see where all of our wonderful foods are prepared and to meet the individual chefs at each food station.

The only problem with this of course is it all looks so delicious you end up with too much food and with the wine flowing freely we needed to retire to our sunbed for an afternoon snooze in the shade.

Fourth Kinesis class today but after all that food it was hard work, Marvin 'The Stritch' pushed us even harder...give us a break Marv!!
Dined in The Colonnade this evening...Chinese .... the appetiser was a choice of roasted duck pancake Shanghai  style with spicy cucumber  and plum sauce or steamed pork dim sum with a sweet chilli sauce. Vance couldn't decide which so guess what...he had both...I don't know how he stays so slim!!

This was followed by Szechuan Chicken for me and Sweet And Sour Shrimp for Vance. Lucky we had that workout earlier.
Showtime tonight was mezzo soprano Heather Clancy. Her intro was described as 'A tart, effervescent take on the solemn world of opera..... and John the cruise director managed to put a long pause after the word tart which of course brought laughs from the audience - he quickly tongue in cheek apologised. Luckily for John she took it all in good fun otherwise she would have had his guts for garters.

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Sunday, 15 January 2012

At Sea Off The Coast Of South America

Friday January 13th - Day 9
Caught the sun yesterday so being careful today - spent the morning in the Square reading the Daily Mail, coffee (no Danish today - being good!!) and also had a long chat with Murat the Guest Services Manager.
Vance is already talking about cruising on The Quest next January so he went to see Lindsay the future cruise sales manager and has a price for the first two segments next year which will start in Fort Lauderdale on January 6th, cruise through the Caribbean to the Pacific ocean via the Panama Canal then visit several islands in the Pacific on route to Sydney. We are supposed to visit Rarotonga which we should have visited last year but due to bad weather we never made it. I won't hold my breath in anticipation of ever seeing that island.
The ship then sails up the east coast of Oz to Cairns and Thursday Island before crossing to several islands in Indonesia finally arriving in Hong Kong on March 9th. So another possible 61 days cruise for us.
Formal night tonight so we reserved a lovely table for six guests in the "high ceilings" area which is located in the very centre of the restaurant where we were joined by four friends. Thanks to Andre the Maitre d' for sorting it out for us.
Open mike joke night in The Observation Bar after dinner at 11pm. It was advertised with a disclaimer saying 'If you are easily offended please avoid this lounge for 45 minutes as we cannot edit what happens here tonight' ......it was definitely good advice. It was such fun I laughed and laughed. Vance's contribution was two brilliant jokes, well received despite being a little risqué.
In bed by just after midnight...bet we are not up at 7:00am...zzzzzzzzz
Techie bits again. At 8am this morning we were:
 0° north / south and 43° west
Travelling on a compass course of 119°
Speed = 17 knots
Wind speed = 28 knots from the north east
Air temperature = 27°c (81°f)
Total nautical miles sailed = 2707
Sea depth = 3340 metres

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Crossing The Equator

Thursday January 12th - Day 8

Crossing the Equator
The "crossing the line" ceremony is a time honoured tradition to commemorate a sailor's first crossing of the equator. The ceremony is carried out to appease King Neptune, god of the seas.

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Our Pollywogs (those who have never crossed the equator) had to stand trial for various misdemeanours concocted by the master of ceremonies and had to plead guilty or not guilty. Not surprisingly whatever they pleaded they were found guilty by King Neptune and sentenced to be covered in multi coloured gloop and to "kiss the fish" before being pushed into the swimming pool. We Shellbacks having already suffered the ceremony on previous crossings could just heckle the Pollywogs and enjoy the entertainment.

Although we were only watching, Vance managed to get glooped as well - Pollywog Marvin The Stritch who was covered head to toe in gloop saw Vance and rushed over to give him a big hug.....it was really funny until I had to spend half an hour trying to get the gloop out of Vance's clothes (luckily he had swimming trunks and a t-shirt on) and hair....the hair on his arms and chest that is!!

Dinner outside at the Colonnade again tonight...Polynesian....and the Hawaiian Chic ken was fabulous....I am going to get the  recipe....for Vance to cook at home.

Well we finally made it to a show....."Showtime with Singer and Entertainer Paul Fredericks". He's one of those singers who has a fantastic range and is just as comfortable singing 'up in the gods' as 'down in the basement'. His material ranged from fifties and sixties pop to west end show tunes and even some classical. This was interspersed with a good comedy patter and surprise, surprise it turned out that he has family in Bristol...small world!!

In bed by 11:15pm ship time our latest yet zzzzzzzzz.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Devil's Island - French Guiana

Wednesday January 11th - Day 7
Arrived at Devil's Island in French Guiana at 9am where it's already very hot and the humidity is 81%.
Devil's Island is the smallest of the three 'Iles Du Salut' located 6 nautical miles off the coast of French Guiana and was part of the French penal colony until 1952. The island was made notorious by the book and then the Steve McQueen film Papillon which was the nickname of Henri Charriere the only known convict to escape from the island. Access to Devil's Island is now forbidden as it hosts a satellite tracking station but we were allowed to visit the neighbouring island 'Ile Royale' which was also part of the penal colony.
Royale was the headquarters of the colony where the administrators and their families lived including the prison governor, the doctor, guards and soldiers. The governor's residence is now a museum tracing the history of the island. The barracks is now a hotel (not 5 star!!) and there is a  chapel  decorated with paintings by a convict of prison life.
We had a leisurely walk around the island and explored the sites and even went inside one the prison areas. Vance tried to leave me there but I escaped.
A great experience but we were pleased to get back to the luxury of our home away from home and our noon cold beer.
We had dinner by candlelight at The Colonnade tonight in the balmy open air under the awning at the back of the ship...just the two of us (I mean Vance of course!!) - ah...so romantic.
The curse of the 'Rock The Boat' party out on deck has struck again - everything was set up for the evening party and then down came the rain. The party transferred to The Club but it's not the same.
The previous night we had been kept awake by a shrieking noise that lasted for about 15 minutes then stopped for 5 minutes then started all over again so in the middle of the night we were searching our suite trying to locate the noise but it seemed to be moving around. Vance was convinced it was coming from somewhere in the ceiling.
The next morning on leaving the suite for breakfast Vance discovered the noise coming from inside an access panel outside of our door. A quick call to guest services and a visit from the plumber got it fixed within hours - thanks Seabourn - if I don't get my 8 hours sleep I get VERY grumpy.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

At Sea

Tuesday 10th January - Day 6

It was quite rough last night as the captain was pushing on trying to make up some lost time from our delayed departure from Barbados yesterday.
Cloudy morning so caught up with friends in The Seabourn Square, read the Daily Mail (sad eh!!) to catch up with events at home, then just chilled with coffee and a danish pastry.

At twelve noon as promised by the bridge the skies cleared and we managed to keep our noon cold beer ritual. Lunch at The Colonnade - just salad - honest...but two glasses of crispy, dry white Gavi (Italian wine) followed by some sunbed time before dragging ourselves away from the rays to go to our 4:30pm kinesis class.
Click Here For More Photos
I'd like to say it was easier today...but that would be a fib. Vance has nicknamed our trainer 'Marvin The Stritch' as that's what it sounds like when he tells us to stretch in his South African accent.
We had dinner with Arnie and Ingrid tonight - they had bagged our favourite table the last few nights as they get to the restaurant a lot earlier than us so they suggested we dine together tonight to share "the table" - a good way to make new friends.

Here's  some info for the techie boys. At 8am this morning we were:
10° north and 57° west
Travelling on a compass course of 140°
Speed = 18 knts
Wind speed = 30 knots off the port bow
Air temperature = 26°c (79°f)
Total miles sailed = 1653
Sea depth = 3760 metres

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Monday 9th January - Day 5

Barbados - A Caribbean Adventure
Seabourn Quest arrived in Bridgetown Barbados at 8am this morning. We had booked on a 4x4 safari adventure to the heart of the island and then on to Bathsheba on the Atlantic east coast.

Ten of us boarded the 4x4 open sided jeep . We travelled up to the centre of the island and into the tropical rainforest  - we were warned at time of booking that it would be dusty and bumpy... and weren't they right!! The forest trails were muddy and deep rutted and without the heavy duty seatbelts I'm sure that some of us would have been tossed out of the jeep.
On route to Bathsheba we stopped at a monkey sanctuary where we were allowed to hold the latest arrivals...two four month old baby monkeys - cute!!

At Bathsheba we stopped for a welcome break and indulged in a rum punch cocktail and nibbles. The shore line here was fantastic and the rocks have been worn away by the relentless pummelling of the Atlantic breakers making for some spectacular toadstool shaped rock formations.

Leaving the east coast we crossed over to the west coast and drove through Holetown passing The Sandy Lane hotel and other five star hotels on that St. James's coast.
We didn't quite make it far enough north to Mullins Beach where Vance and I got married four years ago but we did make it back to the ship for our noon cold beer ritual. A great trip but hard on the old bones and bum!!

We spent the afternoon recovering and sunbathing by the pool as by then the temperature had reached 28c (83f). We were noisily roused from our sunbed slumbers by the Royal Barbados Police Force Band who had set up on the pool desk for a medley of Caribbean tunes...whoopee .
Sail away should have been at 4:45pm but was delayed until 6pm as the ship was waiting for a truck of fresh veg to arrive. Guess we'll be pushing on again tonight to make up the time.

Went to a drinks party in the Observation Bar in the evening before a quiet romantic dinner for two and then as we were feeling the effects of the bumpy excursion it was another early night for us. We still haven't made it to any of the shows in the Grand Salon.....perhaps next week.
Clocks forward another hour tonight so we're now only 3 hours behind UK time.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

At Sea

Saturday 7th January - Day 3

Spent the morning on the sunbed, not hot but balmy then at noon we indulged in our midday ritual a Corona Extra beer with a lime wedge!!
Knew it was too good to last as the clouds started to roll in and the rain came down - welcome to the Caribbean. Luckily the outside terrace area of The Colonnade is well covered so we could still lunch out of doors.

Rain, clouds and sun interchanged all afternoon so it was an early bath, pre-dinner drinks in The Club followed by dinner in the Main Restaurant again and off to bed by 10pm only to find that it's now 11pm as the clocks go forward one hour tonight so we will only be four hours behind UK time in the morning.
Sunday 8th January - Day 4

Another day at sea and the weather is slowly getting better and we spent the day sunbathing around the pool before dashing off at 4:30pm for another Kinesis class..phew!! it must be working because the old muscles are beginning to ache.  
We joined some newly made friends Noelle and Len for drinks then dinner in the main restaurant. The company was great but the same couldn't be said of Vance's main course - Duck A L'Orange...tough and dry.  Luckily I'd ordered the Filet Mignon which was too large for me so hubby finished it off. We went on to The Club for after dinner drinks so we didn't get to see the show which was a British comedian called Paul Adams - hope he'll be on again later in the cruise.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

First Day At Sea

Friday 6th January - Day 2

Today is our first full day at sea and the weather is not being too kind to us with cloud and intermittent showers so most people are congregating at Seabourn Square with coffee, newspapers and books.

I took the opportunity to book some excursions so we can now look forward to a 4x4 jeep ride to explore the east coast of Barbados and a tour in Rio De Janeiro to Christ The Redeemer but more about that later.

We both went to our first Kinesis class of the cruise and I found it amazingly hard having not really done any real exercise since leaving the Sojourn last April...Vance of course found it a doddle!!

Our suite this year is on the port side as opposed to last year's starboard position and it's amazing that each time I leave the suite I turn the wrong way for a second or two...old muscle memory kicking in.

It was the first Formal evening tonight so we all put on our glad rags and met up in the Club before going down to a fabulous meal in the Main Restaurant.....the Chateaubriand was delicious. Most people then went off to the Grand Salon to see Marvin Hamilsch, a well known American composer but we are still feeling jet lagged so it's off to bed for us.....sorry Marvin, another time maybe.

Hey, guess what...the ageing whizz kid Vance recovered the deleted images so he's off the hook!!

Florida Sun

Thursday 5th January - Day 1
Still on UK body time so awake by 3:30am local time...dark outside so back to bed to try to sleep to 5.30am.
Down to breakfast at 6:30am and surprise,  surprise most of the other Brits were there as well.
We had the usual Seabourn check in with passports, documents and photo pass then it was down to the newly swept beach for a long morning sandy stroll in the Florida sun...and I had my first paddle of the year. On our walk back to the hotel Vance managed to find what would have been a great boys night out venue 'Hooters' - sorry Vance our ship awaits.
Back in the hotel we spent a couple of hours on the 7th floor pool terrace catching the morning rays...UK weather already seems a long way away.
At 12:15pm our chauffeured limo arrived to take us to our Home Away From Home for the next two months - The Seabourn Quest. We arrived in true Seabourn style.
It really felt like coming home as the ship is a duplicate of our last year's ship The Sojourn making it a doddle for us to find our way around. After lunch in The Colonnade and a quick trip to deck 9 to book our first Kinesis class it was off to our suite to wait for our four cases. Three arrived very quickly so it was down to the chore of unpacking. Then we waited...and waited...and waited for our last case.
We were due to sail at 5pm but allowing that 1/2 the guest's luggage...including my case...was still on the quay we eventually set sail at 6:30pm much to the annoyance of the Captain. However the bonus was a very long sail away party!!
After a casual dinner in the main restaurant my bed was calling me again. zzzzzzzzzzz.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

London Heathrow To Fort Lauderdale

We loved last year's round the world 'Sojourn' so much that we are back but this time on The Seabourn Quest, not an around the world cruise this time...just 1/2 way, what you could call a semi Quest... so here we go.

Wednesday 4th January 2012
Flew from London Heathrow to Miami with Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class. Before the flight we took full advantage of the Virgin Upper  facilities in their flagship Clubhouse Lounge. After a goodly breakfast Vance had a head, neck and back massage and I had a mini facial. We also could have had a  free haircut... well I could but no point for Vance!!

Onboard the flight we had one of the best in-flight meals ever. I started with chilli carrot and lentil soup while Vance had a giant prawn cocktail then we both had a wonderful Thai chicken curry with egg noodles followed by cheeseboard and of course the obligatory glass or two of port.
Landed in Miami on time, cleared immigration and customs quickly with no hassle and then were chauffeured to The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Fort Lauderdale for our overnight stay. No gala dinner for us this year as we are not doing the whole world cruise so straight to our room on the 10th floor with fabulous views of the beach. After a nice long hot soak in the bath and a bit of telly we were asleep by 9:30pm local time...but 2:30am body time zzzzzzzzz.

Sorry folks - I had some great  photos of the hotel but my computer whiz kid husband deleted them by mistake...dummy!!