Well, it lived up to all of the expectations! Lots of R&R, warm sunshine, blue skies and good food!
We flew out to Barbados where we were picking up our ship, the MS Oceana, part of the P&O fleet. The flight was OK – a charter flight but unusually plenty of legroom. The only downside to the flight was the elderly lady in front of me who kept putting her nether regions in my face every time she stood up which did not delight my olfactory senses one little bit – she clearly had that little problem that older women get!
That aside we reached the ship about 7pm local time which was midnight to my poor tired body – all I wanted to do was eat and sleep but international law dictates that muster station drill must happen before we set sail! After a very light snack and the drill we retired for the night – consequently waking at stupid o’clock Saturday morning, I persuaded John to make a drink, all was well until he said ‘Oh there’s only brown sugar’ as he emptied the sachet into the cup containing the only Earl Grey teabag. It wasn’t sugar. It was coffee – the smell finally gave it away! Ho hum – just managed to salvage the tea bag to make another very weak drink and went back to sleep.
Saturday was St Lucia – a lovely island, blue skies, sandy beaches and lovely people! We opted for the island tour day trip which, on reflection was a little ambitious because we were soooo very tired still.
The view from the cabin as we were docking
I fell for the age old trick of the island vendors – they wait for the coaches to pull up and pounce on you with jewellery and the like, telling you that they make these to keep their families – and brought a necklace and earrings which are very pretty, trouble was they were available on countless stalls in every port we called at – I’m a sucker!
The very place that I was sucked in – a view of the ship from one of the view points
I am useless at remembering the details of places that we visit and I failed this year at writing a daily journal. I know that we visited a very smelly place that was a crater inside the volcano and that the smell was sulphur – the water ran black down the sides of the volcano and bubbled away furiously at very high temperature. The pictures below don’t really do it justice.
It was steaming – honestly!
Back at the ship it was time for the first formal evening of the cruise (there were four in total) and our first opportunity to meet our fellow diners – we had a table for eight and there were four sitting down when we arrived, strangely the other two never materialised. Jack & Elsie were a lovely couple in their seventies with many a cruise between them and Jeremy and Cathy, a little younger than us, (well me, anyway!!) on their third cruise. Thankfully we all hit it off and got on well together – otherwise it could have been a nightmare!
Sunday saw us on St Marten which is half French, half Dutch which makes it very unusual - we opted for a half day trip this time which freed up time for an afternoon snooze!!
One of the many market stalls in the French capital – they all looked identical!
Monday saw us on Tortolla yet another lovely island, again we took the half day tour option. This tour was a real experience on very
hilly mountainous roads – eyes closed, fingers crossed type journey! The transport was open sided buses which were quite difficult to get on and off – but we survived!
Met this bloke there – there’s something very familiar about him!
The beach at Pusser’s Landing
Our last Caribbean stop was Antigua which was British until relatively recently. We took the whole day option this time and saw a lot of the island, which included a lobster lunch at the historic ‘Nelson’s Dockyard’ , followed by a relaxing hour at the beach – shame it was too hot for us to sit out!
Just one of the many…
Away from the islands we then had five whole days at sea! Yes five! The first couple of days were OK weather wise, we managed to sit out on the deck and the sea was quite calm, after that it was a touch rougher and the rain came in – we were pleased to see land when we got to Madeira – even though it had been raining when we got there! Madeira is known as the garden island but sadly we were a couple of weeks too early to see it at it’s best. You may remember that, in mid-February, Madeira was hit by terrible rains and landslides which wiped away huge tranches of land leaving scars of red clay in it’s wake. In an amazing show of unity, the islanders all pitched in and started to do their part to repair the damage in time for the tourist season – they’ve done an amazing job so far.
One flower in bloom anyway…
After Madeira it was another three sea days – if we thought it was rough before…a force 7 was recorded on one day and that was before we hit the Bay of Biscay! We weren’t too badly affected, although, believing that prevention is better than cure, I took tablets just to be safe. Trouble was the tablets knocked me out and I ended up spending half the day asleep!
Anyway, Friday came around too soon and we docked in Southampton on a grey morning – holiday over and back to normality.
It’s nice to be home although I’m still not fully up to speed with stuff – even my Twittering has been slow! Never mind – back to work on Tuesday and I’m sure that will bring me down to earth with a huge bump!