Cruise M1806
on the Braemar
to Andalusia
Easter
2018

(Please scroll down to see my photographs and report)

Date: Port: Flag: Tour escort: Comment:
17/03/2018 Southampton
U.K.
- On board
at 13:45
19/03/2018 La Coruña
Spain
Betanzos, Estuaries
& Gardens
Sunny,
but cold
22/03/2018 Almería
Spain
Scenic Cabo de Gata
& Almería's Highlights
Glorious
day!
23/03/2018 Málaga
Spain
El Chorro
Gorge
Glorious
day!
24/03/2018 Gibraltar
U.K.
City Sights &
King's Bastion
Glorious
day!
25/03/2018 Seville
Spain
Flamenco Show
at Night
Authentic!
26/03/2018 Seville
Spain
Jerez
& Sherry
Glorious
day!
27/03/2018 Cádiz
Spain
Royal Horse Show &
Jerez
Glorious
day!
28/03/2018 Lisbon
Portugal
Maritime History Glorious
day!
31/03/2018 Southampton
England
- Home by
9:30!


Embarkation Day - SoToN
Saturday the 17th of March, 2018

I awoke at 6:45 and finished packing. With snow forecast, I departed early by taxi before 9:30. I caught the 9:47 Cross Country train from BoMoH to SoToN. Unfortunately a South Western Railway train had broken down at Brockenhurst, but fortunately it only delayed us by ten minutes. Arriving at SoToN the platform was heaving, due to the absence of the broken down train. I then took a taxi to the QE2 terminal. I had to stay in the waiting room for a short while until the check-in desks opened. I then spent a couple of hours reading the free magazines in the departure lounge.

I was on board by 1:45 and enjoyed the embarkation buffet with pianist Pat in the revamped Palms Café. I touched base with the lovely Sandra, before dozing for half an hour. After the safety drill, we had the Cruise Director's cocktail party where I sat with troubadour Sean. It was good to meet up with Marina, Laura, Ronnie and the other entertainers. Don Macgregor was a last minute replacement for dance host Raymond Smith. One of the other speakers had a new laptop without a VGA socket, so my newly bought £5 HDMI adaptor was welcomed!

I then went up to the Observatory for my first lime soda and twiglets of the cruise, sitting with a chap from Trentham, who knew Keele University, and a lady from Banbury, to watch the sailaway down the Solent. At 6:30 I dined on the turkey with Sean, but my favourite table for six had been replaced with smaller tables for two and four. The new light coloured laminate flooring was already badly stained. At 7:30 we had the first dance session with the lovely Coney singing. I did a couple of dances with Margaret. I opted out of the magician's show to update my first two port talks in my cabin, returning to dance with Margaret and 'Torquay' Pat from the Midlands. Dancing finished at 10:20 and I was in bed by 10:30. Unfortunately my bed hadn't been turned down as the stewardess thought it belonged to a nurse not me, so I didn't get my chocolate and Daily Times for the next day!


First Sea Day - Bay of Biscay
Sunday the 18th of March, 2018

I awoke at 6:45 and started work on this blog. At 7:30 I had my first cheese omelette made by his assistant, as Rey was busy. At 9:15 I gave my 40 minute talk on La Coruña. I then stayed on for the talk on racing cars. At 12:30 I lunched on ox tongue salad without chips, sat with Don and Steve. I then dozed for an hour, before giving my 40 minute talk with two videos on Almería. I stayed on to hear the talk on musicals by Michael Harris who needed to use my HDMI to VGA adaptor. I particularly liked his theatre curtain slide transitions!

At 5:30 I attended the Captain's welcome cocktail party, where I had a couple of dances. At 6:30 I dined on TWO excellent fillet steak medallions with Sean, Bruce & Nick. At 7:45 we had the second cocktail party, where I had just one dance with the lovely Margaret. We watched the excellent brand new Sinatra show from the far corner of the Neptune Lounge, but I nearly nodded off after a busy day. We danced between shows, but when it finished at 10:25 I went straight to bed.


La Coruña, Galicia, Spain
Monday the 19th of March, 2018

I awoke at 6:20, but it was now 7:20 Spanish time. I had my second lovely cheese omelette, before updating my Málaga talk. At 9:10, five minutes before I was due to start lecturing, the technician still hadn't arrived, so I rushed along to reception to get Ronnie paged. Kristeen then arrived to say that the technician was ill. Finally at 9:30 Ronnie arrived to get me set up, but then the Captain came on the Tannoy! So I eventually started twenty minutes late. As we were already in the estuary, I whizzed through my talk in 35 minutes flat.

I quickly changed into my escort's outfit and was off the ship by 10:30. The tourist information office had moved from the main square to near the port gate, so I collected a bundle of leaflets and got back to the Thistle restaurant for an early lunch at 11:15. I had the chicken & chips with rarebit sauce sat with a Swedish couple and two ladies from Bournemouth, one of whom lives in Surrey Road near me!

Sumo wrestler in La Coruña

Sumo wrestler in La Coruña

At noon I escorted my first choice shore excursion to Betanzos. We began with a panoramic tour of La Coruña, with a photostop at the Hercules Tower Roman lighthouse. I rushed into the new Tourist Information office here, but was still last back to the coach! We then drove to the lovely old town of Betanzos, which I vaguely remembered. We had three quarters of an hour free time, when I went in their tourist information office and found the free public loos in the Archives building. Then Joaquin (pronounced Hawking) led us on a walk around the old town. Our final stop was at the famous camiellia garden of Pazo de Marinan, which again I only vaguely remembered.

La Coruña Church

La Coruña Church

Back at the ship, I updated this blog, but was unable to back-up my day's photographs. At 6 o'clock I had my second lime soda and twiglets up in the Observatory watching the sailaway from La Coruña. As we left the estuary, Saga Pearl II left Ferrol and she was to shadow us for the next two days as she sailed to Motril, the nearest port for Granada. I dined on the Osso Bucco, which wasn't too fatty for a change, sat with Sean, Don & Steve. Margaret and Colin had to sit at the adjacent table as the previous large table had been replaced with two small, square ones.

I had a couple of dances with Margaret, but it was getting a bit too rough for dancing. At the end of her set Coney called a Party Samba so I felt obliged to lead it off with two brave ladies. I enjoyed Bruce's Popera show with all the famous Operatic songs (Funicular, Nessun Dorma etc.), but he did "Time to say goodbye" in the middle, not the end, choosing "Volare" and Queen's up-beat "We are the Champions" to close his excellent show. When it ended at 9:30 I went to my cabin as it was still too choppy to dance. I was asleep by 10 o'clock, after missing out on my siesta in the afternoon.


Second Sea Day
Tuesday the 20th of March, 2018

I awoke just before my alarm at 7 o'clock ready to have a cheese omelette at 7:30 watching the dramatic sun rise. This then filled my cabin with light as I updated this blog. At 10 o'clock I gave my 40 minute talk on Gibraltar. I then stayed on for Patrick's talk on his Guiana expedition. Coming from a distinguished army family he unfortunately failed the Sandhurst entrance exam, so had to enlist as a private. He rose through ranks, before being commissioned into the Royal Hampshire Regiment. His father having been Deputy Governor of British Guiana (now Guyana), he was also posted there. Here he led the first expedition to the King George VI waterfall in the tropical rain forest.

I lunched on the roast lamb at 12:30 with Nick, Bruce and Brenda, before dozing for over an hour. At 3:05 I gave my 40 minute talk on Sevilla! I stayed on in the Neptune Lounge again for Pat & Olivia's classical recital. I particularly liked their setting of "All Things Bright & Beautiful"! As the sun had been out all day, I went for my first swim in the steaming outdoor pool with two other brave swimmers. I then wallowed in the jacuzzi for a quarter of an hour.

After touching base with the lovely Sandra, I had my next lime soda and twiglets up in the rather quiet Observtory. I dined on the escalope of pork & chips with Sean at 6:30, ready for the second sitting's early showtime at 7:15. I enjoyed their new Hollywood Revisited show. We danced between shows with an increasing number of dancing ladies, including petite Audrey the Aberdonian lady, now from Rainham in Kent, who remembered me from last year. When the first sitting's show came on, I adjourned to my cabin to update this blog.

I danced again after the second show, mostly with the lovely Margaret. We then watched the crew cabaret from the back, which began with two songs by Chef Rey. I indulged in the Indian late night supper, before going to sleep at midnight. My bed had been turned down, but no chocolate or Daily Times had been left! That evening it transpired that during the recent re-fit pax 16:9 TVs had been added with a new interactive system, but my cabin had the old system which now only worked as a dumb 4:3 TV, so I couldn't watch my own lectures! I am now worried that the same thing will have happened to the TV in my next cabin on Boudicca after her recent re-fit!


Third Sea Day
Wednesday the 21st of March, 2018

I awoke at 7:40 ready for my cheese omelette. I did some ironing, before updating both my Cádiz slides and this blog. At 10 I went to Michael's moving talk on Oscar Wilde. At 11:15 I was in attendance at the Oceans cocktail party, but there was no dancing and only one port talk query. As we headed east into the wind, Saga Pearl II, which was only going as far as Motril, slipped back into the distance. At 12:30 I lunched on the shepherd's pie with petite Audrey the Aberdonian lady, now from Rainham in Kent, and the North Wales dentist and his wife who have a holiday home in the Beaujolais countryside!

I then dozed for an hour and twenty minutes, before giving my 45 minute talk on Cádiz. My numbers were reduced by our entry into the Straits of Gibraltar, but we didn't actually get past the Rock until 5:45. I had my second swim and jacuzzi in the bright sunshine, although the wind whistling through the straits was cold. I managed to latch on to the GibTel mobile phone signal and the Three network's Feel at Home service came into play, so I was able to update my FaceBook status and download most of my emails.

At 6 o'clock I had a lime soda and a couple of small jars of twiglets up in the Observatory, as Gibraltar slipped behind us. At 6:30 I dined on the turkey & chips with Sean, Brenda and her companion Lynn. At the first dance set I did several sequence dances with Margaret and some ballroom & latin dances with the single ladies. At 8 o'clock a game show came on, so I retired to update this blog. At 8:45 I watched Brenda's amusing show, she is completely bonkers! We danced until 10:20 when I went to the Coral Club to see the production company's new Queen tribute show. I had one open pastrami sandwich in the buffet, before retiring at 11:15.


Almería, Spain
Thursday the 22nd of March, 2018

I awoke at 6:45 and had my cheese omelette at 7:30 as we berthed in Almería. At 9 o'clock I escorted my first choice tour to Cat Cape (Cabo de Gata) natural park. We drove out to the famous lighthouse located at the south eastern corner of Spain in brilliant sunshine. On the way back we stopped at the salt water lagoon, but the flamingos were a long way away. Back in the city, we were dropped off close to the central market, where we had some free time. I whizzed around some of the nearby sights taking photographs. We then walked via John Lennon's statue to the Colon Café for ham on bread and a drink. I had the Tinto de Verano (red wine & lemonade), which we were told must not be called Sangria! We then walked back to the coach stop, but missed out the walk of fame.

John Lennon & me in Almeria

John Lennon & me in Almeria

Back at the ship at 1:45, there was a queue for the Palms Café, so we were sent down to the Thistle restaurant. Here I had the gammon & chips followed by the lovely Black Forest sundae, which we never get upstairs. I sat with a couple who have a holiday home in Murcia, just along the coast from Almería. I lay down for half an hour, but was woken up when an old lady burst into my cabin by mistake! I headed into town, but most attractions and both tourist information offices had closed by 15:00. I walked up to the Alcazaba castle, which was very photogenic in the bright sunshine. I headed back to the ship via the famous walk of fame film stars.

Back at the ship again, Steve told me that we had had an outbreak of the lurgy on board and so waiters were operating the tea & coffee station. I had seen the dreaded red wheelie bin in our corridor a couple of days previously and it had obviously spread. I went swimming for ten minutes, but the jacuzzis had been closed. Up in the Observatory, I had another lime soda, but the twiglets & peanuts had been withdrawn. I watched the sailaway as we headed south out of Almería, ready to turn west and start heading back home. At 6:30 I dined on one fillet steak tornedo and one piece of duck, sat with Sean in my favourite window seat. Back in the cabin, I updated this blog, before dancing two sets in our formal gear. We then watched the Elvis Presley tribute show from the far corner of the Neptune Lounge. We danced again until 10:30, when I went to bed.


Málaga, Spain
Friday the 23rd of March, 2018

I awoke to my alarm at 7 o'clock ready for my cheese omelette. At 8:55 I escorted my second choice tour to the Málaga Lake District. Unfortunately it was impossible to stop at the El Chorro gorge for the Camino del Rey aerial walkway, so we had to take our pictures as the coach moved slowly along the narrow, winding road. We then had 45 minutes at the Kiosko bar. I walked down past the turquoise blue reservoir to the impressive masonry dam. We came back a different way through a lush, green Andalusia thanks to heavy winter rains.

Back at the ship I lunched with Sean on the fish & chips, before sleeping for an hour. I then headed into the city. I traversed the main pedestrianised shopping street, before climbing to the top of the castle. I shelled out 60 cents for a senior's ticket to go in. I did the complete circuit of the battlements, with tremendous views over the city and port. I then descended to the new Patrimonial Museum, but it didn't open until 17:00, so I had half an hour to kill in the Mole One shopping mall, but not in the new Pompidou modern art gallery. When it did open it was a tremendous building, but with very few exhibits.

Alcazaba, Malaga, Spain

Alcazaba, Malaga, Spain

Behind the City Hall I found the lift up to the Alcazaba Moorish Palace, which would have cost me 60 cents, but time was marching on. I went in the free Roman Theatre and showed my driving licence to get in the free, new Museo de Málaga. This has only recently opened in the enormous Customs Building (Palacio de Aduana). This was again a tremendous building with a huge courtyard, but it also had tremendous exhibits. My favourite was the large Roman mosaic of Venus arising from her shell!

Back at the ship, I dined on the chicken with Sean, before going to the first two dance sets. When the magician came on I slipped ashore and headed for the cathedral. Here I chanced upon the first Holy Week procession. It consisted of three brass bands, two floats and one children's choir. The first float with Jesus on board was preceeded by men with black pointed hats, whilst the second with the Virgin Mary on board had men in red pointed hats. When the procession had passed by, I went in the cathedral where a symphony orchestra, mass choir and four soloists were performing a religious piece. I had to cut the free concert short to get back to the ship for 10 o'clock. I danced for the final half hour mainly with the lovely Margaret as more people went down with the lurgy. I was asleep by 11 o'clock.


Gibraltar
Saturday the 24th of March, 2018

I awoke at 6 o'clock and couldn't get back to sleep, so I arose at 6:20. Up in the Observatory I could see from the radar that we were going around in circles in the bay tied to a tug. At 7 o'clock I breakfasted on a cheese omelette with crispy bacon up in the Grampian restaurant sat with the Chaplain from Brighton. I then updated this blog back in the cabin.

At 9 o'clock I escorted my first choice City & King's Bastion tour. We began with the drive north to the Spanish border and then south to the Europa Point lighthouse. Back in the city centre, we began our walk south along Main Street. We went into Irish Town and then back on to Main Street to go in the Roman Catholic cathderal, where our guide Diana had been married. We went down Bomb House Lane to go past the synagogue and museum. At the Anglican Cathedral we met the Bishop of Kensington who was only here for the Easter Holidays and was busy decorating the nave with palm fronds ready for Palm Sunday. We finished the tour at the King's Bastion leisure centre, before catching the minibus from the second floor of the enormous new coach and car park.

Gibraltar Convent

Gibraltar Convent

Back at the ship, I touched base with Sandra to discuss the Lisbon tours. I then lunched on chicken & chips again, followed by ice cream & fruit salad in the Thistle restaurant at noon. I was sat with a chinese gentleman at first and then Cherry joined me. I then had a deep sleep for an hour and a half. At 3 o'clock I headed back into Gib, traversing Main Street out and the ramparts back.

Back at the ship again, I updated my Lisbon port talk. At 6:30 I dined on the gammon & chips sat with Sean, missing out on the roast beef. We danced from 7:45 until 8:30 and then after the always excellent Europa showtime until 10:30. One of the dancers had had a fall, so Misha Hanlon the company's choreographer had to step into the breach at the last minute. Although my bed was made up, I didn't get the Daily Times for a third evening.


Seville, Spain
Palm Sunday the 25th of March, 2018

I awoke just before my alarm at 6 o'clock, but it was now 7 o'clock on Spanish summer time. I enjoyed the cheese omelette with crispy bacon in the Palms Café at 7:30. I then worked on my blog and Lisbon presentation, ready to deliver it at 9:15. However by 9:10 no technician had appeared, so I had to charge down to Guest Services to have Ronnie paged again. This time Cruise Director Marina appeared with the miscreant technician in tow at 9:15. So I started five minutes late with no sound check leading to a further delay. I whizzed through my 40 minute Lisbon talk to get back on schedule. I then rushed up to the top deck to watch the sail up the Guadalquivir river.

After a bit I relocated to the Observatory, before lunching at noon with Cherry in the Thistle Restaurant. I had the lamb & chips followed by the lovely chocolate sundae. I then watched the passage through the new lock, before sleeping for an hour or so. I walked into the city to see two processions, but no floats.

Me outside the Archbishop's Palace in Seville

Me outside the Archbishop's Palace in Seville

Back at the ship, I went swimming, but still not jacuzzi-ing, for ten minutes in the sunshine. At 6:30 I dined on two minute steaks with Sean, Don & Steve. At 7:45 I danced with the usual suspects, doing all the sequence dances with the lovely Margaret. At 8:30 I escorted my second choice tour to an authentic flamenco show at El Patio Sevillano! The show lasted an hour and a half with lots of different dancers, but only two Spanish guitars for accompaniment. My favourite part was the re-enactment of the murder of Carmen to Bizet's famous tunes. I enjoyed one complimentary glass of sangria. Back at the ship, I indulged in two rolls in the late night buffet, before getting to bed just after midnight.


Seville, Spain
Holy Monday the 26th of March, 2018

My alarm woke me at 7 o'clock ready for my cheese omelette at 7:30. At 8:30 I escorted my third choice tour to Jerez to sample the Sherry. We had an hour and a quarter drive along the motorway, before visiting the Gonzalez Byass winery. We sampled four sherries, before driving back.

I had a late lunch of duck in the Thistle restaurant sat at the Captain's large round table, followed by the strawberry ice cream sundae. I then slept for two hours. The Captain woke me with his annoucement of the departure and a surprise sailaway party. I rushed up to the top deck, but it had already started without us. I danced with some of the usual suspects for the first time to the Nauticals pop group. When they had finished, I went for a swim in the very warm pool in the hot sunshine. I got out to watch the entry into the lock and then out again for leaving the lock. Unfortunately the jacuzzis were still closed.

I dined on the Spanish buffet, which had not required bookings, sat with Sean, Steve & Don. Sean revealed to me that as one of the very few swimmers on board, my new speedos had been the talk of the ship! The lovely Margaret & Colin had to sit at the adjoining table. I enjoyed the various varieties of Iberian dried ham and local cheeses. We danced for just one set, before the game show came on. I then went up to the Observatory for a lime soda, still without twiglets, to watch the sail down the Guadalquivir River.

At 8:45 we watched Bruce's second show, which I felt wasn't as good as his first, with various songs we didn't know and too much screeching. We danced between shows, before listening to the ABBA production show in the Coral Club at 10:30. There Marina thanked me for my lectures and apologised for the two miscreant technicians! I had one small chicken fajita in the supper club, before getting to sleep by midnight.


Cádiz, Spain
Tuesday the 27th of March, 2018

The bow thrusters woke me at 7 o'clock, ready for me to have my cheese omelette at 7:30. I then worked on this blog. At 9:40 I escorted my second choice tour to the Royal Horse Show back in Jerez again. We had a short panoramic drive around both Cádiz & Jerez, before arriving at the Royal Equestrian School where we had half an hour of free time. The show lasted an hour and a half with a ten minute interval. The two ornate carriages were the best bit of the first half and the ten formation horses the best bit of the second half of the show.

Jerez Cathedral

Jerez Cathedral

Back in Cádiz, I headed across the road to the Tourist Information Office to collect a map and some leaflets. I then had to queue with the krauts (TUI and AIDA had the two best berths in the port) to get through security, before catching the complimentary port shuttle bus the few hundred yards to Braemar on the south east side of the port. I got into the Palms Café just before three o'clock in time for a late lunch of pork and turkey. I then slept for an hour and a quarter, interrupted by the Captain's annoucement. I missed the tea dance at 3:45 which was a silly time to have one on what was a port day. I then went swimming and wallowing in the very warm pool in the bright sunshine, but the Atlantic wind was cold.

At 6:30 I dined on the turkey & mushroom pie with the sweet & sour beef, sat with Sean & Steve. The latter revealed that his cabin mate Don had succumbed to the lurgy after lunch and had been quarantined, although he hadn't! So that night I stepped into the breach and danced with all the usual suspects, but not with the lovely Margaret. I watched Brenda's second comedy show from the far corner of the Neptune Lounge. After the show Coney & the band played one set, but finished at 10:15, when I had my first luxury hot chocolate. I then went to my cabin to update this blog and go to bed at 11 o'clock, which was only 10 o'clock Portuguese and English time.


Lisbon, Portugal
Wednesday the 28th of March, 2018

I awoke at 8:25, but it was now 7:25, so I was able to have my cheese omelette as we entered the Tagus estauary. I then went up to the Observatory to watch the famous sail-in under the 25th of April suspension bridge, modelled on the Golden Gate. At 9:15 I was first off the ship, climbing the Alfama hill to the dome of the National Pantheon, but it didn't open until 10 o'clock, so I pushed on upwards to St. George's Castle. I then headed back down behind the cathedral, past the Roman theatre and the new, but still unopened, cruise terminal to the ship.

Bridge over the Tagus, Lisbon

Bridge over the Tagus, Lisbon

At 11:15 I lunched on chicken & chips yet again, followed by the lovely chocolate & cappuchino ice cream sundae in the Thistle Restaurant, sat with a couple from Brighton. At noon I escorted my third choice Maritime History tour. We drove along the front to Bélem where we had an hour and a quarter in the excellent Maritime Museum. We then walked to the other end of the building, to see the famous St. Jerome monastery. The church with Vasco da Gama's tomb and the Manueline cloister were magnificent and, like the museum, all new to me! We drove back via the Bethlehem Tower, the Discoveries Monument & the Edward the Seventh park to the ship.

Funicular, Lisbon

Funicular, Lisbon

Back at the ship, I had a lemon cream eclair with my cup of redbush tea, without waiter intervention at last, as the code red was lifted. I then slept for three quarters of an hour, missing both the Captain's annoucement (if there was one) and the sailaway down the Tagus river under the famous April the 25th suspension bridge.

At 6:30 I dined on the veal with Sean. Don had been newly released from quarantine after 24 hours, sitting with Steve, Colin & the lovely Margaret. Then suddenly at 6:50 the barriers came out again and the code red precautions were hurriedly re-introduced. Back on our corridor the dreaded red wheelie bin had been deployed again. They were stripping the beds in Don & Steve's cabin following his confinement. I wish I had done my laundry or gone up to the Observatory for a lime soda and twiglets during the short interregnum!

At 7:30 we had just one dance set before the British sing-a-long. At 8:45 came the Cool Britannia production show, followed by more dancing until 10:30. I then had my second luxury hot chocolate with all the trimmings sat with Cherry and her table mate in the Bookmark lounge. I went to bed at 11 o'clock.


Fourth Sea Day
Maundy Thursday the 29th of March, 2018

I awoke at 6:45 before my alarm at 7 o'clock. After a sh*t, shower & shave, I updated this blog, ready for my cheese omelette at 7:30. At 9 o'clock I taught the Slosh, Texas Waltz & Electric Slide to nine pax who braved the swell. I then worked on updating my powerpoint presentations with pax feedback and my own discoveries. At 11 o'clock I went to Brenda Collins' amusing interview with Marina.

I lunched at 12:30 with Don & Steve on the cottage pie, before sleeping for an hour and a half. Apparently Margaret tried to teach her Salsa class, but had to give up after ten minutes when she and another passenger went flying. At 3 o'clock I listened to Michael's interesting third talk (but no slides) on the history of the theatre. At 5:45 we had the first of the Captain's farewell cocktail parties. I dined on TWO fillet steaks again, sat with Sean and two young ladies from Leicester. One large wave sent two old timers flying.

At 8 o'clock we had the second cocktail party, followed by the predictable crew show. This had rather more non-Filipino acts (European, Nepal, India & Thailand) than usual. There was no dancing between shows as it was still too rough in the Bay of Biscay. I had my next luxury hot chocolate in the Bookmark Café sat with Don & Steve. At 10:30 I watched the Jersey Boys production show in the Coral Club. I went to bed at 11 o'clock, giving the grand gala buffet a miss.


Fifth Sea Day
Good Friday the 30th of March, 2018

I awoke at 6:45 ahead of my 7 o'clock alarm, ready for my cheese omelette and crispy bacon at 7:30 in the Palms Café as usual. I then worked on this blog. At 9 o'clock I taught California Frieze, Party Samba & Just Because to nine passengers who braved the swell as we crossed on to the continental shelf. One lady fell back on to the lethal steps around the dance floor, but thankfully was alright.

I spent most of the morning sorting out my cabin documentation ready for packing that evening. At 12:30 I lunched on the chicken casserole with Don, Steve & Sean, the code red precuations having been lifted. I then slept for an hour and a half. I started watching Major Pat's third talk on rifle shooting from the cabin, but lost interest after ten mnutes and then the broadcast failed anyway.

At 4:15 I went to Pat & Olivia's third and final recital. I enjoyed the musical theatre songs and, as they say, the cruise is not over until the fat lady sings! I then started packing. At 6:30 I dined on two minute steaks sat with Sean. At 7:15 I went to second sitting's variety show. We danced between shows, which I watched for a second time. We then danced again until 10:30 when we said our goodbyes.


Disembarkation Day, SoToN
Saturday the 31st of March, 2018

I awoke at 5 o'clock and couldn't get back to sleep, excited at the prospect of going home. I was up at 5:20 and enjoying my final cheese omelette with crispy bacon at 6 o'clock in the Palms Café. I then worked on this blog in my cabin. I left my cabin and went up to an empty Observatory to await disembarkation. I was off the ship by 8:30 and managed to catch the 8:43 cross country train from SoToN to BoMoH. I was home by 9:30!

One lady later wrote: "It was great to meet you. Thank you for all your assistance on the dance floor. I especially loved all our dances together. I even learned more sequence dances!!"

CD Marina from Serbia wrote in her report: "Martin is a great port speaker and is always true pleasure to welcome him back on board, all of his presentations were highly informative and clear, so I had nothing to worry about which make much difference. Martin has also offered to do some line dancing on the last couple of days which was very well attended and appreciated by our guests. Martin is just a great speaker, always pleasant with guests and crew and very sociable which is always plus to our team."


Braemar

Braemar


Score card:

8 Shore excursions escorted
7 Port talks given
6 Line dances taught
5 Cocktail parties attended
2 Line dance classes run

Good points were:

  1. Twiglets!
  2. Slop chest
  3. Two jacuzzis
  4. Open foredeck
  5. Midnight buffet
  6. Four deck atrium
  7. Cheese omelettes
  8. Expansive top deck
  9. Planning spreadsheet
  10. In cabin tea & coffee
  11. Luxury hot chocolates
  12. Triple aspect Palms Café
  13. All round promenade deck
  14. One hot pool & one cool pool
  15. Outside twin cabin all to myself
  16. Dancing with the dance instructress

For the record ...