Cruises SS2934 & SS2935
on the Silver Wind
in the Caribbean
December
2019

Date: Port: Flag: Escort: Comment:
8th
Dec.
2019
San Juan
Puerto Rico
USA
- Aboard
at 2:30
9th
Dec.
2019
Gustavia
St. Barts
FWI
- Glorious
Day!
10th
Dec.
2019
Castries
St. Lucia
Bike & Hike
to a
Waterfall
Glorious
Day!
11th
Dec.
2019
St. John's
Antigua
Amazing
Antigua!
Glorious
Day!
12th
Dec.
2019
Philipsburg
Sint Maarten
DWI
Sky
Explorer
Glorious
Day!
13th
Dec.
2019
Spanish Town
Virgin Gorda
BVI
Land
&
Sea
Glorious
Day!
14th
Dec.
2019
Samaná
Dominican
Rep.
- In place of
La Romana
Date: Port: Flag: Escort: Comment:
17th
Dec.
2019
Port Everglades
Florida
USA
- Walked into
Fort
Lauderdale
19th
Dec.
2019
Cockburn Town
Grand Turk
T&CI
Coast
to
Coast
Glorious
Day!
21st
Dec.
2019
Road Town
Tortola
BVI
Escape to
Jost van
Dyke
Swimming at
White Bay
Beach!
22nd
Dec.
2019
Falmouth
Antigua
Amazing
Antigua
Walk
Swimming at
Pigeon Point
Beach
23rd
Dec.
2019
Gustavia
St. Barts
FWI
- Walk to the
Eden Rock
at St. Jean!
24th
Dec.
2019
Charlotte Amalie
St. Thomas
USVI
Panoramic
with Rum
Tasting!
Glorious
Day!
27th
Dec.
2019
Port Everglades
Florida
USA
- MIA-->LHR
Date: Port: Flag: Escort: Comment:


BoMoH --> LHR
Friday the 6th of December 2019

   I awoke at 6:25, but didn't get away until 10:25, driving up the M3 towards London. I parked outside Eton public school and walked down the high street into Windsor. In the old railway station, I found the Bella Italia restaurant who were offering pizzas for just £2, courtesy of the WunTu app from the Three mobile network. Unfortunately this app is due to be withdrawn at the end of the year!

   In Slough, I bought a new £13 watch from the Argos outlet inside Sainsburys. I got to my £45 digs at 2:45 and napped for half an hour, before taking the bus into Hounslow. Back at the Skylark guest house, I had my packed supper, whilst watching TV.


LHR --> MIA --> SJU
Saturday the 7th of December 2019

   I awoke at 6:15, fifteen minutes before my alarms, so I was in LHR Terminal 3 soon after 7 o'clock. I couldn't check-in at one of the American Airline machines and was eventually led off to the British Airways manual check-in. Here I was told that I had to collect my suitcase and re-check-in when I got to Miami, so I started worrying that I wouldn't have enough time at MIA!

   We took off 40 minutes late, but made up 30 minutes en route. I began by watching the charming Disney "Lion King" movie, but was surprised there were only five Tim Rice / Elton John songs, and I'm sure "Whimaway" isn't one of theirs! Halfway through the film I realised that the story was taken from Shakespeare's Hamlet! I had the lovely Tandoori chicken with rice for lunch and then dozed for an hour and a half.

   I then watched "Rocketman", the Elton John biopic, for a second time, finding it better than first time, but rather overlong. I had an choc ice lolly half way and then afternoon tea, which actually consisted of a fresh pastrami club sandwich for a change.

   In Miami International Airport (MIA) immigration only took 20 minutes, unlike 120 minutes last time I was here! Baggage reclaim only took ten minutes, but re-check-in was a problematic 25 minutes as the machine had my name, but kept rejecting me. Eventually a boarding pass was printed manually!

   Security took another 20 minutes, after which I could relax and update this blog. During the less than two hour flight to San Juan, we had one complimentary drink and two ginger nut biscuits. The airport was quite quiet late at night, so we sped through.

   The Silversea reps didn't have me on their list, as I was on the Royal Caribbean list, who have recently taken Silversea over. I met up with cruise director Colin, orginally from the Northern Isles, but now living in Paris. We chatted as we were taken to our hotel. I finally got to bed at 10:30 which was 2:30 a.m. according to my body clock.


San Juan, Puerto Rico
Sunday the 8th of December 2019
Embarkation Day!

   I awoke at 6:30, after eight hours of sleeping. I had a decaff coffee in my room, before enjoying scrambled egg on a toasted bagel in the cafeteria. I then went for a walk into town, west along Condado island to the big bridge and then back east along the south side of Condado bay. There was a big triathlon race going on in both directions.

   Back at the hotel, I watched TV until 10:45 when I checked out and awaited my transfer. After fifteen minutes, I phoned the agent who said the delay was due to traffic congestion. After nearly an hour, my driver arrived and took me to the cruise port. On duty at the desk was the singer Jonathan Graham, who I had sailed with twice two years ago on the lovely little Saga Pearl II.

   I went up to the pool side buffet where I lunched on the BBQ chicken wrap with fries sat with Dawn from Rochester, New York State. Jan from Maidstone, a speaker travelling as a passenger, came over to introduce herself. At two o'clock the suites were released and I unpacked. I had a lot of scurrying around to do before my first 40 minute lecture on Gustavia & Castries in the theatre. The technician Ionut Capitan had to be summoned at the last minute as he thought it was starting half an hour later.

   This was followed by the safety drill up in the Panorama lounge. I then updated this blog, before spending 15 minutes in one of the jacuzzis as we sailed away from San Juan. At 6:45 Colin introduced all the staff including myself in the Panorama bar. I stayed on here for the solos meeting with Barbi from Glendale, California and others.

   Ana arranged us into two tables of six each for the immediately following solos dinner. She and I were supposed to be hosting different tables, but ended up sitting side by side. We also had Hilda the horsewoman from Lousiana, Mary from Pittsburgh, Lynn from Detroit and her cousin Martha from Sarasota. I began with the Malaysian soup, continued with the salad, had the filet mignon steak and finished with the sugar free ice cream. At 9:30 I retired to my room and updated this blog, before having an early night.


Gustavia, St. Barts
Monday the 9th of December 2019

   I awoke at 6:15 ready for the full English breakfast al fresco at 7 o'clock sat with Barbi. The tours were tendered away from 8 o'clock and I got away on the first independents tender at nine. I walked around town, going in all the main sights. Unfortunately the museum had been cleared of most of its exhibits. Upstairs, I went in the public library to utilise their free wi-fi.

   I caught the 11:30 tender back to the ship ready for a huge beefburger and fries al fresco for lunch. I must remember to ask for no bread next time! I then slept for an hour and a half. At 4:15 I gave my 40 minute talk on our next two ports of call. I then spent 15 minutes in one of the hot tubs, hoping to watch the sunset, but unfortunately it clouded over.

   At 7 o'clock I hosted the solos gathering on my own, but only four people turned up, as the Captain's cocktail party was also taking place. Matt the Scotsman wasn't in formal wear, so he had to dine in the buffet and Gill the Jewish gentleman was dining with Emma-Lee the cruise sales lady from the Isle of White, so I hosted just two ladies: Jackie & Maureen from near Orlando at dinner. I had the mushroom soup, the Tornedos Rossini and the summer pudding, all washed down with two glasses of claret.

   At ten o'clock I went to the musicals showtime, where I knew most of the classic songs. I went to sleep just before eleven o'clock.


Castries, St. Lucia
Tuesday the 10th of December 2019

   I awoke at 6:30 to my alarms ready for TWO eggs Benedict al fresco at 7 o'clock. In my email in-box was an offer from one of my agents for my first Greenland cruise, which I hastily accepted. I then went up to the Observation lounge to watch the sail-in. I was one of the first off the ship ready to escort my first choice Hiking & Biking tour ($79). We drove out in a convertible long wheel-base Land Rover to Anse La Raye. Here we tranferred on to new bicycles to cycle up into the hills. After a couple of miles, we started our half a mile hike to a beautiful waterfall. Retracing our steps, we had rum punch back in Anse La Raye.

   Back at the ship at one o'clock, I lunched on chicken and chips al fresco, before sleeping for an hour and a half. At four o'clock I walked into town, taking a few photographs along the way. I went in a couple of shopping malls plus the Roman Catholic cathedral. Back at the ship, I spent twenty minutes in the jacuzzi as dusk approached.

   At 7 o'clock Katerina had asked me to host the solos gathering as she was on gangway duty. I had one gent and two ladies to chat to, but they all had other dining plans, so I dined alone. I began with the sweet potato soup, continued with the king crab appetiser, main coursed on the lamb chops and finished with the triple mango dessert.

   At 9:45 I went to Jonathan's excellent "Life through a Lens" movie song cabaret. He began with Sam Smith's "The Writings on the Wall" sung falsetto and finished with "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers. Unfortunately most of the ship had been out that afternoon and evening to a beach party, so the audience was diminished.

   Back in our suites, we had a note from the Captain changing our Dominican Republic port call from La Romana to Samana, so I won't now be giving my lecture on the former! I went to sleep at eleven o'clock.


St. John's, Antigua
Wednesday the 11th of December 2019

   I awoke at six o'clock, but didn't get up until 6:40. At 7:10 I had TWO eggs Benedict al fresco as we sailed past the huge volcano of Montserrat. I spent the morning doing ironing, working on my laptop and watching my port talks on the TV. We arrived at 10:30 and I was one of the first off as it was pouring down! I photographed the important sights as the sun came out including the cathedral, the museum and the markets.

   Back at the ship, I lunched at noon on the beefburger and chips, this time with no bread, at the Grill by the pool. At one o'clock I escorted my second choice Amazing Antigua tour ($49). We drove out via the Sir Viv Richards cricket stadium to Shirley Heights, overlooking the English Harbour. We then had a tour of Nelson's Dockyard with some free time to explore the large complex. This was fortuitous, as I will be giving a lecture on this site just before we return here in two weeks time!

The English Harbour, Antigua

The English Harbour, Antigua

   Back at the ship again, it was getting dark, so I forewent my hot tub session in favour of updating this blog and backing up my photographs. At 6:30 I went to the Opera showtime sat with Barbi. The two classically trained Ukrainian singers were accompanied by cruise director Colin on the grand piano. He opened the show with Beethoven's moonlight sonata. The only aria I recognised was "One fine day" from Madame Butterfly. They closed the show predictably with "Time to say goodbye".

   We then went to the end of the solos gathering to form a large dinner party consisting of Maggie, Barbi, Anne, Katerina, Mary & Dawn Lipson from Rochester, New York State. I dined on the lobster bisque, the rib-eyed steak and the medley of blue cheeses. At 9:45 I went up to the Panorama lounge to hear the "Simply Divine" pop show by the other four singers. When it turned into a disco, I went to bed.


Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
Thursday the 12th of December 2019
UK General Election Day!

   I awoke to my alarm at 6:30 ready for TWO eggs Benedict out on the aft terrace (La Terrazza). At 8 o'clock I escorted my first choice tour to the Soualiga Sky Explorer ($69). We had a talk in the period museum, before I caught the chair lift up the mountain sat with Bruce and King Kevin from Vancouver. One couple ducked out of the ride up and caught a taxi back to the ship. We had fantastic views of both the Dutch and French sides of the island. Back at the bottom again, we eventually got our complimentary soft drinks.

Doc. Martin at Dock Maarten

Doc. Martin at Dock Maarten

   Back at the ship, I had salmon en croute in the buffet, before sleeping for over an hour, interrupted by the bunkering annoucement. At 4:15 I gave my last port talk of this first cruise with Silversea to a handful of pax. We were still in port, the sun was shining and afternoon tea was being served, so I stood no chance! I then spent nearly an hour in the two jacuzzis chatting with a couple from Atlanta, the lady of whom works for Silversea and then a couple from Vancouver Island who had been on my tour this morning.

Courthouse, St. Martin

Courthouse, St. Martin

   At seven o'clock I sat with Dawn at the Venetian Society cocktail party. I then dined on the rib-eyed steak again sat with Dawn, Mary, Lynn, Martha, Nancy and her husband Jim. Towards the end of the meal Barbi also came to join us. At 9:45 I again sat with Dawn at the Operatic showtime, which was very poorly attended. I then went to bed at 10:30.


Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda
Friday the 13th of December 2019

   I awoke at 6 o'clock to my alarms. At 6:45 I went to the Panorama lounge for the early risers continental breakfast, sat with Barbi, Iris and David. At 7 o'clock Barbi and I went down one floor to the Terrace buffet (La Terrazza), where I had just one egg Benedict sat with Barbi.

   At 7:40 I was on dispatch duty in the Theatre with Marina. At 8:30 I led my group down to the tender for my first choice Land & Sea tour ($64). Over on the island, we got off our tender and on to their boat. We travelled south to the famous Baths, before doubling back north to the Dog islands. Here we had our complimentary rum punches.

The Baths, Virgin Gorda, BVI

The Baths, Virgin Gorda, BVI

   We then headed east past Mosquito island, which Sir Richard Branson has renamed Moskito for his new home and resort. We berthed again at pretty Leverick Bay, where we transfered to our open sided buses. At the first viewpoint, looking north east, we could see Sir Richard's old home on Necker island. At the second viewpoint, looking south west, we could see all of Spanish Town with its airstrip on the coast. Our final photo stop was overlooking the lovely Savannah Bay beach. Back at the Yacht harbour, my group headed straight for the tender, as I explored Spanish Town and used the free wi-fi in the Bath & Turtle pub's beer garden.

   I caught the 12:15 tender back to the ship ready for a hot dog with fries, but no bread, sat by the pool. I then slept for nearly two hours. At 4:15 I gave my 40 minute enrichment talk entitled "The Story of Western Architecture". Two professional architects from Chile sat in the front row!

   At 6:45 I went to the newcomers cocktail party and sat with Bruce & King Kevin from Vancouver and a couple from Vancouver Island. At 7 o'clock Katerina asked me to join the solos gathering which was also taking place in the Panorama Lounge. At 7:30 we went down to the main dining room where I sat with Mary, Katerina, disabled Becky, Barbi and Dawn. I began with the mulligatawny soup, continued with the filet mignon for a second time and finished with the sugar free raspberry bavaroise.

   At 9:45 I went to Ben's excellent American Anthems showtime, but kept falling asleep, so I snuck out at 10:10 and went to bed.


Samaná
Dominican Republic
Saturday the 14th of December 2019

   I awoke at 6:30 and watched my architecture talk on the TV. At 7:30 I had TWO eggs Benedict al fresco sat with Barbi. I snuck on to 9:30 tour tender and spent three hours ashore in Samaná. I walked along the charming promenade taking photographs. I caught up with the ship's tour at the Protestant church which had been prefabricated back in Britain. I walked all the way to the markets: veg, meat and fish respectively, before heading along the shoreline again to the Whale museum ($3). They had the skeleton of a New England humpback whale, which had wintered in Samaná bay.

   I finally reached the lovely beach, but the water was suspiciously cloudy. I took the elevator up to the impressive hotel complex, whose grounds I explored. I went a little way along the bridges to nowhere, before doubling back along the prom. I just missed the 12:30 tender, so had to wait half an hour for the next.

   Back at the ship, I lunched on the beefburger and chips, without bread, beside the pool. I then slept for over an hour and a half. At four o'clock I was debating whether to take the tender back ashore, when they announced they had stopped as it was getting too choppy, so I started putting my day's pictures into a new PowerPoint presentation on Samaná.

   At 5:30 I finally did six lengths of the cool pool in the hot afternoon, before spending twenty minutes in one of the hot tubs. At 6:30 I went to Colin's piano duet concert with the classical pianist Olena, sat with Barbi. They began with Handel's "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba" and continued with Mozart's Turkish rondo. They played one of Brahm's Hungarian dances and one of Dvorak's Slavonic dances. I enjoyed "Danse Macabre" by Saint-Saens and two pieces from Grieg's "Peer Gynt": "Morning" and "The Hall of the Mountain King". The only piece I didn't know was by Debussy.

   At 7:15 I went to the solos gathering and twenty minutes later we descended to the main dining room. I had the prime rib of beef sat with Sophie, Katerina, Gill, Matt, gynaecologist Emmanuel and his wife Claud(ette) from Basel. The latter pair had sold their holiday home in Florida and bought one on Lake Lucerne instead! At 9:45 I went to Rachael's excellent cabaret in a packed Panorama lounge. When she finished it became a disco and I left to update this blog, getting to sleep at eleven.


First Sea Day
Sunday the 15th of December 2019

   I awoke at 6:30, but breakfast didn't begin until 7:30, when I had TWO eggs Benedict sat just inside the Terrace buffet (La Terrazza). I then worked on my PowerPoint presentations. At 9:40 Colin led a short church service for Mary, Barbi and one other lady in the theatre. At 10 o'clock I gave my 40 minute talk on Volcanoes. I had some questions from a couple from Oregon, so I was glad I had mentioned their Crater Lake!

   At eleven I took some of my photos up to Ana for the end of cruise slide show. At noon I lunched on two minute steaks and the sugar free choc chip ice cream in the buffet. Just as I was finishing at 12:30 Barbi arrived and then Bruce and King Kevin joined us. Barbara persuaded me to join her in sharing a cooked-to-order pizza. We had tomato, mozzarella cheese, olives and mushrooms on a thin and crispy base. I managed three slices, but didn't eat the crusts!

   At one o'clock I retired to my suite to sleep for over an hour and a half. At 4:15 I gave my 30 minute talk on the musicals for the very first time. At the end Dawn surpisingly said that Larry Hagman (Mary Martin's son) was better known for his acting work other than as J.R. Ewing in Dallas! I did six lengths of the cool pool, before spending twenty minutes in one of the hot tubs. I wanted to wait to see the sun go down, but we were now too far west.

   At 6:15 I went to the excellent "Blues Brother, Soul Sister" showtime with five of the six singers. I sat with Jackie and Maureen near the front of the theatre, which was about one third full, the busiest I have seen it all cruise.

   At 7 o'clock the Captain gave his farewell speech and led on the large crew parade. I then dined on the Chateaubriand beef, sat with Barbi, a couple from Newfoundland, a couple from Florida and George the ship's Roumanian jeweller. The Canadians told me about the new musical "Come From Away" about Gander's magnificent response to 9/11. We didn't finish until 9:30, when for the first time there was no late show, so I went to my suite and watched my Volcano and Musical lectures, before going to bed at eleven.


Second Sea Day
Monday the 16th of December 2019

   I awoke at 6:30 as usual ready for TWO eggs Benedict at 7:30 sat with Barbi. At 11 o'clock I gave my 40 minute talk entitled "Talking Trash: Plastic Pollution in the Oceans".

   At noon I lunched on the king crab legs, the duck and the ice cream sat with Barbi again. I then slept for an hour or so, before giving my 35 minute Tommy Cooper lecture. I then started packing to transfer my things across the corridor from suite 420 to suite 427 which was already empty.

   At 6:30 I sat with Barbi in the theatre for the piano duet showtime. Cruise Director Colin and classical pianist Olena began with Bach and then played a long piece by Schubert. Olena played her own version of the Phantom of the Opera song "All I ask of you" and Colin played Finlandia by Sibelius. They finished by reprising the "Hall of the Mountain King" by Grieg and the "Danse Macabre" by Saint-Saens.

   At 7:30 I dined on the New York strip (sirloin) steak sat with Barbi, disabled Becky and a couple from Dublin. At 9:30 I adjourned to my new suite and watched a couple of my lectures on the TV.


Port Everglades
Tuesday the 17th of December 2019

   I awoke at 7:30, but it was now only 6:30 on Eastern Standard Time. At 7 o'clock I had TWO eggs Benedict for breakfast in the Terrace buffet (La Terrazza). I said good bye to Barbi, Bruce and King Kevin in the foyer and was one of the first off the ship just after eight. I walked west past the partially hidden statue of Christopher Columbus to reach historic Highway One, which goes from Key West to Bangor, Maine!

   I then walked several miles north alongside the dual carriageway (divided highway). I stopped off in the T-mobile store, but couldn't get their wi-fi to work. Here I met the DJ from the Crown Princess, who had been on my Scandinavian cruise on the Sapphire Princess last June/July time!

   I continued through the tunnel under the New River, before following the riverside path westwards. Unfortunately several sections of this were closed off, so I only got as far as the Art Gallery not the Science Museum. I walked back along the main shopping street of Las Olas Boulevard, before doubling back to the tunnel.

   Back on the south bank again, I cut through the posh suburbs to reach the historic Evergreen cemetery. I then went in the Hilton Embassy Suites which we had used coming home from our Crystal cruise this time last year.

   At the entrance to the port, the guard wanted both my ship's card and driving licence in order to issue me with pass! I went in the Mission to Seafarers in order to use their free wi-fi, but they didn't have a drinking fountain.

   I got back to the ship at 1:35 ready for the mixed grill of chicken, pork and lamb in the buffet. I then slept for two hours, tired out after my ten mile hike in the hot sun! At 5 o'clock we had the safety drill.

   At 6:45 Colin presented us in the Panorama lounge. I then sat with the solos gathering at the back of the room. At 7:30 I dined on NY Strip Steak for a second time, sat with Betty originally from Ipswich and Tricia originally from the Wirral plus Katerina.

   At 9:30 I danced with Daphne in the Bar to the guitarist. I went to bed at 10:30.


Third Sea Day
Wednesday the 18th of December 2019

   I awoke at 6:30 ready to breakfast on TWO eggs Benedict at 7:30 sat with Daphne. At 10 o'clock I gave my 45 minute talk on Grand Turk & Tortola to an appreciative audience wearing my Turkish cap. (Grand Turk is named after the Turk's Cap Cactus!)

   At noon I lunched on four large king crab legs, before sleeping for two and a half hours. At 4:15 I went to Derek's interesting 42 minute lecture on Magna Carta. I then spent half an hour in one of the jacuzzis, later joined by Daphne.

   At 7 o'clock I hosted the solos gathering, but only one lady, Pat from Florida, turned up, as the Captain's welcome cocktail party was going on in the theatre. I escorted her to the Terrace restaurant (La Terrazza), where she had a reservation.

   I then joined the two International hostesses Ana and Katerina at their table in the main restaurant. I was sat next to Perry and his Laotian wife, Moune. He was 99 years old and had served in the US Navy during the war! After service with the State Department (US Foreign Office), he had been Gibraltar's representative in the United States. They still have a home in Washington DC as well as holday homes in Florida and near St. Martin on the Ile de Ré, near La Rochelle, which I have visited a couple of times. The other two on the table were Leigh and her quiet friend. I had the small, but perfectly formed, Tornedos Rossini for dinner.

   At 9:45 I went to the excellent Musicals show for a second time.


Cockburn Town, Grand Turk
Thursday the 19th of December 2019

   I awoke before 6 o'clock and couldn't get back to sleep, so I got up and watched my first two port talks on the TV. At 7:30 I had the full English breakfast in the Terrace buffet (La Terrazza).

   At 10 o'clock I was on dispatch duty in the theatre. At 10:30 we departed by tender, but it was quite choppy. This had delayed the previous tours, so we had to hang around the cruise centre until 11:30. Some pax grew impatient with the wait in the hot sun and so headed back to the tender jetty.

   We then had our two hour Coast to Coast - Grand Turk Safari ($59) which had been my first choice tour. Our first stop was at the craft market in Cockburn Town, where I was able to pop into the National Museum to take a quickie piccie. Our second stop was at the old lighthouse, but it had been closed after hurricane damage. Our final stop was at Governor's Beach, where I took a photograph of the rear of the Governor's Mansion. Back at the tender quay, I had to wait fifteen minutes for the two o'clock tender.

   Back at the ship, I had the beefburger and fries with no bread. I then slept for two hours. When I woke up, I did six lengths of the cool pool and spent 25 minutes in one of the hot tubs. At 6:45 I went up to the Panorama lounge for the solos get together with Daphne, Pat, Judith, Pearl from Romsey and the two international hostesses.

   At 7:30 we descended to the main restaurant for dinner. Pearl had a reservation elsewhere, so Colin the cruise director made up our numbers, meaning three pax and three crew! I dined on the New York strip steak for a third time. At 9:30 Daphne and I did the waltz, tango, jive & rumba to the guitarist in the bar. I then snuck into the back of the theatre for the second half of Jonathan's excellent movie songs cabaret. I went to bed at eleven.


Fourth Sea Day
Friday the 20th of December 2019

   I awoke at 6 o'clock, but it was now seven on Caribbean time. I breakfasted on a cheese omelette with crispy bacon for the first time this cruise. At 9:30 Clive gave his 50 minute shore excursion talk on Road Town, English Harbour and Gustavia, but not St. Thomas.

   At 11 o'clock Derek gave his interesting 50 minute lecture entitled "The Devil's Brood" about King Henry the Second's family. This included his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine and his sons King Richard the Lionheart and King John. At noon I lunched on the escalope of veal sat with Bob & Lyn, a couple from Las Vegas. I then slept for an hour and a half, before updating my presentations.

   At 4:15 I gave my 40 minute talk on English Harbour, Antigua and Gustavia, St. Barts. I then did six lengths of the cool pool and spent half an hour in one of the jacuzzis chatting to Daphne about Fort Lauderdale. As the sun disappeared, I had my first Pina Colada cocktail.

   At 7 o'clock I went to the solos gathering as usual. I dined on the rib-eye steak for a third time, sat with Linda, Pearl and Katerina together with Lyn and her amusing husband Bob from Las Vegas again. At 9:45 I went to Ben's American Anthems cabaret, and managed to stay awake this time. When it ended at 10:30, I went straight to bed.


Road Town
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Saturday the 21st of December 2019

   I awoke at 6 o'clock, half an hour before my alarm. At 8 o'clock I was on the quayside ready to escort my first choice tour to Jost van Dyke island by catamarran ($69). We got away at 8:40, taking an hour to get to the lovely White Bay. Having set myself up on the beach, it proceeded to pour down for ten minutes, but the Soggy Dollar bar did offer free wi-fi, so I was happy.

   I took my first swim in the warm Caribbean sea for a long time. I then walked to both far ends of the beach. It got too hot lying on the beach, so I adjourned to a picnic table with umbrella. At 12:15 we sailed back to Road Town. I had two glasses of lovely rum punch, but turned down a third one as I was on duty.

   Back at the ship, I lunched on the poached salmon, sat with Pat & Daphne. I then dozed for one hour. Back in Road Town, I wandered around taking photographs for an hour and a half.

   Back at the ship again, I did half a dozen lengths of the cool pool, before spending over one hour in one of the hot tubs chatting firstly to Daphne and then to a man from Miami. He had been in the wine trade and was now in the cannabis and marijuana business!

   At 7 o'clock I sat with Daphne in the Venetian Society cocktail party. At 7:30 we moved up to the Hot Rocks Grill beside the pool. Here we both had Caesar salad followed by Filet Mignon cooked by ourselves on the hot stones. At 9:30 we danced to the Trio for the first time. When Daphne went to bed I caught the end of the Operatic showtime in the theatre, before going to bed at 10:30.


English Harbour Town
Falmouth Harbour, Antigua
Sunday the 22nd of December 2019
Winter Solstice

   My alarm woke me at 6:30 ready for my first smoked salmon omelette in the Terrace buffet (La Terrazza). At 8 o'clock I was on dispatch duty in the theatre, ready to escort my first choice Antigua walking tour. We eventually got away on the tender, which took us to English Harbour Town gas station, alongside Falmouth Harbour, NOT nearby English Harbour! We drove across the island to have a walk through a very quiet St. John's with no large cruise ships in on a Sunday.

   We then drove back via the enormous Sir Viv Richards cricket stadium to Shirley Heights, where we had photostops at both the Blockhouse, overlooking Eric Clapton's mansion and the Guard House, overlooking English Harbour proper. We descended to Nelson's Dockyard for a short tour and three quarters of an hour free time.

   Most of my party then caught the 1:30 tender back to the ship. Here I was able to grab THREE lamb chops with green peas and NO potatoes in the Terrace buffet (La Terrazza) before it closed at 2 o'clock. I then slept for an hour and a quarter. I just managed to catch the 4 o'clock tender ashore. I did some photography in English Harbour Town, before heading to Pigeon Point beach.

Beach on Antigua

Beach on Antigua

   I had my second swim of the cruise in the Caribbean sea. I then chatted to Dr. 'Pot' from USC and his wife on the beach. He had been a forensic psychologist, dealing with the mental aftermath of 9/11. He wanted to know how to become a cruise ship speaker!

   I then caught the 6 o'clock tender back to the ship, as it grew dark with a magnificent pink sky across the huge volcano of Montserrat. At 7 o'clock I went to the solos gathering, but only Daphne showed up. We joined a table with Judith and the bridge couple David & Cheryl. Both Jewish David and Daphne like Buddhism! I had the Indian cream soup, the rib-eyed steak for a fourth time and the pistacio ice cream.

   At 9:45 Daphne and I danced to the guitarist for half an hour, followed by a couple of dances to the trio. When Daphne went up to the disco, I went to bed.


Gustavia
St. Barts, F.W.I
Monday the 23rd of December 2019

   I awoke at 7:15 ready for my second smoked salmon omelette with crispy bacon at 8 o'clock. I snuck on to the 9 o'clock tour tender and headed north west out of Gustavia to get to the public beach. I climbed up the hill under the flight path of the airstrip. I had to duck as a light aircraft came directly over my head! Down on the other side of the island, I explored St. Jean and its fabulous beach.

   I walked along to the famous Eden Rock hotel owned by Pippa Middleton's husband's family. I then headed back into Gustavia by the upper road. Back at the Gare Maritime, I caught the 11:30 tender back to the ship.

   At noon I dined on the roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and asparagus, but NO potatoes. I then slept for just over an hour. At 2 o'clock I caught the next tender ashore and walked to the famous Shell Beach (Plage de Grands Galets). Here I swam for twenty minutes, before heading back to the tender dock.

   I caught the 3:30 tender back to the ship to get showered and ready for my 35 minute lecture on Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands at 5:30. Unfortunately I fell running up the stairs at the end and bruised my left knee. At 7 o'clock I went to the solos gathering but only Pat turned up. I then dined with her, Katerina and a couple from Martha's Vineyard. I had the rather fatty veal shank for dinner.

   At 9:30 I did the rumba, cha cha & quickstep with Daphne to the Trio. We then slipped into the excellent 'Jersey Beats' showtime, which they had not done on the previous cruise. I was asleep before 11 o'clock.


Charlotte Amalie
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Tuesday the 24th of December 2019
Christmas Eve!

   I awoke at 6:15, fifteen minutes before my alarm. At 7 o'clock I breakfasted on a cheese omelette with crispy bacon. At 8 o'clock I was on duty on a chaotic quayside, ready to escort my second choice panoramic tour. My safari buses all left without me, so I jumped on to Emma-Lee's tour bus. I jumped out at their first viewpoint, but my buses had stopped off previously. When my buses did arrive, I was able to sit in the front of one with my driver/guide Winston.

   We continued to the Mountain Top emporium for our rum tastings. I began with the smooth white rum and then tried the coconut and banana flavoured varieties. One couple were late back to the bus, but I was able to find them in the crowded store and drag them back out. We drove back down to the city, where two couples opted out, as the rest of the bus came back to the cruise terminals.

   I then walked inland to the Pueblo supermarket and Kmart pharmacy for photographs. I doubled back down to the shore at the Yacht Haven Grande. I then walked the one mile back into the city. Here I photographed all the sights along the busy main street, with FIVE ships in port. I utilised the free wi-fi in the Diamonds International store going both ways.

   Back at the ship, I forewent the opportunity of inspecting the Silversea's Silver Whisper, which was berthed in front of us with a banner saying 'Merry Christmas to our little Sister Ship'. I then had the roast lamb with mashed potatoes and vegetables for a late lunch in the terrace buffet (La Terrazza).

   Back in my suite I got a telephone message saying they couldn't arrange a transfer for me to MIA in three days time. I then dozed for an hour and a half interrupted by the Captain's departure message. I backupped my photographs, taking some of the morning's tour up to Marina in the office. I then updated this blog, before swimming and jacuzzi-ing as usual. At 7 o'clock I went to the solos gathering, but only Daphne showed up.

   At 7:30 we descended to the main dining room, where we ate with Swedish Britt, English Emma-Lee, amusing Bob & Lyn from Las Vegas and Perry & Moune from DC. At 9:45 Daphne and I danced to both the guitarist AND the trio for three quarters of an hour, whilst the magic show was going on in the theatre. At 11:30 I went to the Carol service in the theatre, missing out 'Away in a Manger' as usual! It finished just after midnight, when I went to bed.


Fifth Sea Day
Wednesday the 25th of December 2019
Christmas Day!

   I awoke at 7:15 ready for my smoked salmon omelette with crispy bacon in the Terrace buffet (La Terrazza). At 10:30 I gave my 35 minute talk on plastic in the oceans. At 11:45 I donned my 'Elf & Safety costume to join Santa Claus. We began in the main foyer for photographs and the distribution of presents to the half dozen kids on board. We proceeded around the ship saying "Merry Christmas" including going into the crew mess and the officers' mess. We then visited the Panorama lounge, the Terrace buffet (La Terrazza) and the Main dining room with the six professional singers, singing carols!

   At 1:30 I lunched on roast chicken with asparagus, but NO potatoes, in the Terrace buffet (La Terrazza). I then slept for over an hour, before going to Derek's lecture entitled "Life was Grim for Common Folk". At 4:45 I went up to the pool, but it was cordoned off as the deck was being sanded down.

   At 7 o'clock I went to the solos gathering and when Daphne appeared we immediately went down to the main restaurant to bag a table for two right next to the improvished dance floor on the central carpet. We were the only couple to dance during the evening meal to the trio. We both had the foie gras paté & consommé, roast turkey, christmas pudding AND yule log!

   At 9:30 I adjourned to the bar where the trio were playing again and Betty came to join me. Another couple then joined Daphne and me on the small, circular dance floor for the first time this cruise. At 10 o'clock I went through to the theatre with Daphne and Betty for the Christmas variety show. Each of the six professional singers did a Christmas song, the magician did one trick and Colin & Olena played two duets from the Nutcracker Suite. I went to bed at 11:30, after a super Christmas Day at sea!


Sixth Sea Day
Thursday the 26th of December 2019
Boxing Day!

   I awoke at 6:30 ready for TWO eggs Benedict in the Terrace buffet (La Terrazza) at 7:30. At 10:30 I went to Derek's interesting final talk on Magna Carta. At noon I lunched on one slice of Pizza Napoletana and some choc chip zero sugar ice cream. I then slept for an hour and a quarter.

   At 4:15 I gave my final 40 minute talk on Tommy Cooper again. I then packed. At 6:15 I sat with Daphne for the Blues Brothers / Soul Sisters showtime. At the end the Captain gave a short speech and then introduced the crew parade. I appeared in my elf fancy dress outfit three times in the end of cruise slide show.

   At 7:15 I dined on the Italian minestrone soup, the Greek salad, the New York strip steak and the Turkish hazelnut ice cream. I was sat with Daphne, Scottish David & his American wife, Bob & Lyn from Las Vegas and a German couple. At 9:30 Daphne and I danced to the trio for one last set together. When they finished playing at 10:15, I said my goodbyes to her and to them. I went to sleep at 11 o'clock.


Port Everglades
Florida, United States
Friday the 27th of December 2019
Disembarkation Day!

   I awoke at 7 o'clock, but it was now only 6 o'clock on Eastern Standard Time (EST). I breakfasted on a cheese omelette with crispy bacon, sat next to Daphne in the Terrace buffet (La Terrazza). At 8 o'clock I vacated my suite and headed for the Observatory. Pink labels were called at 9:15, fifteen minutes ahead of schedule.

   I said goodbye to International Hostess Ana at the gangway and then met up with my colleague Derek and his wife Maggie at the baggage reclaim. There was no queue for the taxis and we got to the EB Hotel at Miami International Airport (MIA) at 10 o'clock. We each paid just $50 for the half hour taxi ride down the I95 to MIA.

   In the hotel foyer I found a power socket and proceeded to work on my laptop. At 12:30 we had lunch in the hotel restaurant. We had the set menu for just $15 each. I had the chicken soup, poached salmon with large French fries and grilled vegetables, a small chocolate mousse and iced tea.

   At 2:30 we caught the hotel shuttle bus to the airport. I was all checked-in by 3 o'clock with no hassles for a change! Having offloaded my case, I went walkabout.

   I caught the free MIA Mover rubber tyred train to the main Interchange station. TriRail calls this "Miami Airport Station", but MetroRail calls it "Miami International Airport". Its official name is actually "Miami Intermodal Center"! Here I took pictures of a TriRail locomotive with its double decker carriages.

   I hadn't appreciated that the Virgin Brightline railway was completely separate from the TriRail system, although both go from Miami to West Palm Beach. However, the Brightline doesn't go to the huge new Interchange just outside the airport, but to downtown Miami itself. Miami's rapid transit system is rather complicated with MetroRail (2 lines), MetroMover (3 lines) together with the MIA Mover, TriRail, Brightline and the South Dade Transitway, all of which are single lines!

   Back at the AA/BA terminal, I went through security quite quickly and found a seat at a laptop charging desk, so I was able to update this blog and charge up one of my mobile phones. We pulled back early, but had to queue on the taxiway, so were a bit late leaving. I had the chicken with pasta for my evening meal, before sleeping fitfully for four hours.


LHR
BoMoH
Saturday the 28th of December 2019
Homecoming!

   I awoke two thirds of the way across the Atlantic and watched the Tolkien biopic. We had a curious vegetarian breakfast, before landing 35 minutes early. Unfortunately it took me two hours to get through Heathrow (Deathrow?).

   Firstly we had to wait on the taxiway for half an hour for our gate to come free. We then had to queue for 35 minutes for immigration. Down in the baggage hall it said MIAMI flight carousel number five, but my case didn't appear. It transpired that this was the BA flight and the AA flight was unloading on to baggage reclaim number eight.

   Collecting my bag at last, I warned another gent that he was also waiting at the wrong place! I caught the tube just two stops and walked just 200 yards to the Skylark Guest House to collect my car. I was home soon after eleven o'clock. At 12:30 I had some soup and then slept for two hours.


   I scored 8.8 out of 10 in the pax questionnaire at the end of first cruise, apparently one needs to score 8.5 or better to be invited back!

   One lady later wrote: "What a wonderful job you did educating and entertaining us aboard the Silversea's Silver Wind! Many thanks!! And a very happy New Year to you with lots more dancing!!"

   Another lady wrote: "I want to thank you for keeping me company on the cruise. First time being alone traveling is much different than being with someone. So thank you for extending your friendship to me. Now tell me, really, is that part of your contract--- to make sure little old ladies traveling alone aren’t alone?????!!!!! LOL"

   She later wrote: "Just read your blog. It was very interesting & reminded me of where I had been. You poor man. It seems like I had monopolized you. But I was amazed how you could nap so much—something I wish I could do. You also did a LOT of walking & swimming, something I didn’t do much or any of."

   Yet another lady wrote: "Fun to read about what you were up to, when you were out of sight last week! ;-) Wasn’t it amazing, up to and including the last breakfast on board, how often our schedules / activities coincided? I can not thank you enough for your companionship on the cruise! It made the trip far more fun for me! FAR MORE!!! Hoping our paths cross again! Be well and happy cruising…."

   A fourth lady wrote: "What a wonderful reminder of just how great our cruise was!"

   A fifth lady wrote: "I thought your Caribbean blog was delightful."


Score card:

13 Lectures given
10 Port talks (All paired, except for USVI & Spanish Town)
 8 Tours escorted
 7 Enrichment lectures
 6 Destination lectures
 5 ?
 4 New ports (Samana, Spanish Town, Cockburn Town & Falmouth Harbour)
 3 Cocktail parties
 2 New islands (Grand Turk & Jost van Dyke)
 2 New towns (Anse La Raye & St. Jean)
 2 Suites (420 & 427)
 1 Visit to the Hot Rocks Grill!

Good points were:

  1. Efficient Room Attendants (Randy & Esther)
  2. Widescreen TV with full services
  3. Non-stop return flight home
  4. Triple aspect Observatory
  5. Luxury dressing gown
  6. Large picture window
  7. Vista Suite on deck 4
  8. Half price laundry
  9. In cabin mini-bar
  10. In cabin Pretzels
  11. In cabin M&Ms
  12. Hot Rocks Grill
  13. Walk-in closet
  14. Butler (Amiel)
  15. Two jacuzzis
  16. Fly Cruise
  17. Bath

For the record ...