Cruise W1907 on the Black Watch to the Adriatic, April & May 2019

(Please scroll down to see my photographs and report)

Date: Port: Flag: Tour escort: Comment:
13th
April
2019
Liverpool
England
- Aboard
by
2:30
17th
April
2019
Cádiz
Andalucia
Spain
Cádiz
&
Flamenco
Overcast,
sunny & then
a late shower
19th
April
2019
Palma
Mallorca
Spain
- Windy!
22nd
April
2019
Corfu
Greece
Highlights
of
Corfu
Sunshine
&
Clouds
23rd
April
2019
Kotor
Montenegro
- Sunny!
24th
April
2019
Sibenik
Croatia
- Sunny!
25th
April
2019
Venice
Italy
Torcello -
Byzantine
Island
Sunny
but
windy!
26th
April
2019
Koper
Slovenia
- Overcast
Date: Port: Flag: Tour escort: Comment:
27th
April
2019
Zadar
Croatia
- Sunny!
28th
April
2019
Split
Croatia
Discover
Salona &
Trogir
Sunny!
30th
April
2019
Dubrovnik
Croatia
- Sunny!
2nd
May
2019
Valletta
Malta
- Sunny!
4th
May
2019
Mahon
Menorca
Spain
- Sunny!
6th
May
2019
Málaga
Andalucia
Spain
- Sunny!
8th
May
2019
Leixoes
Portugal
Amarante -
A Jewel
by the River
Overcast
11th
May
2019
Liverpool
U.K.
- Home by
19:00
Date: Port: Flag: Tour escort: Comment:


First Travelling Day - Friday the 12th April 2019

   I awoke at 5:30 and was on the road soon after 7 o'clock. I drove west across Dorset and Somerset towards Taunton to pick up the M5. This was clear past Bristol, but was congested around Birmingham. I turned off at Worcester North and headed across country through Shropshire, passing through Kidderminster, Bridgnorth and Whitchurch.

   I got to Rina Tillinger's house at one o'clock, ready for my picnic on her patio. Having reconnoitred her driveway, I headed north again to the Cheshire Oaks & Coliseum shopping malls. I got to my £34 AirBnB digs in Ellesmere Port at 3:30 and settled in. Later I drove back into Chester to buy a yellow Easter tee shirt for £2 in Primark. Back at my digs, I had the rest of my sandwiches and watched television, going to bed at 10 o'clock.


Embarkation Day - Liverpool - Saturday the 13th April 2019

   I awoke at 6:30, before my alarms at 7 o'clock. Lesley, my hostess, brought me a plate of scrambled egg on toast for breakfast just before 8 o'clock. I left her suburban semi at 9 o'clock heading for Liverpool along the M53. I had to pay £1.80 for the east bound passage through the twin bore Kingsway tunnel under the Mersey River. Getting to the Pier Head at 9:40, I dropped off my large suitcase and turned around. I then had to shell out another £1.80 for the west bound passage back through the Kingsway tunnel again.

Liverpool's Fab Four

Liverpool's Fab Four

   I got back to Rina's soon after 11 o'clock, parked my car on her drive and went to catch the 11:11 bus into Chester. This didn't come and I eventually caught the fully loaded X30 at 12:15. At Chester bus station, I only had to wait five minutes for the express bus to Liverpool. However this took an hour and half, going via Cheshire Oaks, Ellesmere Port and iconic Port Sunlight. In Birkenhead the two vast marshalling areas in front of the toll plaza reminded me of Dreilinden (Three Lime Trees) on the exit from communist East Germany into capitalist West Berlin!

   We went through the single bore Queensway tunnel under the River Mersey, which required our double decker bus to use the outside lane, hurtling along only inches past buses coming the other way. We terminated at the Queen Square bus station, so I walked along Lord Street to the river frontage. The tourist information office had closed in the Cunard building, but a visitor centre had opened in the iconic Liver building next door. Unfortunately the latter was closed at weekends!

   I got to the cruise marquee at 2:10 and was on board by 2:30. My suitcase had beaten me to my lovely refurbished outside twin cabin with two portholes and a brand new shower room. After unpacking, I slept for an hour, before being woken by the Captain's annoucement of the imminent safety drill. Here I met up with the chaplain the Reverend Colin Still and magician Marc Oberon. After the safety briefing, we all went to the Entertainers' cocktail party in the newly refurbished cinema. Here I met up with dance instructors Ron & Elaine Stilwell, art instructor Sue and craft instructor Christine, as well as the cruise staff, of whom I already knew four. I then touched base with Sandra the lovely shorex manager.

   Outside the reduced size Brigadoon buffet restaurant, I introduced myself to the four dance hosts, one of whom was from Weymouth in Dorset. At 6:30 I dined on the roast lamb with Elaine & Ron, next to lecturer Kate and her companion Janet. At 7:30 I greeted singer Connie and her husband trumpeter Marly Juanitez as they started their first set. At 8 o'clock Ron took over as DJ and I was able to dance most of the sequence dances, plus the faster dances, with the lovely Elaine. At 8:45 we had the "Taste of Things to Come" show time, again with Connie and the orchestra, followed by the production company. Then Ron took over again and we danced until 10:20, when I went to bed.


First Sea Day - Sunday the 14th April 2019

   I awoke at 6:30 and breakfasted on one warm egg Florentin sat with camp Anthony from Lancaster. He is a dedicated Saganaut, but also travels with other cruise lines. At 8:45 I ironed my creased shirts, having put two dirty ones into the ship's laundry.

   At 10:30 I went to set up in the Neptune lounge ready for my 55 minute double talk on both Cádiz and Palma de Mallorca at 11 o'clock to a full house. I managed to finish five minutes before the Captain's annoucement at noon. One couple berated me for my pronounciations of Cádiz, Deia & Almudaina!

   At noon I lunched on the ham in parsley sauce in preference to the roast beef, before sleeping for an hour. At 2 o'clock Ron and Elaine cancelled the Social Foxtrot class as it was too rough as we entered the Bay of Biscay, so I began work on this blog instead. At 3:15 I went to Kate's interesting 50 minute talk on Mediterranean pirates. I had just ten minutes to grab a single smoked salmon sandwich and have one and a half cups of tea, before attending Barry's very interesting 45 minute talk on the infamous Brighton bombing. I then touched base with Sandra to update my presentations and continued with this blog.

   I dined at 6:30 on pork and turkey chatting to a Liverpool lady whose husband was sea sick and to Barry's wife who said he was not feeling well either! At 7:30 it was too rough to dance so we just sat and listened to Connie and the orchestra for half and hour followed by 45 minutes of background music. I watched the excellent "Rainbow Connection" production show which began with "Mr Blue Sky" and included "Red Hot Salsa" and "Green Door" amongst other songs with colours in their titles! After the show, it had calmed down as we had crossed over the continental slope into the Bay of Biscay proper, so we danced until 10:15, when I went to bed.


Second Sea Day - Monday the 15th April 2019

   I awoke just before six o'clock, but it was now seven o'clock on Spanish time. At 7:30 I had one warm egg Benedict with tinned tomatoes and crispy bacon. Back in my cabin I updated this blog. At 10 o'clock I gave my 40 minute talk on Corfu to a full house wearing my Greek tunic. At the end, one lady mentioned the famous Greek Easter dish of lamb's entrails! I then stayed on to hear Sue's interesting talk on "Food & Mood".

   After the Captain's annoucement at noon, two of the dancers taught a 64 count dance of their own done to "I like it like that", followed by a cut down 32 count version of Red Hot Salsa to 22 pax. At 12:30 I lunched on the steak, ale & Stilton pie together with Barry and his wife. We were sat at a window table in the main restaurant as the sun finally came out. Barry and I both had the lovely ice cream sundae for dessert. I then slept for an hour and a half, before coming into the end of Elaine & Ron's first dance class teaching the Social Foxtrot to 16 couples. They had taught the basic, side taps and promenades as usual.

Martin & Elaine

Martin & Elaine

   At 3:45 I gave my 40 minute talk on Kotor, Montenegro to another full house. I then touched base with Sandra, before updating my presentations and this blog. Getting changed for the first formal night, I realised I had left my cuff links at home, but Ron came to the rescue with the loan of his, as his formal shirt already had buttons. The Captain's cocktail parties were put back by a day in the hope of calmer seas. At 6:30 I dined on the minute steak and the duck sat with Elaine & Ron. We danced both before and after the excellent show by singer and instrumentalist Jo Ashcroft, originally from Lichfield, but now living in Blackpool. When the music stopped at 10:15 I retired, but the great fire of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris was on the television, so I didn't get to sleep until 11 o'clock.


Third Sea Day - Tuesday the 16th April 2019

   I awoke at 7:40 ready for the poached egg with mushrooms on a muffin at 8:15. I then ironed the two shirts that I had washed that morning, before updating this blog. At 10 o'clock I gave my 35 minute talk on Hvar, Croatia to another full house. I stayed on for Kate's interesting talk on Moorish Spain, not on the Moors Murderers as one guest thought! At noon I dined on the salmon en croute with chips and vegetables, followed by another ice cream sundae. I then slept for an hour, before attending Elaine & Ron's Rumba class with 15 couples present. She began with a side step into the Rumba basic, followed by ladies under arm turns, New Yorks and spot turns for all.

   At 2:45 I gave my 40 minute presentation on Venice to a slightly reduced house as the glorious sunshine had lured some guests outside! I then touched base with Sandra, before updating my presentations and this blog. At 5:30 we had the first of the Captain's cocktail parties, where I danced with Joan, Edna and their friend. At 6:30 I dined on the beef and pork ribs with Elaine, Ron & Marc. At 7:15 I went to the destinations desk to collect my tour sheet for the next day. At 7:45 we had the second of the cocktail parties, but with little dancing, except for one waltz with Marjorie. I opted out of Marc's magic show, but came back for the short set by Connie & the orchestra until 10:15, when I went to bed.


Cádiz, Spain - Wednesday the 17th April 2019

   I awoke at 7:50 ready for an egg pizziola (poached egg on a slice of pepperoni on half a muffin). I was off the ship just after nine o'clock to use the free wi-fi in the new cruise terminal. Surprisingly the Black Watch was in pole position, whilst the Aida and SilverSea ships were at the old cruise terminal! I got to accept two Christmas Caribbean cruises on Silver Wind, my very first contract with up-market SilverSea! I then did some photography, but it was overcast until 10:30, when the sun came out.

   At 10:55 I escorted my second choice tour entitled "Cádiz & Flamenco". We began with a panoramic coach tour of the city. We had a stop at the cathedral, before getting to the flamenco venue La Cava. I had two glasses of lovely sangria, together with ham, cheese and potato quiche. The show consisted of one male guitarist, one male singer, one very athletic and very hirsute male dancer and two lady dancers. It was a very authentic performance with lots of loud stomping!

   Back at the ship at 2:15, I forewent lunch and instead slept for an hour and half. I then headed back into the new cruise terminal for some more wi-fi-ing! At 5:15 we had the sailaway out on the aft deck. I danced with only one lady and then joined in the Slosh led off by Michelle. Unfortunately it started to rain and it all came to a sudden end. I walked to the front of the ship to watch the sail out past the enormous Oasis of the Seas which was undergoing maintenance. Other ships in the shipyard included the Braemar's twin, a Carnival ship with the distinctive wings on the funnel, a Tunisian ferry and others.

   At 6:30 I dined on the rather tough roast lamb again, sat with Christine and Bernard. We danced both before and after Gerry's comedy show, which I listened to from the back of the Neptune lounge. At 10:30 I went to Scottish Ben's excellent cabaret up in the Lido lounge for the first time this cruise. Despite having been trained in musical theatre, he concentrated on modern songs by pop singers like Ed Sheeran. When he finished, I went out on to the back deck to see the passage past Gibraltar and use the mobile phone signal to update my FaceBook status. I went to bed at 11:15, after a super day.


Fourth Sea Day - Thursday the 18th April 2019

   I awoke at 6:30 and couldn't get back to sleep, so I got up at 6:50 ready for TWO egg royales for breakfast, when the main restaurant opened at 7:30. Back in my cabin, I worked on my presentations and this blog. At 9:45 I gave my 40 minute talk on Koper, Slovenia. At 11:15 the Oceans cocktail party was cancelled and replaced with line dancing. One of the dancers taught the Electric Slide ready for the "Rock this Country" show that evening. Then Elaine taught her one wall Salsa line dance ready for the forthcoming Salsa evening.

   At noon I dined on the ham, sat with Jessica from Dumfries at the Captain's table. This acts as the singles table at lunchtime and gradually filled up with single pax. I then slept for two hours, but woke up with my first attack of heartburn on this cruise. I drank a mug of bicarbonate of soda in water in order to calm my stomach acid. To make matters worse an annoying floater appeared in my left eyesight!

   At 4:15 I gave my 35 minute talk on Zadar, Croatia: Capital of Dalmatia. I then touched base with Sandra, who is going to do the scenic cruising running commentaries. At 6:30 I dined on the Bergen fish soup and the chocolate mousse, missing out a main course. At 7:15 I went to second sitting's early show time to watch the excellent "Rock this Country". Halfway through, they sang "Achy, Breaky Heart" and we joined in the dancing of the Electric Slide. I particularly enjoyed the Eagles medley with the "Hotel California" lyrics of checking out, but not leaving, applying to Brexit with a vengeance!

   We had a half hour set of dancing between the shows, where I was sat with a Norwegian couple. They didn't do sequence dancing, since it is only done in Commonwealth countries, but did want a Tango, which we hadn't had done so far this cruise, so I asked Elaine and then when she called it, I danced it with her. I then went back to the buffet for another bowl of Bergen fish soup.

   At 9:00 I watched the show again and even more pax came on to the stage for the line dance interval. We danced again after the first sitting's show time. At 10:30 chef Christopher Estell sang his swing music cabaret, with several Michael Bublé songs. Just after eleven o'clock, I had a salmon croissant and cream cheese open sandwich in the late night buffet, the first time I had been there this cruise, before going to bed at 11:15.


Palma de Mallorca - Good Friday the 19th April 2019

   I awoke just after five o'clock and couldn't get back to sleep, so I updated this blog. Back in bed, I dozed for an hour or so. At 7:30 I had two fried eggs, crispy bacon and plum tomatoes for breakfast. We were berthed in pole position again with an MSC ship behind us and both an Aida and a Regent ship away at the alternative cruise berth. With no tour to escort, I was off the ship by 8:15 walking into the city. It took me an hour to cover the three miles, taking photographs along the way, although it was overcast and the levante wind was blowing.

Bellver Castle, Palma, Mallorca, Spain

Bellver Castle, Palma, Mallorca, Spain

   I walked around the Bulwark (Es Baluarte) and the old town, going in the Tourist Information Office (TIO) which was already open. I went in half a dozen churches, including Santa Clara, Sant Francesc & Santa Eulalia to see the Easter floats. I got to the train stations and went in another TIO. I walked back via the Rambla to the shuttle bus stop, where I snuck on to the 11:45 return departure.

Castle above Palma de Mallorca

Castle above Palma de Mallorca

   Back at the ship, I lunched on the BBQ spare ribs with green beans and chips, followed by yet another ice cream sundae. I then slept for an hour and a half, before heading ashore again to the Porto Pi shopping mall. Unfortunately all the shops were closed for Good Friday.

   Back at the ship again, I updated this blog. I went to afternoon tea for only the second time this cruise and had a couple of sarnies, but resisted the hot cross buns. On the way out, I saw that they had a selection of chocolate chips with my name on them! At 4:30 I went up to the Lido for the sailaway with the duo, but there was no dancing. Out on the aft deck, we passed by the $4 billion nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. Its deck was choc-a-block with aircraft, so nothing could land or take off! I back-upped my day's haul of photos in spite of the overcast weather.

   At 6:30 I dined on the veal and chicken sat with Elaine & Ron. We all had the raspberry ripple ice cream for dessert. We then danced before Jo's second excellent showtime. She ended with two great Irish songs "Lord of the Dance" and "Tell me Ma" Unfortunately it had gotten rather rough and the post-show dancing had to be cancelled, so I adjourned to my cabin to work on my presentations from 9:30 until 10:30, when I sent to sleep. Later my new Honor 10 lite smartphone told me that I had completed over 25,000 steps this day!


Fifth Sea Day - Easter Saturday the 20th April 2019

   I awoke at 6:40 having slept for over eight hours, so all my walking around Palma must have tired me out, as the evening's dancing certainly hadn't! I had TWO egg Florentines with tinned tomatoes and crispy bacon for breakfast, before working on my presentations in the cabin.

   At 10 o'clock I gave my 35 minute talk on Dubrovnik. Back in my cabin, I then watched Sue's interesting talk on avoiding weight gain on cruises. At noon I ate the chicken and pork sat with Jessica from Dumfries, Rosemary, Marie and some others at the Captain's table set aside for singles at lunch time. I then enjoyed the chocolate ice cream sundae, before sleeping for an hour and a half.

   At 2:30 I went to Elaine & Ron's waltz class, where I danced with Charmain lookalike Carol. They taught the figure of eight basic, the zig-zag with quarter turns and the whisk & chassé. At 3:30 I gave my 40 minute talk on Split. After watching my Venice talk on the cabin TV, I touched base with Sandra, who was making an Easter bonnet. I dined on the lovely lamb chops at 6:30 sat with Elaine, Ron & Marc. We danced from 7:30 to 8 o'clock when a game show took place, so I adjourned to my cabin to work on my presentations. I gave Marc's second magic show a miss and watched my Venice talk again instead. We danced again until 10:15, when I went to bed.


Sixth Sea Day - Easter Sunday the 21st April 2019

   I awoke at 6:30, but it was now 7:30 on Greek time. I breakfasted on one egg with mushrooms on half a muffin with crispy bacon and plum tomatoes. I then went up to the Observatory to watch the approach to Stromboli. We did a three quarter circumnavigation of the volcano as the sun came out, but the levante wind was still blowing. I watched Barry's harrowing talk on the Northern Ireland Troubles from my cabin, whilst updating my Valletta talk.

Stromboli

Stromboli

   At noon I dined on the roast lamb sat with Jessica, Marie and Caroline at the Captain's table. I then slept for an hour and quarter, before attending Elaine & Ron's Ballroom Tango class, where I danced with Chris. They taught the usual three figures: link to promenade, corté rocks and reverse turn. At 3:30 I gave my 40 minute talk on Valletta: Capital of Malta. At 4:15 I entered the Easter bonnet competition with Margaret's yellow hat, orange & green carrot decorations bought from PoundLand, yellow tee shirt bought in Chester and the chocolate rabbit we had all been given the night before.

   Having changed into my formal outfit (black with grey accessories), at 5:45 I went up to the Observatory for the first time before dinner this cruise. I had a lime soda with twiglets and peanuts. At 6:30 I dined on the cold poached salmon with chips, sat with Elaine & Ron. We danced both before and after the excellent Swing production show. When Ron finished DJing at 10:15, I went to bed.


Corfu, Greece - Easter Monday the 22nd April 2019

   I awoke at 6:30, got ready and updated this blog, before breakfasting at 7:30 on TWO eggs Benedict with crispy bacon and tinned tomatoes. At 8:25 I escorted my first choice "Highlights of Corfu" tour. We began at Palaeokastritsa (literally Old - castle - little) where we visited the lovely little monastery and the beach. At the former we went in the church, the museum and the old olive mill.

Achilleion palace, Corfu

Achilleion palace, Corfu

   We got caught in a traffic jam driving into the old town of Corfu, before going for a one hour walk about. Our guide couldn't persuade some of our party to use their free time and eventually she let me take them into St. Spyridon's church, before being the last back to the minibus.

   Back at the ship, I lunched on the rarebit chicken & the veal without chips sat with the usual suspects on the Captain's table. I then slept for only half an hour, excited at the news that I would be lecturing on Saga's new ship the Spirit of Discovery going to the Gulf of Bothnia this August.

   I walked back into town taking photographs as I went, before rushing back to the ship for the 4 o'clock folklore show. This consisted of three couples in traditional dress dancing Corfiot dances for the first half, followed by more popular Zorba type dancing, including audience participation, in which I indulged, for the second half. I then updated this blog, as the Captain explained that it would be too windy to tender into Hvar, so we would be going to Sibenik instead!

   At 6:30 I dined on the chicken and pork sat with Elaine & Ron, next to Gerry and his wife sitting on the dance host table. We danced both before and after Gerry's second show time, which I listened to from my cabin whilst updating my Corfu presentation. At 10:30 I went to hear Sam's cabaret in the Lido lounge. He began with musical theatre, before moving on to some pop songs, finishing with "I'm still standing" by Elton John, the music video of which was filmed in Cannes, featuring the dancing of Bruno Tonioli!

   At 11 o'clock I had one salmon croissant, sat with Laura (pronounced Lara), Alex & Danny, the first two of which will be flying home from Malta, to be replaced by Wilmar & Leighton. At 11:20 I went to bed.


Kotor, Montenegro - Tuesday the 23rd April 2019

   I awoke at 7:15 after sleeping for nearly nine hours, but it was now only 6:15 on Montenegrin time. Nevertheless I got up straight away, ready to see the dramatic sail in to the Gulf of Kotor. I started out in the Observatory until the sun came up, when I went outside and chatted to the Reverend Colin. After doing some quick ironing whilst we were cleared, I was one of the first off the ship at 9:15. This meant I avoided having to queue for the tourist information kiosk, however I couldn't get their wi-fi to work.

   I crossed through the old town from the sea gate to the land gate and then followed the little river up the limestone gorge to the small waterfall. The iron climbing cables (via ferrata) were out of bounds, but horribly steep anyway. I only managed a couple of the footpath zig-zags up behind the old castle, before turning back in the hot sun. I went in the Camelia shopping centre, but still couldn't find any free wi-fi. Eventually I found an open signal outside the Astoria hotel back in the old town with their password displayed on the login page!

   I went in St. Nicholas's, St. Mary's and some other churches, but gave the €3 cathedral a miss. I also didn't go in the €4 maritime museum or the €1 cats museum. Back at the ship, I lunched at noon on one sausage and one fish finger with half a jacket potato and vegetables, giving the cold lobster a miss, sat with a lady who had been on my tour yesterday. I finished the meal with the delicious cappucino sundae.

   I then slept for two hours, before going back into the old town. At the far end I climbed up a little way towards the fortress to take a panoramic photograph. There was no ticket office here, so entrance to the castle this way would be free. At the other end of the old town there was a ticket office charging a steep €8 for entry to the fortress, but again I was able to go far enough up to get a good panoramic photograph. I then found the library (biblioteka) above the Cats museum.

Kotor

Kotor

   Back at the ship again, I worked on this blog, uploaded my day's photography and listened to my talk on Koper, Slovenia. At 6 o'clock I went up to the Observatory for a lime soda with twiglets sat with lecturer Sue as we sailed back down the Gulf of Kotor. At 6:30 I dined on four lovely lamb cutlets sat with Elaine & Ron. We talked about working for the Warner holiday camps. Unfortunately one of my teeth broke on one of the lamb bones!

   After a couple of dances with Elaine, a large lurch brought the dancing to an early end for the evening. I went back to my cabin to continue updating my Kotor presentation. At 9 o'clock we had the crew cabaret show with only one dud singer. The show was stolen by Rexy from the Spa in drag! At 10 o'clock I was back in the cabin yet again and getting ready for an early night, actually getting to sleep at 10:30.


Sibenik, Croatia - Wednesday the 24th April 2019

   The ship's thrusters woke me at 6:15 ready for breakfast at 7:15. I had TWO egg pizziolas with crispy bacon and plum tomatoes, as we passed through the narrow entrance to the harbour. I was one of the first off the ship at 8:15, walking along the prom into the old town. I climbed up to St. Michael's castle, but didn't go in. I then climbed back down to the magnificent renaissance cathedral of St. Jacob / St. James. I did a lot of photography in the bright sunshine, getting back to the ship at noon.

   I lunched on the stewing steak in pepper sauce, sat with Joan & Edna. The latter and I finishing up with the passion fruit sundae. I then slept for an hour and a half. I walked back along the prom going even further, this time all the way to the town beach, before working my way back through the old town again, taking yet more photographs.

   Back at the ship again, I updated this blog, back-upped my photos and began a Sibenik PowerPoint presentation. I then went up to the top deck to see the passage through the narrow St. Anthony's channel (Kanal Sv. Ante) cut through the limestone ridge. At 6:30 I dined on the veal and chicken, sat with Elaine & Ron. We danced both before and after the Variety show, which I watched from my cabin, whilst continuing to work on my Sibenik presentation. I finally finished inserting my day's pictures at 11:10 and then went to bed.


Venice, Italy - Thursday the 25th April 2019

   I awoke early, ready to have two fried eggs with crispy bacon and tinned tomatoes sat with the Reverend Colin. I rushed up on to the outside deck as we went past the new submerged lock gates, like the Thames Barrage, but much bigger. We sailed past St. Mark's Place (Piazza San Marco) in the bright sunshine, which had burned off the early morning sea mist.

   I was one of the first off the ship walking over the road bridge to get to Piazzale Roma, where I went in the tourist information office. I walked to the Brotherhood Church (Frari), to see the monument to Titian, the famous Venetian painter. I crossed the Rialto bridge to get to St. Mark's Place (Piazza San Marco) which was heaving. I took the obligatory selfie in front of the famous sculpture of the four Roman emperors, the Tetrarchs. I crossed back over the Grand Canal at the wooden Accademia bridge, before heading back to Piazzale Roma. Here I shelled out €1.50 for the Dopplemayer People Mover. I joy-rode all the way to the Tronchetto terminus, before coming back to the Cruise Terminal station, which is at the halfway point.

Burano near Venice

Burano near Venice

   Back at the ship, I lunched on pork, beans & chips, followed by the Black Forest sundae, sat with a former Saga couple. At 1:30 I escorted my first choice tour to Torcello - the Byzantine Island, accompanied by Sandra the Shorex Manager, who had intervened to give me the tour. We walked 100 yards along the quayside to board our boat. We cruised out past St. Mark's Place (Piazza San Marco) and Burano island for the 75 minute cruise to Torcello island. I was sat with Charmain lookalike Carol from Lancashire on the top deck in the sunshine, both going out and coming back. We had a half mile walk across Torcello island to see the famous Byzantine cathedral with fabulous mosaics, similar to those in Ravenna. The whole of the west wall was the Last Judgement of Christ, with a lovely Madonna and Child in an apse at the east end. We had 50 minutes of free time to explore the more modern domed church and the little island. We cruised back via the main entrance to the lagoon, getting back at six o'clock.

   At 6:30 I dined on the escalope of turkey sat with David & Marjorie from Cambridgeshire. He had been a lecturer at Hatfield Poly and they were both keen dancers. We danced both before and after the second variety show, this time performed by the members of the Entertainments department. The dancing finished at 10:15, but I didn't get to sleep until 11 o'clock, as I finished off my Sibenik presentation.


Koper, Slovenia - Friday the 26th April 2019

   I awoke at 6:25 ready for TWO egg Florentines for breakfast. I worked on this blog rather than rushing ashore on my first visit to the country of sLOVEnia. At 8:15 I was still the first passenger ashore, walking into the old town to take my pictures in the weak sunshine. I managed to visit and photograph all thirty sights listed in my guide book.

   I got back to the ship just before noon, ready for an early lunch of lamb, glazed carrots and chips, followed by the ice cream sundae, sat with a gent originally from Skipton, Yorks., but now living in Marsden, Lancs. I then slept for an hour and half, before venturing out again. Unfortunately it had clouded over and there was a short shower which soaked the streets. A youth band was playing under cover beside Tito square (Trg Titov). Their penultimate piece was "Take on me" by the Norwegian pop group A-ha! After another hour of wandering around taking a few more photographs, I returned to the ship to back-up my days takings and update my presentations.

   At 6 o'clock I went up to the Observatory for a lime soda and TWO jars of twiglets to watch the sail away in the sun. At 6:30 I dined on the rather tough silverside of beef together with some chicken & ham pie. We danced both before and after Andy's excellent first show time. When the dancing finished at 10:15 I retired to my cabin, too tired to go to Liam's cabaret in the Lido lounge.


Zadar, Croatia - Saturday the 27th April 2019

   I awoke at six o'clock, but couldn't get back to sleep, so I got up. I had to deal with a request from one of my agents for a destinations lecturer to cover the Adriatic for Crystal, which was fortuitous having just done all the requisite ports! I had to shell out a fiver to buy 650 megabytes from the Three mobile network, that amount having been used during the previous fortnight.

   I breakfasted on TWO egg foresters, before being one of the first off the ship at 8:15. I walked the two and half miles (three and half kilometres) into the town in the bright sunshine. I got to the big, new shopping mall at nine o'clock and was in the old town soon after. I visited all the important sights, taking photographs as I went. At 12:15 I snuck on to the shuttle bus for the return to the ship.

   I lunched on chicken and no chips, sat with a lady from Ardnamurchan. I then slept for two hours, before walking around the huge ferry port to take a picture of the ship from the far side. Back at the ship again, I did my first set of six lengths of pool, followed by five minutes in the round jacuzzi and five minutes in the new rectangular jacuzzi complete with three underwater air beds. The latter were very rigorous and rather noisy! These had been installed where one of the SwimEx tanks had been located, the other one still remaining in use. At 6 o'clock I had a lime soda and just one jar of twiglets up in the Observatory.

   At 6:30 I dined on two small minute steaks with chips, sat with Francis the Irish pianist from the Morning Light pub. We danced for only half an hour as a game show took over, so I retired to my cabin to update this blog, where I watched Kirsten's lovely show time. The final dance set was very thin as some of the regulars were having an early night after a long tour, but I did get to do my first Samba with the lovely Elaine. The dancing finished at 10:20, but I didn't go to sleep until 11 o'clock as I continued my updatings.


Split, Croatia - Day One - Sunday the 28th April 2019

   I awoke at six o'clock and updated this blog, before going up to the Observatory to watch the sail in. At 7:30 I breakfasted on TWO eggs Benedict with crispy bacon and plum tomatoes. At 9 o'clock I escorted my first choice tour to Salona & Trogir. The first site was the rather disappointing ruins of a Roman city, but we didn't see the semi-circular theatre or the amphitheatre. The second site was altogether better with a beautiful medieval old town. The flagstoned prom was dazzling in the bright sunshine. The cathedral featured an impressive high altar, a treasury and a baptistery.

   Back at the ship at 2:15, I had a late lunch in the Brigadoon buffet restaurant, sat with dancing Carol and non-dancing Hazel & Joan. I then slept for an hour and a half, before walking along the Split prom. They were having a military open day with one tank, one helicopter and two frigates amongst others on display. I did a little bit of photography in the evening sunshine, before getting back to the ship for dinner at 6:30. I had the chicken and the crispy pork, sat with a couple from North Wales.

   Back in the cabin again I updated this blog. With the Big Band show coming up, we only had recorded music from 7:45 until 8:30, but the floor was full and I did every dance, quite a change from the previous evening! I listened to the show from my cabin, whilst processing my day's photography. We danced again after the show until 10:15, when I retired, getting to sleep about eleven, after the best day so far!


Split, Croatia - Day Two - Monday the 29th April 2019

   I awoke at six o'clock to overcast skies, which soon started pouring down. I was so glad I had done the "walk into town" photography yesterday in the bright, evening sunshine. The restaurant opened at 7 o'clock so I could have my TWO egg royales with tinned tomatoes, before leaving the ship at 7:25. I got to the cathedral at 8 o'clock just as the 7:30 service was ending, so was able to get in for free!

   The central tourist information office gave me their wi-fi password, so I was happy! I explored the Roman quarter (Diocletian's palace), the Venetian quarter and the French quarter, before heading west towards the Marjan forest and hill, as the sun came out. I reached the far side of the harbour, before turning around, not having quite reached one of the two archaeological museums. I came back to the new centre with big shops like Zara & Prima(rk), headed back through the old centre, but failed to find the natural history museum.

   Back at the ship at 11:30, I only had half an hour to wait for lunch of duckling and chips, before sleeping for an hour and a quarter. After two small mugs of decaff coffee, I headed back into the city. At the second attempt, I found the natural history museum in a side alleyway. I climbed up to the fort with the maritime museum for some great views across the city. Back in the Roman palace, I decided to give the two archaeological museums a miss.

   Back at the ship again, I did seven lengths of the pool and spent ten minutes in the round jacuzzi. I then updated this blog and downloaded my afternoon's photographs. My new Honor 10 lite smart phone told me I had done 29,392 steps covering 21 kilometres that day! (When I later calibrated the health app, I found out that I had done 12 miles or just 19 kilometres.) At 5.45 I went up to the Observatory for a lime soda with two jars of twiglets to watch the sail away. I dined on the beef stew, sat with Ivy the ukelele instructress, who lives in North Queensferry near Gordon Brown. We danced both before and after Lloyd's first comedy show, which I watched from the cabin. He had a hard time getting them laughing. When the dancing finished at 10:20, I went to bed, having done a record 34,966 steps during the day!


Dubrovnik, Croatia - Tuesday the 30th April 2019

   The bow thrusters awoke me at 7 o'clock, so I was breakfasting on one shirred egg and one fried egg with crispy bacon and plum tomatoes at 7:45. At 8:45 I picked up tender ticket number one and adjourned to the Observatory to await being called. The PA came on at 9 o'clock and we all rushed down to the tender dock, but loading took 15 minutes, as people dithered on the threshold. I was ashore by 9:30 and the rain had just stopped. I exited by the Ploce gate to investigate the cable car, which was closed having failed to pay its taxes! I walked around the outside of the huge walls to get to the tourist information office. I then re-entered the old town via the Pile gate. Having worked my way back to the tender berth, I had to wait half an hour for the next trip back to the ship.

Dubrovnik, formerly known as Ragusa

Dubrovnik

   Having touched base with the Entertainments office, I lunched on FOUR lovely lamb cutlets with chips & ratatouille, followed by raspberry sundae. I then slept for 50 minutes, only to be woken by muzak over the tannoy! I caught a quick tender into town for some more photography in the sunshine. I walked around the inside of the walls, popping outside through various gates. At 4 o'clock it started to rain again, so I jumped on the waiting tender.

   Back at the ship again, I updated my blog and downloaded my day's photography, whilst listening to my Valletta talk on the television. I touched base with Sandra, before going up to the Observatory to have a lime soda with one jar of twiglets, as we sailed past Dubrovnik. At 6:30 I walked to dinner with Jessica, where I had the pork and the chicken. We danced both before and after the excellent Hey Rock 'n' Roll production show. I did every dance until 10 o'clock, when some of the dancing ladies left for the quiz in the Observatory. When Ron finished DJing at 10:15, I went to bed.


Seventh Sea Day - Wednesday the 1st May 2019

   I awoke at 7:20 ready to have TWO eggs Benedict with tinned tomatoes, sat with Louise & Jessica at the Captain's table. I then worked on my blog and presentations. Just before my 35 minute talk on Mahon, Menorca at 9:45, I had my second attack of heartburn of the cruise, which I blamed on the cava with cranberry juice which I had had for breakfast on this formal day. However some bicarbonate of soda in water soon did the trick. I then stayed on for the future cruise presentation. At 11:45 Ross taught his own Country Girl line dance, followed by Elaine recapping her one wall Salsa line dance.

   At 12:15 I lunched on salmon and chips sat with Jessica and others on the Captain's table. I then slept for an hour and a half. At 3:30 I enjoyed Lt. Max's talk on the Battle of Taranto, whose bay we were crossing. I stayed on for Dr. Chris's lecture on medical law & ethics, which consisted of a series of unconnected legal cases. After 50 minutes, I slipped out to go swimming, but the pool was still netted, so I had to make do with ten minutes in the round jacuzzi. I then changed into my formal outfit, before having a lime soda and one jar of twiglets up in the Observatory. Chris the dancer pointed out some dolphins to us, but they were swimming away from the ship.

   At 6:30 I dined on TWO fillet steak tornedos with red cabbage, bean stew and roasted parsnips, but no potatoes, sat with Elaine & Ron. We danced both before and after Steve's first show time, which I listened to in my cabin. Ron DJed the first set until the masquerade ball started at 8 o'clock with Connie & the orchestra. I stayed on in the Neptune lounge to hear Steve's show again, this time in the flesh. He had been one of the many members of the Drifters singing group for a few years, so he sang their great songs with aplomb. When he finished, I had one small open sandwich in the late night buffet sat with Joan, Edna & Christine. I didn't get to sleep until midnight, my latest night of the cruise!


Valletta, Malta - Thursday the 2nd May 2019

   The bow thrusters awoke me at 6 o'clock, so I dozed for a time. I breakfasted on TWO egg pizziolas with plum tomatoes. I was one of the first off the ship just after 8 o'clock in the bright sunshine.

   I walked around the entire peninsula of Valletta, until I came to the new Fortifications Interpretation Centre. This had free admission and was an excellent introduction to all the different types of fortification on Malta, from the Stone Age to the Second World War. I was told by the door man that up on the top floor by the library they had an internet router plugged in with its password on display, so I was able to gorge on the downloads!

Siege Bell, Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta

Siege Bell, Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta

   I then carried on to the Ordnance Street market and the Grand Master's Palace. I caught the free downward lift back to the ship for an early lunch, before sleeping for two hours. I then went back up the sloping road to the city gate, before coming back down in the lift again.

   Back at the ship again, I touched base with the lovely Sandra, but couldn't go swimming as they were preparing for that evening's outdoor BBQ. I stood chatting with Jessica as we sailed out of the magnificent Grand Harbour in the bright sunshine we had had all day. The BBQ ran from 6:30 until 9:30 out on the back deck. I had the steak, chips and salad, followed by honeycomb ice cream, sat with Jessica, Joan & Edna. I bought three glasses of Sangria which set me back nearly 15 quid!

   I led off the dancing, until the disco bunnies took over. At 9:15 it was getting dark and chilly, so when Connie called an Electric Slide I did a solo demonstration! At 9:30 the entertainment moved up to the Lido lounge, but I retired to my cabin to work on my Málaga presentation and this blog. At 10:30 I went up to the Lido lounge to hear Chef Christopher's cabaret, but lots of the pax talked all the way through it. When he finished at 11 o'clock, I went to bed without venturing into the late night buffet!


Eighth Sea day - Friday the 3rd May 2019

   I awoke at 7:40 ready for TWO eggs forestier, however the gent in front of me pinched two of the poached eggs off the top of the half muffins with mushrooms, so I replaced them with two fried eggs! I sat at the Captain's table with Louise from Liverpool, Jessica from Dumfries and another lady.

   At 9:45 I gave my 40 minute talk on Málaga. I stayed on for Allan's talk billed as about Columbus, but actually covering many explorers from Marco Polo to Shackleton! At noon I lunched on the Singaporean chicken with aubergines and sweet corn, but no potatoes, sat with dancers Jessica, Norman and another lady. I then slept for two hours, before updating this blog.

   After having two small mugs of decaff coffee in the cabin, I went to the first classical concert. I loved the violin works by Monti, Elgar and Saint-Saens, but was less happy with the piano pieces by Chopin & Liszt. At 5:30 we were on duty in the Oceans cocktail party, where I danced with three of the dancing ladies. I dined on the pork spare rib and turkey, sat with Elaine & Ron at 6:30. We danced both before and after Andy's second showtime, which I thought was as good as, if not better than, his first show, but some pax thought otherwise. At 10:30 I went up to the Lido Lounge for Ben, Sam and Liam's joint cabaret. At 11:05 I had one hamburger without bread for supper, before retiring.


Mahon, Menorca - Saturday the 4th May 2019

   I awoke at 6:50 just in time to get ready for the sail in to the long estuary. I had my favourite TWO eggs royale with tinned tomatoes, sat with Jessica. I was one of the first off the ship at 8:15 and the sun soon came out ready for my photography. The island council tourist information office on the quayside was already open, as was the town council tourist information kiosks in the Saturday market square, so I cleaned up on maps and leaflets.

   The library opened at 9:30 and offered free wi-fi, as it was at the Art & History Museum (Centre d'Art i Historia) also. The latter opened at 10 o'clock with free admission. I climbed up many flights of metal stairs to get to the observation tower with fabulous views across the old town, so I overdosed on panoramic pictures taken with my new Honor 10 lite smart phone.

The old harbour at Ciutadella, Menorca

The old harbour at Ciutadella, Menorca

   Back at the ship, I had a telephone conversation with Maria the entertainments administrator about my lecture(s) on the following day. I lunched on the roast lamb with gnocci, sat at the Captain's table with Jessica. I then slept for an hour and a quarter, before heading back into town in the bright sunshine. I headed south east into the suburbs, before turning north along the marina and then west along the prom.

   Back at the ship again, I updated this blog and uploaded my day's photography. I finished off my Trogir presentation, before touching base with Sandra. She told me that Maria had got me down for doing the same lecture twice tomorrow! I dined on the pork and chicken sat with the choirmaster and his wife from Evington in Leicester.

   We danced both before and after Kirsten's second show. Michelle agreed to cancel tomorrow afternoon's repeat lecture in her noon time broadcast. At 10:30 I sat outside the Lido Lounge to hear the Girls Abba Night, but pax talked all the way through it again. I visited the late night buffet but managed to resist all temptations!


Ninth Sea Day - British Night - Sunday the 5th May 2019

   I awoke just before 7 o'clock ready for one egg Florentine with crispy bacon and plum tomatoes. I then worked on this blog and my presentations. Whilst Kannika was doing my cabin, I did 5 circuits (one mile) of the promenade deck. This enabled me to calibrate the health app on my new smart phone, indicating that I do 2,500 steps in one mile.

   At 10:15 I gave my 40 minute presentation on Leixoes: the Port for Oporto. I stayed on for Max's talk on the Siege of Malta. At noon I lunched on the poached salmon with chips and vegetables, sat at the Captain's table with Jessica and others. I then slept for an hour and a half, before going to the Marina theatre in case anyone turned up for my cancelled talk. One couple did appear, so it was lucky that I was there to advise them.

   At 3:45 we had the tea dance where I did every single dance with a different lady. I managed to grab one cake as they were packing away. Back in the cabin, I watched my Oporto talk on the television. At 5:45 I went up to the Observatory for a lime soda with TWO jars of twiglets, they were getting used to me! I dined on the cullen skink (killing skunk?) soup, the roast beef (it was Sunday!), some small pieces of cheese with pappadoms (it was also curry night) and a strawberry mousse!

   At 7:30 Ron played a series of British tunes for us to dance to. I retired to the cabin to update this blog when the British singalong began. I returned to the Neptune Lounge for the Britannia Rocks production show which featured many iconic pop songs. We danced after the show until 10:15, when I retired to my cabin, getting to sleep at 11 o'clock.


Málaga, Spain - Monday the 6th May 2019

   I awoke at 6 o'clock and got up at 6:30 ready for one shirred egg with crispy bacon and tinned tomatoes at 7:15. There was a beautiful sunrise over the Sierra Nevada mountains. I was one of the first off the ship just after 8 o'clock, walking the two kilometres into the city centre. I got to the cathedral just before the small service started at 9 o'clock. I then climbed up to the castle and the parador on the hill.

Alcazaba, Malaga, Spain

Alcazaba, Malaga, Spain

   Back in the city centre, I went past the two Picasso musea, which were both open in spite of what the tourist board had told me previously! I then headed back to the ship for lunch at noon. I had the ham in parsley sauce with pan haggerty potatoes and a stuffed mushroom, followed by the chocolate sundae. I then slept for an hour and a half, before venturing back into the city. I walked along the bottom of the castle hill, before doubling back along the surprises promenade.

   Back at the ship again, I took advantage of the free wi-fi in the cruise terminal for a second time. At 5:15 we had the sailaway deck party where I wore my red & yellow Spanish polo shirt and my red & yellow Liverpool baseball hat. I danced with several ladies, led off the Party Samba and joined in the YMCA! When the music ended, I rushed up to the Observatory to watch the actual sail away.

   At 6:40 I dined on the Spanish lamb with jacket potato, sat with a couple from the Wirral peninsula near Liverpool. We danced from 7:30 until 8 o'clock to the orchestra in the Neptune lounge, before rushing upstairs to the Lido lounge for the second half of the Salsa session. Carol asked me to dance with her, but then proceeded to fall over wearing shoes with rubber soles. This was only the third time that a lady has fallen down when dancing with me!

   At 8:45 I went to Steve E King's second show, this time with only one Drifters song, but lots of lovely MoTown numbers. For his Temptations number he got three gents plus dance host Stephen up on to the stage to dance and sing behind him! We danced after the show, when Rita from Oslo asked me to do a waltz with her and then I asked her! At 10:30 I went out on to the deck to see Gibraltar and connect to the mobile phone network. I then worked on my Sibenik presentation and this blog until 11:20 when I went to bed.


Tenth Sea Day - Tuesday the 6th May 2019

   I didn't wake up until after 8 o'clock, so I breakfasted in the Brigadoon buffet for the first time this cruise. I had a cheese omelette, freshly made in the new cubby hole / wok station, with plum tomatoes and crispy bacon. I then worked on this blog and my presentations. I did five circuits (one mile) of the promenade deck, under overcast skies, with some dolphins swimming past us.

   At noon, I lunched on the lamb cutlets and pear sundae sat with Jessica, Norman and others at the Captain's table. I then slept for 45 minutes, only to be awoken by the violinist practising next door. This did mean that I was able to listen to Max's talk on the Battle of Traflagar. At 2:30 I went to Elaine & Ron's second Tango class, where they revised the three figures that they had previously taught (S S QQS QQS ) and introduced a quick run backwards (QQQQS S QQS ) to 17 pax. I then stayed on for Allan's 45 minute talk on the Duke of Wellington and the Peninsular war.

   Back in the cabin, it had clouded over, so I couldn't go swimming. I worked on my computer, before going up to the Observatory for a lime soda and TWO jars of twiglets. I dined on the beef and chicken sat with Elaine & Ron. We danced both before and after Wilmar's excellent one man show. He sang a couple of songs, drew several sand pictures on his light table and did one routine with his little Willy ventriloquist doll. At 10:30 I went to Tilly's musical theatre cabaret, but I only knew one of her songs: "It's a fine life" sung by Nancy in Lionel Bart's Oliver!


Leixoes for Oporto, Portugal - Wednesday the 7th May 2019

   I awoke at 7:30, but it was now 6:30 on Portuguese time. At 7:35 I breakfasted on TWO egg pizziolas with canned tomatoes, sat with Louise, Jessica and a full Captain's table. At 8:25 I escorted my first choice tour to Amarante - a Jewel by the River. We had an hour's run east along the A4 motorway to the little town. We walked from the bus station along a narrow, but busy street to the narrow, but busy bridge over the river. We had an hour at the art gallery, before being given one hour's free time. I rushed around doing my photography, going in a couple of churches and the Michelin starred French hotel.

   Back at the ship at 1:30, I lunched on the rarebit chicken with chips sat with Norman, who told me about his career at Kidsgrove and West Gorton in the early computer industry. I then slept for two hours, before catching the port bus to the port gates. I went in the Welcome centre, before photographing the walk to the tram stop. I headed back to the port gates for the 5 o'clock shuttle bus back to the new terminal.

Douro River, Oporto

Douro River, Oporto

   Up in the Observatory, I had a lime soda together with one and half jars of twiglets, sat with a couple from Shipley in West Yorkshire, who complimented me on my port talks. As soon as we left the harbour, the heavy swell began to rock us. I dined on the potato & spinach soup, the shell-on prawns, cod in pesto sauce with Quorn cottage pie and raspberry mousse! It was too rough to dance and the show was put back until 9 o'clock. Then Liam led a seated discussion with Sam, Ben, Ross & one of the female dancers. I stayed in my cabin working on this blog until bed at 10:45.


Eleventh Sea Day - Thursday the 8th May 2019

   I awoke at 7 o'clock ready for TWO eggs Benedict with plum tomatoes washed down with a cranberry Bucks Fizz! I had a spurious bill for Bombay Gin in addition to my actual Southern Comfort slopchest order on my cabin account to sort out. At 9:45 I went to Chris Martin's talk on informed consent, but slipped out halfway through. At 10:45 I listened to Max Slavin's interesting talk on submarines.

   At 11:45 Ross and one of the professional dancers recapped two of the line dances that they had previously taught and introduced one of their new ones to only five pax. At 12:15 I went to the grand gala buffet. I began with half a lobster and some prawns, continued with some Parma ham with chips and finished with a peach sundae, sat with Jessica, Norman and some others at the singles table. I then slept for an hour and a half.

   At 3 o'clock I went to Allan's talk on Queen Elizabeth the First. Back in my cabin again, I updated this blog and listened to the classical concert on the television. They changed their programme on request to finish with the opening movement of the exquisite Mendelssohn violin concerto. For their encore they played the Swan from the Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens, my favourite French composer.

   At 4:50 I did five quick circuits of the promenade deck in 15 minutes, that's 4 miles per hour. It took 2,000 steps, according to my new smart phone, rather less than the 2,500 when I walked at only 3 mph! At 5:45 and again at 8 o'clock, we were on duty at the Captain's farewell cocktail parties. In the first session, I danced with Joan & Edna. I then dined on the salmon, pork AND chicken sat with Jessica and the two photography girls. In the second session, I danced with Judith and Norwegian Rita. I watched the crew show from the far corner as usual. The show was stolen again by Rex/Rexy who did a clever duet with himself, half in drag! We danced after the show until 10:25 when I retired.


Twelveth Sea Day - Friday the 9th May 2019

   I awoke at 6:40 ready for breakfast of shirred egg with smoked salmon, crispy bacon and canned tomatoes at 7:30. Back in my cabin at 8 o'clock, Kannika had already made up my room. At 9:30 I gave my 35 minute talk on the Story of the Black Watch Regiment. I did 5 laps of the promenade deck (one mile) which took 16 minutes (4 mph) and 2000 steps in the sunshine.

   At noon I dined on the ham with chips & veg sat with Jessica and others as usual. I then slept for 45 minutes, before going to Elaine & Ron's sequence dance class. There they recapped both the Blue Angel Rumba and the Mambo Marina to 15 pax. I already knew the first dance, but didn't know the second. My partner, Louise from Liverpool, didn't know either dance, as we had both missed the previous classes, but between us we managed to learn them both.

   At 3:30 I listened to the Ukulele players, who also sang, followed by the choir, who also sang! At 4:45 I did six lengths of the pool in the bright sunshine, followed by five minutes on an underwater massage bed. The latter was rather too invigorating, so I moved on to the circular jacuzzi for five minutes. This was only warm, so I returned to the hot water Spa bed tank, but with the massage bubbles turned off! I put my cossie, on its last legs as always, in the tumble dryer, whilst I packed.

   At 5:45 I went up to the Observatory for my last lime soda and TWO jars of twiglets. At 6:30 I dined on the crab bisque, six small lab chops with vegetables and lemon mousse to finish. At 7:15 I went to the second sitting pre-dinner variety show time. This began with a 15 minute "If I were not upon the sea" routine with nine members of the crew. Then each of the main acts did two numbers followed by the production company's finale. We danced both before and after the first sitting show at 9 o'clock, which I watched from the cabin. I then said goodbye to Connie & the band, the dancers and the dance hosts. At 11:15 I had a portion of lasagna in the buffet, before getting to sleep at 11:30, my latest all cruise!


Disembarkation Day - Liverpool - Saturday the 10th May 2019

   I awoke at 6:50 with the sniffles, ready for one egg royale with one tinned tomato, sat with Joan & Edna. I finished packing and left the cabin at 8 o'clock. I snuck off the ship at 8:50 ready to meet the lovely Rina Tillinger at the port gate. She drove me to her huge Old Rectory home for morning coffee. We then took my car, which started first time, into Chester for lunch in the cathedral refectory.

   Back at her house again, we transferred my bags to my car and she loaded me with gifts and provisions. Having driven up on the A41, I decided to drive back down south on the A51 via Stoke-on-Trent. The M6, M42, M40, A34, M3 and M27 were all clear and I was home in five hours after a fantastic time away!


   Michelle later wrote: "Martin is a wonderful port speaker and has updated information on all ports of call. He always checks with the Destinations Manager for any further updates that may be needed. Martin is always around socially with the guests, joining in with other events and is always asking for feedback from us and guests." She gave me a score of 4 out of 5.

   One gent wrote: "Well, what a fantastic 'blog'. We both thoroughly enjoyed reading it and it brought back fond memories of our journey together. It was indeed a privilege to meet you, sail with you and to listen to your presentations."

   One lady wrote, with very similar wording: "This is great, I really enjoyed reading it and it brought back happy memories."

   Another lady wrote: "Sorry I missed you to say good bye as I enjoyed meeting you and having your company during the cruise."

   She later wrote: "I must say I enjoyed your Port talks and expect you have a huge data base of Info after all this time. After reading your account of the Adriatic cruise, I got the idea it's the Culinary delights as much as the travel you find enjoyable (sundae's). I had a chuckle regarding the poached! Egg incident."

   AirBnB Lesley later wrote: "Martin was a quiet, clean, friendly guest. It was a pleasure to have you visit. If you are back our way again later we will have the rest of the house sorted. I hope you were not inconvenienced eating breakfast in your room."

Black Watch

Black Watch


Score card:

28 Nights cruise
26 Evenings dancing
14 Port talks given:
   (Cádiz & Palma combined)
 7 Countries visited:
   (Spain, Greece, Montenegro,
    Croatia, Italy, Slovenia,
    Portugal)
 5 Tours escorted:
   (Cádiz, Corfu, Venice, Split & Oporto)
 5 Cocktail parties attended:
   (Welcome x2, Oceans & Farewell x2)
 5 New towns visited:
   (Palaeokastritsa, Torcello, Salona, Trogir, Amarante)
 4 New ports visited:
   (Sibenik, Koper, Zadar & Split)
 4 Croatian ports:
   (Sibenik, Zadar, Split & Dubrovnik)
 3 Spanish ports:
   (Cádiz, Palma & Mahon)
 2 Dance instructors:
   (Elaine & Ron Stilwell)
 1 New country:
   (Slovenia)
 1 Enrichment lecture given:
   (Black Watch)

Good points were:

  1. Outside twin cabin with two portholes and brand new shower room
  2. New wok station / cubby hole in the Brigadoon buffet
  3. Breakfast and lunch in the main dining room
  4. Getting to visit Sibenik
  5. In cabin tea & coffee
  6. Dancing with Elaine
  7. Free water carafe
  8. Slopchest
  9. Tea dance

For the record ...

New PowerPoints:

111 slides - Sibenik
 54 slides - Trogir


Updated PowerPoints (walks into the towns): 20 slides - Corfu 15 slides - Split 14 slides - Zadar 14 slides - Málaga