A Travellerspoint blog

Sea-day Three of Five - Formal Night

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


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Another windy morning and a fortuitous break in the general overcast permitted some reasonable images of the rising sun. We've been heading on the same course for some time now and my options for a suitable point of view are somewhat restricted. The sun has been appearing to the port side of the ship this is also the side that receives the strongest winds making hand-held photograph quite difficult.

The first event for my day, after breakfast, was the Destination Lecture on the port of Salvador at 1000 in the Theatre. We will be meeting up with my sister in Salvador and she'll be our guide so much of the lecture was irrelevant. This was followed by Captain Vincent Williams on the subject of "Infamous Ships" which provided an insight to some of the changes that have resulted from these accidents. Shortly after his session finished it was time for the Astronomy Lecture by Robert Turner who explained the cosmic events that created the basic atomic elements which became the building blocks for all matter in the Universe.

The ship conducted the standard 'King Neptune' ceremony but as I was at these lectures I didn't get to see how this crew celebrated the event. With the overlap of these events it becomes necessary to select one or the other. I'd witnessed the crossing of the equator event previously so chose to stay in the Theatre. Shortly after the Astronomy Lecture finished Jenny joined me for the afternoon movie. "The November Man" staring Pierce Brosnan and Olga Kurylenko was a violent, high energy show with enough twists and turns to ensure we stayed on the edge of our seats.
The ship crossed the Equator into the Southern hemisphere at about 1515 although the ceremony was held at 1200.

After the movie it was back to the cabin to prepare for tonight's Formal dinner. The Menu tonight featured a collection of dishes that celebrated the past 50 years of Princess Cruises. We both tried a number of these "special" dishes.

Tomorrow is another 'at sea' day as we continue South towards Salvador.

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view my latest photo by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 15:26 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Sea-day Two of Five

Monday, 9 February 2015


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Up early to catch the sunrise followed by a session with a trio of Americans as we discussed the various and different units of measure from area to temperature and capacity. I'm still trying to explain the geography of Australia relative to the USA. Even ventured into the politics of our Federal Government and how it is possible to change Prime Minister - close but not quite.

Breakfast with Jenny then off to read for a while as we wait to see Angela the Future Cruises lady. She confirmed that there was no possibility to upgrade our next cruise as it was sold out and already wait-listed. Then off to listen to Captain Vincent Williams on the subject of "Remarkable Women who Ruled Empires". This was closely followed by the Astronomy Lecture by Robert Turner who explored some of the enormous numbers that are required to measure the vastness of the galaxies.

A quick lunch from the Trident Grill before launching into an activity we've never previously undertaken- an Art Auction !! We had scheduled an hour and spent over three hours. Not sure that we'll do it again but it was fun while it lasted. Quick dash up to the cabin to change for dinner. An interesting range of choices again and lovely to see Mary and Donald. After dinner off to the Theatre to be entertained by Ruben Ruiz who provided an enthusiastic range of Latin-American numbers backed by the Ruby princess Orchestra.

Back to the cabin for the task of composing this story. The clocks go forward an hour tonight as we travel further East into the South Atlantic.
I wonder if any of you took up my invitation to calculate how many steps up and down we travelled yesterday ?? I haven't worked it out myself but I guess there were a few hundred.

Tomorrow is another 'at sea' day as we prepare to cross the Equator.

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view my latest photo by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 17:37 Archived in Brazil Comments (1)

Sea-day One of Five

Sunday, 8 February 2015


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Today is the first of five days at sea and started with a spectacular sunrise just to make the day 'special'. I started my day by climbing from our cabin located on Deck 11 Forward to one of the best vantage points at Deck 19 Aft from where I get the best view when the ship is sailing Eastwardly. After capturing the sunrise it was down to Deck 15 Aft for breakfast in the Horizon Court.

Back to the cabin for a shower and a change of clothes then a walk down to Deck 7 Aft to the Club Fusion for a Culinary Demonstration. Took my Kindle because that event was not scheduled to start until 1015. The demonstration consisted of an advertisement for the two speciality restaurants. Had to duck out early to be in the Theatre on Deck 7 Forward for the lecture by Captain Vincent Williams on the subject of "Two of History's Dangerous Women". An interesting insight to Cleopatra and Princess Medea.

Up to the cabin on Deck 11 to rendezvous with Jenny followed by a quick dash up to the Trident Grill on Deck 15 for a quick bite. Down to the cabin to pick up the Kindle and off to the theatre on Deck 7 for the Astronomy Lecture by Robert Turner who explored the Southern stars and introduced us to the way our sight works and that the mind tries to make sense of what we 'see'.

Stayed in the Theatre to watch an interesting movie. "Gone Girl" stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris. Unlike a number of false starts recently we stayed through to the end. The plot was intricate and quite gory in parts. Backup to Deck 11 to our cabin to prepare for dinner. Down the stairs again to the Dining room on Deck 6 Midship. Mary and Donald were there and a surprising range of choices with lobster, duck and pork belly featuring on the menu.

With the first show starting within minutes of finishing dinner we decided to aim for the later show at 2100. So up to Deck 7 to our cabin where we discovered a 'special invitation' to a "Rapid Fire Art Auction". We are invited to attend and receive a 'free work of art' with no obligation to buy. Worth checking it out even if it is a mere gimmick. Shortly after 2000 we're off to the Theatre on Deck 7 with our Kindles in readiness for the second show.

Tonight's entertainment was the mentalist Alex Crowe from the UK. He performed many feats that defied logic and were totally unbelievable. He claims it to be 'mind reading' but is totally unbelievable to me. I did leave the theatre totally dumbfounded by what I'd observed. Climbed back up to our cabin on Deck 11 and completed this story. Sunrise tomorrow is at 0542 and will have to get up at about 0515 to be on deck ready to catch it.

If you're interested in doing the math, there are 16 risers on the stairs between the decks except for between Decks 7 and 8 which has 22 risers.

Tomorrow is another 'at sea' day as we make our way South towards Brazil.

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view my latest photo by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 18:23 Archived in Brazil Comments (2)

Port of Spain, Trinidad

Saturday, 7 February 2015


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The Ruby Princess arrived with the sunrise in Port of Spain the capital of the two island country of Trinidad and Tobago. With a population of 128,000, Port of Spain is the most developed of the places visited to date. The presence of buildings taller than our ship created an interesting contrast. Another unexpected feature of our arrival was the absence of any other cruise ships in this busy commercial port.

With no shore excursions booked we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and then watched the entertainment on the wharf for a while before setting out to explore the city. Easily identified guides were there along the way to advise, guide and assist us to the Brian Lara Promenade. This wide and tree-lined avenue was flanked by many tall office towers and public buildings.

We ventured off through some of the narrow bustling streets of shops and stalls selling mainly fresh produce and clothing. There were also a number of up-market arcades offering hi-tech products and fashion clothing. It was difficult to judge prices as most articles were price in the TT$. With an exchange rate of 6.2 TT$ = 1 US$ some prices were either ridiculously high or amazingly low. A direct enquiry would no doubt have provided an answer.

At one stage we must have drifted too far off the 'tourist track' as a local policeman suggested we go no further in the direction we were headed but instead take a left and visit the more historical precinct. Jenny is normally very sensitive to bad vibes but was quite comfortable both before and after the encounter. I, as always, was oblivious as long as there was something colourful and interesting to point the camera at.

We wandered past some of the grand structures around Woodford Square and found our way back to the waterfront. On our way out we had noticed the "Breakfast Shed" a crowded outdoor food court selling strange food items. On our way back I felt compelled to try something and selected a dish which appeared to be a combination of sliced fruits. With some sign language I selected the smaller of two containers and she spooned in a mixture. Then completely surprised me by asking "Chicken, Pork, Beef or Lamb?". I had no ready answer but said "Chicken". She proceeded to ladle pieces of braised chicken on top of the "fruit". Then completely floored me by adding shredded lettuce.

I paid the 5 US$ and proceeded to investigate the dish. The "fruit" was in fact cooked green banana and three other starchy vegetables like yams, potato or gourds. The vegetable component was not very tasty but the chicken and gravy provided an interesting flavour to the whole.

We walked past a Dutch flagged patrol vessel that appeared to be 'on show' with placards describing the various attributes. She looked very sleek and futuristic with large flat surfaces and no visible protrusions, I thought about trying my limited Dutch language skills but decided against it.
Inside the dock area Jenny found some lovely Tee shirts of good quality and reasonable price. Back aboard the ship we were thankful of the air-conditioned comfort. After my unusual snack I didn't have much need for food. Decided to 'take a nap' and woke up about 1600 as the ship was leaving the port.

Mary and Donald were in the dining rood this evening and surprisingly our assistant waiter has been replaced. Apparently Jessica, our assistant for the past week has left to attend to a domestic emergency in Mexico. Hopefully we will have the same pair for the remainder of the cruise. Makes for a more enjoyable experience when we get to know each-other.

Tonight's entertainment is a 'Production Show'. We haven't been keen to attend these over-rated shows that appear to appeal to many others. We find them loud and somewhat boring with only minor variation from cruise to cruise. The 'shows' are all choreographed centrally at Princess HQ and are intended to be staged uniformly on all ships. No doubt an uplifting experience during the first or second cruise.

With no viable alternative I'm using the time to write and upload this drivle.

Tomorrow is the first of five 'at sea' days as we make our way south across the equator.

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view my latest photo by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 15:44 Archived in Trinidad and Tobago Comments (1)

St George's, Granada

Friday, 6 February 2015


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Arrived on the open deck at 0600 to find the ship slowly inching it's way alongside the pier. Ahead of the ship were the steep hills on which the city is built. The hills were crowned in dense clouds that lit up as the sun rose. We were tied up and secured by about 0715 when the Aida "Luna" berthed along the other side of the pier.

We had no tours booked for today and made our way ashore at about 0900. It is a fine balance between avoiding the heat of the day and finding stores and facilities open. The streets are chaotic and local stalls crowd any possible side-walks. Everywhere we looked there was a combination of red, green and gold. Flags, bunting and banners all proclaiming National Day. Most colourful were the people, especially the kids.

The steep nature of the terrain made for some strenuous walking. One steep 'road' was reduced to wide stairs complete with a very handy hand-rail. We were attracted to one hill-top by a church tower to find that the tower was the only piece to survive with the main part of the church being reduced to two walls and no roof. Being drawn to another church-tower we found a similar situation but this one didn't even have surviving walls. Both places had donation boxes in an attempt to raise money for a rebuilding project.

We walked on towards Fort George, reputed to have spectacular views over the harbour. We arrived there to find there was an unexpected entry fee and many more steps to climb. With the temperature rising and the disincentive of the entry fee and many steps we decided to make our way down again. Going down was certainly easier that going up but the path down was still a challenge. I was somewhat embarrassed to see elderly locals climb up faster than I was going down.

We were back aboard in the air-conditioned comfort before 1200 and after lunch we retired to the cabin to recover. After a short snooze I got up to write this tale and now it is almost time to prepare for dinner. You may have noticed that the day is pretty much broken up by breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are the constants in our ever changing day. The sunrise time changes as we change location East, South and West. Ship's arrival and departure times are set by another schedule altogether.

In the past 24 hours we've had to make a call for maintenance on our TV and a blown bulb in one of the light fixtures. Neither life critical and hardly even an annoyance, both have been attended to very promptly and effectively. On various previous cruises we've heard people complain of significant breakdowns in their cabins that were not rectified for days. On the basis of our personal experience there's been no problem at all.

A quiet dinner for two as Donald and Mary didn't turn up. After dinner we made our way to the Theatre where we watched a most entertaining performance by Mark Nizer, in his own words "a juggler". He is all that and a lot more. In addition to traditional balls, boxes and knives he utilises lasers, fog machines and amazingly two rolls of toilet paper.

Tomorrow we dock in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Arriving at 0700 and departing at 1530

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view my latest photo by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 17:10 Archived in Grenada Comments (1)

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