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Monday, 22 September 2014

Competition Time

In November, the good lady and I are off on a Fred Olsen Mystery cruise. We did a Saga mystery cruise a few years back and enjoyed it so much, when Fred announced one, plus the fact that I have just retired (Sue is still working, but only part time ) there really was no other option than to book

You can find all the details of the cruise here



The good ship Black Watch, leaves Tilbury on 15th November 2014 for 14 nights bound for ? ( well it is a mystery cruise).

The marketing information, state 6 ports, in 4 countries, sailing in the North Sea, the Atlantic and the Med. Plus there is one iconic landmark, and a top port as voted by Fred passengers.

So, the competition is :

Can you name the ports that we will call at ?

I have spared no expense on the prize, which is a CRUISE.....
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Brochure ( to be picked up from any local travel agent of your choice )

Well I'm not made of money ;-)

So please join in the fun, and tell us where you think we may be going in the 14 days.

And just to help you, here is short video


    

Sunday, 14 September 2014

P&O Adonia Cruise Review and Photos

The Cruise

7 nights from Southampton 5th - 12th September 2014, calling at

St Mary's, Scilly Isles

Cobh ( for Cork )

St Peter Port, Guernsey

Honfleur, France

We booked this cruise sometime age, for two reasons. Firstly Adonia was the only ship in the P&O fleet we had not sailed on. Secondly, we had only been to one of the ports on the itinerary.

The Ship

Adonia is the smallest of the P&O fleet with circa 700 passengers, and fills the gap left when Artemis left the fleet. Adonia is marketed as having a "Country House" feel about it, and I would tend to agree with that description.
I think the cruise was sold out, but never did it seem overcrowded, and you could always find a seat, either on deck or inside.

Now there are lots of myths and stories about Adonia, mainly that everything stops at 20:30 of a night and all passengers take to their cabins.

Yes it is true that Adonia attracts an elderly spectrum of passengers, but if you had ventured into the Crows Nest in the 60's / 70's night, you could not move for the passengers "boogieing" the night away thanks to the excellent efforts of the entertainment team.

Ports of call

As I said above, 3 out of the 4 ports were new to us

St Mary's was a tender port, and if you read my blog, you will remember that we had to use "local tenders" and not the ships.
Now I don't think  I met anyone who thought that was a good idea. But once landed, we did enjoy our time ashore with a walking tour, and then some free time. Being a Sunday, not all the shops were open, but sufficient for what we needed.

Cobh ( pronounced Cove) 
Again, another port we thoroughly enjoyed, and such a very pretty town, and plenty to do within an easy walk from the ship, even if you do not want a tour. Also the railways station is opposite where the ship docks. Plus if you like a tipple, I can recommend the tour to the Jameson distillery. 

St Peters Port, another tender port, but this time using the ships tenders, so much more civilised. St Peters Port ( as it is a tender port) is one of those that you never know before you start your cruise if you will make it. I would think it's about 50/50 from the number of times we have been there.
But again another port that there is plenty to do if you just want a wander.

Honfleur, another we have tried a few times to visit, and failed, but this time we made it. It really is as pretty as the pictures make out, with a very busy harbour for sailing vessels, and lots of artisan shops for you to wander around. In all a delightful port of call.

Entertainment 

Being a smaller ship, and not having a theatre, all the shows are performed in the Curzon Lounge, and subsequently the Headliners are reduced to just 5 vocalists, and no dedicated dance troupe.   
We saw all but one of their shows ( we ate in the Ocean Grill that night) and they were very good.
Of note though, must be their afternoon performance of the play Opposite Sex, and well worth seeing if you get a chance.
Now if you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know in March, we were onboard Oriana to see the Northern Lights, and in my blog I mentioned an entertainment office called Chris Reynolds who performed an "Elvis" show. We did not attend the show as impersonators don't a lot for me. However it seems the show is a lot more than just Elvis. Well Chris has jumped ship, as is now on Adonia, and once again performed his "Elvis"
If you get a chance, please go and see the show, you will not be disappointed :-)

We only went to see one of the speciality acts, who was the comedian, funny in parts, but sailed very close ( too close IMHO) to racial jokes.   

There were the normal quizzes hat we normally take part in, plus we won a couple as well, which always helps.

The Weather

The weather was STUNNING, wall to wall sunshine for the whole week, could not have asked for more.

Conclusion

It really was an excellent cruise, good ports, good weather, excellent company at dinner, the perfect recipe for a cruise.

If I have not bored too much you can view my photos.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Adonia the final lap



Well it had to happen, we have reached the last port, and the final day of our short 7 night cruise on Adonia. 
We had been informed by the  Captain, that we need to arrive early, as there is an eight metre rise and fall in the tide at Honfleur and he needed sufficient water under his keel to make it up the river.

As the clocks went forwards last night, I missed the sail in as I did not get up until 0745, and we had already docked.

We decide to take the shuttle into town. Now here is an interesting point, in the horizon magazine, it stated that the shuttle bus was only free of charge for those passengers paying the select fare.

Were any checks made as we boarded the bus ? NO ! So how does that work then ? 

And whilst I remember, for those that asked about the "Action Stations" I never did find out what it was all about, sorry.

But I digress, and back to today. We have managed a full house on this cruise, as today was again warm and sunny.




This was our first visit to this very picturesque town. We have tried before, but have always been thwarted by weather, or a strike by French dock workers, so it was good to finally arrive, plus it was well worth the wait.



So after a couple of warm hours around the town, we decided to walk back to the ship. Not the best road in the world, but it did only take about 20 minutes.

Now if you have been paying attention ( I will be setting a test later ) you will remember I said there was an eight meter rise and fall in the tide. When we disembarked to go into town, the gangway from the prom deck to the dock side was level. During our walk in town, high tide had arrived and we now needed ropes and climbing gear to get back on board due to the angle of the gangway.
Oh the joys of cruising ;-) 


All too soon it was time to pack the cases and off to the crows nest for me to compile this last blog.

I will write a cruise review when we get home, plus a link to all my photos once I have sorted them out.

So what's next ? Well we are not sure really as it's a Fred Olsen mystery cruise next in November, but more about that nearer the time.

So thank you all for reading my ramblings, and HAPPY CRUISING !!!




Thursday, 11 September 2014

Adonia Blog Part III

Another day and another port, and today is St Peter Port Guernsey, back to yesterday first.
It was a very lazy sea day for us, although I did manage to get to the gym, and in the afternoon, we teamed up wih Liz and Stephen from our table, and won another quiz.
The evening saw us venture into the Oceana Griil for our evening meal.
The food was excellent as normal. However, the normal cafetiere of coffee and Belgian chocolates, had been replaced by just a cup of coffee and a coffe cream chocolate that we had had in the MDR a few nights before. More cost cutting  ?

But enough of my whinging and back to today. After a lazy breakfast, we went to the Curzon Lounge to pick up our tender tickets. 
As luck would have it, we were given our tickets and went straight down to the tender, being the last to board, after a short tender ride, we were the first to alight from the tender into the port.


It's been wall to wall sunshine all day, and after a very pleasant two hours ashore, with of course a coffee and cake stop, and a bit of shopping, it was time to get the tender back to the ship. We were warned as we left the quay side that is was going to be a lumpy ride back to the ship as the winds had increased. 
I have to say though, we have been on far worse tender rides.



Still bathed in sunshine, we have been sitting around the crystal pool, although we have now retired to the shade as it was getting a bit hot !!!!! Did not think I would be posting that in September.

Not sure what has just happened, but a bridge announcement of " Action stations forward" has just been made.

We leave at 1630 to and off to our last port of Honfluer, before we reluctantly head back to Southampton.


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Adonia Part II

And so we waved goodbye to the Scilly Isles, and made our way overnight to Cobh, the port for Cork.

After our near miss in our last quiz, we decided to bring up the reinforcements with 4 members from our table to help us in " majority rules". It did get a bit raucous, but we came through in the end, and are now the proud owners of a bottle of wine.

On Monday we awoke  to a glorious day, and I was soon up on deck with my camera as we sailed into port.


If you have never been to Cobh before ( like us ) you dock very close to the town, and as our tour was not until midday, a walk into town was needed, and what a very pretty town it is.


Cobh was previously know as Queenstown after a visit by Queen Victoria, but independence saw it revert to its original name.
It was also the last port that the ill fated Titanic stopped at before it made its way across to the USA.

The original White Star Line ticket office, is now a Titanic experience 


I know the Titanic story is well known, but to stand in the footprints of the passengers that boarded the tender to take them out to Titanic, gives you a different perspective, and is worth a visit.

Midday saw us board our coach for our city tour, and then a visit to the Jameson distillery.

Cork is a very vibrant city as the local university causes an influx of students to the area.

It was then time to go and see how they make the amber nectar. We were greeted by a very unusual  piece of furniture.


As part of the tour, they asked for volunteers to take part in a tasting, well, it would have been rude not to volunteer.

So Sue and myself are now certificated tasters :-)

We decided to go to the Conservatory for the evening buffet as it was our favourite, Indiian.
But before that we watched the sail away from the Crows Nest. 

We had been blessed with wall to wall sunshine all day, and this continued well into the evening such that after our evening meal, we saw the most glorious sunset, as a bright orange sun dropped to the horizon behind wispy clouds that Sue called angels wings.

Made you feel good to be alive.

Tuesday is a sea day as we make our way back eastwards to Guernsey.






Monday, 8 September 2014

P&O Adonia Part I

So, the had arrived and we were off to sample the last of P&O's fleet that we had not sailed on, yes Adonia.
Our journey down to Southampton  was only slightly delayed by the never ending road works on the M25, and arrived at the Mayflower terminal by 1140,
There was no need for priority boarding today, and we were onboard and eating lunch in the Curzon lounge by mid day ( plus the odd glass ).

After muster stations, it was sail away time around the crystal pool with the theatre company and entertainment team.


Any P&O regulars may well recognise Terry Gleed ( above ) as he has been performing on P&O ships for many a year.

The entertainment for the evening was the normal " welcome on board" show. However special note must be made to the theatre company's performance of "bridge over troubled waters" which was excellent IMHO

Saturday started a bit on the grey side.


But still warm enough to sit out.

After lunch, we went to see the play Opposite Sex performed by the theatre company, and excellent it was too.
I won't divulge the plot, but it does have an adult theme.

The evening saw us trying our luck in a quiz, we reached a tie break at the end, but was let down in our Cliff Richard knowledge ( no pun intended )

On Sunday, we reached St Mary in the Scilly Isles. We were informed it was a tender port ( no problem ) but was not told we would have to use local boats and not the ship tenders.

Now the craft we boarded was a cross between an overgrown rowing boat, and a Viking long ship. Let's just say it was an Interesting trip ashore and back ( it did get a tad wet at times )

It was our first trip to the Scilly Isles, and what a lovely little port it is. We had booked the 2 hour shore exec walking tour. It was a great walk with an excellent guide who knew her stuff, but I do have to have a soap box moment.

This is something that I have blogged about before. there were 28 of us on the walk, all paying £26 each, for one guide and a cup of coffee at the end, I will let you do the maths :-(


We saw this fine fellow as we walked back to the quay, and I could not resist