A Travellerspoint blog

Unscheduled Sea Day

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

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The wind is icy and the sea is choppy as we sail Westward toward Ireland. At short notice the ship's staff have managed to put together an extensive program of activities to keep us occupied and in-doors. Only the hardy ventured out on the open deck and the more exposed locations were closed off.

Jenny discovered a replacement pocket knife among the articles in the Holiday Store at Sea. All items priced at $10. It was a good price for a knife that should be legal when next we board a ship.

We received a special invitation from the Captain to join him and his Senior Officers at a Cocktail Party. The limited invitation is for the "Most Traveled Passengers" aboard the Caribbean Princess this cruise. We've been selected only once before and that occasion was a pleasant event. There's plenty of notice, the Party is not until Wednesday 14 June.

We didn't bother to dress up for tonight's Formal. Decided to join what looks like half the passengers in the buffet on Deck 15. Returned to the cabin and found the form for disembarkation. It is some time off but did highlight the fact that this is a SHORT cruise.

Visiting the port of Cork in Ireland tomorrow.

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

Posted by greynomadm 20:35 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

Boarding the Caribbean Princess

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The day dawned wet and windy in Southampton but we were snug and warm in our Highfield House room. The buffet breakfast was both varied and substantial we enjoyed both the cold and hot offerings.

We had plenty of time to pack our belongings and checked out of the room at 10:00 then sat in the foyer for an hour. The receptionist call for a taxi which arrived within minutes. Our luggage stowed he zipped down some narrow back streets and we arrived in the area of the docks in short order. The check-in was the quickest we've experienced with no less than six staff looking after the 'priority embarkation' guests. Through another Security Check and we were aboard within 30 minutes. Looking good.

The buffet on Deck 15 is designated as the 'World Fresh Marketplace' the layout and furnishings are different to any we've previously experienced. Collecting food was somewhat chaotic as we were all trying to figure out the correct sequence and direction as there was no obvious IN or OUT of the area. A quick sandwich and some fruit and we were named in an announcement from the Passengers Services. Our baggage was being held ashore by security. Not sure which of us was involved so we both fronted up at the baggage check.

It appears that I was the culprit. The offending item was my pocket knife which I use for peeling fruit. There were two faults, the blade was too long and additionally it has a locking mechanism. The offending item was confiscated but could be returned to my home address for just £50 !! Something like three times the value of the knife. Sadly I watched it being thrown into the bin.

Spent some time unpacking and sorting out the electrical connections. Managed to access the ship's intranet and registered both our accounts. We have 250 minutes of complementary Internet time. Not bad for just 12 days aboard.

The General Emergency Stations drill was scheduled for 16:00 and we made our way to Muster Station E about 30 minutes early to be assured of a seat. Slowly others drifted in and at about 15:45 there was an announcement that the drill would be postponed as a significant number of guests had not yet arrived. We returned to the cabin and Jenny spent a good deal of time rationalising the Shore Excursions as a number had been changed.

The Emergency drill was called and conducted. At the conclusion of the drill there was an announcement that tomorrow's call at St Peter Port, Guernsey was cancelled due to weather conditions. Always a potential for a tendered port. It appears we'll remain in port overnight and sail out early tomorrow.

We're not well organised tonight so we've decided to grab a quick meal on Deck 15. Appears that most of the passengers have the same idea. With little else to attract us we return to the cabin and experiment with the TV Channels, results are not promising but we did find the BBC and caught up with some News. We have an unscheduled Day at Sea tomorrow.

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

Posted by greynomadm 21:11 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

On to Southampton

Monday, 5 June 2017

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After a restful night we enjoyed the buffet breakfast. The dishes on offer should satisfy even the fussy person. Our shuttle to the coach station is due at 10:55 so there was no rush to vacate the room. The weather is quite miserable and we're thankful for the weatherproofs. Our coach to Southampton is running a bit late but there's no rush. Traffic is heavy and has come to a complete stop in places after an accident on one of the major motorways.

We arrived in Southampton at about 14:15, found a taxi and were checked in at the Highfield House just after 15:00. The property has a comfortable homely feel and our ground-floor room was ready. Unpacked just the essentials and went for a walk to explore the local area. There are a variety of food outlets and we dropped into one for fish and chips. We called into Sainsburys for some fruit and a cup as Jenny forgot to pack one.

The rain and wind is picking up and we're happy to be comfortable back in our room. Early to bed as we're still recovering from the long flight. Onto the Caribbean Princess tomorrow.

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

Posted by greynomadm 09:58 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Singapore to London

Sunday, 4 June 2017

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Both Jenny and I spent a restless night in the Transit Hotel at Changi Airport. We checked out just after 08:00 and returned to the Food Street where many of the airport employees were having breakfast. The many stalls were surprisingly busy. Found that the reason for that were the cut-price packages offered for airport staff only.

Wandered towards our departure gate where we sat and watched the passing parade. Staff whizzed past on a variety of electric devices ranging from the people movers, luggage trolley collectors and the single person Segway. The parade of the iconic Singapore Girl flight attendants indicated that the boarding process was not far off. We passed through Security again and waited in the Departure Lounge.

With about 20 minutes to go to the 12:45 departure time we were whisked aboard. Surprisingly quickly we were aboard the 777-300ER and departed on schedule at 12:45. Time passes slowly on these long-haul flights. The service aboard was outstanding and the quality of the meals was excellent.

I spent most of the 13 hours watching movies. Three that I recall were Doctor Strange, Get Out and The Accountant. In between there was the Navigation Chanel where I could watch the image of the aircraft move slowly across the globe.

We landed at Heathrow just after 19:45 (London Time) and followed the signs to the Border Force gate. Just like last time stupid me picked the wrong queue. It said "E Passport", we have them so that's where I went. Got to the head of the queue to find that it was for British and EU passports only. A lovely lady escorted us to the "correct" queue where we were whisked through with little delay. Found our luggage, a huge relief and headed out from Terminal 2.

Now the fun starts, we need the National Express pick-up platform and find we're lost again. The lifts have a -1, 0, +1 and a 5 button. we board the lift at +1 and go with the majority to -1 the "bus terminal". This looks like the place we found was incorrect last time . We turn around and head back up to return to where we'd started and looked for an "Information" desk. Lots of leaflets and brochures but no humans to provide the answers we are after. Finally found someone at a Rental Car desk who assured me that we needed Level 0 (zero) and stop 10. Back into the lift, press zero and finish up at -1 AGAIN. There's something strange happening here so we get into a lift that is indicating UP. Press the zero button and we finally crack it.

Just a 5 minute wait at Stop 10 and we are welcomed aboard the bus to take us to the Leonardo Hotel. Google maps showed it to be just over a mile from the airport. That certainly wasn't measured along the route we went. Check-in was totally painless, the room having been paid for some time ago. When their buffet breakfast was offered I readily paid the AU$ 40 for the two of us. Found our room to be on the ground floor. Just as well after my luck with lifts today 8-)

Dug through my bag to find the chargers for the electronics and after a hot coffee crashed out. More "fun" tomorrow as we make our way to Southampton for an overnight stay before joining the cruise-ship.

Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Ton

Posted by greynomadm 01:09 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Canberra to Singapore

Saturday, 3 June 2017

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Today marks the start of our journey. Canberra obliged by turning on a crisp Winter's day -4.6 °C. A quick trip to the airport and no crowds, we're here at 08:00 for a 10:00 flight. Managed to negotiate the Security check without issues but did have to take my shoes off. Can't imagine what they expect. Board right on schedule and were airborne 10 minutes early for a dash to Sydney. Total flight time just 30 minutes.

Arrived at the Domestic Terminal and made our way to the transfer lounge for the long slow trip around the airport to the International Terminal. Border Protection was straight forward, even Jenny managed the automated recognition system without a problem. The camera did seem to take a while to make up its mind. Then another dose of Security. This time my carry-on was subjected to intensive scrutiny, no doubt due to the many cables, chargers and power-supply bits. Many were last minute things in use until just before we left.

Off to the outer reaches of the terminal - Gate 54 of 60 for our flight to Singapore. Jenny's walking stick granted us priority boarding along with the wheel-chair old folk. Once again the extent of the carry-on luggage some people bring aboard amazed us. To their credit the cabin staff managed to fit it all in. The flight departed right on time for the eight hour flight. We were well looked after by the lovely flight attendants who provided hot face washers to start with, followed by juices and water then a quite acceptable hot lunch. Ice-cream and coffee or tea to finish off.

At 20:30 local time we checked into the Ambassador Transit Hotel for 12 hours to refresh and catch up with the clock, now two hours out of whack.
The long flight is ahead of us tomorrow as we head for London.

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

Posted by greynomadm 01:05 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

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