Cruising

All posts tagged Cruising

Mediterranean Malarkies – Day Three

Published 29/09/2018 by julierkendrick

Aaaaaah that’s more like it. Waking up to a smooth sea and bright sun beaming through the cabin window was much more akin to what we ordered.  Sam was feeling chipper and not at all nauseous (he was rubbing his ear beads every so often just to be sure) and Trevor seemed to finally have woken up.

Today was a sea day and the first chance we had to actually all relax together and work on our tans.  Once we had finished breakfast we wandered out to find some sunbeds to make camp for the day.  Yeah, easier said than done. Once again we spent ages wandering round and round and round and round, initially trying to find four beds together, deciding to settle on two and eventually begging for a small piece of floor where we could lay our towels. There were signs up everywhere telling us not to reserve beds or our stuff would be removed after 30 minutes but every bed was taken. Finally we found one bed on the top deck partially in the shade and leapt on it. Glen wandered off and after a short while came back with another bed which he set up next to the one five of us were sharing.  We sorted ourselves out as best we could and commenced the serious business of tanning.

I am like a lizard and once I’m comfy in the sun with a drink and a book you’re not moving me for hours.  Everyone else came and went throughout the day and as people around me left I swapped beds with two better placed for maximum sun absorption.

Sam and I had our yearly argument with him trying to convince me that he doesn’t need to wear factor 30+ on his very fair skin and that he could use my factor 8 (for 3% Nigerian throwbacks) and be fine.  Reluctantly he relented and spread a very thin layer of factor 30 over parts of himself and laid down with his headphones in for all of 20 minutes before getting bored and wandering off again.

IMG_0035

Sam trying to convince me he’s not fair of skin

As a group we had decided to book a table in one of the speciality restaurants for that night (this is another package that we had to buy in order to save 10 Euros pp on each meal) and we had chosen Chops Grille as most people were in the mood for steak. This turned out to be a brilliant idea as the food and service were second to none. Our waitress with an unpronounceable name was so attentive, funny and friendly that she made our dining experience fabulous. She remembered all our drinks and as soon as a glass was only 1/4 full she produced another one. If we were running low on side orders she brought more.  The food was also outstanding.  Most of us had steak and everyone said it was cooked to perfection, exactly the way they had ordered. I had rack of lamb and again could not sing its praises high enough.  A lovely night of food, drink and hilarity sent us off to bed very happy and VERY full.

But, that is not the end of the Kendrick day 3 story. Oh no. By the time we got back to our room Sam had started to complain that the backs of his legs were sore and sheepishly admitted that he had ‘forgotten’ to put lotion on them.  Stripping off his trousers he was mortified to see the backs of his legs burnt so pink they were reminiscent of the steak he had just consumed. “But I only laid out for 20 minutes” he kept repeating much to my frustration. Lots of cold flannels and fanning of bed sheets later he found some After Sun that he had brought with him that his mate Jordan had left behind in the room when they had been to Rome a few weeks earlier. So I rubbed a generous amount into the poor boy’s legs and a little bit on his back and chest and sent him to bed with paracetamol and a flea in his overcrowded ear about arguing with me every year about the same damn thing.

IMG_0041

“But I only laid out for 20 minutes”

Then next morning….  well you’ll just have to wait for that, but believe me its a good one.

Pip pip

Julie 🙂

Mediterranean Malarkies – Day Two

Published 25/09/2018 by julierkendrick

Waking up and looking out over a beautiful blue sea, nothing on the horizon except serene blue sky; rhythmic bobbing up and down with a warm gentle breeze softly brushing our faces… was absolutely nothing like what we actually woke up to!

Grey, drizzly, choppy waters with a wind that was more than a little chilly whipping our hair nearly off our heads was what greeted us on Day 2. We had reached the Bay of Biscay, a notoriously tempestuous area of the ocean that takes about a day to pass through.  Not having brought any warm clothing or even a jacket meant we were going to be staying inside today.  I was lucky enough to have a massage booked so I had that to look forward. However, everyone else spent the day staggering from one place to the next trying not to fall flat on their faces, or find themselves propelled into shops where their bank balances would be severely depleted. Although a little unsteady on my feet I didn’t feel unwell at all but poor Sam was green and almost continually throwing up.  Trevor, who had been working like a maniac for about 6 months was so tired he just kept falling asleep and when he was awake complained of feeling nauseous.

We went to the  Windjammer for breakfast, hoping that it would settle the boys’ tummies but spent about 20 minutes wandering round and round looking for a free table.  This would be only one of many times we compared this cruise to our Caribbean one with this one fairing less than well.  99% of the passengers were British and in typical Brit fashion pushed and shoved everyone out of the way to make sure “we’re alright Jack”. I have no idea where this thing about the Brits queuing up nicely came from but I certainly didn’t see any orderly queues where the food was concerned. Once we were seated the food was delicious and plentiful and I was more than happy with my full belly. However the poor boys just felt worse and worse.

IMG_0029

Greyness (looking deceptively calm though)

At 12.30 I popped off to the spa for my Swedish massage with a tiny girl from the Philippines named Elsa. She called me Joooooooolie and kneaded and stroked all my cares away until I was powerless to resist the Elemis lotions and potions she told me I must buy just before I left. £90 lighter (that was just the creams) I went back to our cabin to find Trevor asleep and Sam with his green face in the toilet bowl.  I whisked him off down to the spa where I had seen a notice saying that they did acupuncture for sea sickness.  At this point my boy would have rubbed a frog over his face if it meant he would stop vomiting so we went and saw the lovely Dr who laid Sam down and poked him with needles for an hour.  After this she stuck some tiny beads in his ears and rubbed them for a few minutes before leaving him to sleep for half an hour or so.  A short while later he woke up and like magic was cured. Yes, I am serious. He was actually cured. No more sickness just a slightly unsettled feeling in his tummy which the Dr said would go in a coupe of hours.  He was given instructions to press the beads in his ears if he felt sick and we left, with me nearly £300 down!! So no more sea sickness for Sam and the chefs were put on alert that the teenage boy had his appetite back!!!

Not much happened for the rest of that day as we spent our time sleeping or wandering around the boat orientating ourselves. I had to take to my bed to try to recover from spending nearly £400 without getting off the boat or going into a shop; having said that, it was worth every penny to see Sam feeling better.

IMG_0030

First boat pic of me and Diane

Diane and I took our first selfie and once we had eaten our dinner went to bed early. Tomorrow we would be arriving in Gibraltar so sleep was needed to prepare for some walking and sightseeing fun.

Land ahoy

Julie 🙂

 

Mediterranean Malarkies – Day ONE

Published 19/09/2018 by julierkendrick

The date is 12th August 2018 and the day is Sunday. The time is 6am!!!!!!! 6am does not exist in my world as it is the time when I am usually sleeping my deepest but as we are off on our cruise today I don’t mind being acquainted with it just this once. We had finished packing the night before and once we had thrown the final toiletries into our cases we left the house for 2 weeks of sun, fun and relaxation.

First thing’s first… Sleep. All the way to Southampton. I have to admit I am the most boring car passenger as I am like a baby, 2 miles down the road and Zzzzzz. I woke up just as we arrived at the hotel where we were to meet The fabulous Perrymans (I think that should be their moniker from now on). Once we had excitedly said our hellos we went off in convoy to the dock.

Just a few minutes later we saw our fabulous boat and before we knew it our cases were collected from us by a lovely chap in the car park and we were ushered into the terminal and on to the vessel that was going to transport us off to sunnier climes.

Once on board we had to wait a couple of hours before our stateroom was ready so we went to a bar and ordered our first round of holiday drinks.

IMG_0027

£57 with a couple of cokes and a beer!!!!

Now, I just need to pause proceedings here to give you a little explanation of how drinks work on cruises with Royal Caribbean. There is no cash onboard so you have to register a credit or debit card once you arrive. You are issued with a boarding pass which is linked to this card. Any time you buy anything your card is swiped and your credit card charged.  You have the option whether to buy a drinks package or not. If you choose to do so there are three options, 1. Full alcohol package. 2. Enhanced soft drinks package (includes hot chocolate and coffee) 3. Basic soft drinks package. All very simple so far, yes? However, the drinks packages are RIDICULOUSLY expensive. The full alcohol package is, and you’ll need to read this at least twice, £68 per person, PER DAY. Yes per day.  Also they have a rule that if one adult in your room has the alcohol package then ALL the adults have to have it too. This is obviously to stop one person buying the package and then getting drinks for the rest of their party. Makes sense I guess but wow that’s a lot of money. So we decided that we would not partake of the packages but would just pay as we go. HAHAHAHA! Yeah nice idea… The first round of drinks that I bought consisted of 2 cocktails, 1 beer and 2 cokes. Grand total £57. Well once I’d picked myself up off the floor and stopped hyperventilating we had a long discussion about how we were going to afford to drink on this holiday.  Glen and I did some rudimentary maths but the end result was that we were going to have to bite the bullet and get the package. I’ll leave you to work out how much that cost us but it was a tidy sum and we hadn’t even left Southampton!

Once that was out of the way we could start to relax. Our cabin was ready and we unpacked quickly eager to get back to the holiday celebrations.  We set sail at 4pm and Diane and I decided to have a mooch round the shops that are along the Promenade. I bought my holiday perfume (Coco Chanel) and we stopped for one or two, or three drinks along the way.  Dinner that night was in the Sapphire restaurant which is the equivalent of Mozart on the Adventure of the Seas that we were on in the Caribbean.  If I’m honest the food wasn’t that great, pretty mediocre but, hey it’s the first day. It’s all looking up from here right? Right??

You’ll have to wait for the Day Two to find out.

Ahoy shipmates

Julie 🙂

 

 

Mediterranean Malarkies

Published 03/09/2018 by julierkendrick

Well hello again all those who have followed my blog in the past. I admit I am not the most regular of bloggers but I like to think that when I do put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) it is worth reading. So welcome back, I hope you enjoy the next series of posts which will be appearing over a week or so.

As some of you know I have recently been on another cruise, this time to the sunny Mediterranean. We went with Royal Caribbean again and this time instead of  meeting new friends we took the old ones with us. Glen and Diane, the fabulous couple we met on our first cruise in 2013 (see Caribbean Chronicles) have become our best chums with whom we spend many days on lodge breaks around the UK, jumping in and out of hot tubs. We also went to Turkey together in 2016 and travel to each others houses at least a few times a year.  We also had our youngest son Sam with us and Glen and Di brought their daughter Zoe and son Darryl and his husband Austin.

So, I have set the scene, introduced the characters all that remains is to crack on with Day One.

IMG_0026

Navigator of the Seas

Caribbean Chronicles – Part Four

Published 20/02/2013 by julierkendrick

The next day, as was now the norm, we arrived in our next port at 8am. This time we were in Antigua. As it was so warm and we didn’t have any excursions planned we decided to wander around the ship and sunbathe for a while. Even though we had been aboard for 5 days there were still places unexplored. We found Johnny Rockets diner, which reminded me of my time in New York with Belcanto when Paige and I had Oreo cookie milkshakes and danced with the chefs. Sam was very happy to find a kids arcade and of course I hunted out the spa where Trevor booked me a strange experience in a pod (more on that later).

Afterwards we went back to our room, where Fernando, our stateroom attendant had made up our room and left us his usual towel sculpture. There we changed into swimwear and went back up on deck 12 to catch some Antiguan rays. As per usual Trevor burnt himself to a crisp while I browned nicely. Sam and I went for a dip in one of the pools and found that it was a salt water pool. It is quite amusing to watch me in a salt water pool because, as I have natural buoyancy in the form of my boobs I can’t sink and struggle to stay upright. After fighting the sodium for a while I gave up and went back to my book.

A towel sculpture

A towel sculpture

A while later we ventured off the boat, which we had now started to call home and went into Antigua. If you’ve ever been there you may remember it being a very noisy vibrant place. Lots of people talking to each other in very loud voices that you could be mistaken for thinking everyone is arguing but of course they are not they just talk at high decibels. We were offered watches, taxis, rum, and other objects and services as we walked along the promenade. It was when we came to a lady offering hair braids that I decided to partake.  $60 and 40 odd braids later I was done and although I was grateful for the hair being off my face, they bloody hurt and I felt like I’d had a bad face-lift. But I was determined to keep them in for at least a few days.

Beinf

Being braided

On the way back we found a duty free shop and bought some flavoured rum, Black Cherry (which was soon to become my favourite tipple) and Mango. Disappointingly though, it was taken off us on the way back into the boat and kept until we leave as they don’t allow people to bring their own alcohol on board (a cheeky way of getting more money out of you by making you buy their drinks).

At dinner that night Trevor’s face got redder and redder and he felt sicker by the minute so he went to bed straight after while me and Sam went to watch the ice show on board. As we settled down to the sleep the boat rocked us gently as we sailed off towards St Lucia.

The next day was Valentine’s Day and I was woken up by my husband with breakfast in bed, a cute card and some roses. The fact that we were in St Lucia on this day was special to us because it was where we came on honeymoon, so being there again, ten years later on Valentine’s Day was a lovely coincidence.

St Lucia

St Lucia

We had an excursion planned for the afternoon, whale and dolphin watching. Although we had swum with dolphins before, none of us had seen a whale in its natural habitat and camera at the ready we jumped on the boat and took our seats. The crew told us that the trip they had done earlier in the day had yielded sights of dolphins and whales in the distance so they planned to travel to that location so we could catch a glimpse also. Three hours later we arrived back at the harbour not having seen even a fin or a tail of the beautiful water mammals. We were a little disappointed but we had enjoyed the trip and the beautiful scenery.

Later that evening we joined our new friends, Diane and Glen and their kids Darryl and Zoe for dinner and Trevor had made the unfortunate choice of wearing a red t-shirt which set off the colour of his face nicely. Much merriment ensued and a great valentine’s night was had by all.

Come back next time for tales of Barbados, turtles and a sea day.

Pieces of eight me hearties.

Julie 🙂

Caribbean Chronicles Part Two

Published 13/02/2013 by julierkendrick

Finally, after the mammoth journey, we were in San Juan and as I woke up to the sun streaming into our hotel room I felt myself start to relax. Trevor was looking out of the window and told me he could see the ship. Scrambling to look I was awed  by the size of the huge boat which had docked in the harbour just across the road. Once Sam saw it he was almost impossible to calm down and started leaping around like a gazelle.

DSCN0267

 

After a lovely breakfast of eggs, French toast, bacon and orange juice we brought our cases down to the bell boy and waited to be told where to go. After what seemed an age but was only an hour and half we were directed to a bus for transfer to the ship. One of the other passengers told us to expect boarding to take time as we had to have a sea pass created with all our details on so we could come and go from the ship as we pleased. Plus, with almost 3000 people boarding that day it was unlikely it was going to be a speedy affair, but once again I was wrong. At least this time it was in our favour.

When we arrived at the dock we had to show our papers to the security officer who was directing everyone to join one of 3 queues, all of which we fairly lengthy. However once we produced our papers the man’s face broke into a huge smile and said “Aaah you have a suite you are very special guest.” It was true, I had decided that as this was going to be the holiday of a lifetime for us, I wanted to do it properly and had spent extra money booking a Grand Suite with a balcony so that we could enjoy watching the ocean and sunsets and beautiful scenic views. The guy led us past all three queues straight to the front of the boarding line and showed us straight to the desk where our sea passes were made up in record time and before we knew it we were boarding the Adventure of the Seas. The whole process took about 5 minutes and I have to say it was amazing walking past the hundreds of people queueing for about the 50th time but this time in the boiling heat. We stepped into the belly of the ship to be greeted, by name, by some of the staff and told to go and have lunch and wait for our cabin to be ready. Wow this was starting off very well indeed.

Stepping into the glass lift and pressing floor 11 as we had been directed, we watched as we ascended over the most fabulous promenade. Shops, cafes, bars, even an English pub all waited for us to explore. Everything seemed to be made of gold from the handrails to the fixings for the gigantic chandeliers which hung everywhere. Never in my life had I seen such ostentation done so well.  Calypso music welcomed us to the 11th floor where we were shown into the largest buffet restaurant I had ever seen. Sam’s face was a picture with his mouth open, for once not having any words.

Sam has found the food

Sam has found the food

So, we come to the food. Everyone I have ever spoken to about cruising has told me that the food is spectacular and that there is nothing like it. Yep that pretty much sums it up.  Salads, chicken, fish, fruit, pasta, soups, breads, desserts, every type of food imaginable was there for our enjoyment. I can only begin to imagine how many people it takes to make this amount of food 3 times per day every single day for 3000 people. Not only that but this was one of about 8 restaurants on board, mind-blowing.  I can’t even remember what I ate now, I just know it was delicious and I am so glad I am not on a diet right now.

Soon enough an announcement came over the tannoy system that cabins were ready so we excitedly rushed to find ours. Of course that was easier said than done and we got lost at least three times, ending up in the theatre, the ice rink and the promenade before finding out corridor.  Sam put the car key in the lock and pushed open the door to our suite.  WOW! A huge double bed, a sofa bed, a beautiful bathroom, a mini bar, big flat screen TV and a double balcony were ours for the next 16 days. Not too shabby for Mrs Julie (as I was to be called from now on by the staff).  We could certainly get used to this, especially when we found out that we have our own personal concierge, Fernando who makes up our room twice a day, and who gave us his card telling us to call him any time if we needed anything. We found out later that the general sea passes are blue whereas ours are gold and it is a great buzz to produce it and be given special treatment like VIP seats at shows, priority dining, and access to the VIP pre dining area.

We set sail at 8pm on an overnight cruise to our first port of call St Croix in the US Virgin Islands. Don’t go away, my next blog will tell you all about St Croix and our next stop St Maarten where we had an amazing encounter with a huge astronauts helmet and millions of tropical fish.

Our mini bar area, stocked I may add.

Our mini bar area, stocked I may add.

Ahoy there mateys, til next time.

 

Julie 🙂