January - April 2014
  • Day111

    Southampton, UK

    April 24, 2014 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌫 8 °C

    We crept quietly into Southampton at about 3.30am. Our alarm woke us at 6.45am as we had to leave our cabin by 8am. All our main baggage had been removed the previous evening. We left the ship just after 9am and headed for home. The end of a fantastic adventure.Read more

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  • Day108

    Lisbon, Portugal

    April 21, 2014 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    15C but due to rise to the low 20s. We had visited Lisbon a number of times in the past but we still enjoy wandering around and so we took the shuttle bus to the centre. We went first to the square of the Black Horse and then wandered through the streets to the Alfama area of the city, close to the castle. The area is full of narrow, cobbled streets and steep steps leading up to the castle. We then returned to the main part of the city for a drink on a pavement cafe. We spent some time there before walking all the way back to the ship. Next port of call, Southampton, the end of our journey and our adventure. We will miss the ship, which has been good to us, all the people and the way of life!Read more

  • Day104

    Mindelo, Cape Verde Islands

    April 17, 2014 in Cape Verde ⋅ 🌬 21 °C

    The Cape Verde Islands are situated about 400 miles due west of Senegal in West Africa. They are also called the Windward Islands because the Trade Winds blow regularly here. It was 22C with quite a stiff wind. The view of Mindelo from the ship was dramatic. The small town is surrounded by rugged scenery and tall peaks and the harbour, in which the ship docked, was formed from a volcanic crater. We took the shuttle bus into town. It was a photogenic walk along the seafront with some old and colourful Portuguese style buildings and plenty of colourful characters. We climbed to the top of Belem Tower, a smaller version of the Belem Tower in Lisbon. We walked to the outdoor market and then passed the President's palace, an indoor fruit and vegetable market and then arrived at the Hotel Porto Grande, where we stopped for coffee and beers. It was a comfortable hotel with good outside seating and a good view of the square. We then headed off to the main town beach, which looked very nice but I have no idea whether the water is warm or cold.Read more

  • Day96

    Walvis Bay, Namibia

    April 9, 2014 in Namibia ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    This is quite a modern town, but the main attraction is a very large lagoon which attracts birds at certain times of the year. Just our luck that there were no birds during our stay! After wandering around the town for twenty minutes, there really was nothing else to do but we were approached by some fellow passengers and asked if we would join them in hiring a taxi and visiting Dune 7, the highest sand dune in this part of the desert and also visiting Swakopmund, an old German colonial town located nineteen miles away. We agreed and six of us negotiated a four to five hours drive with Eugene, a taxi driver, at a cost of just over £5 each. Dune 7 is located just three miles outside of Walvis Bay and is situated by a small oasis in the desert. We parked at the foot of the dune, which is 167 meters high. We tried to climb a little way up but the sand was so hot that it was impossible. Down by the palm trees, we noticed some very large flying insects, which I did not recognise but turned out to be locusts. We continued driving through the desert on a good tarmac road to Swakopmund, which is located on the coast. The town is a strange mixture of African, German and English. The official language is English but many of the road signs and names of buildings are in German. It is quite an attractive town with some good quality shops and attractive buildings and an attractive sea front. We had lunch in a cafe with cold Windhoek brewed beer. We rejoined the taxi for our return journey, stopping off at one point where some of the others took a camel ride further into the desert and then back to Walvis Bay and the ship. This had been a fascinating day, much, much better than we had at first anticipated.Read more

  • Day95

    Luderitz, Namibia

    April 8, 2014 in Namibia ⋅ 🌙 19 °C

    The weather was sunny with clear skies and 22C initially but rising to 28C. A curious town, caught between the sea and the Namib desert. Has the appearance of a frontier town in a battle to keep the desert at bay. Colonised by the Germans, many of the houses were constructed during the early part of the twentieth century when diamond mining was active. We paid £3 for the both of us to visit the old home of Hans Goerke, a diamond mine manager. There were some very nice Art Deco touches and stained glass. There were other houses, painted in various colours and an interesting church, the Felsenkirche. We managed to walk along a tarmac road but this ran out and we ended up walking on a sandy, dusty track. From the church, we saw the modern Nest Hotel and we decided to walk there, a long, dusty journey. However, the hotel was a revelation. We spent three hours drinking beer and eating a lovely lunch and afternoon tea. We then walked the dusty track back to the tender and the ship, but by this stage, it was cooler and there was a refreshing breeze, but this did whip up the sand and the dust.Read more

  • Day92

    Cape Town, South Africa

    April 5, 2014 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    We arose at 6.45am to witness our arrival into Cape Town and what a sight. The sun was just appearing over the mountains and the sunlight reflected off Table Mountain, which dominates the city and the skyline. It was already 26C and the ship was accompanied by dolphins and seals. We had not booked a tour but took the shuttle bus to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront complex where we bought two two day tickets for the open top city tour bus at a cost of only £15 each. There are two routes, red and blue and we took the red route first. The bus took us round the major sights of the city and what a lovely city it is. Some interesting buildings and very clean. We then headed off to Table Mountain where we left the bus and bought two tickets for the cable car, costing £12 each return. The cable car takes only four minutes to travel to the top of the mountain and during the ride the floor rotates, enabling everybody on board to see all the views. A clever idea. The views from the top are stunning, particularly on the clear, sunny day that we had. From the top there is a good view of Robben island as well as the city and the coastline. We walked along pathways enjoying the whole experience before returning to the bottom by cable car to resume our tour of the city and the area on the red route. It took us along the coast to Camps Bay, a beautiful coastal resort, dominated by the Table Mountain chain and then followed the coast all the way back to the V&A Waterfront. It was a spectacular ride. We then wandered around the waterfront development which is very interesting and safe. It is full of craft shops, bars and restaurants, live entertainment and very lively. We headed back to the ship but would return the following day to travel the blue route.

    The following morning we returned to the waterfront and took the tour bus for the blue route. It was a beautiful day with deep blue sky and a temp of 26C but forecast to rise to 31C. The bus headed out of the city on a very scenic ride around Table Mountain and we disembarked at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, regarded as the second best botanical gardens in the world. The entry cost was the equivalent of £3 each. These gardens are magnificent with stunning views. We could have spent all day here wandering around, looking at all the plants and the scenery but we had a tight schedule to keep and so at midday, when it was becoming hot, we decided to leave and catch another bus to complete the route. It passed the vineyards of Groot Constantia, the oldest wine making centre in South Africa. Unfortunately, we did not have the time to take the wine tasting tour. We passed a memorial to Cecil Rhodes, Prime Minister of the Cape from 1890 to 1896. Further on, we came to the township of Imizamp Yethu and it was possible to take a tour of the township, which we would have liked to have done but we had to stay on the bus so we would not be late in returning to the ship. We drove along the coast again, passing Hout Bay and then Camps Bay before eventually returning to the waterfront and eventually the ship.

    Of all the cities we had visited thus far on our world cruise, Cape Town was the most beautiful and photogenic. We loved the city and the surrounding areas. We had seen an awful lot in just two days and have some wonderful memories.
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  • Day90

    Port Elizabeth, South Africa

    April 3, 2014 in South Africa ⋅ 🌬 14 °C

    After a stormy night, we arrived in South Africa. 16C and only expected to rise to 21C. Initially, there was rain and a heavy mist but the forecast was for sunny weather later. We had booked a trip to Addo Elephant Park, the third largest game reserve in South Africa. Our coach trip lasted about an hour and our trip around the reserve lasted about three hours. We saw jackals, antelope, ostriches, warthogs, lions and zebra but the elephants were elusive until we had almost reached the end of our trip when suddenly two appeared very close to the coach. Magnificent. After returning to the ship we took the shuttle bus to the 'Boardwalk' area of Port Elizabeth. This appeared to be fairly new development of restaurants, bars and shops surrounding a large lake and a very safe area to walk in. We also walked to the beach and along the seafront before returning. A very good day.Read more

  • Day85

    St Gilles Les Bains, Reunion

    March 29, 2014 in Réunion ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    We arrives in Reunion at 8am. 28C and partly sunny. From the ship, the island was mountainous and rugged but also green and luxuriant. The shuttle bus took us to St Gilles Les Bains, a small resort on the coast. It was pleasant but not particularly photogenic. The island is a French dependency so the currency is the Euro. The town was full of cafes and restaurants. We walked to the beach and there were signs advising people not to enter the water because of the presence of sharks. After a while we returned to the ship and sat on the deck enjoying the views.Read more

  • Day84

    Port Louis, Mauritius

    March 28, 2014 in Mauritius ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    We arrived in Port Louis at 6am. 29C and sunny. From the ship we had a good view of Port Louis with a backdrop of volcanic peaks and ridges. We wanted to spend some time relaxing so we had booked a tour to a resort called Les Iles aux Cerfs, on an island on the east coast of Mauritius called Paradise Island. Our coach journey, lasting about an hour took us right across the country passing fields of sugar cane and numerous Tamil temples. We arrived at Trou D'Eau Douce, a small village where we boarded a speed boat to take us to the resort. It was a fabulous ride with beautiful views of the island and passing through large areas of mangroves. We arrived at the resort and the magnificent beach, protected by the third largest reef in the world. We spent a lot of our time just swimming in the warm sea and wandering along the beach. We had a very good buffet lunch of Mauritian curry. After we had returned to the ship, we took the shuttle bus into Port Louis and wandered around the town and had a beer. A very pleasant town. We enjoyed our day on the island immensely.Read more

  • Day79

    Colombo, Sri Lanka

    March 23, 2014 in Sri Lanka ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    28C at 9am and due to rise to 34C. As we left the ship, a group of musicians and dancers were performing for us. They looked very colourful in their costumes. We started with a tour of parts of the city which was run down but very lively. Most of the shops were closed as it was a Sunday but all the local markets were open. We stopped for photographs at some of the more important buildings and then stopped for a tour of the city museum, which contained ancient statues of Buddha, discovered in various parts of the country and items belonging to the last King of Ceylon. We then drove to Independence Square for more photographs and then to a Buddha temple. We stopped for refreshments before continuing along the seafront and promenade, passing some very modern and old hotels and some interesting colonial buildings.Read more