Colin Thirsk

Joined September 2018Living in: Holmer Green, United Kingdom
  • Day14

    Day 14 - Back in Southampton

    November 11, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 48 °F

    Up at 6.30am, quick wash and then breakfast.
    Down to Neptune to collect car keys. A lot of moaning that the car parking company were late - it was 7.15 am ! Any way they came into the Neptune lounge, I showed my yellow slip and they gave me the keys, simples. We were the first deck called, collected our cases and went to car.
    Drive back was a bear but got home just after 10.00am.
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  • Day14

    Day 13 - At Sea

    November 11, 2018, Celtic Sea ⋅ ⛅ 54 °F

    This is our final full day and we are both looking forward to going home. It's been a nice cruise without being outstanding.
    Weather is good with plenty of sunshine. Seas are calmer as we exit Biscay.
    Breakfast in the Palm and then to Neptune for talk on Sinking the Bismarck by Bob at 9 30am. We want a seat for the Remembrance Day Service at 10.45am. Spa treatments for both of us booked for 4.00pm.
    Yet another excellent presentation by Bob about sinking the Bismarck. Very well told. Stayed in Neptune for the Service.
    I have to say that it was not done very well. Under rehearsed, bad timings including the tannoy cutting in saying the same things being said in the Service. They also held Communion which extended the whole service by at least 20 mins. The last post should have been played but wasn't. A glaring error. The reverend taking it didn't give the audience directions hence half of us ended up standing whilst the other half sat down? Quite amusing but not right. I am also unsure why we sang not one but two verses of God Save the Queen. Oh well.
    Lunch in Avon and to Neptune to hear Jeff's last presentation, Bagels and Bacon 2nd Helpings at 2.00pm.
    Another very funny talk by Jeff covering his childhood experiences and family anecdotes.
    Went to look at the paintings and crafts created by the classes. Some very good paintings. Shame J didn't do her stuff and show them all up!
    Dinner in Palm for final time and then to Neptune.
    It was British night so they started with a good old British sing song which was good fun.
    Then the dancers and singers did a British themed song and dance which as usual was excellent. Finished with good old Land of Hope and Glory and everyone was waving flags and belting out the words. A good finish to our cruise.
    Up at 6.30am tomorrow, ugh!
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  • Day13

    Day 12 - At Sea

    November 10, 2018 ⋅ 🌬 59 °F

    Quite a rough night being tossed about the bed and still the same this morning as we journey through Biscay.
    Could be a long couple of days back to Southampton but will try and make most of the on board entertainment.
    Light breakfast for both of us. Then went to presentation about the the North Atlantic Battle in WW2 presented by Bob Horner. He is an excellent speaker and it was thoroughly enjoyable.
    I didn't feel so great after this. Lack of sleep probably. So went up to room for a kip. Next thing I know it's 2.00pm. J went downstairs for some lunch but came storming back in shortly after fuming that the Palm was rammed. She then to bed and is currently fast asleep. These interrupted sleeps are catching up on both of us.
    Still, looking forward to our "free" meal in the Pool Grill tonight. Hoping for something really nice.
    Down into lounge for tea and hot chocolate. J also picked up some sandwiches from the afternoon tea trolly in the Palm. Read for a while and then back to room to get prep'd for tonight.
    Dinner in Palm Grill was good if a little quiet. We were the only people in there! Food was of Asian origin which made our choice interesting. I had Thai Prawns followed by lamb and J had spring rolls and vegetable curry - a bit hot for her taste! I had frozen yogurt for pud and J had ?
    Neither of us felt like seeing the show tonight, it was the crew show, so went to the room to watch TV and then to bed. Hoping for a less disturbed night tonight. Wishful thinking methinks.
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  • Day12

    Day 11 - Lisbon, Portugal

    November 9, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

    Up early to catch 8.30am coach. Full English breakfast before boarding coach.
    This is going to be a river trip and a site seeing tour of the city.
    Quite a long coach journey to the river boat mainly due to rush hour traffic and traffic lights. The river Tagus has a huge estuary with a couple of spectacular bridges. The river boat was quite big with 3 decks. We sat on the top deck in the open air. It took us down towards the estuary and then we came back and saw some great views of Lisbon. We also went past our ship and took some great pics.
    Back to the coach for s whistle stop tour of the city. We were let out once to see a view looking down into the city but the rest was in the coach. Then back to the ship.
    Overall not a great excursion. It was the most expensive we booked and didn't really give value for money. Our review will reflect this 😉.
    Lunch at 1.00pm in Palm. Both had fish with salad. Little rest then off to gym. I did 20 mins run and 100 cals on bike. J did Pilates, treadmill on incline and bike. Just as the ship left port at 3.00pm.
    Then down to Neptune for talk on Rail Stations by Jeff Rozelaar. Managed to talk to him just before he started and he lives in Hazlemere! Can you believe it? His kids went to the Upper School and he uses The Village Centre for some amdram sessions. Small world! His talk was very good and love his anecdotes.
    There was a warning from the captain that it is going to get rough as we go through the Bay of Biscay. Wrist bands back on and we've both taken sickness pills. As I write this it's 17.35 on Friday and already the ship is bouncing around. Could be interesting!
    Dinner in Palm, I had beef stir fry, J had a salad! Then to Neptune for new Show based on nautical songs. Lots Gilbert and Sullivan which was done very well. All the shows have been very good.
    Back to room for some telly and then to bed. Going for lay in tomorrow.
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  • Day11

    Day 10- At Sea

    November 8, 2018, North Atlantic Ocean ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

    Up at normal time, 7.30am! Been quite choppy in the night and remains so this morning. Sea sick bands firmly in place and we've both taken sickness pills. Weather is sunny so might get some rays at some point. Spa treatments booked for 2.00pm, more later.
    Light breakfast and will probably go to a talk by Jeff Rozelaar, an actor, with anecdotes about the entertainment business.
    Had tea in the lounge before going to the presentation at 10.00am. Very good talk with lots of stories and he did some acting.
    Sales going on by the shops, J bought a nice long jumper and I bought a miniature guitar made from metal. Very well made. Heavens knows what our bill is going to be!
    Back to room for a sun bath and read on balcony. Ship is quite rocky and the spray is gently showering us even though we're deck down from the top. Lunch was fruit in the room and then off for treatments. I had a foot and ankle massage but the best bit was chair back massager, bliss. J had a facial and a foot massage. Louisa tried sell more product at £150 a pop. It was politely refused.
    Back to room as boat pitching quite violently. Both ok at the moment.
    Back to gym for light exercise as couldn't run because of ship rocking. Both did treadmill on incline and bike.
    Down to dinner at 7.15pm. Both of us had salads of different variations. I had cheese and bickies, J had sponge and custard.
    Then off to Neptune to see tonight's show - the comedian Barnaby, who we saw a few nights ago. Tonight was new material and was once again excellent. He should be on the TV, so very good.
    Back to room for a bit of TV and then to bed in prep for tomorrow's visit to Lisbon. Our last excursion 😖
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  • Day10

    Day 9 - Funchal, Madeira

    November 7, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ 🌧 63 °F

    Actually had a good night's sleep! Arrived in Funchal at 9.00am but got up in time to see us sail into port. Weather really nice despite a forecast of heavy rain.
    Full English this morning as our excursion doesn't get back until 2.30pm and we will miss lunch.
    Excursion to Nuns Valley and Gardens, on coach at 9.15am.
    Unfortunately the forecast was right and as we climbed into the mountains the rain got heavier. Stopped close to top but the views of the Nuns Valley was obscured by mist, still very nice place with plenty to see. Then went to some lovely gardens. Had a really nice walk around, despite the heavy rain. The guide was very knowledgeable and although not many flowers were in bloom, it was still a great place to visit. Finally went to a cafeteria on the way back down to Funchal . Had very nice tea, scones and cake and a good chat with the people on the table. Then back to ship at 2.15pm.
    We really liked Madeira and will definitely be back - unlike La Palma!
    Skipped lunch and went to lounge for a read and drink, hot chocolate and Americano. Not mixed you understand! Very naughty and bought a pack of mixed truffles.
    Having sinned, off to the gym before the ship sails. 20 mins running and 75 cals on bike. J did 10 mins treadmill on incline, then Pilates. Should have worked off the truffle!
    We've been given a free meal in the pool grill because of the inconvenience caused by the lift repair! With that and the use of another cabin, I think Fred Olsen have done their best!
    Dinner tonight and the latest show from the boys and girls of the dance troupe.
    We leave tonight at 6.30 and are at sea all day tomorrow arriving in Lisbon on Friday morning. I think we're both ready to come home and looking forward to landing on Monday.
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  • Day9

    Day 8 - Santa Cruz - La Palma

    November 6, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    Only spending a few hours here before sailing off to Madeira just after lunch.
    Up, breakfast and in Neptune for 8.30. Something strange is happening outside - it's BLOODY raining!
    Still warm but the British people are dressed for the arctic.
    Off on excursion called Volcanoes and Vines. Probably won't see a lot as it's quite misty. So here we go.
    Oh dear what an awful excursion. The guide's English was not very good which made listening very difficult and waring. J misheard one phrase as "The man with the wooden leg sucking a bullet in the archives". Heaven knows what he really said! Anyway we headed up through the clouds and mist to the St Antonio crater. Yes it was a crater, the video they showed was not informative, the queue for coffee horrendous and it rained. We then all got back on the coach, drove 100 yards and got off again to sample some simply dreadful wine and got back on the coach. Why?
    Down the mountain and stopped some place that made and sold pottery. Again it was awful, walked around in the rain and got back on the coach! I just hope we didn't pay a lot for this excursion.
    Travelled back down to the ship. Thank heavens that's over. Au revoir La Palma, we won't be back 😔
    Guest Services have given us another room to use while the work is being carried out. Room 1008. It is slightly larger than our room but distance from noise means we can at least have a peaceful read or sleep.
    Eventually went to have lunch in the Palm at 2.00pm and then went to new room for a read and kip.
    Went to gym around 4.00pm, couldn't run as there was quite a swell so fast walk on treadmill, bike and cross trainer burnt 230 cals. J did bike on interval training, Pilates and some weights. She is unfortunately feeling a little queasy with the swell. I've donned the wrist bands and touch wood feeling fine.
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  • Day8

    Day 7 - Santa Cruz, Tenerife

    November 5, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

    Up early after an awful night. Coughing fit in the middle of the night, J had a bad belly which wouldn't go away.
    Breakfast was very light after yesterday's gorging.
    Coach for Teidi left at 8.30 and we wound our way thru the clouds to around 7000 feet. Very sunny and not as cold as we thought. Thick coats not required so far. Spectacular views of the coast and the volcano Teidi.
    Stopped at cafe for drinks and biscuits. Entered the crater which is 12 miles in diameter and over 40 miles round. It's like a lunar landscape up here. Very rocky with lots of black soil from previous eruptions. Got to the base of Teidi and what can you say. If you haven't been it's difficult to describe. Rising another 3000 feet out of the middle of the crater is Teidi itself. You can only get to the top en pied or by cable car. We did neither but the views are truly awesome. I don't think even our pictures can do it justice. Spent about 30 mins here and then made our back down thru the clouds and back to Santa Cruz.
    Lunch in the Palm was made in heaven for me. On the buffet they had fresh prawns, fresh mussels, lobster and amazingly - CRAB! I could not believe my eyes. It took me 3 visits to realise what they were serving. Fantastico! I forgot all about feeling tired and full of cold and just filled my boots. Time for an afternoon siesta!
    Some hope! Repairing the lift right outside our room been going on all day and is still going on as I write this at 6.30pm. On our balcony the noise from the port was horrendous so moved to the top deck and managed to get some sun and shut eye. Still feeling crap from my cold but at least J's belly ache has gone!
    Major complaint just gone into Guest Services about the noise of the repairs which have gone on all day and just stopped at 7.00pm. No notice given and having seen the extent of the repair this could go on for days. Waiting to speak to the manager.
    Had to go down to Guest Services as manager didn't call me back, ugh! Spoke to Laura who listened patiently to my rant. She did what should have happened initially and offered us another room to use whilst the work was being done. Simples!
    Dinner in Palm and then to Rock n Roll show Neptune which was very good and then to bed. Here we go again - see you in La Palma!
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  • Day7

    Day 6 - Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

    November 4, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 73 °F

    Arrived at around 7.00am. Weather overcast but warm. Looking forward to leaving the ship after 2 days at sea. Getting a little stir crazy.
    Breakfast at 8.00am then taking excursion entitled Essence of Gran Canaria. Not for the immobile, yeah, no walking sticks or frames!
    Coach left at 9.00am and we travelled up up up into the Bandama Crater to the top of the island. Some hair raising driving right on the edge of the road before arriving at the top about1500 feet looking right down on the island below. Took some great pics before making our way down to Santa Brigida. Walked around the town - some nice buildings plus the ubiquitous Church and to the House of Wine Museum. This was a really good stop. We sat down and were served with boiled tatties, cheese, crisp bread, olives
    and a lovely sauce called Mojo Palmero based on red peppers. Also they gave 3 samples of the wine they produce, red, rose and white. Very nice.
    Then back down to Las Palmas for the Columbus museum and a walk around. Museum was okay but not really that interesting. Back to ship for lunch - ice cream and an apple!
    Sun bathing and had a swim in the Lido pool. Only one in initially then the a number of others decided it was safe to go in so I got out! Flies, hundreds and thousands of the bloody things. It's like a plague sent by God and they are everywhere. Destined to stay on board for the next few ports, they are a real pain.
    Back to room and off to gym for a short session. I've picked up a cold and not feeling 100%. Only did 10 mins run and 15 mins on bike.
    Got ready for meal tonight in the Grill Restaurant, the ships a la carte restaurant. Fantastic meal. I had scallops, followed by cod, and an amazing 7 different dark chocolate pudding. J had Cauliflower and sesame soup, followed by Courgette stuffed with quinoa and apple crumble. Very well served and great surroundings. Shame about the BLOODY flies!
    Then we looked for our formal night photos. Eventually found them and they were really good. At 16.95 each they should have been! It was buy 3 and get the 4th free so ended up paying £45 for 4 pics. Good lord above! Also bought another photo taken just before we boarded in Soton.
    Feeling tired we gave the show a miss and sat on the balcony to watch the ship depart Gran Canaria en route for Tenerife.
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  • Day6

    Day 5 - At Sea

    November 3, 2018, North Atlantic Ocean ⋅ ☁️ 63 °F

    Yet another bad night. Earplugs working well but still restless. Sore throat probably caused by air con.
    Weather overcast but warm at around 20c.
    Trying the upside down pyramid eating method so large cooked breakfast. Into lounge, collected emails and sorted. Sent email to kids.
    Going to a talk on River Cruising at 11.00am.
    Fred Olsen have leased a river boat for 2 years and are offering various river trips mainly around Germany. Looked good but checked prices and they are expensive in comparison to Ocean Cruising.
    Both went to gym after talk. I did 25 mins running and 15 mins on bike. J did bike and Pilates. Decided not to have lunch and sat on balcony eating fruit and reading.
    J went to talk on pearls and I read and did a bit more sunbathing!
    Then down to Neptune for another talk about Bletchley Park. This time focusing on Alan Turing. As usual it was excellent. Walked around deck a few times and then back to room to prepare for a formal night.
    We both got dressed into our finery and had dinner before getting posed photos taken. All my evening wear is too big, so looks really baggy! I'll have to buy some more togs if I can keep the weight off.
    For a change we went Lido Room to see the pop band.
    Very good and then to bed as have be up ready for our excursion tomorrow at 9.15am.
    Nighty night 🌃
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