December 2019
  • Day8

    Day 8, Doncaster via Limassol

    December 18, 2019 in Cyprus ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    So today’s the day it comes to an end and we go home. We were late to bed last night for us getting in just before 1am. Neither of us slept to well but we knew we had to be up and out by 9am. The first thing I did was to fire up the central heating at home. In some of the rooms in our house it was 5 degrees, as cold as it was in the conservatory, a hard realisation of what it was to be like at home. The weather here in a Cyprus today was lovely. After getting up we went off for breakfast in the buffet. Very busy this morning and everyone carrying hand luggage, coats etc. But as usual the food was good.

    We then moved on to the loungers at the back of the ship. We didn’t have to be off until 12.15 which was a bit of a rarity for us. We’re normally up and off on Princess. Whilst it’s great we didn’t have to rush around, sat waiting to go with all our gear was a bit of a drag. But hey, we were sat out in the sun. We went for our last drink about 11 and made a couple of cheeky sandwiches before finally disembarking about 12. On the way down I noticed the butter man was open just mentioned to Sharon I could have had a quick burger and hey presto burger and chips as a final final final snack.

    We then transferred to Limassol by coach before boarding our flight back to Doncaster. All fairly painless to be fair, the only bit of excitement was a few rows in front of us, the oxygen masks dropped down mid flight and wouldn’t go back again. Never seen that before. The weather on arrival in to Donny was lousy.

    So we’re home now, off to London on Saturday until the New Year with the exception of Christmas Day.

    A very good, well needed and faultless holiday.
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  • Day7

    Day 7, Haifa, Israel (Overnight)

    December 17, 2019 in Israel ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    So we were reasonably early to bed last night as yesterday was a very long and tiring day. We were up and about around 8.30am and had a leisurely start to the day. Important job of the day was to wish Ryan a Happy Birthday 👍.

    The weather today was tremendous, actually nice and warm with lots of sunshine. We had nothing planned today apart from a wander around Haifa. We left the ship around 10.30 after a hearty breakfast and found our way to the German Quarter as advised by the tour guide from yesterday. It was very nice, with a little shopping centre and some nice bars and restaurants. We stopped off at a nice local bar for a light refreshment, Sharon had an Arabic Coffee, weird contraption it was served in.

    Then we had a walk around the town. We started off at The Baha’i Gardens which was the resting place of the prophet Herald. Lovely place especially as it was sunny and warm. We then made our way through the streets to Wadi Nis Nas to a cultural food market before making our way back to the ship around 2.30pm.

    The town is very hilly as it is on the side of the Carmel Mountain. What they call a mountain we’d call a hill and what they call a lake we’d call a puddle but this was quite a big hill.

    Once back on board we went for lunch before taking to the back of the ship for a while to make the most of the sun and a little bit if heat, most welcomed. As it’s our penultimate day we ( or should I say Sharon) has to pack so we popped back to the room and packed up.

    We made the most if the last night, a couple of pints in the lounge, did the quiz, dinner in the restaurant, another beer, off to the show, more drink and finally the Christmas disco with the cruise staff.

    So, next step Limassol in the morning.
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  • Day6

    Day 6, Haifa, Israel

    December 16, 2019 in Israel ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

    Hello all and welcome to Israel 🇮🇱. Somewhere I never thought I would come to be honest but here we are. It was a very early start this morning with the alarm being set for 5.45am. I didn’t sleep well at all for the past 2 nights which is most unusual but I was fast asleep when the alarm went off. We were up and out of our cabin for 6.10 and had breakfast in the buffet. We were down, out, cleared by immigration and on the bus by 7am bound for our first stop, Jerusalem. It was a 3 hour drive and the traffic was just as bad as the Uk. The weather gladly has improved, beautiful sunshine and 22 degrees by 9am.

    Our first guide was called Asaf and our bus driver was called Moses (Here we go !!). Asaf was extremely knowledgable about all of the history of the country and was very proud. We’re quite ignorant really, we didn’t know that the British started them off with their first oil refinery and played a massive part in getting the country up and running. We drove past the wall that was put up by the Palestinians and he was quite diplomatic about the explanation of that. By 9.30am, Sharon was tucking in to her cheese sandwich that she made last night. As we approached Jerusalem we were showed what looked like a skyscraper. It turned out to be a cemetery. So many people want to be buried here and burying people is big business. People will pay up to 100k to be buried here.

    First stop Mount of Olives which gave magnificent views of Jerusalem. There were lots of interesting facts so I’m told but I wasn’t listening so should you wish to know any of them just ask Sharon !! From there we went past the Jordan Desert en route to The Garden of Gethsemane. We went in this church, very busy, lots of people praying and stuff, before a short bus ride to the gate of Jerusalem where we began our 2 hour walk through the city. Interesting name for the gate, “Dung Gate”. We got to the Western Wall also known as the whaling wall. Yeah people balling their eyes out an putting notes in the cracks of the wall. Our 2 hour walk took us through old world Jerusalem, very architectural and a good insight in to day to day life. We stopped at various points of the cross?? and stopped at a church where “It all happened” before walking back to the bus. I didn’t see an Apple or a G-Star shop once. Come to think of it no McDonalds either !! Our guide did get my attention once, I thought he said we were exiting the city and we got Jaffa Cakes 🧁, turns out we were leaving through Jaffa Gate, Doh 🙄

    So on we went for lunch at a hotel in Bethlehem. Actually quite nice food and a look around a holy gift shop before being driven to the church of the nativity. We were able to go in to the grotto which isn’t guaranteed on any tour so I’m told that was a bonus. Everyone though it was wonderful so I guess it must have been. I didn’t really realise that Bethlehem is in Palestine and that people can’t travel freely between Palestine and Jerusalem. The one thing that struck me was that how close to Christmas it is and it wasn’t decorated up at all anywhere we have been today. There was one big tree outside the church in Bethlehem, other than that there was very little.

    Anyway, we were on our way out of there about 4.30 this afternoon. Sharon had a fab time and loved it, for me Jerusalem as a city was an interesting walk around and I enjoyed that bit, I wasn’t impressed by Bethlehem at all not all the churches.

    We were back on the ship at 7pm and we’re quite tired as we’d done a lot of walking. We went to the buffet for tea rather than the restaurant and had a fantastic mixed grill. Lamb, spork and beef for me with chips & gravy but Sharon went more healthy and did the rice. I finished off with 4 custard doughnuts !! (They were small to be fair).

    It’s 8.35pm and we’re sat at the back of the ship with a drink and a cake, it won’t be a late evening for us tonight I don’t think.
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  • Day5

    Day 5, At Sea

    December 15, 2019, Eastern Mediterranean ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Morning all. This blog is a day late due to us leaving Crete and having no comms until we arrive in Israel tomorrow 🇮🇱. However I am writing it on Sunday just not uploading it until we have data.

    So, Sunday morning and here we are. We had a late night last night, another great meal and great entertainment on the ship. We sampled a few of the cocktails, I was quite partial to the strawberry daiquiri whilst Sharon liked the pins colada’s.

    I’m pleased to say there’s been an improvement in the weather. We’re up to 18 degrees and we have partial cloud but we can see a bit of the yellow stuff. The ocean breeze makes it feel a little cooler but certainly a big improvement on the last 3 days. I didn’t sleep too well last night due to an annoying rattle, but Sharon was fine. It’s still a bit choppy but as we’ve said we like that. After breakfast we went to a talk about Israel and the trips on offer. As a result of that we have changed our trip from just Bethlehem to a full day visiting both Bethlehem and Jerusalem. We do that tomorrow (Oh deep joy !!).

    Lots to do on board today seeing as we’re at sea all day. We wandered around, had a couple of drinks and a spot of lunch before going to the theatre at 1pm for “The twelve days of Christmas”. It was a cracking show, very funny and very festive. On the way out it would have been rude not to stop off for a beer, Mikel seems to track us does and deliver us drinks whenever we pass through. So s couple of pints (cocktails for the gaffer) snd a bash at the quiz. 16 out of 20, not too shabby !!

    Next a look around the shops, we’ll not for me, I elected to sit outside and wait, fortunately it wasn’t a long wait before we headed up to deck 11 for Afternoon Tea. Afternoon tea was ok but not quite as nice as Princess but hey it was fine. We then headed down to the buffet had a sandwich before retiring to the room.

    We went to the quiz at 7.00 and didn’t do too well but it’s just for fun really and then as customary we went down to the restaurant on deck 4 for dinner. Once again a great meal. The ship has steadied even though we have picked up speed. We were a bit naughty tonight, as we’ve booked a tour to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, we’ll be out for the whole day tomorrow leaving and a ridiculously stupid 7am, so we went to the buffet and put some sandwiches up. We got crisps chocolate and water too snd in the absence of Israel 🇮🇱 shackles, we bought dome Euros as they are widely accepted.

    So we’re having an early night tonight as we’ve got a very long day ahead of us tomorrow.
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  • Day4

    Day 4, Heraklion, Crete

    December 14, 2019 in Greece ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    Another 8am dock in to Crete, another day of torrential rain. It’s fair to say we’ve been very unlucky with the weather but there ain’t owt we can do about that. Breakfast this morning was in the buffet as we didn’t get up early enough for the restaurant. The food is great though no matter where we eat. We disembarked the ship about 10.30am and it was pouring down. It was a short bus ride to the terminal and then a 15-20 minute walk in to town. Yes, we walked in the pissing down rain with no brolly or owt. Upon reaching the town we sought refuge in a Starbucks where they had outdoor heating. The winds were gusting at up to 40mph but we were fine. A nice cup of tea and a catchup with the world.

    We had a wander around the town, some of it under cover thankfully, some of it not. The rain was intermittent although it was more on than off and heavy rather than light. We visited a church ⛪️ and as we were about ready to return to the ship the heavens we’ll and truly opened. So we gave in and bought a brolly before going into a taverna and having a gyros. Best one we’ve had by far, and again a good laugh with the owner. We decided to brave the rain and head back to the ship around 3. It was about a 20 minute walk and five mins it it slowed right down.

    Unsure what we’ll be up to tonight, but I’m almost certain it will involve eating and drinking. I’m posting this early as we will be out of signal from now until Monday. Hopefully the weather is set to improve.
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  • Day3

    Day 3, Marmaris, Turkey

    December 13, 2019 in Turkey ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

    It was an 8am Dock in to Marmaris this morning via a narrow channel. My good lady decided it was a good idea to set the alarm so we could go on deck and watch us sail in and dock. 6.45am when the alarm went off, doh was it really a good idea?

    The sun was shining and it was a beautiful morning, we went to the front of the ship as we glided in to Marmaris. We entered the bay from the ocean and we glided in with a very calm approach. Once docked we decided to have breakfast part 1 in the buffet as it was fairly quiet and the sun was shining. The food is very nice on board and the bacon is proper English stuff none of the American crossled streaky stuff so I make sure I take advantage of that.

    We disembarked the ship and had a walk into the town. We got a bit of WiFi at the port so stopped to catch up on emails and send a couple of texts (this will be late due to no data but I posted it as soon as I could). The walk to the town was lovely down the harbour and it was quite modern. Lots of restaurants and bars. The town itself was slap quite nice and there was lots to see. Sharon did a bit of shopping and I just tagged along as you do.

    As we walked back to the ship, the sunshine decided to do one and the heavens opened. It absolutely threw it down, so we stopped off in a bar and had a drink and a Turkish Kebab. The guy who ran the bar was really funny and very personable. We spent a good hour or so there before deciding it was that black, it wasn’t going to stop raining. So off we went, the last time I felt that wet was in Malta with our Naomi when we went to watch a bloke who was in the sea, we were no help, he didn’t drown but we stood out in the rain watching him. Well I was just as wet when I got back to the ship today. We hung all our clothes up in the bathroom and my trainers are so wet I don’t think they’ll dry out for days, same for Sharon.

    So only one thing to really, go get a drink and some food !! It’s a good job there’s 2 flights of stairs to the food and a fair bit of walking around as we seem to do nothing but eat. An hour later and the sun was out and it was beautiful, so we went and sat at the back of the ship and watched the sun go down. Still some very thick black clouds around though. We departed Marmaris at 5pm heading for Heraklion in Crete where we should dock around 8am Saturday morning. We’ll not mention the weather forecast !!

    Captains gala night tonight which was quite nice, a chance to meet the senior staff members and yet a few more drinks followed by Christmas dinner in the restaurant. So not to shabby an evening. 2 metre swell forecast tonight so a bit choppy but nothing to major.
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  • Day2

    Day 2 Alanya, Turkey

    December 12, 2019 in Turkey ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    A leisurely start to the day today. We didn’t even open our eyes until 9am. Last night the captain warned us of 2.5 meter swells in the night anytime from 2am. It’s fair to say he wasn’t wrong. At 3am we were being chucked about all over the place, very rough seas but I like that, Sharon was not so keen. I did fully intend comforting here and making sure she was ok, but I just went back to sleep instead.

    Unlike Princess Cruises, these don’t adjust the ships time to match the country. So although it was 9am on the ship, it was 10am in the port. A little strange and I guess that could be confusing for some but it didn’t cause us a problem.

    We started the morning by finding the restaurant on deck 4 and having a nice full English. It didn’t disappoint. All the staff are very friendly and the food was good.

    We left the ship around 11am to explore the town. The weather today was about 12 degrees and as we left the ship it was raining but only very lightly but was very grey. It wasn’t cold but it was coat weather. We had a walk around the town and the harbour area and just a gentle relaxing wander around before getting back aboard for some lunch. As we were having lunch the heavens opened and it threw it down, ah well we were dry !! We had a wander round the ship and a bit of a Nanna nap before taking advantage of the all day buffet and getting a little top up. It dried up mid afternoon so we spent a bit of time with a cuppa at the back of the ship watching the sun go down., before watching us sail away around 6pm. The port, castle and bay all looked lovely lit up as it was dark when we sailed away.

    This evening saw more of the same really, drinks and food, plenty of it. We took part in the quiz before dinner, might have been better had we not bothered, we were rubbish !! We ate in the main restaurant this evening and the food was good. It’s a tad unfortunate that we have to pass through the buffet area on our way back to our room, of course we stopped for a sandwich.

    So it’s 11pm and we’re back in our cabin, we are going to attempt getting up early in the morning to see us dock in to Marmaris. Whether that happens is anyone’s guess.
    Until tomorrow, thanks for listening.
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  • Day1

    Day 1, Cyprus

    December 11, 2019 in Cyprus ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    So we set of today on An Ancient Affair, read in to that what you will. As usual right up to the last minute things were chaotic and the suitcases were still under the stairs at 9pm last night. But a late night and we made it.

    An early start this morning, up at 5am, out at 6.15 and checked in to Doncaster Robin Hood Airport and having a cuppa by just after 7 for an 8.45 flight. All fairly painless apart from Sharon thinking moisturiser and skin care isn’t a liquid, she now knows differently !!

    We landed in to Paphos at 15.00 hours local time which is 2 hours ahead of the uk, it’s a bit grey but the temperature is around 16 degrees which although not boiling it’s certainly warmer than home. It was a 45 minute transfer to the ship in Limossol by coach, again fairly painless.

    So we boarded “Marella Dream” around 5pm. Our room is just where we like to be, right at the back of the ship. A short walk outside, up 2 decks and were at the buffet, perfect. So that was our first stop, bit of snap then off to the bar. Now to be fair we don’t normally do all inclusive so we don’t usually drink, but as it’s all in we thought it would be worth a bit of a look. We haven’t upgraded to premium as everything we like is on the standard one so off we went. A couple of pints of Fosters and a Cointreau & Lemonade to start, a couple of pina coladas for the boss. And it’s just gone 7pm.

    We’re just heading back to unpack, muster station meeting is at 9pm so is the sail away party and the Abba act. So a busy first night.
    I can’t promise daily updates due to data restrictions but ill do my best.

    Speak soon peeps, Adios.
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