September 2017
  • Day19

    Day 19, New York, Last Day

    September 19, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    So this evening our adventure has come to an end. It's been a blast(mainly an arctic one) but we've seen places and sights we've never seen before. We've met lots of people, done lots of things, we've been spoiled and we've enjoyed ourselves.

    Check out was 12:00 noon today. Neither of us slept very well last night due to a brat balling its eyes out all night from 9 until about 6 this morning. It wasn't a baby either as it could talk and its father did nothing but shout at it all night. Not good but we don't know the circumstances.

    We were up and about, showered final packing in to the 3rd case done, bags checked in to concierge and out in a diner by 10. I had the most amazing steak and eggs, Sharon having all American pancake breakfast with no end of extras. It was a real feast and set us up for the day. We had quite a bit to fit in today, needing to be back at the hotel for 5pm for our car to the airport. The weather has been amazing considering the TV said and our phones were forecasting terrible winds and rain ☔️ I was in Shorts and a T-shirt only, woohoo.

    First stop of the day was "The High Line". A disused railway that had been turned in to a park. Literally a couple of blocks from us and quite nice. It took us out to the Hudson River and wax about a half a mile walk, lots of pretty flowers, sculptures and some great views. From there we moved on to Times Square for a cuppa and a chocolate muffin, very welcomed. We then progressed to Central Park via "The Late Show" studios. We were very pleased with ourselves how well we got ourselves around from memory having only been here once before and that was 5 years ago, we've only used public transport once and that was cos we were knackered.

    An amble around Central Park was nice and quiet and away from all the hustle and bustle, I didn't fancy a horse and cart ride as I think if they do a big shit on the way round it would stink and I don't really fancy that. So we just wandered. When we left, we did that via 5th Avenue and via the Apple shop. I kept my hands in my pocket 🙁. As we got to Trump Tower there was lots of security and road closures as Don himself was staying there !! There was a lot of activity and it was very buzzing. At this time the weather predictions became true, the heavens opened and it chucked it down, storm force winds joined in too. We couldn't complain, so we hot footed it back down to Times Square in to a Deli we know and had a sandwich and a drink, before continuing back to our hotel. We arrived like a pair of drowned rats but we were jovial.

    We got ourselves changed and our cases out and sat outside the hotel under the canopy in the rain waiting for our car. It arrived within a few minutes and we were taken to JFK to get our flight home. The traffic was horrendous, it took an hour and a half to do about 30 miles.

    So that concludes our adventure, thank you all for following and for all your messages as we've gone along. It's been difficult replying but we have read all the ones we have had a lovely time and have enjoyed sharing it with you all.

    Until next time, Au Revoir

    Love from Lee & Sharon xx
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  • Day18

    Day 18, New York

    September 18, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    Today saw us let loose in New York. The weather today has been ok on the whole, it was raining this morning and had been very cloudy all day. But the rain cleared up mid morning and the temperature has been good.

    We started the morning in a New York Deli for breakfast, I had a steak and cheese omelette with potatoes and toast, Sharon just went for a vegetarian omelette. I took water, Sharon decided to go for the "Skinny Trip" shake, cucumber, carrots, and spinach. It looked disgusting and judging by the animation on her face it didn't taste that much better.

    We then walked down 7th Avenue to find the "Iron" building before moving on to find the bridal shop "Kleinfeld". Apparently it's featured in the garbage to program that Sharon watches called "Say Yes to the Dress". By some miracle it was closed today and only open for alterations tomorrow, how awful. However Sharon got her picture there which she was very happy with. The traffic is horrendous all over New York due to the UN conference. There are lots of road closures and the city is gridlocked. The media really are going to town on it and the security is very high.

    We moved on and headed for The World Trade Centre. It was quite a walk, about 4 miles but was pleasant. We passed many interesting buildings and parks as well as a fire station with a memorial outside for the staff that died as heroes on that very sad day. We were invited in to take a picture of the truck and the firefighter was lovely. Makes you think what the emergency services could face each and every day they go to work. When we reached the site it had changed so much since we were here 5 years ago. The One World Observatory is up and the memorial gardens and Waterfalls are complete. Again very sobering when there and there's still a massive hole in the skyline. We spent a lot of time reading all the info and taking everything in. We were going to go up the observation deck but we were advised against it as there was zero visibility due to the fog.

    Moving on, we walked to Battery Park and took the Staten Island Ferry across to the Island. As we got there we got straight off and on the next one coming back. The whole purpose of the trip was to see The Statue of Liberty. The ferry sails right past it and the view is good (on a clear day), the whole service is run free of charge, 24 hours s day, 7 days a week. A cracking service and very busy. As we sailed back we saw 2 military helicopters flying side by side around the Manhattan skyline and out to Staten Island.

    We had walked a long way so decided to get the subway back to Penn Street Station at Maddison Square Gardens which is literally round the corner from the hotel. We then set about buying a 3rd suitcase due to being overweight and sorted a taxi out for the airport tomorrow night. All done.

    Finally this evening we wandered back up to Times Square stopping of for some dinner on 7th Avenue. We've walked 11 and a half miles today and we've had a blast.

    Last day tomorrow, late flight home and check out at 12. Weather forecast is for it to chuck it down all day and the tail end of a hurricane to hit so an interesting day ahead.
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  • Day17

    Day 17, New York - Disembakation Day

    September 17, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    So today was the day we had to leave our floating luxury hotel after 15 fantastic days. It's been amazing. So we decided to be up early this morning to see us sail in to New York, alarm was set for 4.45am 😴 😴 It was still dark and still foggy but a lot warmer and well worth doing. We sailed right up by the Statue of Liberty, past Manhattan before finally docking on our berth in Brooklyn. The waters were as calm as anything. At 5am the decks were full of people doing the same thing.

    All the restaurants and buffets were open extra early this morning as they want the ship empty by 11am. As we were up and about early we decided one last meal downstairs in the restaurant rather than the buffet. It's great to be served and to say goodbye to some of the waiters we've got to know. A final cup of tea and a couple of Lemon Danish pastries at the back of the ship overlooking Brooklyn Bridge to the right and Manhattan to left, before picking our carry on luggage up and heading for Club Fusion to disembark 🙁.

    Once off the ship we were greeted with US immigration, always a pleasure (NOT) but to be fair it was quite painless this morning. By 9.30am we were in a taxi to our hotel, The Marriott in Chelsea, Manhattan. It's quite nice and extremely central, just 5 minutes to the Empire State Building and about a 20 minute walk to Times Square. Our trip took us over the Brooklyn Bridge and up through downtown Manhattan. Traffic was horrendous due to the UN Conference taking place all this week. We've just seen on the news that Donald has arrived Safely at Trump Towers !!

    As our room wasn't ready, we left our luggage with the concierge service and set of in to town, heading for Times Square. We stopped of at Macy's for some lunch along the way. The weather was very warm but very cloudy. We've done little more but walk around all day, 10 miles according to Fitbit. We had tea in Grand Central Station and had a wander in to The Grand Hyatt where we stayed last time.

    It's 9pm here now, still 24 degrees and we're just back at the hotel totally knackered. Although it was the last day on the ship, we've still got a couple of days here to enjoy, and it's a lot warmer - have I mentioned the weather at all over the last couple of weeks?

    So that's it from us tonight, more tomorrow.
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  • Day17

    Cruise Information

    September 17, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

    Cruise : Iceland and Atlantic Explorer
    Ship : Crown Princess
    Captain : Martin Stenzell
    Ship Tonnage : 113,561
    Length : 289.6 meters
    Breadth : 36 meters
    Height above sea :60 meters
    Depth below sea :8.5 meters
    Max no of passengers: 3599
    Max no of crew: 1201
    Ship delivery date: May 2006

    Southampton to Lerwick (Shetland Islands) 865 miles
    Lerwick (Shetland Islands) to Akureyri 802 miles
    Akureyri to Isafjordur 200 miles
    Isafjordur to Reykjavik 217 miles
    Reykjavik to St Johns (Newfoundland) 1639 miles
    St Johns (Newfoundland) to Halifax 611 miles
    Halifax to New York 754 miles

    Total miles since Southampton 5088
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  • Day16

    Day 16, At Sea

    September 16, 2017, North Atlantic Ocean ⋅ 🌙 29 °C

    Last full day on board today so have to make it count. I feel a lot better today as the drugs I got knocked me out and I slept really well. First job of the day was to check the speciality breakfast in the dining room. I nipped down to see what it was whilst Sharon got herself ready. Bingo - "The Lumberjack" breakfast, Steak & Eggs, my favourite and twice on the same cruise. That was the start to the day I enjoyed. The weather was pretty much as it has been for the last week, heavy fog, poor visibility but increasing temperatures. We did see some bright sunshine about midday for a couple of hours but it's back to thick fog again now. Unfortunately that's the forecast for the approach in to New York in the morning, it's not going to stop us getting up at 4am to see the skyline if possible.

    We went to the back of the ship and sat out for an extra cuppa before having a wander to the atrium where we just sat and soaked up the atmosphere. Meanwhile, Elwood took it upon himself to run riot around the ship - See attached pictures!! After we had chased him around, it was time to go back to the room and pack. I must say, Sharon does a cracking job of it, would be rude to interfere 😂😂. I took to cutting my hair and having a shower when disaster struck. A little over half way in to the hair cut the clippers stopped. Serious shit !! And I had charged them thoroughly. However it did appear that they were flat. Fortunately I managed to cobble together a couple of extension cables and got them working. I had visions of a visit to the nice ladies in the Lotus Spa with a hat on and begging !!

    We decided to go out on deck about lunchtime as the sun was out, we both went in the pool which was nice and warm. As it was a bit wobbly the water sloshes about all over and makes it quite fun. We were in there for about half an hour before we moved on to the hot tub. Always a lovely feeling jumping in to the hot spa.

    Next on the list was a quick visit to the Trident Grill to get a chicken breast burger and a slice of pizza for Sharon as we were short of time because there was a talk about navigating the ship on in the club fusion. We made it there and it was a brilliant presentation, made better as the officer doing it was actually driving the ship when we went on the bridge, Michael, nice guy and from England too. Another interesting fact, he told us the size of the fuel tanks on board hold 750,000 gallons of fuel and then said if you filled it up in England at the rate of fuel of £1.15 per litre it would cost a tad over 4 million pounds to fill it ⛽️. He was really good and knowledgeable and only 22 years old, he's a third officer. He took questions at the end, Sharon asked whether we had actually crossed the Arctic Circle, he replied that they did speak about it as we were so close, but the weather put pay to it and it wasn't really safe to do it. We got 6 miles from it which Sharon is more than happy with.

    As I said busy day, next on the list was Afternoon Tea in the Botticelli Dining room. When we arrived I asked for a table for one even though Sharon was with me, just getting the Maitre D back for playing tricks on us all holiday, he wasn't quite sure whether I was serious but I put him out of his misery fairly quickly. He's a great guy. The Afternoon Tea experience on board is a really lovely experience, many cakes, scones, sandwiches and pastries as well as tea. Two ladies played the violin as we were stuffing our faces. They were very good.

    We are now all packed, suitcases outside waiting for collection and we've just had our Gala Dinner in Horizon Court. We're just going to go for a wander before returning here for a drink and retiring for the evening. We'll be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to see us dock if possible and we are excited about that. So goodnight all until tomorrow ⚓️🚢🍹🇺🇸
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  • Day15

    Day 15, Halifax, Canada

    September 15, 2017 in Canada ⋅ 🌫 16 °C

    The last stop before New York greeted us this morning. I was up early due to not being able to sleep with this full on head cold. I was going to sneak out and have a cuppa on deck but Sharon woke up so we went together. In true arrival style it was very cloudy with no sign of sun at all, however the temperature had crept in to double figures. It was a lovely approach, land on either side with lots to see.

    We went for breakfast in the dining room whilst most people left the ship before leaving it ourselves. The quayside was really nice, very busy as there were 4 ships in but lots of shops, bars and restaurants. We hadn't booked a tour, we were just going to wander around and do our own thing. First on the list was a chemist for for man flu tablets and a few other essentials before Starbucks for some tinterweb.

    As we left the ship there were lots of local guides and maps. We decided to walk up to the public gardens first. They were lovely, very well maintained and vibrant colours. Again lots of reference to the UK, in particular a lot of Scottish references. We saw a few people we knew off the ship up there so had lots of chats on the way around. We then moved on to to "The Citadel", except we had to climb up cardiac hill to get there. Well worth the effort. It was an old fort like place with lots of weapons and Scottish Soldiers still guarding it. It was free to get in as Canada are celebrating 150 years of something, being Canada probably. The views were stunning from up there. There was lots to see and do and you could even fire a real gun, someone did and it was that loud I nearly fired something in to my pants !!

    Things started to change around lunch time, a big hot yellow thing made an appearance in the sky. Woohoo, at last. It was lovely to finally have some heat. We walked back to the ship along the waterfront which again was very pleasant. Once back on board I tried to get some sleep whilst Sharon went to look at the tat for Sale in the quayside. It was useless really, this cold really has taken hold. So when she came back we went out on deck to see the sail away. The open decks were very busy mainly due to the weather but as soon as we got out to sea the fog made a reappearance and visibility was back to only a few meters. Only one thing for it, hot tubs. We sat in the tub as it went dark and we said our goodbyes to Canada 🇨🇦

    It's 9.20pm now, we're at the back of the ship having a drink 🥃and we'll be of to bed very soon to try and get some sleep, I've not slept a wink for the last 2 nights so hopefully the tablets we've bought might knock me out.

    It's been a lovely day, Halifax is a nice place to visit. We're now winging our way towards The Big Apple 🍎 due to dock there at 6am on Sunday morning. So we bid you all a good night although it's the early hours of the morning back in the tropical United Kingdom 🌴
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  • Day14

    Day 14, At Sea - With Ship Tour

    September 14, 2017, North Atlantic Ocean ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Well, what a day today has been. We've actually seen some sunshine and the temperature actually made it out of single figures, not quite jumper off weather but we're getting there. Although we have been at sea all day today, we were up and about early as we were treated to the "Ultimate Ships Tour". We met at 8am and all I can say is wow, what a treat. We were taken behind the scenes and showed what goes on back of house. After disappearing into a "Crew Only" door we were introduced to the "M1". The M1 is a corridor which runs the complete length of the ship and everywhere is accessible from it. It's very busy and very buzzing. We were then taken to the following departments and were greeted by the senior officers for each of them.

    The Mooring Room

    Here we met the Senior First Officer and the Bosun. As the room suggests, here is where all the work is done when mooring. We saw the mooring ropes, and the anchor ⚓️. Each anchor on board weighs 4 tonnes and there are 2 and a spare.

    The Galley

    Here we met the Master Chef and were treated to free drinks, chocolates and canapés. We were told how the kitchen was run and how they cater for the different people on board depending on where the ship is going to and from. They monitor what food is being eaten and what is not and when the orders go in they are usually marked with roughly where the passenger is from. Not only do they cater for the passengers, they cater for the crew too. They are big on making sure all the staff are happy and finding them a position that satisfies them. We were asked what we thought the worst food to run out of would be? Sharon suggested English Bacon, haha. The answer is rice 🍚. Due to the fact that people from the Philippines consume a massive amount of it for every single meal of the day. Taken that a massive amount of the hotel staff and most of the engineers are from there, when they don't get rice they don't work, therefore disaster. Apparently this has happened only once before and that was due to a let down delivery.

    The butchers, the freezer and the food storage room

    They actually have their own butchers on the ship sorting out all the meat. The freezer was massive and very cold (obvs) and we spoke to the man responsible for ordering all the food. Food is ordered 2 months in advance and is delivered in containers from various places around the world 🌎. On an average 2 week cruise, around about 40 tonnes of food is used.

    The Engine Control Room

    The Senior Technical Engineer here was a very clever switched on man. He explained to us all about how they make their own fresh water on the ship using reverse osmosis , how they generate their own power using high voltage and then how they step it down to useable power, how all the waste is treated as well as all the jobs performed to make sure the ship runs smoothly and economically. The best statistic of the day is that the ships fuel economy for this cruise so far is 9feet to the gallon !! which equates to about 586 gallons per mile. Suddenly Sharon's car ain't so bad.

    The Laundry

    This place was fascinating, the funny bit was the man in charge was Chinese, Sharon whispering in my ear "Chinese Laundry" again a lovely man who showed us all the machines in operation and the size of the operation was huge. All the shirts are steamed and put on a machine to dry they clean and press about 1000 shirts per day. The best machines were the ones that dried the sheets and the napkins, they get steamed, dried and folded all in under a minute.

    Print Shop and Photo Shop.

    For such high volume of printing (menus, port guides, princess patter every day, flyers, order pads, notebooks etc.) there are only 2 people in the print shop who manage everything for the whole ship. They can print 1000 Princess Patter leaflets a minute !! Handy as when we didn't dock in Lerwick he had to redesign and do them all again. The photo shop was more a demonstration of what they do and the fact that they still develop photos on the ship using the chemicals that have been around for 60 years.

    The Theatre

    Here we went back stage and met the Stage Director, a couple of the dancers and the Production Manager. I recognised the Production Manager dancer from the ITV show the Cruise, for my fellow male mates she looked just as good as she does on the telly 👍. They told us what went in to the production of the shows and some of the prices involved in putting them on, one of the current productions cost over 1 million dollars 💵. Some of the dresses used in excess of $5000 each. They explained the differences between a stage on board and a fixed stage. All good stuff.

    The Bridge

    Well, what can I say, this was fantastic. We once again met the Captain and the Senior First Officer(again) as well as both Navigators and both Quartermasters. The view of the ocean and the whole of the ship was phenomenal. The bridge itself was like walking in to a posh boardroom. It was very plush and very quiet. At any one time there are 4 officers on duty, 2 Quartermasters and 2 Navigators. They all work 4 hours on, 8 hours off. However, when we had our fog earlier in the cruise, they increased that to an extra officer. We were showed all the instruments and navigation devices and it was really enjoyable and interesting. We were also showed some pictures from the dry dock, some more interesting information, the propellers on the bow and stern thrusters are 2 meters in diameter, the main ships propellers of which there are 2 are 6 meters in diameter. The depth of the ship under water is 8 meters, above water it is 60. Amazes me how the thing floats.

    At the end of the tour we were taken to Sabatini's restaurant at the back of the ship and given champagne and canapés. A truly magnificent tour, highly recommended to anyone doing a cruise.

    After the tour we went and had a spot of lunch as we missed breakfast because we just didn't get up early enough. As the sun had made an appearance we then went and sat out on deck just enjoying watching the world go by. At 3pm we decided to go to the dining room for traditional Afternoon Tea. It's always a lovely afternoon, tea, sandwiches, cakes snd scones served in proper silver teapots and the staff wearing white gloves. Very English and very nice 👍

    And to top it all off, when we arrived back at our cabin we had been left a goodie bag each which consisted of A silver photo frame, a set of pictures taken by the ships photographer on the tour, a personalised notepad with our names on it, a dressing gown and an apron. One each for us both. We were very surprised and it was a lovely gesture.

    So, if you've got to the end of this bit, congratulations you are a star follower. We're just in the cabin contemplating if and where to go and eat, wait for this we are thinking we will give food a miss tonight as we are stuffed. Might give Movies Under the Stars a go though at 10.00pm 🎥

    Until tomorrow, thanks for reading and Adios !!
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  • Day13

    Day 13, St Johns, Canada

    September 13, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    An 8am dock this morning in to St Johns. I didn't sleep very well last night due starting with the dreaded man flu. As a result we were up at 6.30am and went for a cuppa. We are currently 3 and a half hours behind UK time. I always thought time zone changes were in complete hours. It was chucking it down with rain and still very foggy from yesterday. The captain was still sounding the horn every few minutes but not the loud foghorn that was using during yesterday but a softer one so as not to disturb the sleeping passengers. As we arrived on the top deck, facing the front of the ship, it looked like we were about to sail straight in to the rock side. It wasn't until we moved to the front of the ship that we saw a very narrow gap in the rocks that we eventually sailed in through. At its narrowest point I'm guessing he only had about 30ft either side to play with, truly magnificent manoeuvring skills. And in the thick fog and rain too !!

    We watched the dock in the rain before going for breakfast. Afterwards we put on our warm clothes and waterproofs as I don't know if I've mentioned it but the weathers been crap and still is!! A certain person not to far from me said and I quote " You'll only need shorts and tee-shirts from Canada in". Yep, wrong!! So we had a walk through the soggy town, lots of war history and many connections back to England. This used to be a stopping place to refuel in WW2 and the locals used to supply cakes and home cooked foods to try and make the soldiers feel at home. Quite fascinating really. Gutted there was no McDonalds for free wifi but Starbucks stepped up to the plate 👍

    After a fair bit of browsing we got back on board and had a spot of lunch and just enjoyed the ship. We went out on deck to watch the sail away and it was fantastic. I think it's got to be one of the best ports for approach and departure we've ever done. The decks were busy and the amount of room down either side of the ship as we sailed towards the mouth of the Atlantic was minimal. As we sailed down there were lots of people at the top of the hill and they fired 3 cannons as we passed. A spectacular departure, really glad we saw it. Still raining ☔️ though !!

    We're just off to the restaurant now, lots of nice choices tonight. Got an early start in the morning even though it's a sea day, more to be revealed tomorrow.

    Adios amigos
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  • Day12

    Day 12, At Sea

    September 12, 2017, North Atlantic Ocean ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Hello Everyone, well today was day 4 of 4 at sea. It's been a real pea souper all day, during some points in the day it was impossible to see the sea from the open decks. Relaxing isn't the word, we've done very little today. We started off with breakfast in the main dining room, got chatting to a couple from London and we were quite late leaving the dining room. From there we went up on deck to the back of the ship for another cuppa and to generally relax. We went for a walk around the open decks and at the front of the ship visibility was extremely poor. The ship was sounding the horn about every 3 or 4 minutes, the thicker the fog, the more often the horn was sounded.

    We spent the whole afternoon in the hot tub, got in at 13.30 and got out at 17.30. Met a great couple from Macclesfield and we're chatting to them for ages along with a young lad of 17 who was also in there with us. The afternoon flew by.

    There's not a lot more to report really, we are just upstairs for dinner, it's still extremely foggy. Early night for us tonight, here's hoping we dock in St Johns, Canada 🇨🇦 tomorrow.
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  • Day11

    Day 11, At Sea - Sharon's 50th Birthday

    September 11, 2017, North Atlantic Ocean ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

    Well hello all, so today was the day, the purpose of the whole trip, Sharon's 50th Birthday 🎉 🎈 and what a day it has been. She's had balloons, a party hosted by the captain, birthday cake and lots of treats along the way. Thank you to everyone who sent well wishes and to everyone who sent cards before we left, she has been overwhelmed by the love and best wishes from you all.

    So we started off with breakfast downstairs in the restaurant at a very leisurely pace before wandering up to the open deck for a further cup of tea and a sneaky extra Danish. The weather today has not been the best in the world, heavy cloud and between 6 and 10 degrees with heavy showers. That could only mean one thing for us, the hot tubs. We went to the tubs on the open deck midships which are nice and hot. The American Football was playing on the big screen so there were quite a few people milling about. When we go in the tubs, we put out towels and clothes on a sunbed (as they are rarely used) just to the side so they ain't fat away when we get out. Today, some American bloke decided to take the towels whilst we were in the tub 😂😂 He genuinely thought they weren't being used but soon realised as we hollowed at him as he was walking away. Someone saw us and pointed us out to him 😂😂 he was very apologetic, it was actually quite funny. It wouldn't have been the end of the world if he hadn't noticed, Sharon would have just had to walk a bit further in the cold to get new ones !!

    The evening brought us the captains cocktail party 🎉 always a lovely event, and to be on Sharon's Birthday made it that bit more special. Cocktails and canapés in abundance and a chat and picture with the captain, all just before dinner down in the main dining room. Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding on tonight, some fishy thingy for Sharon. At desert time all the waiters and maitre d's came and sang happy birthday to Sharon and presented her with a Birthday Cake, I just hid under the table !!

    So it's 9.30pm, 4 degrees outside and we are just getting togged up to go out on top deck and watch tonight's movie under the stars 🎥. Should you not hear from me anymore, I've frozen up !!

    Good night all
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