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Selbourne

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Everything posted by Selbourne

  1. There are obviously some problems at present that they can’t fix mid cruise. Hopefully it will have been in and out of Southampton enough times by then to fix them - unless it’s now beyond economical repair, which I doubt.
  2. She has always been our favourite too, and this is the first of our eight cruises on her where we’ve noticed so many air con issues, but this is our first cruise on her since late 2019 and we both feel that she’s starting to show her age a bit now
  3. Cabin wise I think we’ve been unlucky. We are by the forward lifts (which is a hot area - as are the midships ones) and the corridor outside our cabin is hot also. I suspect there’s an issue in our area. If your cabin is OK the cruise wouldn’t be affected too much. Everyone comments on how hot the lifts are but you aren’t in them for long. The Crows Nest and Library were unbearable for a number of days early on but that’s now fixed. The Playhouse has varied between hot and cold but seems to have settled down now. The theatre has always been good and the Glasshouse and the pub have always been very cool (some of the older passengers complain that they are too cold 🙄). The fixed dining MDR is mostly OK, although our area right at the back is unfortunately a bit warmer. Not a major issue though. The freedom MDR has always been nicely cooled. The Beach House was really hot on our first visit but better on our last two visits. Same with Sindhu. As for the bed, we are in an accessible cabin. It may be the beds in those are lower. Premier Inn do the same, assuming that disabled people want lower beds when often the opposite is the case! Hopefully this more detailed explanation might help you decide whether or not it would be an issue for you.
  4. The Saver fares can, and do, re-appear but obviously it depends on a lot of factors such as availability, demand and movement through upgrades. The prices of them can change as well. To use our current cruise (Aurora Grand Tour 65 nights) as an example; We booked a Saver fare around a week after balance due date. We paid a lot less than the Saver price shown on the P&O website as we were told it was a ‘Late Saver’. The day after we booked the price dropped by £2k and was less than half the Select fare! I managed to get the £2k refunded but that’s incidental! The term ‘Late Saver’ never appeared on the website. It still just said Saver, but the price had dropped This late Saver disappeared after a week or so and only Select fares remained, however, some weeks later they re-appeared. This happened several more times during the period up until departure but every time the Saver re-appeared it was at the lowest price that we had paid. EDIT - I didn’t see that you had managed to book until after I posted. Well done!
  5. Day 54 - Sunday 25th February - Tortola, British Virgin Islands. One big advantage of a later arrival into port is that you see the scenery on the way in (the light is usually fading by the time we leave in the evenings). Today this meant lovely views of Peter Island and others during our approach to Tortola. The winds of the past few days had kept temperatures to quite a pleasant level, but today it’s very warm and humid again. As we only have three more days in the Caribbean before we head north towards home, this will please everyone, especially the sun worshippers (of which there are many). Although the ships tracking websites had us arriving into Tortola at 0645, this must have been our original time and didn’t update based upon our delayed departure from Jamaica. We actually dropped anchor at around 1000. The aim was for a tender operation until 1pm when it would be suspended. Tenders would be hoisted back on board and then we would dock in time for us to go ashore at 3pm. (Note - the reality was that tendering stopped at 1.45pm and we couldn’t get off until 3.30pm) As it was a port day there was nothing happening on the ship of interest, so we just chilled on the balcony and in the cabin between breakfast and lunch. We’ve given up on the laundry offer ever appearing again (it’s only appeared once in 54 days) so we put in another bag of 10 items. It all adds up, but I’m determined not to have much more than a normal weeks washing and ironing to do when we get home, as we’ve got a lot on from our first week back. I’ve enjoyed having the internet package (heavily discounted) as it’s enabled me to keep up to date with the news (the TV being almost unwatchable), family, friends and managing our life in general. So much so that I’ve booked it for our two future (Cunard) cruises whilst we’ve been on here, under their Valentines 28% discount offer. Works out at about a tenner a day versus the £6 a day on here, but they are both only 14 nighters. As we dropped anchor we could see Norwegian Sky and Valiant Lady on the cruise pier. I appreciate that looks are subjective, but I think that these new Virgin ships look great (Edit - from the front they do. I saw the back when we got off - pig ugly like the back of Iona and Arvia 😂). The silver grey is a nice change from the usual white and even the Virgin red doesn’t seem to make it look naff. I suspect that there would be a lot of red on the inside as well though, and that would be a no no 😂 After lunch we waited in the cabin and balcony until informed that we could go ashore. During this time I called reception to say that our cabin air con has packed up yet again. Not a breath of air coming out of either vent (one actually feels warm) and I swear that our cabin is around 25 degrees even with the control on the very lowest setting (as it’s been all cruise). We certainly couldn’t sleep in this temperature. Once ashore we walked through the cruise pier area. Some of the shops were closed with it being a Sunday, and those that were open were the usual tourist stuff that’s of no interest to us whatsoever. There were some bars blasting out loud music and one was deafening, but was full of young locals so is obviously the ‘in’ place. Most passengers didn’t venture far from here but we did quite a walk around the town. Away from the cruise port it’s one of those ‘authentic’ places that I quite like. The proper Caribbean rather than the sanitised one for tourists. There were no real ‘sights’ to speak of (I couldn’t find the small botanical garden and my wife felt we had gone far enough off the beaten track as it was), so we found our way back to the ship. Our cabin was still sweltering (even with the curtains having been left closed) and nobody had been, which was disappointing. Another call to reception. I would be wary of booking another cruise in very warm climates on Aurora. The air con system as it is just simply isn’t up to the job. We went to Raffles for a drink and when we had returned there was a card to say that engineers had been to fix the ventilation. Well we have a very slight puff of cooler air now but it’s still pathetic. I think the cabin just feels marginally cooler because it’s getting dark. It needs to drop another good few degrees to make it bearable for sleeping. Not impressed. I managed to finish the 600 plus page book I’d borrowed from the library, so returned it and spent some time looking to see if anything else took my interest. It didn’t, but it was nice to spend some time in a place with properly working air con (the irony is that earlier in the cruise the library and Crows Nest were both unbearably hot, so they can fix that but not our cabin. Our departure from Tortola is intentionally late so we were still in port when we went for dinner at 8pm. It was all on board by 8.30pm and for once we got going fairly soon afterwards, which was good as we could watch our nighttime departure from our dinner table. After dinner my wife wanted to see the second performance of the 3 guys who make up the US vocal group Legacy, as we hadn’t seen their first show. It wasn’t really my thing but it was an energetic and professional performance and my wife said she enjoyed most of it. Tomorrow we are in St Kitts.
  6. They are dire. However, the one in the Glasshouse is very good, not that we want to go there after a meal in the MDR!
  7. Our main waiter on Aurora currently would have a fit. On the odd occasion that we’ve asked for something over and above (like one cheese plate to share after a dessert) we get a stare as if to say “you greedy @#%”. I feel like reminding him that when we first started cruising with P&O every dinner was a starter, followed by soup, main course, dessert and then cheese to finish. Always 5 courses and promoted as such. You declined courses if you didn’t want them, rather than having to ask for favours as you do now. To be fair, 99% of waiters don’t bat an eyelid, but this one has a knack of making us feel uncomfortable. Thankfully the assistant waiter is lovely and he does most of the work.
  8. Thoroughly enjoyed him earlier on our cruise.
  9. Great report and very amusing as always. The photo of the amuse bouche reminded me that we had them (well, tiny little drinks rather than proper amuse bouche) on all formal nights on Britannia, Iona and Ventura, but haven’t had them once on Aurora. Odd when you’d think that Aurora would be the more formal ship. Also, the formal night dress codes doesn’t apply in any of the speciality restaurants on Aurora, including Sindhu.
  10. I’ve seen plenty of machetes in use for the coconut / rum punch vendors, but it wasn’t those that I was referring to. I can recall seeing at least 3 people on different occasions walking along with them nowhere near forests or tourist stops. I’m sure that they were for legitimate reasons, but it just raised an eyebrow when at home that would make the local news 😂
  11. You need to give more than 2 days notice in order to receive a refund, so yesterday (Saturday) I cancelled a tour for Tuesday. As you say there was a 10% admin fee (charged to your on board account) but you receive a 100% refund back to your credit card. With the previous cancellation, when I explained the reason why I was cancelling they waived the 10% admin fee. All very straightforward other than the fact that you have to go to the short excursions desk and can’t cancel them online or via MyHoliday.
  12. Day 53 - Saturday 24th February - Sea Day We both had a decent nights sleep, which was helpful as the clocks had gone forward, so we are now 4 hours behind the UK. In spite of the shorter night we still managed to get to the MDR in good time for breakfast. Our first activity of the day was Paul Stickler’s second true crime talk on ‘The Mysterious death of Sir Harry Oakes’. This was as interesting and enjoyable as his first talk. The only thing that I didn’t like was that he very much leaves the outcome up in the air, asking the audience to decide. He has researched these historic crimes in great detail, so I would like to know what his assessment is. That was the consensus view in the lift afterwards as well 😂. Maybe before he starts his next talk he will tell us what he thinks, but I’m not sure he will. That’s going to bug me, but they are great lectures otherwise. We had an hour or so in the cabin before lunch, during which time the Captain came on the airwaves for the 12pm announcement. We knew that there must be some news as he never does them. They are always delegated to junior bridge officers. Anyway, we will now be two and a half hours late into Tortola as we will make up a phenomenal 30 minutes of the 3 hour delay leaving Jamaica 🤔. Anyway, every cloud has a silver lining. Tortola was always meant to be a port that we were alongside in. It was never even a ‘possible tender’ port. We were therefore disappointed to discover mid cruise that it had become a tender port. Now, due to our late arrival, we will be tendering for the first 4 or 5 hours only and then the ship will move onto a berth once a Norwegian cruise ship departs. This is great news as it means that I will now be able to take my wife ashore as originally planned. We will also be in port into the evening to make up for the lost time in the morning. Thankfully, I had already cancelled my excursion in Tortolla after my tender experience in Grand Cayman, because that trip has now been moved to the afternoon, would necessitate me using a tender to join the tour and would also result in my trip ashore with my wife being too late in the day, especially as the tours are always late back. With all that stress removed we are now free to do as we please as soon as we are alongside. After lunch we attended a talk by Ivy Partridge titled Beach Boys vs The Beetles in the theatre. This is the lady who does the Ukelele lessons, which I could have been tempted to do had they not been at 9am each day which is when we have breakfast. She’s very enthusiastic, but we both felt that she wasn’t a good speaker. It was a combination of very obviously reading from a script and constantly asking the audience for shows of hands as to which tracks they liked most and whether they owned them on vinyl. Quite a lazy approach and not really a presentation, but the music clips from these two iconic groups still made it a pleasant 45 minute interlude. We stayed in the theatre for the port talk on Antigua. Lynn our port presenter has been excellent. St John’s looks quite a nice place so I decided to cancel my excursion there as well. I’ve had enough of those ruddy awful Toyota minibuses that all the islands use and result in people being crammed in like sardines. They aren’t built for tall people. Also, some of the tours I’ve been on have been a bit weak, so I thought I’d cancel whilst I could still get a refund (which I’ve already received). We returned to the cabin briefly before going for a drink at Raffles, during which time we noticed that the toilet wouldn’t flush. This is relevant as will become clear later, but I reported it to reception. After a relaxing drink and read in Raffles we went to the Playhouse for the final performance of Jeremy Huw Williams (Welsh baritone singer) and Giordano Ferla (pianist). Neither of us enjoyed the first performance as we didn’t take to him and the music wasn’t to our liking, but he had said that by his final performance he usually played to full houses with people sat on the stairs and my wife wanted to see if that was true. Needless to say, it wasn’t. I counted about 50 people in a venue that seats over 200. It was 45 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back, but there was an amusing part. He was half way through a song when all of a sudden “Bing Bong. Ladies and Gentlemen. Please be aware that the vacuum system that operates your cabin toilets is currently not working. This is because somebody has put something down their toilet and blocked the system”. Of course, it couldn’t possibly be that the toilet system is getting as knackered as the air conditioning system, it’s the passengers fault. To be fair, that’s probably the more likely reason, but it was quite an accusing tone. Anyway, to be fair to Jeremy Huw Williams he handled it in a very amusing way as it must have really thrown him. I then did 4 laps of the promenade deck. I set out from the outset of this cruise to try to do 10 laps every sea day, but this 4 week cold has sapped some of my energy, so I’ve fallen woefully short. Hopefully I can do more of this on the long drag back to Southampton, as long as the seas aren’t too rough. It was another black tie night with a decent looking menu. I have mentioned several times that grand sounding menus are often followed by underwhelming food, but tonight’s meal was very good. We both had the same three courses. The beetroot smoked salmon starter, whilst tiny, was very nice. Beef Wellington for mains. We both ordered them medium- rare in the knowledge that they’d arrive medium and we were spot on. Two minor down points were the fact that the obligatory green beens were served (at least they go with this meal) and the supposed Madeira jus had at best had the cap of the Madeira wafted over it. As Ricky Tomlinson would say, Madeira my @rse 😂. The trifle Wally Ladd was a nice end to the meal (and definitely had some sherry in it). To end the evening we went to the theatre to see Jayne Middleton as Annie Lennox. I had a degree of apprehension about this, as I love Annie Lennox’s voice and feared that a cruise ship singer might massacre some great songs, but this girl was great. Absolutely none of the usual tricks that the poor ones use, such as changing the high notes or getting the audience to sing the bits that they can’t. She got every song pretty much pitch perfect and as per the original version. The one thing that I wasn’t convinced about was her speaking voice. I think she was trying to impersonate Annie Lennox’s speaking voice as well but it was like no Scottish accent I’ve ever heard. I remember having to leave an Adele tribute once when the singer also tried to impersonate Adele in the strongest cockney accent possible and it completely ruined an otherwise good performance. Thankfully Jayne Middleton did very little talking between tracks and let her fantastic singing voice speak for itself. The funny accent permeated one song though, which every time the line was sung sounded all the world like “who’s that ‘heel’, running around with you”? 😂 My favourite Annie Lennox track (Why?) was partly ruined by two cretinous audience members who decided to leave half way through it and started having a full blown conversation as they did, but I was hugely impressed that she even played the piano whilst singing that track. The backing vocals and some of the music was pre recorded, but she was accompanied by Pulse who were also great. Sadly we’ve had to avoid Pulse all this cruise as the female vocalist is dreadful, so it was nice to hear the musicians on their own as they are clearly excellent. So a great evening. Tomorrow is Tortola.
  13. Funny you should mention that. On several tours I’ve seen locals walking along with machetes. If that happened in the UK armed Police would arrive and the person could be looking at 6 months custody!
  14. Tortola Update The Captain has just announced that we will be two and a half hours late into Tortola (we are cruising at 20-21 knots) but there is thankfully some good news at last. Tortola was never advertised as a tender port, not even a possible tender, so we were disappointed to discover during the cruise that it had changed to be a tender port. Apparently a Norwegian ship is leaving at lunchtime, so we will be tendering for the first 4 hours or so and then we will move alongside at a berth. This means that my wife will now be able to go ashore and also that we have no more tender ports this cruise, both of which are great news. We will also be staying in port until later to make up for the later arrival.
  15. Today’s MDR menus. If dinner turns out to be anywhere near as good as it sounds then we shall be very happy, however……..
  16. There were quite a few persistent tradespeople, but in all honesty we have found that in several of the ports. I tend to walk quickly (even pushing the wheelchair) which gives off a message that I’m not stopping. I suspect that amblers are easier game. I also tend to ignore them and don’t make eye contact or look at what they are selling. One chap walked alongside me for a short while, which was a bit intimidating and another, when I ignored him, shouted after us in a British accent “you’re from London, innit” which I thought was quite funny (we aren’t BTW) 😂
  17. Day 52 - Friday 23rd February - Ocho Rios, Jamaica A very odd day in Jamaica. As a Carnival ship managed to damage the cruise pier a few weeks ago, and has apparently put it out of action for a year, we berthed at Reynold’s Pier, which the locals call the James Bond pier. It’s an industrial berth that was used in two James Bond films as the baddies lair. The local economy is going to take a big hit, as this pier can only take smaller ships (and maybe only one at a time?) so all the biggies are being rescheduled to either Falmouth or Montego Bay. The locals aren’t at all happy. I was booked on a ‘Panorama of Ocho Rio’s’ tour and it was on one of those awful Toyota minibuses that seem to be as prevalent around the Caribbean as the wild chickens are on Grand Cayman. I got in the front seat which, due to there being no door, involves a degree of contortion and dexterity to get in and out of that thankfully I can still just about manage (at a push). As we left Ocho Rio’s we climbed up through Fern Gully, which is a steep sided gully that was originally a river that got diverted as a result of an earthquake. Even though I was in the front seat it was difficult to see out as the minibus had a tinted band that covered almost the top half of the windscreen and it wasn’t well applied so distorted the view. Anyway, as we were climbing the gully, I noticed the greenery start to move at the side of the road and all of a sudden a person on stilts, absolutely covered in greenery (from their head to the bottom of the stilts), just ‘walked’ out into our path. As if this was perfectly natural, our driver just slowed down and then drove around him. A little further up the gully there was another leaf covered manned stall and our guide said that he was ‘Jack in the box’ and the chap on stilts was ‘Jack and the beanstalk’. They are apparently ‘tourist attractions’ (code for beggars). We weaved our way through some quite poor looking areas and then got to an affluent area where various music stars own properties and then stopped at a viewpoint (Shaw Park Ridge) that overlooks Ocho Rio’s. On our way back down the hill another chap dressed all in black walked out in front of the minibus and brought us to a halt. He then proceeded to do about a dozen backward flips down the middle of the road. I should at this stage say that Marijuana in ‘small doses for personal use’ is legal in Jamaica and I was beginning to wonder if I had inadvertently taken some. Anyway, it was another beggar who managed to get a few dollars from the more benevolent passengers on the minibus. We then stopped at an extremely average church (St Johns Anglican Church) with a very shabby graveyard. I have no idea why so many shore excursions on various islands do this. The average village church in the U.K. is more impressive than 90% of these. After that we stopped at the Taj Mahal shopping centre (yes, you read that correctly). Lots of shops all selling similar things - tourist tat, t-shirts, booze, cigars, jewellery etc. The prices all look astronomical to me, probably as Sterling is weak against the US dollar. Maybe the prices are more appealing to our US cousins. Next we headed out of town for a slightly pointless drive through the heavily congested village of St Ann’s (it’s Jamaica Day today so everywhere was busy), which included driving in and out of the hospital car park (I’m not making this up for effect BTW). The final stop was an outdoor eating area where they cook vast quantities of Jerk Chicken and pork. Again, I’ve no idea why. It smelt nice but wouldn’t get a food hygiene rating at home! Back to the ship just 20 minutes late which seems to be better than most excursions. BTW, If booking tours don’t plan on doing two in a day. Chances are your first tour will be late back. They don’t even seem to be aware of the scheduled return times! As the tour was late back we had missed lunch in the MDR so went for a burger at the Lido Grill. The service up there is poor but the burgers are OK and are a quick way to fill a gap. We were scheduled to have a relatively short day in Jamaica with an ‘all on board’ time of 4.30pm. Then we had the added challenge that wheelchair users could not get on and off the ship between midday and 2pm due to the tides (when only stepped access from deck 5 would be available). However, by the time we had grabbed some lunch the level step free access from deck 4 had been reinstated, so we headed ashore. Thankfully, although we were further out of town than the usual cruise pier, the walk into town was very good and wheelchair friendly. It was a tiny bit more tricky in places once we got into the centre, but still better than most of the places we have visited. On the way back to the ship we had a look around Island Village, a nicely landscaped shopping and leisure area. Having returned to the ship in good time for the early departure, at 5pm the Captain announced that we would be delayed in our departure due to a delivery of provisions having arrived late. As a result, people could go ashore for another 2 hours if they wished. I doubt that many did. He also said that this would mean that we would be a few hours late arriving into Tortola in 2 days time as a result. We ended up leaving at around 8pm. Clearly there is a tight budget on fuel costs, as the journey is apparently about 720 miles and we have 36 hours to do it if we are to arrive on time. That would mean travelling at 20 knots, which is well below Auroras designed operating speed of 25 knots. I wondered if the Captain would do the same as he did with Bermuda, when he patted himself on the back for getting us there just marginally late when we had made a big diversion to avoid the worst of a storm system. However, he said that there would be a communication about the impact of our delayed arrival on shore excursions, so maybe not. At 7pm we went to Carmen’s for a Headliners performance called ‘Up all night’. As those who cruise a lot will know, there can be big variations in the quality of the Headliners troupes. We’ve seen a few excellent ones and some quite poor ones. In all honesty, the troupe that we have is very good and it’s frankly amazing that the vast majority of them are on their very first contact with P&O. In the spirit of complete honesty, the male singers are let down a bit by one of their number being quite weak, but the female singers and the dancers are all excellent. Dinner was mediocre. We both had jerk chicken. I wasn’t terribly keen but it was a welcome change from the usual fodder. My wife enjoyed hers. My dessert was dreadful. I struggle to think of more than a handful of MDR desserts that I have really enjoyed. The 10pm show was vocal group ‘Legacy’ but we were both quite tired so didn’t go. Tomorrow is a sea day as we progress towards Tortola.
  18. Many a true word spoken in jest John, although on the aborted Key West day we just spent the day with the engines off in flat calm waters…..not far from Key West 🤔
  19. Do you think so? I’m surprised that a few hours late leaving here would result in a few hours late arriving in Tortola, given how much slack there has been in our timings the whole cruise. Would have thought they could make that up without any issue whatsoever. There was due to be 39 hours between the two ports and we can’t make up just 2 hours? 2 hours at even 15 knots (which is faster than we’ve been going many days) would mean that just going 1 knot more than they planned would easily get that time back. Something doesn’t sound right, unless their fuel budget is as tight as their tug budget 🤔. For those of you wondering what on earth Mollag and I are talking about, we had a relatively short day in Jamaica and all had to be on board by 4.30pm. At 5pm the Captain announced that we are still taking on supplies (that arrived late) and, as a result will be late leaving. People can now go ashore again with a revised all on board of 7pm. Suspect that very few will bother. Apparently, this minor delay is going to result in us getting in to Tortola a few hours late which, given the slack timings on this cruise seems very odd.
  20. Yes room service is available but we’ve not used it. My wife and I are very different. She eats to live, whereas I live to eat. She’s happy to skip meals, something that is an alien concept to me 😂
  21. If it makes you feel any better, I felt it was one of the least interesting ports. As it’s so affluent it looks more like Florida than the Caribbean and lacks all the colour.
  22. Day 51 - Thursday 22nd February - Georgetown, Grand Cayman Whilst my throat has been getting better, I’m still not right. I get a really annoying tickly cough, which is worse in the evenings, and last night I got congested again which disturbed my sleep. All quite minor in the scheme of things, but downright annoying when these symptoms are now in their fourth week. I can’t imagine that we will ever do a cruise like this again, primarily due to my wife’s worsening condition but, even if we were able to, I think this experience would make me think twice. Much as we love cruises, I am in absolutely in no doubt whatsoever that the chances of getting something like this and it lasting for such a long time are far greater on a cruise ship than elsewhere. Today was a tender port so unfortunately my wife could not get off the ship. We had a leisurely breakfast and killed time until I had to leave to go ashore for my booked excursion - Cayman Highlights & Turtle Farm. I mentioned the other day that I hate tender ports and today’s experience is a classic example of why. My tour was booked for 12.30pm departure with a request to meet ashore at 12.15pm. Announcements had said that there were no longer queues for tenders and people could proceed ashore at will, so at 11.30am I left the cabin and headed down to board the tender. There was a short queue on deck 5 as there was no tender alongside. We waited and waited and eventually a tender arrived, as evidenced by the exceptionally slow trickle of people getting off it, no doubt delayed embarking the ship due to the security screening. Eventually, at about midday, they let us board the tender, except that once on board we sat there bobbing around for another 15-20 minutes whilst a slow trickle of passengers boarded. When we eventually got going the crossing took just 5-10 minutes but by this stage it was 12.25. As I got off the tender and approached the shore excursion lady I was taken to one of those dreadful Toyota minibuses that they use in the Caribbean to find that I was the last to arrive. They really pack people in those things like sardines and there was just one seat remaining. The chap in front of me asked me if I’d got lost, so I explained that it had taken me just under an hour to get there from the ship. I am guessing that the other passengers had either been ashore earlier looking around the town or a tender had left at around 11.30am just minutes before I arrived. Very embarrassing but not my fault. When returning to the ship I made a point of sitting on the tender in a place where I would be one of the first off (my plan worked) and I went straight to the excursions desk to cancel my tour at our final tender port. It’s a 9am tour departure and with all the faffing about that’s going to mean having to leave the cabin by 8am latest, possibly earlier, which means having to get my wife out of bed at around 6.30 am so that I can help her get ready, only to leave her sat in her wheelchair. That’s not fair. The whole thing today reminded me why we try to avoid cruises with tender ports, and that’s even without the experience of feeling sick as a dog if the seas are choppy and the tender takes ages to leave the ship or is held at sea waiting for a slot to get people back on the ship, as has happened enough times to be ingrained on my memory. As for the tour itself it was a bit of a mixed bag. The tour guide / driver was excellent. The first stop was a small factory & shop where they made rum cake and sold it at absolutely extortionate prices. Next we went to Hell, quite literally. Hell is basically an area of spikey black coral where there are some gift shops, a post office (where you can send a postcard from Hell) and lots of free roaming chickens. In fact, that’s the case with the whole island. Chickens roaming about everywhere! Finally we went to the Turtle centre. Quite a big place with hundreds of turtles of varying sizes, many of them huge. Our guide gave us a quick tour around and then we had free time. Questions from my fellow passengers were all around conservation, rescuing them etc etc. I think I was the only one who was aware that it’s also a farm where they breed them for meat, a fact that it is not mentioned but I’d read about and was confirmed by the guide when I quietly asked him! Back in the ship I took my wife to Raffles where we had a cuppa and a snack as we hadn’t had anything to eat or drink in 7 hours (a record on a cruise ship 😂). We then just relaxed until dinner, which was in the Beach House. My Nachos starter was good, but I think they were running low on chorizo, as I had shavings of it rather than the usual chunks. My wife had the pork scratching starter that is her favourite there. For mains my wife had the sticky chicken which didn’t look great when it came but she really enjoyed. I had the burger. It needed more binding ingredients, as it was crumbly like mince beef. I could only eat half of it. For puds my wife had Key Lime Sundae which she liked (once she’d scraped the cream off it) and I had the apple and pecan pie which is in fact a miniscule tart, but I was very full so that was fine. We were both too tired and full to enjoy the Simply Whitney show by Taryn Charles, so we called it a night. Tomorrow Ocho Rio’s in Jamaica.
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