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margbem

Live from the Odyssey

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On 10/11/2019 at 3:12 AM, margbem said:

Chairsin - how lovely to hear from you! I think this cruise is possibly our best yet. We have just had opera and caviar for our sail away from Trapani. It was fabulous! We are also looking at cruises next September, maybe from Venice, so we may meet up again. Or, we may take the plunge(not literally, hopefully) and do Antarctica.

margben, have they retired the 'Tim Rice Show' yet?

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6 hours ago, Laylam said:

margben, have they retired the 'Tim Rice Show' yet?

 

It’s  got years to run yet.

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16 hours ago, Laylam said:

margben, have they retired the 'Tim Rice Show' yet?

No! It's got a new song in it, though! Have seen it three times. Will give it a miss this week.

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14 hours ago, Mr Luxury said:

 

It’s  got years to run yet.

 

3 hours ago, margbem said:

No! It's got a new song in it, though! Have seen it three times. Will give it a miss this week.

 

I agree it probably does have years to run.  Probably a win-win situation as we can have an early night knowing we have already seen it several times.

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14 hours ago, Laylam said:

 

 

I agree it probably does have years to run.  Probably a win-win situation as we can have an early night knowing we have already seen it several times.

Surprisingly my husband says we are going to it again. He's only seen it twice!

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Hi Margbem, nice to hear you’re having such a great time! We are really looking forward to boarding on Saturday in Barcelona and enjoying those balmy Med temperatures. Any progress on the craft gin front?!

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Margbem, just got to your post on the original ‘gin’ discussion. That’s trying their best at this stage, I guess...

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8 hours ago, claranda said:

Margbem, just got to your post on the original ‘gin’ discussion. That’s trying their best at this stage, I guess...

It is! Ask in the Club. Can't say any more!!!

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Our next port was Naples. We had booked a walking tour with a local company which turned out to be boring. Our guide was an architecture student who told us all about the buildings, churches etc and who built them and when but we didn't get to go in them! We left her and did our own thing but found Naples dirty, noisy, crowded and intimidating. We wished we had gone to Capri but met up with fellow cruisers in the evening who had done just that and said it was so busy that they hadn't enjoyed it at all.

 
Saturday was Civitavecchia and change over day for a lot of people who had just done eight days. About eighty cruisers were continuing, as we were too. We did a Seabourn tour to Tarquinia and the museum of artefacts from the Necropolis. Many of the items were from the Etruscan people and dated from the 4th century BC. It was fascinating. After a stop at a local farmhouse for wine, olive oil and other nibbles we then went to visit the Estruscan tombs of Tarquinia. This we would highly recommend. It is totally mind blowing and like nothing we have ever seen.
 
Evening saw us dining in Thomas Keller's Grill. My husband enjoyed it but it doesn't really float my boat. The menu has not changed at all since it was introduced (three years ago?) and in my opinion it is no better than the main restaurant food. We did find the service had lost the snootiness that we experienced last year. 
 
Sunday we were in Livorno. The town was pretty much closed and isn't very pretty but we used TuscanyBus.com to go to Lucca and Pisa. We loved Lucca but Pisa was so crowded it was hard to appreciate it. The walk to the Field of Miracles is full of tat stalls but the cathedral and baptistery are absolutely magnificent. We declined to walk up the tower - too many steps for tired legs!
 
Our dinner host was Robert, CD and his fiancee, Melissa. We had a wonderful evening with them, listening to Robert's tales of his experiences as CD and assistant CD.
 
The show was "Viva Italia" by the entertainment team. Well performed but not popular, with many people leaving during it.
 
Today we were in Ajaccio, Corsica. A lovely old town, easy to walk around and with a small beach near town where we could swim in crystal clear sea. Lots of fish and a huge eel that got as much of a shock when it came close to shore as the swimmers did when it appeared!
 
A lazy afternoon on deck 6 forward, spoiled slightly by the dulcet tones of the CD on the Marella Discovery 2 docked next to us as he conducted an extremely loud game of bingo. Thank goodness for the peace and quiet of Seabourn!  
 
A good turnout for Name that Tune, with a team scoring full marks. Not us!
 
Another superb dinner tonight: golden beetroot with goat's cheese, cured loin of lamb with mint and chilli for starters, shrimp in prosciutto for main and molten chocolate lava cake with ice cream to finish. Then a brilliant guitarist for the main show. 
 
Just arrived in Toulon to rain and thunder and lightning. Our first poor weather.

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Toulon turned into a very nice walk around the city in the sunshine. We had turned up for a rather damp putting competition to compete against each other as no one else turned up! So two more prizes to add to the list. Toulon has a lovely marina with restaurants lined along it for long, fishy lunches if so desired. We were expecting a smaller version of Naples but were pleasantly surprised. The rain had put paid to our planned trip to Hyères by train as the station is a half hour walk from the ship. An enforced rest day was quite pleasant, although on our less busy days we managed to still walk at least four miles!

Trivia involved a team called "Silversea Champions" which stimulated an interesting competition! We were invited to dine with CD Robert, his fiancee Melissa and a couple of ladies from England this evening and we had a lovely evening with them. We can cope with a table for six and hear everyone! Anything larger and we struggle.
 
Palamos was our next port. This is a beautiful little town with a long, sandy beach and a promenade, stretching for miles. We walked around the old town, visited the cathedral with a very unusual altar, well worth popping in then walked the prom for a few miles. The wind was getting stronger which brought out a dozen kite surfers whizzing across the sea. Still brilliant sunshine and lovely temperatures. We had wondered if we were a little late in the year for a Med cruise but we have been very lucky with the weather. The seas have been choppy at times with two of the "Dancing under the Stars" parties having to be moved to the Club.
 
Thursday was Palma de Mallorca. We have been to Mallorca (or Majorca) before on holidays so we rented a car and drove around the island. We highly recommend Arash car rental, a local company who delivered the car to the port for us for an extra 20 euros. So a day out cost us 60.50 euros for the car plus 20 euros for fuel. We drove to Puerto Soller, a beautiful town on the northern coast. Another long walk in the sun with coffee with a view! Then to Valdemossa up in the mountains. A stunning village where George Sand lived with Chopin. We climbed the steps of the tower for the amazing views. Highly recommend both of these places. Seabourn does a trip to both if renting a car does not appeal. Majorca is truly the most beautiful island with stunning scenery. (However, Magaluf and Palma Nova are best avoided unless you like hoards of people!)
 
Our last day was Valencia. We were here last year for three days so felt that we knew the city but there were a couple of places that weren't open when we last visited so we wanted to see them. But first there was shopping with the chef this morning. My husband didn't want to do this so was left behind to start the packing! We went to the Central Market for food for tonight's Spanish Market dinner in the Colonnade. Wow! The prawns were still alive, the fish the freshest ever, the olives the best I have ever tasted! Chef bought squid, mussels, clams, prawns, saffron (the biggest jar of it I have ever seen!), olives, lettuce...... He treated us to many tastes of things and those of us who wanted had an oyster (bought for us, but eaten at our own risk!) Seabourn chefs are not allowed to serve oysters to the guests.
 
After an extremely speedy lunch back at the ship, we headed off together to see the Silk Exchange (remarkable) and the Cathedral (service on so only a quick peek inside). I also took my DH back to the market to show him where I had been earlier. A lot of the stalls were closed by now, having sold all their fish.
 
So, our last night. We ate in the Restaurant, as we had done every night except the TK visit. We ate with some friends we had made over the last two weeks and had another fabulous meal. They also very kindly shared a wonderful bottle of wine with us from their wine package. Hugs for the staff as we left for their magnificent service over the last fifteen nights. (I was slightly distracted at this meal as I was looking directly at a youngish guy at the next table who was wearing a baseball cap during the whole evening. Wish the maitre D' would enforce the dress code. Who goes to dinner wearing a cap?)  
 
Saturday morning saw us arrive in Barcelona early, along with several other ships so we were a fair way out from the city, not at the World Trade Centre as some passengers thought we might be. That honour was bestowed upon an Azamara ship. We disembarked about 8.45am and our driver from Welcome Pickups (highly recommend them) arrived just before the arranged time of 9am. We had been slightly concerned about the trip to the airport as the previous day had seen a general strike with a massive march and chaos at the airport as well as in the city. We had no problems and were there by 9.30am. Flight at 1.25pm turned into 2.10pm but no complaints. Looking at the Fitbit for the past week my DH clocked up more than 100,000 steps. And my little legs usually do 2.4% more than him on every walk! 
 
 
To summarise then. Our best Seabourn cruise ever! It was our ninth. Third on the Odyssey after five on the Legend and one on the Spirit. We are now Gold members, don't know if that made a difference to how we were treated but we felt truly spoiled this cruise. We were certainly called by our names from day one which is lovely. Talking to first timers, we never heard anything negative from them either. The staff were magnificent, the service outstanding, the food the best we have had (would have liked to see a complete fourteen night menu with no repeats after the first week, but that's nit picking), Robert, CD, the best ever, with Matthew, his assistant, very charming and bound for great things, excellent complimentary wines, with a couple of exceptions.... Don't know where to stop with the praise, really! We have put down two future cruise deposits as we are thinking about the Adriatic next September and possibly Antarctica the following February. We will probably move from deck 4 as we did experience some noise from below us this cruise which we commented on and were contacted about but we decided that it was something to do with the workings of the ship on deck 3 and we appreciate that we were on a working vessel. 
 
It took a while to get a good gin and tonic. Eventually we met Sam at The Club and she made us great g&t's each night. Until then we had been making our own in our suite - something we had never done before! That was after were given "trimmings", large balloon glasses and Fevertree tonic. We had asked for this in the Observation bar the first night and told they didn't have any. The special from the menu made with home made tonic was truly disgusting.  Why make it when you can get excellent tonic commercially?
 
We met some lovely people, encountered one or two not so nice, but that's life. One waiter we encountered couldn't raise a smile, he looked very sad and I wondered if he was homesick. It must be very hard when you are on a long contract and are unhappy. 99.9% of the staff and crew were fabulous. Thank you, Seabourn. If anyone from the company reads these boards, we have had a ball. We will be back! 
 
Thanks to everyone who has read my blog. Hopefully you have enjoyed it and thanks for responding. If you are thinking of sailing with Seabourn and have never done so, go for it. It might be your first but it won't be your last!
 
Margaret

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3 hours ago, Mark56 said:

Hi Margaret,

 

Thank you for sharing your trip! I enjoyed reading it.

 

Mark

Thanks Mark!

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I would like to add my thanks for the reporting!

 

Looks like Ody is the place to be this season and now we are especially looking forward to the crossing in a couple of weeks.

 

Happy and healthy sailing!

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1 minute ago, markham said:

I would like to add my thanks for the reporting!

 

Looks like Ody is the place to be this season and now we are especially looking forward to the crossing in a couple of weeks.

 

Happy and healthy sailing!

Thanks, Markham. Have a wonderful cruise.

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Just reread my reports. We only dined with Robert once! I've obviously got jet lag from our two hour flight home!

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