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Published: April 15th 2019
1 more day on board arcadia! i'm feeling quite reflective and melancholy today. sad to be leaving this beautiful ship that has been my home for the past 75 nights. the arcadia has kept me safe and well fed. it was arcadias birthday the other day. she celebrated 14 years on the 12th of april. the pastry chef made a beautiful replica of the ship in a cake, and that evening they held a huge birthday party for her in the globe disco. there weren't any balloons but we all had glow sticks wrapped around our heads and arms, and anywhere else you could coil a glow stick around. 😊
today we are heading north in the atlantic ocean alongside the west coast of spain having left cadiz yesterday at 5 pm. i am writing to you from my cabin. the sea is calm and the air is mild but the fog is thick. i can't see the sea at all today. i have timed it and approximately every 3 minutes the ship's fog horn blows. i find the sound very comforting and appropriate for today. even though it has been a constant bellow all day i don't find it
annoying. i even have my balcony door propped open with the bloody big atlas they left me in my cabin so i can hear it better. i wonder what key the fog horn is in? this foggy day reminds me of the old black and white film dangerous crossing.
we were lucky and had perfect weather while in cadiz. it was sunny and around 22 degrees. cadiz is the oldest inhabited town in the western world with 3,000 years of history. the town has a population of 140,000 and is one of the largest ports on the atlantic coast of spain. it is a major shipyard and naval base as well as being the port of shipment for brandy and sherry from the city of jerez, and the olives, olive oil and oranges from seville which is 100 km inland from cadiz. in 1770, as a result of peaceful trading with the american colonies, cadiz was a wealthier city than london.
our last port on the world cruise! i have been here once before about 20 years ago with the p&o ship oriana. sadly they are retiring the oriana this summer. she was the very first cruise ship
i ever cruised with. in cadiz i spent the day just wandering the streets. there was a nice long boardwalk along the seafront which i strolled leisurely before heading inland to one of the many plazas. in plaza de san antonio
i rested my feet and ordered a nice cup of coffee. once refueled i headed to plaza cathedral
to see the main cathedral in the city. construction on this cathedral began in 1722 in baroque style and was finished in the mid-19th century in neoclassical style. because there were 2 other cruise ships in at the same time as ours this area was shoulder to shoulder tourists. and the locals were starting to barricade the area with fencing to get ready for the enormous crowds that will be visiting the cathedral the next day which was palm sunday. i was going to try some tapas but decided instead to head back to the ship, stopping along the way to buy a bottle of brandy to bring to my godmother in london.
later that afternoon we had our last and final great british sail away party outside at the aft of the ship. it was the largest attended sail
away party of the entire world cruise. lots of british flag waving and sing-song. it must feel strange for those passengers who have been on since the embarkation in southampton. i think they boarded the ship on january the 6th. 99 nights in total. (couldn't they have rounded it up to 100?) out of the 800 crew there are 40 different nationalities represented. during the sail away party some of the crew paraded around with their countries flags. even canada was represented! i have overheard different conversations and some are ready to go home, while others are sad it is coming to an end. while i was in cadiz i ran into my german friend from berlin. she has been on solo since southampton and was sad to be leaving the ship. i feel the same way. i could easily stay on board another 30 days.
we had one last cocktail party with the captain and officers for the peninsular club passengers, frequent cruisers with p&o. everyone tries to down as many free drinks as possible before dinner. i had 3 gin and tonics but they were so weak it was like the equivalent of just 1 paid for.
i should maybe drink wine. in the old days we were all greeted with an introduction and a hand shake from the captain, but not anymore. i guess they want to keep cross contamination to a minimum. we don't want the captain falling ill. the hotel accountant officer came over to chat with me. he is in charge of all of the everyday moneys on the ship. i asked him what was the average $ spent by passengers on alchohol during a sea day. he only smiled and wouldn't say, so it must be quite a large sum.
i think tonight after dinner i will make a start on my packing, just in case tomorrow is rough and i'll be horizontal for most of the day. we are entering the bay of biscay
off the coast of france which is notorious for being rough. mind you i have had a smooth passage through the bay on all of my cruises so far.
would i do a long cruise again? yes! i really love the days at sea. some negatives about this cruise, well... the wifi is sooooo slow and expensive, cyclone oma, i could have done without the
laundry room brawls across from my cabin in the launderette, quite often the toilets outside the theater were blocked, and passengers who find things to complain about annoy me. you are on a world cruise
for gosh sake! being pampered and fed and everything taken care of for you. what do you have to whine about? especially after seeing how many people struggle to live in some of the places we visited. some positives about this cruise.... tasty meals! interesting ports of call, my balcony, wonderful dining companions, british humour, dancing all night, talented entertainers and chocolate on my pillow before bed. 😊
my favourite ports were nagasaki, hong kong, singapore and sri lanka. but i think the best part of cruising is meeting so many nice, like minded people. i really love the british people. they are friendly and kind and have a great knowledge of world history. they are always ready for a laugh and aren't afraid to poke fun at themselves. the other night i was going down to dinner in the full lift (elevator) from the crows nest bar. there was a man beside me wearing very colourful straps with a nautical theme on them
used to hold his trousers (pants) up. so i complimented him and said i like your suspenders!
well, the entire lift roared in laughter. i wasn't sure what i had said until this gentleman's wife said she knows what i had meant because in america they are called suspenders and in britain they are called braces. suspenders were something to hold up a ladies stockings. in canada braces are something you wear to straighten your teeth.
i will be continuing with this blog once i get to england for the benefit of my friends and family back home. and to alan, who is a professional writer and journalist and was also on board the arcadia, i hope you didn't find too many grammatical errors in my amateur writer's blog!
i will really miss the arcadia way of life. especially the friendly crew with their warm greetings and big smiles. i have met so many lovely, kind people on this cruise and have been very lucky to have had wonderful, positive dining companions at both of my tables. thank you to all of my cruising friends who have made this such a memorable cruise for me. we are a
cruising family. we'll meet again, don't know where? don't know when? but i know we'll CRUISE again one sunny day!
cruisin susan x
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