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Europe » United Kingdom » England » Hampshire » Southampton
April 24th 2009
Published: June 13th 2017
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Geo: 50.8998, -1.39561

Saturday 11/04/09 At Sea Wind force 6 swells 2-3 m

Some of the outside decks are off limits due to the weather so we completed the packing, but as for some bizarre reason tonight is a formal night we can't pack the last of our formal dress items so they'll have to be done tomorrow.

After the evening show I decided to nip up to the Cyb@study and log on, update the blog and use up any outstanding minutes. Porno Pete was there as usual, I can't remember if I suggested it previously or not but we've come to the conclusion he must be owner of one of the websites as he's never off the PC, at Ponta Delgada after only 5 minutes off of the ship we saw him login on at a internet café on the high st. Half way through my session the man and wife in front started arguing because he couldn't login, as I had nearly finished I logged off and made to exit " excuse me could you just help me for a minute" came the all too familiar chant.

After 10 minutes walking him through the process it materialised he hadn't updated his password when he first started the plan up some 2 months before and now he wanted to login to use his minutes up, I ask you! Anyway I referred him to the I.T. manager in the morning and tried to escape, oh no he wanted to discuss the merits of his Sony laptop he bought last year for just over £2000 and the problems he was having he only went in to buy something for downloading his emails and he got sold the top of the range Sony Vaio.

Having gone though advantages and disadvantages of Net books, notebooks, and Smartfones I made to leave "let me treat you to a drink" he insisted, the Crowsnest bar was only next door but all I wanted to do was get away, 5 minutes of him insisting he repay my kindness and I relented, just the one then. So there we were I found myself sitting with two people I didn't know, didn't want to be with, and was dog tired and it was now 01:00 . He went to great lengths to tell me he was the Managing Director of a company that designs and installs commercial greenhouses, so there we sat me still waiting for my reward, him extolling the virtues of his company, and his wife winking at me! What the bloody hell's going on I thought there's no way I'm entering into a threesome with these, my JD arrived was swallowed in one and after a further 5 minutes I escaped with his wife still winking at me. With hindsight I suspect she was trying to tell me she understood how bored sand trapped I was, oh please let that be the answer I can't contemplate the alternative. I eventually slid into my own bed at 01:30 , ah.

The Passenger List

Apart from Porno Pete & Headset Harry there are a number of other passengers who've been given nicknames by various people such as.

The Flakes - These are a couple who it looks like they had face lifts some years ago but it hasn't aged at the same rate as the rest of their body so although they look 40-45 years old when in the gym or if their seen sunbathing they've obviously got the body of 60-70 year olds with loose skin hanging off their bones not a pretty sight but their convinced their Gods gift.

The Orangu Tan - Seen every morning pounding the promenade deck swaying from one side of the deck to the other with his arms swinging from side to side preventing anybody from passing.

Puffin Billy - As the name suggests this guy probably has a breathing impediment as even at breakfast he can be heard huffing & puffin between mouthfuls, of muesli, when he's walking it's painful to hear.

The Quizzical's - A husband and wife addicted to crosswords, they pound around the promenade deck at a fair pace usually with the wife holding the crossword puzzle and shouting out the clues to her husband keeping pace alongside. Whenever the eureka moment occurs and they come up with the answer it's all stop to write the answer in, sometimes resulting in the other walkers keeping pace behind them running straight into them causing all sorts or comments.

The Elephant Man

This guys completely inoffensive but loves anything to do with elephants (I unfortunately discovered this one breakfast when him and his wife joined us) he always wore a red tie adorned with elephants, which unfortunately he tied in such a fashion that the end of the tie hung down to his crutch, not a problem in itself but he wore this tie every day. To be fair he had a posher one he wore for evening meals but it was still tied the same way. He also had a habit of calling milk, miliker, which caused absolute havoc with the Indian waiters because they couldn't understand what he wanted and then his wife would interject grieving him a right rollaking much to either the bemusement or annoyance of their fellow table guests.

Not withstanding all these names for other passengers I can't help but think what do people call me; the nerd, it, the brains in the corner, or as Linda suggested Victor Meldrew, I dread to think.

Summary

Despite all the problems with poor senior staff attitude, breaking down, missing the ports of most interest, and running the daily gauntlet of the bowling alley ( trying not to get bowled over by one of the maniac scooter drivers) We were fortunate enough to have good weather for the majority of the time we were lucky enough to miss 2 cyclones 1 by a week and the other we had to go around, as well as 1 underwater earthquake and volcanic eruption in the pacific whilst not in our direct vicinity we were running along the pacific plate so we were glad to get through the Panama Canal and in to the safer waters of the Caribbean.

Would I do it again?

Never, I completely failed to consider that there would be a significant proportion of the passengers who would have restricted movement, not only that but they refused to accept that they had, and booked excursions that where clearly beyond their physical ability, causing real problems for their fellow passengers. On some trips scheduled stops were either cut short or abandoned as there was insufficient time caused by physically loading and unloading some of these passengers. One tour group had to suffer one poor person who needed a comfort stop every 30 minutes, not a problem in some places but on safari or 4*4 trips there was nowhere so it was either the nearest bush/tree or divert to the nearest inhabited place causing further disruption to the tour schedule.

I've just realised I haven't shared one of my first hand experiences of these problems. On our 4*4 excursion in Antigua we ended up with an obese woman on our Land Rover Defender to start off she couldn't left her leg on to the drop down step which was approx 10" off the floor so with the help of the driver and the two guides pushing from behind she was suddenly catapulted into the jeep straight into Linda's lap so there she was with a 20 stone + Michelin woman on her lap. I knew I shouldn't have laughed because once righted it then became obvious that the only vacant seat was beside me, so having moved my camera equipment she descended onto the narrow seat and flowed over me engulfing my left hand side, it brought back memories of the seaside tee shirt showing the rear of an elephant with a bloke wedged in it's cheeks, and the caption "has anyone seen my husband?"

I was naive enough to think that most passengers doing the complete trip would whilst being older than us would be like minded, there were in fact from memory 1500+ of the 1800+ passengers doing the whole trip. Instead there was a significant proportion that travel with the ship on a regular basis, completed world cruises weren't worth mentioning unless you've done at lease double figures. Many passengers don't leave the ship they continue playing bridge, God forbid that there weren't any organised sessions planned. One couple played dominoes every day at the same table, only a couple of times did someone beat them to their table and it wasn't well received.

The one thing I thought went without saying was that at the very least my fellows would be well mannered, considerate, and polite after all these were in the main of the generation which instilled in me the ethics of fair play, good manners and responsibility for ones actions. To watch them pushing and shoving to get their favourite seat or on the coach first was something akin to watching the people queuing at Harrods for the New Year Sale suddenly being let through the doors.

Many a time we witnessed a scooter coming out of the lifts turn through 90° and promptly run over someone's foot or scrape along their ankle with their footplate; the husband of one woman who was hit complained to the woman in the scooter to which she gruffly responded "she should have looked where I was going and made room!" unbelievable but completely indicative of the attitude of the majority of wheelchair/scooter users.

One final thing I've omitted to add is that at nearly every port visited as well as whilst we were transiting the Panama Canal we had ambulances alongside ready to take sick passengers off the ship.

My advice for what it's worth

Think really hard before committing to an around the world cruise, consider the activities you wish to undertake and the possible impact of your fellow passengers upon your plans. 13 wks or longer locked in what could be a floating geriatric ward isn't funny.

Before booking a cruise of smaller duration possibly 2-3 weeks, check, if this the duration of this cruise or are you joining a leg of an around the world cruise with all that may entail.

To provide a balance it must be said the ship was beautiful; the waiting, cabin and cleaning staff were fantastic, we met some great people, had some fantastic times, and hilarious nights with new found friends recanting the days experiences, all of which goes to make a truly memorable holiday.

That's it were home now, back to normality. I hope you've had as much enjoyment reading this blog as I've had writing it. I must confess titling the blog "Around the World the easy way in 93 Days" was completely inappropriate, with hindsight it should have been "Around the World in 93 Days on a hospital ship with Victor Meldrew & Alf Garnet"

Unfortunately photos for Acapulco and Huatalco are currently missing due to a corrupt disc, hopefully I'll be able to retrieve some of the photos later in which case I'll update the blog.


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