A Travellerspoint blog

January 2016

Cruise Day Twenty Three - Maputo, Mozambique

Sunday, 31 January 2016

View 2016 Indian Ocean on greynomadm's travel map.

Early sunrise this morning as the forges South Westerly with the coast of Africa on the starboard side. The wind has abated but there is still a significant swell. The ship is still making 20 knots but we've made no improvement on our arrival time which is still scheduled for 13:00, still five hours late.

The Internet has been down overnight and is still inaccessible at 08:00 this morning. I suspect a re-boot of the server is required. I'll need to post yesterday's entry as soon as I can. Fortunately the delayed arrival in Maputo has left me with lots of time on my hands.

Standard breakfast and Jenny has her eyes glued to the TV for the Australian Open Tennis coverage. I'll find somewhere to hole up and read the Kindle. The scheduled activities are a bit unusual, we should have been in port but spent most of the day catching up so it was more of a sea day. The Internet connection finally showed signs of working but after 10 minutes connected I still couldn't open my Email. Tried again just before lunch and was finally able to post yesterday's blog and image.

Went up to the Horizon Court for lunch and I stayed up on Deck 15 to watch the arrival in the port. It was a long slow approach and we finally tied up at 14:30. This delayed late arrival required additional changes to scheduled tour departures. The tennis final completed Jenny was looking for something to watch and found "A Walk In The Woods" on the TV. An interesting movie that kept us entertained during the afternoon.

At 17:00 our hard-working steward delivered our Passports and we signed his sheet confirming we'd received them. There was also an individual South Africa Arrival Form, nicely pre-printed with our details. There was also a letter detailing the Immigration Inspection schedule. We are required to present ourselves to the officials. Finally there's a note advising us that we are required to vacate the cabin during the arrival of the Pilot by helicopter. Likewise we will need to vacate when the Pilot disembarks when we leave. Looks like an 'interesting' day ahead.

Up to the Horizon Court for dinner and stayed up there to witness the sunset and watched the return of the last of the shore excursions. Went to the Theatre for John Lenahan's "Comedy and Magic" show. Unfortunately we were in the middle of the row and couldn't leave. His jokes were short of pathetic and his tricks were presented in a supposedly comical way. May have been good for a kid's birthday party.

Will try and upload this tonight. My selected shot of today is a sunset, if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 11:39 Archived in Mozambique Comments (1)

Cruise Day Twenty Two - 16th Day @ Sea

Saturday, 30 January 2016

A stiff breeze and storm clouds with occasional lightning on the horizon made for an interesting start to the day. The sunrise was interesting rather than spectacular and changed as clouds scudded across the sky. In addition to the wind gusts the ship was rolling and pitching creating a difficult platform from which to take the shots.

A standard breakfast which has settled to a bowl with prunes, fresh fruit salad and plain yogurt. A banana and some papaya or other fruit. Glass of orange juice and a fried egg on toast with grilled tomato and some sausage. There are three or four flavours of sausage being rotated daily, this mornings was a spiced pork sausage - very tasty.

After breakfast, attended the Destination Lecture providing an overview of Cape Town and various tourist's options. Stayed in the Theatre for Lyn's talk on Australian poetry and rhymed verse. During her talk there was an urgent message from the bridge. The Captain explained that despite running the ship at over 20 knots the effect of an adverse current has us arriving in Maputo at least five hours late, 13:00 in stead of 08:00. With the day half gone, it being a Sunday and the expense of the Visas and shuttle services we've decided to cancel. We will need to remain aboard for the day, something we rarely do.

A bowl of soup and a toasted croissant from the International Café for lunch. Jenny's hooked on the tennis lady's final on TV so I'll go to see the movie without her. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert starred in "It Happened One Night", a romantic comedy with a hint of slapstick and many unlikely events.

Dinner tonight was excellent with both of us leaving completely empty plates. Jenny is off to claim some seats for this evening's show while I hold back to try and capture a sunset. The ship has become quite lively with gale force winds and a rising sea.

Tonight's show featured Paul Baker an amazing West End performer who provided a solid hour of incredible songs from many famous stage shows. The clocks go back another hour tonight as we bump our way towards Maputo. With no specific image to show today, I've created a simple collage of the sunrise,if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 00:20 Archived in Mozambique Comments (0)

Cruise Day Twenty One - 15th Day @ Sea

Friday, 29 January 2016

Overcast sky, occasional showers and some ship movement created a daunting prospect for walking on Deck 14. Decided to get my exercise walking back and forth in the long corridors of Decks 10 and 11. Managed to achieve over 5,000 steps on the FitBit before joining Jenny for breakfast in the Horizon Court.

Flopped onto the bed to take advantage of the gently rocking ship, woke up almost three hours later !!

Managed to turn up for Lyn Furry's talk on all things nautical from sea shanties, familiar expressions and the meaning and derivation of words and phrases. The sailing history has left a rich legacy in the English language.

Simple lunch from the International Café on Deck 5, readily accessible and limited portion size. I've notice that my belt has shrunk a bit, I'm not admitting the alternative reason. 8-)

Went to the Theatre to watch the Movie of the Day. They've dipped deep into the past and dragged out "On the Waterfront" starring Marlon Brando and Karl Malden released in 1954. Despite the black and white film and some of the over-dramatic music it was worth watching even though the plot and conclusion was almost transparent from the start.

Dinner in the dining room was good and without the usual sense of urgency, tonight's show is not on until 20:00. We went to the Vista Lounge on Deck 7 Aft to watch Mickey Finn. This was the same act we'd decided to skip last night. The 'crowd' in the Lounge was sparse and even tolerant Jenny didn't last past 15 minutes into the show. I followed her out some 5 minutes later.

The clocks go back another hour tonight. The end of a rather uneventful day.

The day has been devoid of photographic opportunities and I've resorted to a collage of the shopping area on Deck 6, if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 09:08 Archived in Mozambique Comments (0)

Cruise Day Twenty - 14th Day @ Sea

Thursday, 28 January 2016

The ship is showing a bit more movement as she clips along at a very respectable 20.5 knots on a slight sea. The sky is overcast again and the temperature is up to 28 °C with a continuation of the tropical humidity. Laps on Deck 14 followed by breakfast. Watched some tennis and read the Kindle as we filled in time for the Destination Lecture. The destinations of Maputo and Richards Bay were given a brief coverage. There was mention of some significant petty crime in Maputo which has raise doubts in Jenny's mind about going ashore. Will have to see how that goes.

The talk by Lyn Hurry covered the topic of famous speeches and the techniques that can be used in preparing for a public speech. She warned against lengthy speeches, Stand Up, Speak Up and Shut Up sums up her advice. Sadly her slides containing mostly text are generally unreadable. A light lunch from the International Café and back to the Theatre.

Today's Movie starred Russell Crowe in the Biography "A Beautiful Mind" the story of a famous Professor of Mathematics with serious mental disorders who went on to win the Nobel Prize. A heavy story line that had us wondering what was reality.

Formal Night tonight and the Captain's Cocktail Party. The most frequent cruiser on board has sailed over 2,000 nights. There was also a large number of repeat Princess cruisers, about 1,700 out of the 2,048 passengers.

We were only a little late for our dinner. The dining room looked most elegant with the majority taking the trouble to dress appropriately. Attendance was up from the numbers on recent casual nights. Even so I estimate that over 25% of the seats were vacant.

Went to the Theatre for a sneak preview of tonight's show and figured it was not worth lining up for. Back to the cabin and sorted out today's images. I took a photo of a painting in the art gallery, if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 08:22 Archived in Seychelles Comments (1)

Cruise Day Nineteen - Port Victoria, Mahé, the Seychelles

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

View 2016 Indian Ocean on greynomadm's travel map.

Just 4° South of the Equator with a temperature around 30 °C and a humidity that causes your clothes to be saturated within minutes. Calm seas and overcast sky as we approach the Port of Victoria on the island of Mahé in the Seychelles. Quite a different island to that in the Maldives with significant hills along the length of the island. The Captain brought the ship alongside the dock which we shared with the Costa Romantica.

After a quick breakfast we collected our things and walked off the ship. There's a total lack of formalities which contrasts again with the over-officious Indian Border Security regime. We walked into the town as far as the markets and were totally saturated in the high humidity.

The markets were typical of other island communities with a mixture of fresh produce and trade goods. The fruit and vegetables were typical of the tropics. The fish were greater in number and much larger in size than any we've previously see. It was as well that we were early as there was no refrigeration for the fish which were displayed on bare benches. The atmosphere would have been quite ripe by midday.

On our way back to the ship we stopped for some Coke at the local 'Supermarket'. The name has a different meaning here to what we're used to. They stock a different range of items and there are far fewer choices with most commodities only available in a single size and brand.

Arrived back at the ship just ahead of a tropical shower, not sure that we could have been wetter than we were from sweat. Refreshed ourselves and ducked up to the Horizon Court for lunch and headed for the Movie of the Day. Just over two hours of Old Wild West killing and drinking. Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman stared in the 1992 film "Unforgiven".

Back to the cabin to prepare for dinner. Great meal in the dining room and then off to the Theatre for a tribute to Johnny Cash show by Cash and Friends. He was pretty good and his wife sang well in the style of Patsy Cline. The ship is sailing at somewhere near top speed as we head South West to Maputo. Three Sea Days before we get there.

After visiting the fish markets in Victoria we found a Hindu Temple, if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 09:09 Archived in Seychelles Comments (0)

Cruise Day Eighteen - 13th Day @ Sea - Australia Day

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The sky is overcast, we sail on a moderate sea and there's a stiff breeze across the deck which made walking difficult. I completed a few laps on the open deck then decided to complete my exercise by walking the corridors of Deck 10 and Deck 11. Joined Jenny in the cabin before having breakfast in the Horizon Court.

Spent some time watching the tennis and reading my Kindle before heading for the Theatre to listen to Lyn Hurry talk about the practise of 'Black Birding' which brought Indentured labourers from the Pacific Islands to Queensland. A practise not much different to the trading in slaves that continues in parts of the world to this day.

Decided to have a pizza in "Verdi's Pizzeria" on Deck 8. There is nothing wrong with the pizzas but that is all they have, No coffee, no fruit, no side dishes and just water. Wine can be obtained but the waiter has to go down to the bar on Deck 5. Another underutilised area of the ship but a quiet retreat to read in reasonable comfort.

Off to the Theatre for today's movie starring Russell Crowe and Olga Kurylenko in "The Water Diviner" a film we've seen before but well worth seeing again.

Decided to skip dinner in the dining room and went to the early show in the Theatre instead. Excellent choice, we spent 30 minutes or so watching people stream in, by show time the room was packed. Danny Elliot surpassed his previous show. Tonight he added the didgeridoo, the bag pipes and a fiddle to his repertoire of instruments. He paid homage to Australia day and was thoroughly entertaining throughout the one hour show.
The queue of people waiting to get in surpassed last night's, all the way back to the stairwell. After that fabulous show we went up to the almost deserted Horizon Court for a quick dinner.

We managed to avoid the outlandish Aussie events but noticed lots of people decked out in a range of obviously Australian attire. Just as well there were only very few other nationals, they would have wondered which planet they had landed on.

Clock goes back by an hour overnight as we've been sailing a generally South Westerly course.

Australia Day was celebrated with a display cake in the Horizon Court, if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 07:36 Archived in Seychelles Comments (0)

Cruise Day Seventeen - 12th Day @ Sea - Crossing the Equator

Monday, 25 January 2016

We appear to be sailing away from the hazy weather we've experienced since Singapore. The sky was clearer this morning while I roamed Deck 14. The sunrise was not a class worthy of posting. On my way up from Deck 5 to Deck 14 I captured a few images of the atrium which occupies a space from Deck 5 to Deck 8 Midship. Looks quite opulent at 05:30 before there are people to clutter up the space.

Joined Jenny in the Horizon Court just before 07:00 for what's become a routine breakfast after which we readied the cabin for Romulo, our cabin steward, to wave his magic wand and make it look good again. Spent some time in part of the Casino where there were three large screen TV screens showing the Australian Open from Melbourne. Jenny watched the tennis and read my Kindle.

With about an hour to go to the Lyn Hurry talk we wandered forward to the Theatre and joined a regular group of early-birds who sit quietly reading hard-copy and electronic books. The Theatre provides a quieter space than the bars and lounges where there are inevitably people talking in raised voices. One group starts and before long others try to talk over the top of them.

Lyn talked about many of the aspects of the famous Mutiny on the Bounty including some of the mysteries and unexplained events that occurred at that time. Up to the Horizon Court for lunch and to hear the Captain's 12:00 announcement. It appears we crossed the Equator back into the Southern Hemisphere at 09:00 this morning, didn't feel the bump or notice the line 8-)

After lunch Tony returned to the Theatre to watch the movie Mad Max - Fury Road. It is the only film in this series I've seen and it leaves me confused and somewhat bewildered. There's a hint of a story line but it is not much more than collection of improbable machines and bizarre characters performing unlikely feats. Jenny chose the better option and went to the Vista Lounge for the Passenger's Talent Show.

Dinner in the dining room, the lamb shank was delicious. Arrived at the Theatre well ahead of time. Because the early and late show were scheduled one after the other there were people queued up halfway back to the stairwell. The congestion became worse when the early show crowd tried to exit into the face of the late show attendees. Decided that a repeat performance of Jacques Renay was not worth the hassle.
Returned to the cabin and filled out the forms for Mozambique Visa, it will cost US$25 each but we're unlikely to ever return here. There has also been a change to the shuttle service for Maputo. We are now scheduled as Group A into town at about 08:30, back to the ship at 12:15.

Great Australia Day Celebrations planned for tomorrow. Face Painting, Pie Eating Contest, Thong Trowing Competition and an Aussie Day BBQ. Bloody disgusting!! I think it is insulting that this is the level of entertainment considered appropriate.

I've created a collage of the Atrium area, if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 07:35 Archived in Seychelles Comments (0)

Cruise Day Sixteen - 11th Day @ Sea - Destination the Seyche

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Calm seas, hazy sky, high humidity and very few passengers on deck when I completed my laps of Deck 14. Met up with Jenny in the Horizon Court for breakfast. Down to the cabin and filled the Laundry bag. Jenny went off to the Church Service and I filled in an hour in the International Café.
Joined Jenny in the Theatre for the Destination Lecture. Once again the subject could have been better presented in a more structured format. Apart from now knowing that there are a number of museums and a market somewhere, there wasn't a lot more I took in.

At 10:00 the alarms were sounded for the Code Sierra Papa Piracy Drill. It was all over by 10:30. During the drill we were required to stay in our cabins and stay away from external walls and windows. Easy for us, we have an internal cabin. Our room steward confirmed we were present and reported back to the command centre. Meanwhile the Captain notified the Piracy Control Centre in London and received confirmation that the Drill Message had been received. Princess HQ was also notified and acknowledged the Drill Message.

Back to the Theatre for the talk by Lyn Hurry titled "Larrikins of the Southern Seas" covering a number of notable pirates that managed to create problems for ships and some early settlements along the West Australian coast.

Brief lunch from the International Café and started this blog. Jenny's decided to stay and watch the tennis while I went to the Theatre to watch the epic movie "The Last Emperor" with a run time of 2 hours 43 minutes. It is a movie of massive scale, I remember seeing trailers for the movie when it was first released. I don't remember if it was meant to be biographical, it certainly had an air of authenticity.

Lovely meal in the dining room and then off to the Theatre to be entertained by Danny Elliot. He's difficult to describe in a single word. He plays many varieties of flutes including the Pan Pipes. Then he switches to the harmonica to play the Bolero after which he throws in some fantastic piano playing. Rounds all that out with better than average vocals and added a tap dance routine. By far and away the best hour of entertainment that I can recall.

In a quest to find some photographic subjects I visited the ship's brag wall to photograph some of the Maiden Call plaques, if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 08:13 Archived in Seychelles Comments (0)

Cruise Day Fifteen - Malé, Maldives

Saturday, 23 January 2016

View 2016 Indian Ocean on greynomadm's travel map.

Weather pretty much as it has been for the past two weeks or so. I walked some laps as we edged our way into the port of Male where the ship dropped the anchor and deployed the tender boats. Another cruise ship, the Costa Riviera, followed us in and her tenders added to the activity on the harbour. It is interesting that the airport is located on a separate island and there is a constant stream of water taxis or larger vessels that buzz between the airport and the main island.

We had a simple breakfast, collected our gear from the cabin and were on board a tender in under 15 minutes. No queue, no waiting and a 10 minute boat ride to the jetty. No formalities on arrival and we just wandered into the town. Some impressive buildings and an interesting park populated with artificial tree-like structures that light up at night.

Traffic is busy, streets are narrow and predominantly one-way, footpaths are narrow, uneven or nonexistent. The many scooter riders are quite tolerant and will dodge around any pedestrian that shares the road, street or alleyway too narrow for a car. The jetty where we disembarked and the open space immediately adjacent was clean and free of litter. That state of cleanliness didn't extend to many parts of the area we covered.
Following a rather inadequate map we wandered over halfway across the island. Our navigation was hampered by the lack of street names at the intersections. We were never totally lost but by the same token didn't find the markets we'd been told about.

After about two hours we were both feeling the effect of the heat and headed back to the tender jetty. Fortunately a tender had just arrived from the ship and we were aboard the tender again without delay. Back aboard the ship we indulged in a refreshing shower and found somewhere to air our sweat-soaked clothes. There will be a full laundry bag tomorrow.

Up to the Horizon Court for lunch and a quick dash out on the blistering open deck to try and capture that 'shot of the day'. Lots of photogenic scenes but all marred by the haze which takes the edge off the subject. Spent a lot of time going through the 100 or so images for today to find that no one shot stands out. Finally settled on the front of the Islamic Centre as the image for today. In this very crowded place it is difficult to find an appropriate vantage point. This impressive structure was roped off so there were no tourists draped all over it for 'selfies'.

Just about finished taking my flu preventative medication, by the way, it appears to have worked as I haven't been brought down by the dreaded lurgy. I just noticed that the instructions on the packet were a bit confusing.
Fist line "Take 1 capsule by mouth 1 time every day." OK so far but "by mouth" ?? how else ??.
Line two "Space the doses evenly throughout the day." How do I comply with that ??

Lovely meal in the dining room as the ship heaved the anchor and made her way out to sea. There are three consecutive sea days ahead of us. My blog postings may be somewhat skimpy 8-).

The entertainment in the Theatre tonight was Cheeza with her tribute to Whitney Houston. Lovely lady, lovely costumes, good voice but poor choice of audience participation. I think she's used to performing for a less cynical crowd. She tried but failed to whip up the audience and gave up in the end.

Bit of excitement for tomorrow. Because we're on the edge of the piracy waters off East Africa the ship has to conduct a "Piracy Drill".

The Islamic Centre in Malé is my best shot, if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 08:19 Archived in Maldives Republic Comments (0)

Cruise Day Fourteen - 10th Day @ Sea - Destination the Maldi

Friday, 22 January 2016

Dead calm sea, barely moving, just 12 knots and 28 °C. Not the most invigorating conditions for my morning laps around the deck. Add the continued haze to block the sunrise and it is almost depressing. The battle of the sun against the smog made for some interesting if muted displays.

Finished another book on the Kindle. We haven't really read a lot despite the many sea days. Between the lecture and the movie each day there's three hours accounted for. Add the meals and time for the evening show and we're up to seven hours. Then there's time to walk from one place to another and there's hardly time to write this drivel and sort through any images captured during my morning laps. I think the day is fully accounted for.

This morning's talk by Lyn Hurry was on the subject of pirates, buccaneers and privateers. Many were hanged but some became rich and died in comfort. A quick lunch in the Horizon Court and we headed back down to the Theatre for the Movie of the Day. I must correct something I wrote in yesterday's blog, last night's movie was "The Martian" not Mars. Today's matinée was Shakespeare in Love, a lively tale based on and featuring the play Romeo and Juliette by the man himself. In the movie he plays the part of Romeo and dashes off parts of the play as it is being rehearsed.
The ship continues it's docile way across the Lakshadweep Sea which borders India, Maldives, Sri Lanka and the west of Kerala. This voyage is truly one of discovery for us as we've been unaware of many of these regions of the Indian Ocean.

After an enjoyable meal in the dining room we gathered in the Theatre to create a full house for the Tom Jones Experience featuring Jacques Renay who made a reasonable fist of a number of the signature Tom Jones songs.

Tonight we wind the clock back another 30 minutes as we adjust to local time in the Maldives. I've used an image of the sun in the smog, if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 07:40 Archived in Maldives Republic Comments (1)

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