HALFWAY ROUND THE WORLD

Someone has told me that in a couple of days we will be ‘over the hump’, with half this world cruise done, and half to do. 131 days, give or take a few time changes, a date line crossing and a few changes to the itinerary it’s hard to keep a track, especially when we are trying to rearrange the ‘work load’ and come up with new events to ‘keep the customers satisfied’!. It does seem a long time ago that we left Miami for the segment to San Francisco, with stops in Cartagena and Colón, the transit of the Panama Canal in blistering sunshine and pouring rain. The west coast of the ‘New World’ through Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico to San Diego and San Francisco. (where we had lunch with dear friend Dianne.) The ‘suits’ from head office in Miami turned out for a grand Gala to officially launch the World Cruise (at least for those who were starting in San Fran), and a good time was had by all. Long sea days to the Hawaii Islands and on to Tahiti and French Polynesia to swim with the sharks and rays and perspire in the humidity of those beautiful paradise islands.
By now the coronavirus had become the main topic of conversation. Questions and speculation abounded. This was increased when American Samoa and Samoa closed their ports to us. Whether this was virus related or due to an outbreak of measles on the islands I cannot be sure. But Fiji welcomed us as did New Zealand. A special ‘Lord of the Rings’ event in the city museum was fun and made sure we were in the mood for visits to Hobbiton and the film studios where these amazing movies were created. From New Zealand to Sydney and the news that we were not going to Asia as planned, nor Singapore where we were due to have a guest turnover. Many left in Sydney and a few joined. Our planned two night stay ashore evaporated with the news of Sue’s incapacity, but we did meet with her and husband Terry in the cruise terminal. Our planned meetings in Brisbane with Mike and Cassandra and Richard and Heike also went by the board as we headed to Tasmania and a cruise along the south coast of Australia with many ports being advised of our arrival with little time to organise tours – but miracles were accomplished. And so to Geelong, Phillip Island, Portland and on to Adelaide. And a half way overnight!
We have just been advised of further changes to our planned destinations. Sri Lanka was due to be a stop after 7 days out of Fremantle (where we will see Sonya and Jim and their house renovations), but the port of Colombo has said passengers may not leave the ship….so no stop there but a further sea day to Cochin in India (if that is still open!) a few stops in India will put us back on course for the UAE and Abu Dhabi…via Oman? Our Mediterranean adventure has been severely changed through the removal of Italy as a destination, so we are heading for Istanbul! (as chance would have it we will pass through the Dardanelles on the Gallipoli peninsular at dawn on the 25th April – ANZAC Day. I traditionally organise an early morning commemoration event on the day wherever we are in the world…but so much more poignant it will be on the very day, in the very place. )We hope to make contact with our long-time friend Moonrise in Istanbul. We then head for Piraeus and Athens, Spain and into the Atlantic for the crossing to Miami. At least that is the plan as of today!!
These changes mean changes to what we have to do on board, and with a diminishing number of guests due to cancellations and frustrations we are trying to think of novel entertainments to keep the morale up.
Julie will leave in Istanbul (originally Piraeus but changed due to the changes) to see her father, hopefully to re-embark in Malaga (where we have a village trip on offer for the guests to Canillas de Aceituno – our home!)
And so on we go…taking each day as it comes and trying to make the most of it…they have told us that the wine cellar is well stocked and we have food…lots of it!!

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