2018 – wow!

Despite it being December 5th, it’s pretty warm here in Andalusia…in fact warm enough at 3pm to take a trip indoors to update the blog. It’s been an amazing year, and I know I have recounted a few bits and pieces from around the world on our extensive travels which have seen visits to all the continent (except the very cold ones!)

The final leg of our ocean travels started in Athens on the Regent Voyager, and we cruised to Rome, doing the usual duties of lectures and shows, and two shows with Blue Weaver, before he and his wife Sigi left us in the eternal city. we carried…or would have but for the big storms that were in danger of wrecking Rome,(where enjoyed a great visit to the inside of the Coliseum and our usual pizza and wine at the restaurant overlooking this amazing building) and certainly closed the port of Livorno and later Monte Carlo. revised itineraries left some guests disgruntled, but mother nature usually wins these arguments. We made it to Ajaccio in Corsica to visit the birthplace of Napoleon and enjoy the atmosphere of this tiny but influential island. Julie left the ship in haste in Marseille to fly to her ill father in Cornwall….and I carried for an 8 days cruise finishing in Barcelona and then for a 12 day trip crossing the Atlantic to Miami. But again Mother Nature came into play and with a big storm we diverted from Funchal and Bermuda, south, to the Canaries and across to St. Maarten in the Caribbean…..many sea days and many lectures and shows. But somehow despite the rolling seas, it was fun. Debarkation in Miami was a tardy joke as the US customs computers broke down….but eventually a flight home to Heathrow…and three days in Rochester, before the sanctuary of our mountain retreat here in Canillas.

The sun is shining and the garden has been weeded, the wine is still cheap and the food good. We are back in the UK for Christmas and the New Year before we head for L.A. on the 2nd January to join in the pre cruise gala fun for the Navigator World Cruise commencing on the 4th…I’ve prepared over 50 different lectures and around 12 music shows…and I’m sure the cruise director will find other things to fill my time….the name King Neptune springs to mind!!

 

Autumn in the Baltic and beyond

The hot summer is over, at least for us, as we have survived the searing heat of southern Spain as we took two months off from cruising to do a couple of important things in and around our home. A quick trip to Bremen and rehearsals with Blue Weaver (Bee Gees) ready for the crop of cruises coming up before the end of the year, and on to Frankfurt to watch (and encourage) son-in-law Jim doing the European Iron Man Championships. What an event! 3,000 people doing the swimming, cycling and marathon run in the July heat of central Germany. Jim was amazing coming in 83rd over all, and 12th in his age group….and in the top 3% of all competitors. We cheers, we waved, we drank beer!

And back to Canillas for our summer concert – Simon Bowman – West End and Broadway star gave us an evening of music to remember, under the stars, with our 50 guests well wined and dined raising over €400 for the local cancer charity. And so to packing and preparation for the next round of cruises – interrupted by the need to complete the necessary arrangements for the first of several ‘cruise ship tours’ to the village. (A project I had been pursuing and promoting for a year or more, but which suddenly came to a climax when I least expected it). We wait for the feedback!

And so to Rochester, and on to Copenhagen and the RSSC Explorer (‘the most luxurious ship afloat’) for a few laps of the Baltic, with several days in St. Petersburg, and visits to the charming towns of the Baltic States, with Blue joining for our new joint venture shows – The Rock n Roll years, and the Bee Gees years……keep you fingers crossed on these.

We will finish this set of cruises by joining Oceania Riviera in Lisbon for a Med cruise to Rome (again with Blue on board – we may have got it right by then!)

And home for a few days before heading off again to cruise the Med and finish with an Atlantic crossing to Miami. Much work to be done, and some preparation for next years epic World Cruise (137 days)

New cruises for 2020!

2020

Following the world cruise on Regent Seven Seas Mariner, I have been asked to do the following their brand new ship ‘ Splendor’.
14TH SEPTEMBER – MONTE CARLO TO CIVITAVECCHIA
24TH SEPTEMBER – CIVITAVECCHIA TO PIRAEUS
4TH OCTOBER – PIRAEUS TO ISTANBUL
14TH OCTOBER – ISTANBUL TO VENICE
24TH OCTOBER – VENICE TO CIVITAVECCHIA
3RD NOVEMBER – CIVITAVECCHIA TO BARCELONA

That will make about 200 sea days in 2020!!

Equatorial rain

It’s 6.45 am, and we are about to cross the equator. This means the usual mayhem of a ‘Crossing the Line’ ceremony! This will be the third time on this voyage for me and the Cruise Director has asked for something different! ‘Crossing to the other side’ (and it was originally planned for yesterday (May the Fourth), meant we could do something really different and Neptune will be challenged by ‘Daft Wader’, with his Storm Troopers….probably ending up in a soaking in the pool. But it is pouring down with rain as it can in these latitudes, the decks are awash and very unpleasant. Of course it can all clear as quickly as it came….we shall see later today.
We left Rio in a blaze of orange sunset, and cruised past Sugar Loaf and out towards Recife to the north. Food was of secondary importance following an amazing meal at a pirate den called ‘Marius’ at Copacabana, courtesy of the Head of Corporate Entertainment as a thank you for the efforts put in to this cruise so far. And it has been busy. Today marks the 43rd presentation I will have given since boarding in Sydney about 79 days ago, and the show I’m doing on the 7th will be the 12th! Of course we managed also to do the two drama productions, ‘Opening Moves – the start of the American Civil War’, and ‘Fallen Star – the last days of Napoleon’. We are in rehearsal for a panto that I have written – Sindy Rella – with the production cast, and we still have Liars Club and another two solo shows to perform….an ‘Ain’t Patricks Night’, and a farewell show of comedy songs….in addition to cameo appearances in two other shows before we reach Los Angeles. An auction was held yesterday to raise funds for the crew welfare fund….and they raised an amazing $28,000……Clive the cocktail pianist and myself were sold for $400 for a dinner with 6 guests. Funny really as I dine most nights with guests and they don’t have to pay a thing – it’s probably Clive they wanted!
And so on towards Devil’s Island, where the tender ride ashore might be in doubt due to the weather, so I’ve prepared a reserve presentation ‘May7th – a date in history’…..
And then the Caribbean and the Panama Canal. 20 days to go.

Halfway? March 31st

Tomorrow is April Fools Day. And Easter Sunday. We are at sea twixt the island of La Reunion and Richards Bay in South Africa. So, over to our starboard side lies Madagascar and to port….not much before you get to Australia!

We completed the SAGA cruise to West Africa with bumpy seas and the nora virus on board. A fairly routine cruise turned into 8 lectures and 3 shows covering for missing personnel and gaps in the programme. The cabin was well forward with no window, and whilst the company and food were good, the overall experience left a bit to be desired. We did spend a great day with our friend Dodou and his family in The Gambia, and enjoyed our usual dose of bread, cheese and wine in Lisbon. It was good to shore time with our friend Rose from Plymouth, and even if SAGA ask me to join them again they will need to be quick as I’m pretty much booked for the next two years. We had a quick turn around in the UK before flying to Perth for a few days with Sonya and Jim. I flew on to Sydney to join the RSSC Navigator, with Julie remaining for a few more days in Perth. Straight into the business of lectures and shows on this ‘world cruise’, back with our friends Jamie and Dana managing my life. Via Geelong, Adelaide, Esperance, Port Lincoln and eventually to Fremantle to meet with the family. I had met Jim in Geelong where he was doing a half iron man – finishing second in his age group. Well done Jim!

And so on up the west coast of Aus towards Bali, via a stop to view the Komodo dragons (we didn’t!)

But the ship did run aground trying to leave Bali which delayed us around 36 hours…but we made it to Brunei and Malaysia and eventually to Singapore with another Neptune duty under my belt!

From Singapore to Phuket, Thailand and Port Klang….and Colombo Sri Lanka before turning south to the Maldives (snorkelling) and the Seychelles with a great deck BBQ. Mauritius and La Reunion followed and we head now for South Africa, and the halfway point of my 100 days. 25 lectures done and 8 shows….It’s still fun, it’s still warm….and the wine is still free!