Singapore, Friday, December 20, I looked up Bobby Pebbles, my Little India blouse supplier, and found him. He has moved his store, so now it is a larger tailoring shop for men and women, and not nearly as nice as it was. His prices have doubled and I damn near walked, when I was having to pay almost twice what I paid last time. In retrospect, I probably should have, but in fact, I have three more blouses. I wear then a lot and I bleach them, so for me, they are staples.
Then I had dinner at Banana Leaf Apolo, which is just good Indian food, washed it down with a couple of Kingfishers and went back to The Regent for a good night’s sleep.
Saturday, December 21, boarding day, another decadent breakfast, more attempts to transfer money from Chase in the US to RBC in Canada. On the Internet, I can only transfer $50,000/day. With the holidays, I am going to be hard pressed to avoid another month of interest on my bridge loan. At least I do have the money to pay it and that’s the main thing. My driver arrived a little early, The Regent sent a Bellman right up and soon we were sitting in traffic, bound for the port.
My verandah suite on the Seabourn Ovation is the nicest I have ever had. I went from a verandah guarantee to a V5 this time and it’s right mid-ship and big enough to do yoga in. This is why I always suggest my clients book “guarantee”. You always get at least what you pay for and It can be really fine. They even stocked my bar with my preferences, look:
I went to find my contact and was directed to Seabourn Square, the nicest front desk arrangement ever. The guest relations people all sit at desks around a central core, which holds things like printers, and likely some little clerical mole. The desks have glass tops, through which they view their computer screens, and you can, too, when it’s appropriate. Around this central core is the coffee bar, with sandwiches, cookies, gelato, etc., a lot more chairs in 2 to 4 people groupings, and a few desks for computer work. I won’t have a desk. I’ll just meet my people here.
By five o’clock my welcome letters were written and in their little folders. We broke for the mandatory drill and I had them all delivered by six. Then I unpacked and went down to the restaurant about 7:30pm. I landed great people at dinner. Paula and Steven live in Charleston, SC, where they do stem cell research and teach at the local uni. I think they are both heads of departments. They were pretty impressive and very, very nice. I hope to see more of them.
Sunday, December 22, I called every cabin before going to Seabourn Square and my desk hours. I met a few of my people and updated my manifest. On my way out to find someone to book a group dinner with, I met Jo, the Guest Relations Manager. I posed the question and the next thing I know, Ali, the Food and Beverage Manager appeared, and I had my first date, two tables of 12 for December 27. I could have had Christmas Day, but…maybe not. We discussed a kitchen tour, but the ship is already doing one. He did promise to send me the Head Sommelier to discuss a wine tasting.
I had a very calorific bowl of gelato on my way out. As far as I can see, this is the only drawback of my office hours location. Then I worked my email and my cocktail party speech, went to the gym and came back to dress, just in time for my 4:30 Cocktail party. I couldn’t have it later, as the captain was having his, you see.
I was disappointed with the attendance. Only thirteen people came and the ship’s officers had turned out as never before. We had the Captain, the First Officer, the Hotel Manager, Food and Beverage manager, Bar Manager, Guest Relations Manager, Cruise Directors, one and two, Shore Excursions Manager, and Future Cruises Consultant. I have been doing this a long time and have never seen this many officers at my party before.
The people I did meet were fabulous, we have triathletes, doctors, nurses, educators, and all. We added a couple of things to our program, and I promised a newsletter, detailing them.
When it was over, I went to talk to the bartender and, dispense the tips and to relax with my own drink. That’s when I found out our welcome drink had champagne, gin, Cointreau, something else and a cherry in it. It was pretty good, and I don’t even like gin. The guy beside me did, though, he was having a specially prepared martini. He introduced himself to me as Roger, and he was a Canadian. We got along like a house on fire and he invited me to dinner in the Thomas Keller Grill. By then I knew I’d be dining with the ship’s priest, but he was fun and I knew it wouldn’t be a bad meal.
It wasn’t. We sat near the kitchen, though, and I would love to be a fly on the wall the day Thomas himself does the same thing, because I have never sat beside a louder kitchen in my life. They were having a lot of fun back there. We shared it every time the door opened. But the food was very good, and so was the wine. Roger, who knows Cliff Lede, had his Sauvignon Blanc and I had Jon Williams’ Frog’s Leap Cab Sav. Roger has spent a lot of time in the Napa Valley, too. By the end of the evening, I was sorry he was the priest. Some first date. Leave it to me.
Internet pricing is such that I am buying it by the minute in 2-hour tranches and doing send/receives for email. With the time difference, that means you can expect 24-hour turnaround, when you email me a question unless it looks urgent. Please be aware of that.
Thank you for the Holiday wishes. I might not be picking up the Jaquie Lawson cards, which take forever to load, but I will know you sent them and acknowledge you. The attached Christmas letters download faster, so I will get them in their entirety, and I enjoy them immensely. Where did you all get these big children, many of whom have children of their own?
I won’t be getting my own Christmas letter out, as I have been busy with my move to Montreal and this planned trip. I am telling you everything, anyway. I’m on board now, in Bangkok. It looks like HK for two weeks is back on the table. The Straits Times told me. My Hong Kong friends find this very funny, but they know everything in Singapore.
My news is all in my blog. If you aren’t getting it, see the first blue line in my signature below and read all about my move and on to Asia. And please take this as my very best wished for a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and whatever else you celebrate.
Yes, I know the preceding paragraph is superfluous, for my readers, but please forward it to anyone you know who has been wondering what I have been doing. I am not sending it out by email, because I lost my current address book in November, backed up an old one and have to doctor every email address in Outlook, as I use it, removing % SMTP% in two places in each entry. I am doing this as people write to me. Those of you who got it from some kind forwarder, can just go to www.helenmegan.com and sign up.
Future Cruises can always be found in my signature, along with my new address. Write me if you want to see that.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year,
Love and Purrs,
On Seabourn Ovation, on the way to Bangkok,
I am only using email on board, and phone when on shore,
Helen Megan – Travel Advisor
****email me to get this**** The blog is a bit too public.
Get an email whenever I blog by clicking on www.helenmegan.com and then on “follow” on the left. Yes, I am at wordpress.
The best place to see them all, with maps and my comments is www.helenmegan.com and here, of course:
Spring: May 4 – 21 – SilverSea Silver Muse – Tokyo to Vancouver
Summer: Aug 10 – 20 – SilverSea Silver Spirit – Copenhagen to Copenhagen – Norwegian Fjords
https://tinyurl.com/2020CopenhagenDV and you can add this for a song:
Traditional Baltic, with St. Petersburg, ends Stockholm https://tinyurl.com/2020CopenhagenAddOn
Fall: Montreal and October 27-November 9 – SilverSea Silver Whisper – Montreal to Fort Lauderdale
Christmas 2020 – December 1 to 18 – SilverSea Silver Spirit – Mumbai to Singapore