On Monday, April 10, 2023, we docked in Lisbon, Portugal

Nona suggested an excursion out of Lisbon, where I had just been last year, to Sintra, Queluz and Cascais and it was a good one.  Queluz is a palace from the same era as Versailles and with the same kind of rich decoration.  I took a good few little pages of notes, but since it is now over a month later, I really have to wrap up this project, so here are just a few pictures, no great detail, except in the decorative arts, which speak for themselves, anyway.

There was a lot of that and there’s a good story, but you can google it.  Our guide had terrific commentary.  It was a good day.  Cascais used to be a pirate village and here it is now next door to Estoril, where the rich people hang out. 

Tuesday, April 11, was a sea day.  I had a cold but it wasn’t COVID, I tested.  Then I went, masked, to my office hour.  One of my people doesn’t think she’ll be doing a world cruise again.  Cell phones have ruined it for her.  Where you used to make friends waiting for a shore excursion, or a show, now everyone has their nose pointed at their device.  It’s just not the same.  I have to admit.  She does have a point.

Another one loves the list of past cruises taken on Navigator but wonders where some of them even went.  When they show a date and “Grand Voyage” for 67 days, she has to wonder “Where to?”  Some she can recall, some not.  I told her I would find out.  That ended up taking me a couple of weeks and a lot of correspondence with the Mariner’s Society.  When the answer came it was so complete that it detailed the itinerary of each cruise.  Yes, I know I am ahead of myself.  You get some perks for doing your homework a month late. 

The Distinctive Speakers series continued at 4:00 pm, with Dee Wescott’s gorgeous underwater slides.  Dee is an engaging speaker, too.  She told us how she got into the sport, and talked about every gorgeous fishie, turtle and piece of coral she showed us.  The audience was most appreciative.  Thank you, Dee. 

After dinner, there was a production show on called Rock Legends.  I loved it. 

Wednesday, April 12, we were in A Coruna, Spain.  I had sold my shore excursion, half price, so I could fully recover from my cold.  I worked on some of my own TA stuff and a question for Gus Antorcha, President of Holland America Line, who will be on board in Amsterdam,.  The entertainment was a film “The Duke   of Wellington” no less – pass

Still at sea on Thursday, April 13, I was feeling better so I got a bunch of client work done and worked on tomorrow’s outing with an old tablemate from Azamara, Wanda Arti, who lives in Bournemouth. We are having a bit of weather today.  You should see the waves in the pool. The I called Gil Mercier in Paris and now I have a nice plan to meet Gil and Sandy when the ship docks in Le Havre. 

We had the Ship’s Doctor for dinner and she was delightful.  The entertainment was Anil Desai, billed as a man of a thousand voices.  Few of them came close to the originals.

On Friday, April 14, we were sort of at sea. We were at anchor outside Portland, UK, when we should have been in Brest, France.  The Captain’s noon announcement included the worse news that the port of Le Havre has been canceled due to a labour strike in France.  We’re going to Dover.  I WhatsApp’d Gil.  He had some very choice (unprintable) words for the French dockworkers, including the gem that they made the NY Teamsters’ Union look like choirboys.  It did look like we were making our Portland stop, though, so those plans hold.  The weather is still terrible, mind you. 

There were just four of us at the table for dinner and we then saw the Lyodji Duo, on the World Stage.  They are an acrobatic show with light effects.  It started slow but it was very good.

On Saturday, April 15, we were finally in Portland, UK.  The weather was a lot better today.  Nona and I went out around 10:30am and took the ship’s shuttle into Weymouth.  While we were waiting for Wanda and her daughter, Katja, we walked around Weymouth and got some pounds out of an ATM.  It’s a cute, touristy little town.  We loved these quirky, knitted sweatered, posts. 

We watched the drawbridge go up, too, and saw other tourists doing what tourists in English seaside towns do.  They were having fish ‘n chips from the local Chippie, and did they ever look good:

Wanda and Katja arrived at the appointed hour at the appointed spot and off we went on our adventure as “local tourists”.  Wanda used to bring the kids over here from Bournemouth for an “outing” when they were young and Katja figured we would like it, too.  We did. We went past Chesil Beach, which was very near the ship, and along the rugged coast to Portland Bill lighthouse.  There we ate at The Lobster Pot, a local institution.  We had crab sandwiches, just like Wanda and the kids used to do, and got ourselves caught up on each others’ lives. 

Then we brought Wanda and Katja back to the Zuiderdam and gave them a tour of the ship and a cocktail by the pool.  Too soon, we had to hurry them off, because the ship was going to sail.  It was a very fun day. 

The entertainment that night was an EXC talk about bicycles.  EXC is the new name for Shore Excursions.  It was not my idea of entertainment.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Dover, UK, should have been Le Havre (Paris), France

I hadn’t got over my disappointment at not being in Paris and London was too far to go.  I stayed on board and cleared another pile of work.  You’d think I would have had time to get more of this blog out but I didn’t.  I don’t now, either.  I am making it. 

The entertainment was at least a live professional singer, more to my liking.  I have seen her before.  She’s Michelle Montouri, popular on the cruise ship circuit. 

Monday, April 17, 2023

Zeebruge, Belgium

I went into Zeebruge with Nona, to walk around, see the tulips

 and eat the local food. 

We picked different local foods and drinks, but that’s just fine:

The evening’s entertainment was another EXC talk about HAL’s 150 years.   Not memorable.