A Travellerspoint blog

Crossing the East China Sea

Monday, 25 March 2013

We awoke to a quite lively ship as we sail through rough seas being buffeted by strong winds. There was no visible sunrise and the numbers for breakfast was well down on what we have seen recently. Along with the change of weather there has been a dramatic drop in temperature with the maximum forecast is just 15 °C - about half of yesterday's.

Today's lecture briefly traced Japan's history touching on the various wars with China, Russia and Korea. The adoption of the Catholic religion and it's subsequent vicious suppression was also mentioned. The more I learn the more there is to learn.

Jenny joined with a number of other 'craft' ladies for a self run session. They made 'beads' from tourists maps and brochures. They look very colourful and are a unique reminder of the ports visited.

The rough seas continue to cause unexpected movements of this massive ship. It is interesting that the movement of the ship is quite different to that experienced on the smaller Sea Princess. This ship shudders from time to time but there is less evidence of the rolling and pitching motion of the smaller vessel.

More of Mrs Mac's pies as a 'special' for lunch today but I didn't see many people lined up to try them. We had our lunch in the Horizon Court and experienced the full effect of the ship's motion on deck 14 at the aft-most seating position. The vibration and shudders were quite noticeable.

Back in the cabin and caught up on some Australian News and even a bit of unintended shut-eye. I haven't had my camera out today, a first time for a long while that half way through day I still don't have a photo. Decided to have a go at photographing Jenny's beads. Not an easy task with limited control over the light and no control over the ship's movement. With some luck from the internet gods this should be the result.

Spent the remainder of the afternoon doing absolutely nothing and didn't stir until it was time for dinner. Dined in the Santa Fe again and enjoyed a lovely dinner with another glass from my bottle of wine. After dinner we joined a growing crowd in the Theatre where were entertained by Donna Campbell. The lady looks and sounds like "Dolly Parton", she belted out many of Dolly's famous hits and did a better than average job of it.

Back to the cabin to write up this journal and prepare for our arrival in Kagoshima tomorrow. This will be the last of these for about 48 hours as we are in Japanese territory and the prohibit the use of satellite internet. No idea why, but it was the same on the Sea Princess last year. I'll do a double posting once we get to Korea.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to see my recent images you could try the following link. Recent Images on 365

Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 04:25 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Keelung & Taipei

Sunday, 24 March 2013


View 2013 Sydney to Beijing on greynomadm's travel map.

Up early to try and catch a sunrise, but the fog that has been with us for some days is still here. Had a relaxed breakfast in the Horizon Court and then went up to deck 15 to watch the ship thread its way up to the wharf. There were dozens of buses neatly lined up to take us on the various ship's tours. The main streets of Keelung are directly beside the wharf area, couldn't be more convenient.

We're ready at 0700 but we don't meet our tour group until 0830 so we will just hang about and read for the next hour or so. This was our first experience with a Princess Shore Excursion on this cruise and the organisation was efficient and well managed. We were allocated Bus 2 of 18 doing the same tour.

The bus was first class, beautifully presented and surprisingly roomy for an Asian bus. Our guide was Mr Luke and he maintained a lively and informative commentary on our way from Keelung into Taipei. Despite it being a Sunday and only 0900 in the morning there was quite a lot of traffic. Mr Luke informed us that there were 22 million people in Taiwan and 11 million motor-cycles, another interesting fact is that there are only two individual dwellings, one each for the President and his Deputy. All other dwellings are apartments and 80% are owned by the residents.

Our first stop was the Lungshan Temple where many of the local population were offering prayers to their particular Gods. These Gods vary with the intended outcome, success in business, knowledge to pass exams, finding a love partner or long life. A very colourful and crowded place and I felt somewhat like an intruder as we disrupted their devotions.

A short ride on the bus brought us to Liberty Park and the Chang Kai-shek Memorial Hall,an extensive structure built to honour the memory of the country's first President. There are many items associated with the man from personal papers, photographs and his armoured limousine.

Back on the bus for another short ride to the Taipei Handicraft Centre, a massive basement store containing an unimaginable array of treasures large and small. From simple bracelets of semi-precious stones to elaborately carved pieces priced at thousands of US$. There was a lot of looking but not a lot of buying. Our contribution was just US$6 for a pretty little case with no definite intended use at this stage..

Last stop was a photo opportunity to capture the 101 Tower, at one time it was the tallest building in the world, now ranked second in Asia. Here is a distant view of the 101 Tower.

Back on the bus and then back to the ship in time for lunch and the afternoon movie "Skyfall" - James Bond which I found to be suspenseful but not all that well cast and a very weak story line. Must be my age and very difficult to please. After the movie we discovered some entertainment on the wharf where a group of talented and enthusiastic youngsters presented a range of drum and cymbal sounds.

Off to dinner with the guys in the Santa Fe and whilst there an announcement from the Captain informing us that there were two passengers late in returning to the ship. They had been contacted and were stuck in a taxi in heavy traffic. He did not sound well pleased but he did wait for them to join the ship. Lines we cast off and we headed out to sea bound for Kagoshima, Japan.

The show tonight was a hypnotist "Greg Hudson", personally, I didn't find his show all that entertaining and I'm still somewhat sceptical about how it is done. Not suggesting they we prearranged stooges but more inclined to think they went along with it.

It is getting late as I complete this and we are adjusting the clock one hour forward tonight. A sea day tomorrow and I'll try to fix the link in yesterday's blog that may not have worked. Still battling with the internet connection.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to see my recent images you could try the following link. Recent Images on 365

Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 06:17 Archived in Taiwan Comments (1)

En-route to Taiwan

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Managed to upload yesterday's postings at about 0400 this morning. The day dawned with some excellent colours above a grey band of mist. Additionally there were other ships of various sizes to add some interest to the otherwise vacant ocean. I think this is the pick of the contenders for today's shot. Soft background at sunrise.

Breakfast and other preparations out of the way and we're ready for the day's activities. Looks like the Kindle will get some use again. Attended the Shanghai port lecture which also touched on Dalian the last port before Beijing. Dalian sounds interesting as there is a Russian influence. These two talks we followed by Peter Tam's talk on Taiwan and South Korea. One item of interest that took me by surprise is that Taiwan (Formosa) was at one time a Dutch Colony.

Off to the Horizon Court for some essential nutrient 8-) Went to the theatre for the afternoon movie, "Amour" with Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva - not surprising it was a French film with English sub-titles. Very slow start and we lasted only 20 minutes. Back to the cabin and I had a pleasant nap while Jenny watched some golf on the TV.

Dinner in the Santa Fe was pleasant as always. The staff really look great in their formal attire. We found out that our waiter 'Noon' from Thailand was 47 years old - he could easily pass for 35. Amazing how young these guys look. Bought another bottle of wine, I really enjoyed the last one.

Attended the Captain's Circle function after dinner, interesting numbers - the most frequent passenger has been aboard this ship for the last 6 months and have sailed over 1500 days on Princess ships. Of the 2600 passengers aboard only about 600 are first time Princess cruisers and over 400 have achieved 'Elite' status.

For most of the day we sailed through fog and the Captain apologised for having used his fog horn frequently, one advantage of living on the lower decks, we didn't hear a thing.

The port of Keelung tomorrow and we have a Ship's Tour booked for the day. The only one for this cruise, we've heard both good and bad reports on ship's tours..

Meanwhile, if you'd like to see my recent images you could try the following link. Recent Images on 365

Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 05:58 Archived in Taiwan Comments (0)

Hong Kong - Day 2

Friday, 22 March 2013

Decided to take it easy today, the morning is foggy and there's little indication of it improving. The Diamond Princess is now located in Junk Bay, well to the East of Hong Kong Central. As we were at breakfast we watched the Sea Princess sail in and drop anchor a short distance to the West of our position. She looks a lovely ship and we're both looking forward to sailing on her again soon.

After breakfast we planned our outing and collected our Tender Tickets. There is a strong swell which is making the transfer from the ship to the tender vessel slower than anticipated. We sat around for about 30 minutes waiting for our numbers to be called. Our tender vessel bobbed up and down quite a bit but there were plenty of helpful hands to make the transfer slow but safe. There was a 30 minute ride to Pier 4 on the Hong Kong side.

We'd decided to limit our outing to finding some post-cards and mailing them off to family and friends. We'd found a place called Western Market which sounded interesting. By checking the map and taking our time we found the place and were initially underwhelmed- it was small and very quiet. As luck would have it we found a lovely lady whose stall sold cards and stamps.

Upstairs was wall to wall materials, there was barely room to squeeze between the bolts of cloth on all sides. There were exquisite silks, brocades, suiting material and printed cottons in a wild variety of colours and patterns. I convinced Jenny she needed to buy at least one piece. A view of the material stalls.

We sat outside while Jenny wrote on the cards after which we were pointed to where the Post Office was - right across the road. Could not have been more convenient. With plenty of time we strolled back in the direction of Pier 4 and along the way chanced upon a very up-market 'supermarket', everything to do with cooking and many ready-made items. I was politely asked not to take photographs, I didn't but still don't understand why.

The ride back to the Diamond was quite bumpy and this limited the photo opportunities. I tried to capture the blocks and blocks of high rise accommodation and wondered at the lives of the inhabitants living in such close proximity to each other. I am grateful to have lived all my life in places where the house had at least a front and back yard.

Back on the Diamond, almost like being back home. Made our way to the Horizon Court for lunch and watched the fog roll in from the sea and swallow all those high rise landmarks. The last tender should have the last of the passengers aboard in the next 30 minutes or so. We will weigh anchor and head for Keelung in Taiwan.

Another great meal in the Santa Fe with Noon and Jay. Whilst there the captain explained that all passengers and passports had been accounted for and we were cleared to depart. The setting sun made a brief appearance before being drowned in the fog.

We went to the theatre to watch Jeremy Ansley, a juggling comedian. There isn't a whole lot of entertainment in watching a juggler no matter how proficient and once again the comedy aspect was certainly not the best part of his act. The internet connection has been quite solid so will see how it goes tonight. Shouldn't have opened my big mouth, the connection was stable but dreadfully slow, will try again in the morning.

Sea day tomorrow, will hopefully catch up with sleep and my postings.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to see my recent images you could try the following link. Recent Images on 365

Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 13:05 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Full Day - Hong Kong & Macau

Thursday, 21 March 2013


View 2013 Sydney to Beijing on greynomadm's travel map.

I write this at the end of a long day, the time bring 2200 and it started at 0600. The approach to Hong Kong was less than spectacular due to the fog/mist/smog that marked anything more than a few meters away. The ship was required to dock at Hong Kong's Container Terminal. This was one of the best views as we entered the port. Foggy Hong Kong skyline. A vast expanse of cranes, straddles, containers and trucks. Some of the stacks of containers looked as if they had been there for some time.

We were welcomed by a troop of drummers and some very athletic young men in two oriental lion suits. They cavorted about on the wharf like live puppies. Just after 0900 we were allowed ashore and corralled onto the shuttle buses which took us out of the port area. In the early morning traffic, it took the best part of an hour to arrive at the Ocean Terminal at Tsiam Sha Tsui in Kowloon.

From here we walked briskly to the Hong Kong China ferry Terminal where we purchased two return tickets to Macau on the Cotai Water Jet, a high speed ferry. With passports in hand we approached the Hong Kong Immigration officials, Jenny first and after some time I was called forward. The officer kept looking at his screen and finally called a supervisor. Our ferry was due to leave in about 45 minutes and I was starting to think we might need to get a refund or catch a later ferry. The supervisor went off and was seen discussing our passports with a higher ranking person. She came back and the passports were handed back to the original officer, more keystrokes, more studying of the screen Same result. We were waved through and asked to wait as she trotted off somewhere out of sight to return finally and hand them back for processing - success !! Somehow our arrival in Hong Kong had not yet been processed through their computer system.

Drama over and we proceeded to the departure lounge, two of only about a dozen Caucasians in a sea of Orientals. Boarding occurred promptly and we found our seats which were like aircraft seats complete with tray-table, safety instructions and the obligatory 'in flight' magazine. We set off at an impressive speed and bumped across the water for about an hour. Disembarked at the Taipa Ferry terminal which adjoins the Macau International Airport. The place bristled with cranes and other construction equipment as they constructed a new terminal. Meanwhile we walked a fair distance through the temporary facility.

On arrival at the Immigration Hall there were 5 lengthy queues and we deliberated which one to join. An official asked Jenny how old she was, on telling him he escorted us directly to the 'Diplomatic' line which was almost vacant. It is good to be old sometimes. From there we were guided to the concourse where the complementary shuttle buses were waiting to whisk us off to their respective Casinos. The first one we found was for the Venetian. In no time at all we were off and deposited at the entrance of the most opulent building we've ever entered. Everything was glittering brass and polished marble, with massive corridors flanked by all the high-end brand names. Our first priority was a toilet and we were gobsmacked when we found these facilities, grander in many ways than many six-star hotel foyers.

We entered the casino and blew away HK$10 (about AU$1.25) - we really are cheap !! The machine actually paid a small drop and we were left with HK$0.55 credit and no way to clear it, the machine printed a voucher which is valid until 20 May 2013, I doubt we'll ever cash it 8-) From the Casino we wandered through the shopping arcades along the Grand Canal. It was amazing that we were on the third level of this structure walking alongside a waterway, lined with shop-fronts in what looked like real buildings and topped with a sunny sky which was also artificial. We eventually tired of this and found our way back to ground level and the shuttle bus back to the ferry terminal.

Back through Macau Immigration and boarded the ferry. We set off on a fairly rough sea and were advised to fasten our seatbelts and to use the bags provided. Later it was announced that would be delayed in our arrival due to the weather. No big deal we had until 1730 to catch the last shuttle back to the ship. Off the ferry, through Hong Kong Immigration and out on the street, heading for the Ocean Terminal with an hour to spare. We walked quite a distance and it slowly dawned on us that we were not where we thought we were. A most helpful stranger pointed out the we were on the Hong Kong side - not on Kowloon. The ferry had docked at a totally different place to where we'd departed some six hours previous.

Not only did we have to walk back to where we'd left the ferry but find our way to the Kowloon Ferry pier. It certainly seemed a long way at the end of a long day but we walked for about 20 minutes, had an altercation with the ticketing machine, boarded the ferry as the gate closed behind us and made good time once we arrived at the Kowloon side. Made it to the shuttle bus with just over 10 minutes to spare. Whew !!

Back to the ship and dinner in the Santa Fe to hear the Captain explain that he'd been denied permission to sail the 1 hour short route to our anchorage for the remainder of our stay. The alternate route will take him almost 6 hours. The worst of it for the passengers ashore is that their expected tenders will now pick them up after midnight instead of 2130 as expected. There will be some unhappy people tomorrow. To add to his woes some of the ship's tour buses were late so we were late departing to start with.

Meanwhile, we who were safely aboard as he flung the ship around the island at 22 knots, were entertained by some very clever local performers. The changing faces act was brilliant but the LED illuminated dragon took the show.

It is now almost midnight and I'll try to get this posted in the morning.

Another full day tomorrow I might not get the update written and posted for a day or two.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to see my recent images you could try the following link. Recent Images on 365

Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 08:52 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (2)

Last Sea Day Before Hong Kong

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Another calm night aboard the Diamond Princess and we are now heading North Westerly in the South China Sea. The expected sunrise was at 0711 but I waited in vain, low clouds on the horizon stripped the sunrise of most of it's colour. I did catch a glimpse of the full sun between layers of cloud.

No luck with the internet overnight or early this morning and no better after breakfast. Went off to the lecture on Hong Kong which provided an insight to the events that resulted in the demise of the last of the dynasties and the granting of many foreign concessions. The internet is still causing me some frustration. I will need to visit the Internet Lounge and see if the problem can be resolved.

Meanwhile it is time to meet Jenny for lunch in the Horizon Court. Internet connection is still flaky and even when you manage to get in it is so very slow. Made our way to the theatre for today's afternoon movie "Beasts of the Southern Wild", Jenny walked out after 20 minutes and I gave it an extra 10 then followed her out. Back to the cabin and still no joy with the internet, very thankful that we are not paying for the service.

1730 in the Santa Fe for dinner again, greeted like family and made to feel very welcome, great meal as always. Still one drink left in the bottle of wine, it has lasted well.

Dropped in on Maggie Scott at the Explorers Lounge, a totally inadequate venue, she was as outrageously funny as her previous show. Up to the Horizon Court for a cup of tea and met a couple from Bendigo. It works out that he and I were either in the same year or one apart at the Technical College. I can't recall him and I was struggling to find any names of fellow students.

Back to the cabin and the internet WORKS, managed to upload yesterday's stuff and today's picture. Will try my luck later and see if I can post this too.

Clocks go back an hour over-night and we are due to arrive in Hong Kong in the morning. Checked with Customer Services to confirm that our passport will be available in the morning - all confirmed.

With a very full day tomorrow I might not get the update written and posted for a day or two.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to see my recent images you could try the following link. Recent Images on 365

Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 05:06 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Another Tranquil Day at Sea

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

During the night the ship continued it's gentle passage North towards Hong Kong. This is a strong wind blowing over the ship from the North West and this is creating some small waves on the surface of the sea. The sunrise was masked by low clouds and a haze on the horizon and the resultant captures were somewhat muted. This would be about the best of a bad lot.

Made it to my breakfast rendezvous with Jenny some time after 0700. The variety and quantity of fresh fruit at breakfast is in steep decline and now consists of rock-melon or honeydew-melon only. All the pineapple and water-melon has gone. On enquiry I was informed that fresh supplies would be taken on in Hong Kong. I later heard that they are also out of English Breakfast Tea, a bit surprising given the consumption statistics that should have been accumulated over time.

The port lecture this morning was on Busan South Korea, there looks to plenty of additional sights to see other than what we experienced last time. As with most of these shore days, it will depend on the weather. Our China lecturer covered the subject of the initial contact with the West and the influx of "Foreign Devils". The lecture went past 1200 and I hurried to join Jenny who was waiting for me in the Horizon Court. After a quick lunch we made a beeline for the Theatre which was filling fast.

The 1330 movie was "Lincoln", a massive tale lasting almost two and a half hours. A most detailed look into the American History of the period leading up to the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment - the Abolition of Slavery in the USA. The horror of the civil war was all too graphically re-enacted.

Back to the cabin to scratch this thing together and prepare for dinner. Dinner in the Santa Fe was excellent as always and I'm still drinking from that bottle of red. Noon, the waiter estimates that there's about two nights worth left. Tonight's show in the theatre was Mark Kristian, in a word 'pathetic'. But for the fact that I was in the middle of a row, I'd have got up and walked out.

We continue our way North at a steady speed of 18 knots with the bulk of the Philippines to starboard

Not a very exciting day to report on, will post another update tomorrow.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to see my recent images you could try the following link. Recent Images on 365

Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 20:20 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

Another Tranquil Day at Sea

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

During the night the ship continued it's gentle passage North towards Hong Kong. This is a strong wind blowing over the ship from the North West and this is creating some small waves on the surface of the sea. The sunrise was masked by low clouds and a haze on the horizon and the resultant captures were somewhat muted. This would be about the best of a bad lot.

Made it to my breakfast rendezvous with Jenny some time after 0700. The variety and quantity of fresh fruit at breakfast is in steep decline and now consists of rock-melon or honeydew-melon only. All the pineapple and water-melon has gone. On enquiry I was informed that fresh supplies would be taken on in Hong Kong. I later heard that they are also out of English Breakfast Tea, a bit surprising given the consumption statistics that should have been accumulated over time.

The port lecture this morning was on Busan South Korea, there looks to plenty of additional sights to see other than what we experienced last time. As with most of these shore days, it will depend on the weather. Our China lecturer covered the subject of the initial contact with the West and the influx of "Foreign Devils". The lecture went past 1200 and I hurried to join Jenny who was waiting for me in the Horizon Court. After a quick lunch we made a beeline for the Theatre which was filling fast.

The 1330 movie was "Lincoln", a massive tale lasting almost two and a half hours. A most detailed look into the American History of the period leading up to the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment - the Abolition of Slavery in the USA. The horror of the civil war was all too graphically re-enacted.

Back to the cabin to scratch this thing together and prepare for dinner. Dinner in the Santa Fe was excellent as always and I'm still drinking from that bottle of red. Noon, the waiter estimates that there's about two nights worth left. Tonight's show in the theatre was Mark Kristian, in a word 'pathetic'. But for the fact that I was in the middle of a row, I'd have got up and walked out.

We continue our way North at a steady speed of 18 knots with the bulk of the Philippines to starboard

Not a very exciting day to report on, will post another update tomorrow.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to see my recent images you could try the following link. Recent Images on 365

Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 20:20 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

All At Sea

Monday, 18 March 2013

Overnight the ship sailed serenely North and again it was difficult to realise that we were actually moving. The feel and sounds were much the same as you would experience in an air-conditioned room in a shore-based hotel. I woke up at about 0430 and tried the internet connection, it being quite responsive I uploaded yesterdays blog and image.

Got up again just after 0600, dressed and made my way up to the top deck to witness the sunrise. While the humidity was in the high 90s the temperature was quite balmy and with the breeze created by the ship's speed it was most pleasant outside. Stayed up there until just before 0700 and managed to capture a good range of images the best of which is the first glimpse of the sun and is number 45 in today's sequence.

Met Jenny for breakfast at what has become our preferred location in the Horizon Court. It is all the way aft on the starboard side and is the furthermost away from the food service. It is an area looked after by the happiest chap on board, Raj from India. A jolly laugh a friendly greeting and an engaging smile are combined with an amazing memory of our preferred beverages. Also the area is much quieter than the section closer to the food service area.

Back to the cabin and we prepare for the morning activities. Jenny is off to craft and I'm attending a destination lecture on the port of Kagoshima. As always these lectures are so popular that with 20 minutes to go the theatre is filled to capacity. It sounds like an interesting place to visit but we will no doubt miss out on many of the attractions, there is just too much to see. My preference at this stage is to take the ferry across to the volcano and spend some time visiting the local parks, it will all depend on the weather on the day.

Up to the Horizon Court to meet up with Jenny for lunch, there was a Mexican special but again the queue was quite long and the food was not particularly appealing. Picked up some interesting salads and another beef pie still in its Mrs Mac's wrapper. Interesting how the simple meat pie brings back all kinds of memories, including a road trip with 'Rocky' Middleton, back in the old days.

Just as we finished lunch we were joined by a couple from the USA, interesting to talk to and an even more interesting 'card'. She is an artist and her 'card' is a reproduction of one of her paintings, very whimsical, colourful and demonstrating a positive attitude.

After lunch we set off to the theatre for today's movie, today's offering is "Flight" starring Denzel Washington and John Goodman. It certainly isn't a movie you'd want to watch before boarding a flight. A most unexpected ending !!

As I write this we continue to sail on water that is totally undisturbed by any hint of a ripple, except for the wake cause by our passing. We have never previously experienced an ocean so calm. Watched the end of the golf tournament on the TV before making our way to the Santa Fe for dinner.

Dinner was excellent as we've come to expect. My part bottle of 'red' was there waiting for me and Noon the waiter is viewing us as family. We skipped desserts and headed for the theatre where we were entertained by an incredible lady simply billed as "Maggie". There was a bit of Phyllis Diller about her but she had a most incredible voice and topped that off with some of the best piano playing I've heard from a comic. The highlight was a version of "I've Been Everywhere Man" by using the title "I've Had Everything Doc" and then rattling through 101 deceases, complaints and ailments. An excellent way to spend the best part of an hour.

To round out the day we paid a quick visit to the Horizon Court for some beverage and supper snacks. Finished writing this and sat back to watch some TV as we continued our way between the Philippine islands of Basilan and Mindanao to enter the Sulu Sea - South West of Manila.

Hope there was something of interest to you, will post another update tomorrow.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to see my recent images you could try the following link. Recent Images on 365

Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 10:36 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

St Patrick's Day

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Left the cabin at about 0630 and made my way to the upper decks to catch the sunrise. Although it was masked by clouds the sunrise provided some interesting images. This is the Sunrise from the high decks.

Met up with Jenny in the Horizon Court for breakfast and grabbed the Kindle and found a place to read. That is one thing about this ship, no matter the time of day there is always somewhere to sit and read and avoid the crowds. Attended the Destination Lecture for the overview on our visit to Taiwan. We have booked a ship's excursion and hence have no need to worry about taxis, buses and trains. Not that they scare us but they can be time consuming.

Decided to change some of our US$ to Hong Kong $s through the on-board exchange machine. The rate is not fantastic but it will give us sufficient for our Hong Kong visit. I also used the casino cashier to break down some $50 notes to smaller denominations. It is difficult to know how much of which currency to have available, so we are well stocked with US$.

We visited the Future Cruises lady again and bought another pair of $100 vouchers and spent them on another booking for January 2014. That makes up four future cruises booked. When we complete the next three we'll have achieved "Elite" status which provides the highest level of benefit for any subsequent cruises.

There is a Hong Kong tailor aboard offering a tailor-made clothing service. He takes your measurements, your selected fabric and your selected clothing item and emails the details to home base. On arrival in Hong Kong your new clothes are delivered to the ship. If due to you ordering late they will mail the articles to your home address. It will come as no surprise that the price tag is well outside my budget !!

Lunch in the Horizon Court and back to the theatre for the afternoon movie "Lawless" starting Tom Hardy and Shia La Beouf. Set in the moonshine hillbilly era there should have been sub-titles. Extremely violent, crude language and a thin story line caused a number of people to leave. I stuck it out to the end but it certainly doesn't get my endorsement.

The St Patrick's Day theme does not go unnoticed but isn't as well celebrated as it was last year on the Sea Princess. This evening we cross the equator an event that will be celebrated tomorrow at a more convenient time. Formal night tonight so will have to spend some time getting ready. Dinner in the Santa Fe was excellent as always, the special tonight being lobster tails and crab cakes. The waitstaff look splendid as they always do in formal attire. I also chose this evening to claim my bottle of wine courtesy of the travel agents 'Clean Cruising', a bottle of Californian Cabernet Sauvignon. Should last me for a few more nights.

Tonight's show was an Australian violinist "Vov Dylan", he presented a range of pieces from the formal to the frivolous and fast paced throughout. Up to the Horizon Court for a drink and then back to the cabin to adjust clocks back another 30 minutes.

That's it for me today, will post another update tomorrow.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to see my recent images you could try the following link. Recent Images on 365

Cheers ... Tony

Posted by greynomadm 12:47 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

(Entries 21 - 30 of 49) « Page 1 2 [3] 4 5 »