Sunday, 28 November 2010


Vietnam:as we were there only last year we opted not to go to Ho Chi Min city:instead we spent a day at a small town called Ba Ria. There's a lot of Christian influence here and the poverty is blatantly obvious. There's a lot of japanese and Korean investment here improving roads and bringing industries.
Singapore is just the same still booming. Great to have Iddly,Vadai and Masala Dosai after weeks of ships food. The MRT,and buses for transport are great.
Malaysia:didnt want to go to KL;so we decided a tour to Kelang:its obviously greatly prospered in the last few years and they say only 10% of the population is under the poverty line. We now have few lazy days at sea before Mumbai on 1st dec.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Manila is a booming city but the poverty is obvious as our guide told us 40% are under the poverty line.
City is buzzing with people and can see the American Influence. Over 80% are catholics.Lot of history of Spanish,japanese and American rule here. Old Spanish Quarters is well preserved and of great importance to the Phillippinos. They have a Golf Course in the middle of the city: you have to cross the main thoroughfare to reach the 5th hole from 4th: Only city which has road sign"Beware Golfers"! The threatened rain never came so we had a nice day.
HongKong: Very modern with high umber of tall and very tall buildings both for offices and living apartments.Lovely crossing over from Kowloon where we docked to HK Island where all the Financial Institutions function. Met Avneesh who took us for some Cakes over his Lunch break from work. Did the Big Bus tour of the Island and Kowloon. Amazed to see a big Mosque in the middle of Busy city with throngs of Muslims celebrating end of Ramadan. Witnessed a fantastic sound and light show at the Promenade where the have handprints of Chinese show business stars called the Avenue of stars.Tired by the end of the day with a lot of walking around, But vey enjoyable trip. Now two days at sea before Vietnam.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Great Barrier Reef

8th of November was an early morning start:It was an awful day with rain and wind but we were told it's an ok day for our trip to the Famous reef.We had a catamaron with 240 passengers taking us to the Pontoon at Hardy Reef(we were picked up from where the ship was anchored near Hayman Island.Not a ride I expected lot ofpeople were sick and I felt the jerks going up and down the sea with huge waves:lasting an hour! Anyway it calmed for a mile before the Pontoon and we got off still in the rain to view the Barrier Reef corals and sea life inside a half submerged submarine for ten minutes and through the Viewing Chamber in the Pontoon itself: Lack of sun didnt help to see the various colours of the corals but we made the best of a bad day.Coming back through the Whitsunday passage to Hamilton Island was even worse lasting an hour and a half!!Lot of us felt worse and complained to the Tour operators. The captain gave some lame excuse but after a day of constant barrage of complaints,they acknowledged that they should have warned us about the bad weather and given us the choice to go or not:so they were going to give us back half of the fare we paid for the trip!!
Next day we anchored near Yorkes Knob near Cairns and we had a fiasco with Tender boats to take us to the Shore!! We couldnt go till after midday and so missed the trip to Cairns. Anyway we took the tour to Yorkes knob,visiting the Kuranda village and saw the Aboriginies with their spear throwing,boomerangs and traditional dancing.Travelled in the old WWII Army ducks through the rainforest and the lake and got back around 1730 for us to set off the long voyage through the narrow Reef past the Northeast edge of Australia,south of Papua New Guinea towards Manila.
We now have five lazy days at sea to chill out enjoy the warm weather.
Edwina Currie and her husband(an Ex Flying Squad Policeman) are both on board giving talks about their professional life.Les Dennis the comedian on board too:but his first show was disappointing!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


Rain welcomes us to Sydney!! But, we managed to get around although couldnt do justice for the nine hours we were there because of this inclement weather. We managed to go around the Opera house ,walk around the Botanical gardens and see the Famous Harbour Bridge and The Rocks,the designer shopping area. This has to be one of the best Harbour cities in the world. We got on the hop on/off bus to go around the city to see the sites.
Next day we were given Luncheon reception by the Managing Director of P&O,Carol Marlow.In the evening ex Aussie cricketers Neil Harvey,Alan Davidson, Bob Simpson,Brian Booth and Frank Mission gave us their stories in Cricket in their haydays! We missed Richie Benaud because he was in when we were out sight seeing!!
Brisbane was fantastic! Temp 25c Warm and lovely.Easy to walk around and we were impressed with the blend of old and new Buildings. Walked through the Goodwill Bridge,where you could hire Bikes to around if one likes,over the Brisbane river and walked along the south bank with Maritime Museum,Memorial Park and the different pools for families and children,and the Nepalese Pagoda built in 1988 for the Expo.Also saw the Performing arts Theatre and then walked back the Victoria Bridge to the city: Buzzing with christmas shoppers. Saw few cathedrals and churches and were picked up by the courtesy bus in time for our 45 minutes ride back to the ship.

Saturday, 6 November 2010


We were quite impressed with NewZealand,visiting Auckland,their City of Sails:one sailboat for every eight people!Had a fantastic city tour in the morning and decided to walk around ourselves after lunch.Had an interesting visit to the Museum learning about the Maori people and the integration into the society:They have both Maori and English as their official language,eventhough the maoris only make up 16%of popualtion(4.1million). Very impressed with the lush green city with truly multiethnic city,which apparently is the 5th largest in the world. Saw few daredevil divers off the Sky Tower who paid $40 for the pleasure!Visited Albert Park where Queen Vivtoria's staue was installed in 1899.
The next city was Tarunga:docked at  Mounganui named after the mountain. smaller than Auckland but full of thriving Kiwi and Avocado Plantations. Lot of cattle and sheep farms as well and they are also developing this place as an important seaport.Visited the famous Wai-o-Tapo hot springs and went around the smelly place around 3km of different  chemical springs. Saw the sprouting Lady Knox geyser and visited the impressive Rotoura lake which was originally a large volcanic crater. They have developed this as a fanyastic holiday resort.
The last city on our trip was the capital city of Wellington: Impressed again with the greenery and the cleaniless and the blend of old and new buildings.Te Papa Museum was an interesting place to learn the history of the country and its an easy city to walk around.
The ship is providing us with various activities and entertainment and things are still very enjoyable.
Gossip: Pam was told by a lady at the Laundrette that a shirt she ironed and left in a hanger near the door disappeared when she went away to hwe cabin to pick up some more clothes to wash?unbelievable:people pay so much to get on the cruise and you wouldnt expect such behaviour, but again a young Australian coule who boarded on at Auckland told us that they know of some one stealing an expensive dress from a Laundrette in another ship to wear at the formal dinner:when confronted by the owner of the dress,she apparently cooly said:'Prove it'?? We do see lot of strange behaviour in this world cruise!1

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

28 October 2010

Quirks of crossing the south pacific west to east: at Longtitude 180 we lost the whole of Tuesday: 26 october 2010 was non existent for us!!
Anyway we had a lovely day in Apia,capital of Samoa in ththe eastern island of Upolu. Poverty after the last
few islands is very striking here.There's a strong Catholic influence palpable in the island.Visited Robert Louis Stephenson's last residence,well maintained as a museum now. Samoan people really love and revere him. His burial place is on the hill 45minutes walk from the residence,but we didnt have time to visit. The place is amazing with colourful plants and trees,and there's a banana plantation and Pineapple fields in his estate.
Did some shopping specially set up for us at the Wharf(Sundays all the normal shops are closed here).
Gossip: Ships stewards are trying their best to tell  us that The Laundrette story is not true and is a just an idle Gossip!! our friend Manju witnessed two people collapsing in the deck, and one had to be carted off by an Ambulance! Considering the number of elderly people with various disabilities, it's not really a surprise(average age of passengers now is 65!)
Still enjoying the facilities on board with shows,cinema,library and plenty to eat(eventhough the vegetarian option is not good).I have never eaten so many sweets and ice cream as I am doing now!

Thursday, 21 October 2010


We have had a fantastic couple of days in the Hawaiian islands of Maui and Oahu. the first is the second largest of the islands and we were lucky to have had a clear day to visit and view the famous Haleakala crater10000feet above sea level(last eruption was over 200years ago). It was absolutely breathtaking!
Then in Oahu where the capital Honolulu is situated we had a quick trip around the city,which is like any other big US city, we went out to the coastal areas of Surfing beaches and turtle beaches before being treated to a colourful Polynesian Cultural experience. Now we are at sea having few lazy days before Samoa on Sunday. We have plenty to do on board:I'm trying to learn Spanish!! there are shows of talented violinist from Australia and singers from New Zealand on this leg of the Pacific!We were also treated to a special Luncheon by the captain for those doing the whole World Cruise,yesterday which was good:Vegetarian option is still not good though!!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Back on!

After the glitch with the net for a few days on the ship while going through the Pacific, we are back on,dont know for how long. We are docking in Maui,second largest hawaiian Island tomorrow to do the 10000 feet to see the Volcano.
We had a great time in the Dutch Island of Curacao and did our own sight seeing in San Francisco.It hasnt changed much from when we were here about 5 years ago.
Things are very good so far on board the ship. Food is plenty although the vegetarian choice is limited though the waiters try to make it easier for us. Even the food at Indian Nights is not spicey! The waiters are at hand for us with the Tabasco and the Mild Indian Pickle from their own supply!?
The entertainment is all done by Professionals,They have P&Os own Headliners Theatre Company doing musicals by some talented youngsters. we have had Show business people like Gary Wilmot,Bobby Davro

Bruce Morrison,Bonnie Langford etc., The Theatre and the Cinema are with comfortable seats,space and excellent view for audience as good as in Land!
Gossip: We had two couple forced to disembark at St.Lucia for indulging in fistycuffs in the Launderette!one of them was booked to do the World Voyage! One person was taken off the ship at Panama canal for a Medical Emergency. One Person was warned at the dinner table for making nasty remarks about Jews! We get all sorts in this big ship!
What amazes us is the number of people on board who are with sticks,walkers,wheel chairs,pace makers and oxygen! I suppose one has to say good luck to them for making the most what they can in their lifetime, but it really slows others down when they come out with the organised tours!

Monday, 4 October 2010

busy days?

After the few lazy days on board the ship, we have had busy days visiting St.Lucia,a carribean island, idyliic and beautiful.Visited the Rainforest, looking at well preserved trees and plantations,going up a cable car to 2000 feet above the sea level.Finished off with Rum Punch before returning.Added advantage was
seeing Humming birds for the first time. Next stop was the Venezuelan Isla Margarita.Socialist democratic Country:Very hot but while we were at the Beautiful National Park looking at the Gardens and the animals and birds, heavens opened and the roads were flooded as the do in India! Had a nice boat ride on the lagoon through the mongove forrest looking at pelicans,star fish,oysters etc., Today we are doing the Dutch island of Curacao.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Chilling out!

These are lazy chilling out days in the middle of the Atlantic,after Madeira! Routine is morning walk around the Promenade Deck (3.3 laps equals 1 mile). I started with 4 laps a time, now doing 6! then breakfast meeting new set of people every morning. Then reading either in one of the decks or the library!
there's a good Cinema,and a Theatre for evening shows. Different places for coffee,drinks etc., We have tried the Launderette as well. But evening dinners,one need to dress formally to go into the restaurants! which is a bit of a pain but food is good:as we are Vegetarians,the headwaiter(Who happens to be a Tamil)
looks after us:but no South Indian food(Not like,Carnival Destiny,Ian!). Most of the staff are Indians from Goa,Kerala and Tamil Nadu! Looking forward to our next stop St.Lucia on Saturday!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Getting Oriented

Exploring different decks in the ship and different facilities is an experience in itself;Atlantic is much calmer now. Did the shore excursion of the lovely Portugese Island of Madeira.Funchal,the capital is a lovely city. We travelled up the hills to the fishing village of de Lobos where Winston Churchill used to spend some time.saw the banana fields/vineyards/sugarcane fields,irrigation systems from ancient times/visited the second highest seacliff in europe,Cabo Girao.Spectacular sceneries/great Catholic influence present everywhere. lot of people from old Portugese colonies have resettled here.Impressive churches and gardens and colourful plantations.Skilfull drivers manouvering around narrow hilly roads.

Saturday, 25 September 2010


We had an early start on Thursday. Comfortable coach trip down to Southampton.Quick efficient check-in.Comfortable room with a bath as well.Had a good sleep,but had rough seas at Bay of Biscay. Had an enjoyable Captains welcome reception last night. Things are smoother to-day. Looking forward to our trip while we dock in Madeira to-morrow.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


Our lovely spoilt cat "tonic"(12yr old) is ready to be carted off to our dear friend Allison,to be looked after for the next twelve weeks! Ready with Trays,cat litter,food and water bowl etc., Amazing how one gets attached to one's pet. I am sure he will get spoilt at Allison's as he has been with us!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Preparation for the Voyage of a Lifetime!

Our kids are home for the weekend before we set off on our world voyage. Had a sad day yesterday at the Funeral of our dear friend Venkat. Last weekend of shopping, getting the house and cat organised and arrange to see friends. Taxi booked for Wetherby for 0530 Thursday, to board our coach to Southampton.

Monday, 2 August 2010

First Time!

Had a busy enjoyable weekend supporting our daughter performing in the Street Musical "CHUTNEY" composed by the talented Kuljit Bhamra,MBE. Lovely bunch of artists to know and appreciate.