Home Again

We are still trying to assimilate the journey, the ports, the people and the memories that will last forever. I gathered a few more images to share.

During the transit of the Panama Canal we are allowed on the bow. the 5 windows are the bridge with the Captain and crew navigating our ship. Sometimes we have to anchor and take a small tender to get to the port, as in Komodo Island. other times, as in Flam, Norway, we just step off the ship and we are there! Most times we are in a large port and the ship offers a shuttle to the city. The view is from Easter island of the AMSTERDAM with the 5 Moai looking out. Learn more about the moai at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moai

We typically ate in the lido but each Sunday on a sea day they did a brunch. More food than one could ever sample. Presentation is always about fine dining and we were always having treats. There is an ice cream station, coconut water and local fruits were served. Walking 8 miles in a port, using the fitness center or walking the promenade kept us from gaining the typical 2 pounds a week.

The crew on the ship is outstanding. Angel had a menagerie of cork animals and she sent Rex the GIRAFFE home with me to live in Cheyenne. Every port, with a transit, offered refreshments on the deck and bow. During PITCAIRN we had Bounty buns, Panama we had Canal buns and the day SAILING to Flam we had FJORD buns. I understand they all taste the same. Sea days were filled with cultural lectures and, as pictured, we made leis with the the group from POLynesIA. I didn’t take advantage of the UKULELE lessons.

the people w met along the was were as rewarding as the ports. Susan, a business WOMAN from California, often hosted us in her suite. Sandy, brian, Don, Susan and i enjoyed many dinners and excursions. In Portree don drove (on the left) and we toured the Isle of Skye. I organized several excursions gathering passengers we had never met. pictured is the group for Komodo Island. I also taught Mahjong and had a group for PLAY each sea day at 1 PM.

What does on do all day when not in port? On a sea day there are lectures, movies, trivia, bridge, watercolor and crafts, Dance lessons, afternoon tea, musical entertainment in every corner of the ship, just to name a few diversions. Pictured is the welcome party with bands, dancing and drinks flowing, on the lido deck. Flower arranging class was fun for Susan and Sandy. We took a tour of the ship GALLEY. It takes 96 staff in the galley and 122 service staff to feed the 1200 PASSENGERS. Weekly consumption of food on board is 18,000 eggs, 200 gallons of ice cream, 5,000 pounds of potatoes and 1,036 bottles of wine!!! Project linus is run by a PASSENGER with donated yarn. Passengers KNITTED and crocheted 250 blankets that went to seattle to be donated through the linus foundation to children in need.

Until 2021 when we hope to begin another Grand World Voyage.


Bantry, Ireland

This charming little city of 2,000 evokes Ireland. We had to take a tender to arrive at the dock and were greeted by the town tourism board with maps and a shuttle to the center of town. The big draw is Banty House, the ancestral home of the Earls of Bantry which overlooks Bantry Bay. The house has exceptional gardens. The streets were bright and cheerful and Ma Murphys was the pub for Don as he parked there enjoying a local beer, while I shopped.

Bantry shops
Bantry House
Gate to Bantry House from the town, about a 15 minute walk
Another fun Tavern on New Street
Don’s favorite spot.
Inside Ma Murphys with the 74 year old working refrigerator. The sign is from the celebration when it was 70. Still running!

Cork , Ireland

With a ship in port at Cobh we docked at Ringaskiddy across the bay. We took the ship shuttle to Cork. My Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Maher had Cork roots so we found the name and the motto on a key chain for a souvenir for Kristin. Since it was a bank holiday we couldn’t do any real research on G’ma’s father Michael. Cork is on the river Lee. We walked about and found churches, the international butter museum for Kerry Gold http://thebuttermuseum.com/ and typical architecture.

Taken from the Hill at St Anne’s Church
With the North and South Channel of the River Lee we crisscrossed the bridges as we hiked about
Bright buildings and happy people
Elections will be held Friday the 24th in Ireland and happen every five years. Signs were everywhere. Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein are the major parties for the ministers that meet in a parliament. The Social Democrats are a minor party.

Dublin, Ireland

The capital of Ireland on the river Liffey and was a viking settlement in the 9th century. We did not stand in line to see the Book of Kells at Trinity college as we had been fortunate to see the illuminated manuscript on a previous visit. We did happen on a labyrinth at Christ Church Cathedral with the original building built in 11th century. Wandered the cobbled stets and shopped in major department stores.

The river Liffey cuts through the city with old and new buildings side by side.
Ireland flavor every corner
Pub scene
Oscar Wilde
Maggie Malone
Christs Church

Belfast, Northern Ireland

With this our second visit to Ireland we opted for a walk around day. The Ship shuttle dropped us at City Hall and we oriented our map and set out. We always enjoy the architecture in old cities with a blend of old and new. We soon discovered the advent of a Mayday parade comprised of a multitude of trade unions, community groups and bands.

Unions, socialist groups, animal rights and a few spectators just joined in to their favorite cause.
New city
historic city
funky city
Titanic Museum, interactive exhibits capturing the plight of the unsinkable ship
Our Cruise agent hosted a dinner after the private tour of the Titanic Museum on the Nomadic , the tender ship taking passengers to the Titanic. We were seated with the Captain, Jonathan Mercer, and wife Karen, back row and two other long time cruise guests. They are 5 star meaning over 500 cruise days.

Portree, Scotland

With a perfect day on the Isle of Skye, five of us set out in a rented car to explore with Don as our driver. First stop was Dunvegan Castle, dating back to the thirteenth century and still occupied by the MacLeod clan. Rugged coast, inland lakes and highlands dotted with sheep and furry highland cattle enthralled us as we circled by on an A road, like a narrow two lane in the U S. We stopped for lunch at a typical pub and a down the road was the distillery tour at Talisker. Schedule your tour ahead as they sell out. Scotch whisky is distilled twice, and Irish whiskey three times. Circled back to Portree and we did a bit of shopping in the Harris Tweed store and the church monthly market. Not enough time here to see the other castles, fairy pools and the west side of wild Scotland.

Don, Vanda, Susan, Sandy and Brian. Met 4 months ago during the Panama Canal transit and travel well together. With all the local tours sold our I got the idea to rent a car. Don did great driving on the left. Yes it was brisk.
Castle tour laid out a dozen rooms, all authentic and with great light. The dungeon was explained and not accessible. When you went in it was a death sentence as you were not fed but left to die. The Scottish Chiefs were serious about protecting their rights.
The inlets surround the island.
Pub lunch.
Dating back to 1825 by the Talisker House of Hugh MacAskill. Very peaty for the original but now offer many blends.
Village of Portree, population 2,500

Flam, Norway

Two hours up Sognefjord, carved by the glacial flow, with spectacular scenes of brightly colored villages, water falls and mountain tops and we come to Flam, While only a population 500 , the world comes to take the Flansbama to Myrdal, at 2600 Feet elevation through tunnels and up the mountain. We stopped at Kjosfossen waterfall, continued to Myrdal and returned to Flam. We hiked in the area, saw another small town and purchased no souvenirs in the many shops, in this small hamlet. The booming economy makes a magnet $7.

In the Fjord
Our home the past 4 months, Main Deck 2589, Flam is adjacent to the gangway on the revers side of the ship.
The train platform is there for passengers to unload for 10 minutes, take photos and get back on.
Trolls and sirens, mystical Norway was magical.

Oslo, Norway

With a deep sea port we docked near the city and adjacent to Akershus Fortress the 13th century castle and prison. With this being our second visit we sipped the famous Vigeland Sculpture park and took the ferry to Bygody to visit the Open Air Folk Museum with 150 buildings from different regions, including a stave church, farm buildings and the early building of Oslo built after the fire destroyed the original city. In the same area you can find the Kon Tiki museum. Oslo is booming in their economy and population growth. A beer is $11.

Akershus Fortress
Gol Stave Church built in the 13th century
Early days in a farm house

Automated Sushi bar at train station
A modern city embracing old architecture, pedestrian malls and friendly folks

Copenhagen, Denmark

Having visited before we were wandering, deciding on a train to Kronberg Castle or maybe back to Droger, a yellow hued fishing village. We did neither as we came upon the castle, and saw the changing of the guard beginning. We walked with them and eventually found Nyhavn, trendy cafes and a flea market. Susan caught up with us so we went back toward the ship and happened on the Japanese festival and stopped for a beer. Anther lovely port to explore.

Rosenburg Castle near the Barracks of the guard
Marble Church