5/15/11 Hello from the Jewel of the Seas, which is forging ahead towards Brest, France, our port for tomorrow. This is a small town on the coast of Brittany, with not any major sights so probably we will just poke around and try to absorb the ambiance. The next day the port is Cherbourg, where some people will be going to Mont St. Michel, the second most visited place in France. We were there years ago when we were camping through Europe for the summer, so we will stay in Cherbourg and see what appeals to us.
This cruise started May 6, in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and we have mostly had sea days so far - Elaine's favorite. Usually we try to work out every day in the gym when we are sailing, but we have missed a few days this time because we have been so wiped out by the time changes. First we lost 3 hours when we flew to Florida. Then, nearly every sea day we have lost another hour. This messes up our sleep time, so we are up late and then sleep later in the morning. This is part of the reason why we like an inside room. It is so dark in here that I even slept until 11:30AM one morning. I don't think that has ever happened before in my entire life! Usually I am an early riser.
Our first port was 2 days ago and it was Punta Delgada in the Azores, islands which belong to Portugal. We have been there many times so we weren't going to be going sightseeing anyway, but the weather was ugly the whole day. There is a nearby small mall with free WiFi so we spent our time there. I intended to update this blog then, but Blogger was not working at that time.
This cruise has been fun because we are on board with friends from previous cruises, and we have made some new friends in the Diamond Lounge in the evenings. Here is a group picture of our gang:
The people in the Diamond Plus lounge are a bit snooty, but on this ship they allow us to get our drinks in there and then carry them in to the Diamond Lounge, which is much nicer than our lounge (and bigger because there are more Diamond members). Much better views looking out too. The other day we saw quite a few dolphins and also a whale came up near the ship quite a few times.
Here is a picture of our entire group of friends from the lounges:
One night we went with Rick & Denice and Byron & Carol to the specialty restaurant called Chops.
The food was good and we had a great time. Several days later we went to Portofino, the other upscale restaurant and it was horrible. But we looked nice anyway, don't you think?
There have been three formal nights and we all dressed up. Here is a picture of Rick & Denice, Byron & Carole looking really fine:
On the last formal night we had pictures taken with Mark & Harald, friends from a previous cruise who are getting married in Germany in 3 weeks. (they live there)
(Today we are wandering around Brest with them and it is fun!)
On the 18th we will arrive in Harwich, England, where this cruise ends and we are staying on board for the next cruise. That is also a 12 day cruise which goes to the Scandinavian countries, St. Petersburg, and Tallinn, Estonia. We haven't been to Scandinavia since 1997 when we camped through Denmark, Sweden, and Norway in a camper van and also took an overnight ship to Helsinki for a day. We enjoyed these places then and I'm sure it will be interesting to see them again now. But the most exciting part will be seeing St. Peterburg for 2 days. Our friend, Denice has arranged a 2 day tour with a private company called Red October for 6 of us which is costing $800 per couple! Quite expensive. But the ship's tours are double that. And, we will have our own van.
Our next posting will be after we have a few more adventures.