SUEZ CANAL. Wednesday 25th April 2018.

The day of our ANZAC service was also the day we sailed through the Suez Canal. Our second time in one year.

As we took so many photos last year we added only a few this year.

PIRAEUS, GREECE. Friday 27th April 2018

We had decided that we would take the metro into the Plaka area today but a lucky encounter with Belinda and Patrick with an invite to join them for the day meant we got to spend the day with them and their longtime Greek local friend Oreistis.

After meeting us at the train station 3 stops from the port we all jumped in his car and headed to one of The marina’s for coffee and chat before heading on down the coast for spectacular scenery, great company and delicious Greek food.

Back in close to the port we finished the day walking past the fabulous local churches and shops before we walked back to the ship in time for our early sail away.

VALLETTA, MALTA. Sunday 29th April 2018

We enjoyed Malta immensely on our last trip here in 2017 and were very excited to be coming back for another day here.

The sail in and out of Valletta is one of the most spectacular you’ll have.

The island itself is full of rich history and character and just an absolute treat to experience.

We paid 15€ for the hop on hop off bus along with Belinda and Patrick and many others from the ship and headed to Mdina the old walled city high on a hill.

It’s late April and certainly not hot summer yet so we weren’t going to the blue grotto swimming as we had last year.

The Mdina is a beautifully preserved town of great architecture and charm.

We had coffee and cake at the same restaurant we went to last year which is placed on the walls surrounding the town with expansive views. The cold wind drew us inside one of the two glassed in rooms to enjoy the delicious cakes and coffee without loosing the vista.

From the Mdina we walked to Rabat and walked through the catacombs, World War Two shelters and St Paul’s grotto all underneath the church.

We then hopped back on the bus for the blue line trip back to Valletta which took us by countryside and the seaside holiday towns already seeing the first of the tourists.

It gave us a chance to see more of this great island and reiterate that we could easily come here for a longer stay.

Back in Valletta we walked through the town from coast to coast stopping for a few pastizzi and a beer before arriving at the upper battery overlooking the harbour where our ship was docked and enjoyed the view before it once again was time to head back home to the ship.

Malta is magical and if you get the chance to visit definitely do.

Only one stop left before we take the final run to Tilbury and the end of this cruise and the start of our next adventures on land.

Life onboard is still enjoyable and we are still meeting new fellow cruisers everyday.

We are so inspired by the huge amount of travel people we meet have done and planning. It’s great to talk with fellow travel lovers and learn more of the wonders to be seen and experienced on this planet.

GIBRALTAR. Wednesday 2nd May 2018.

We have driven past Gibraltar several times on tours but had never actually been to “The Rock”.

This was our last port call before three days at sea and disembarkation at Tilbury London.

We were expecting cooler weather and dressed appropriately in layers. We ended up with a cool crisp morning and stunning warm, blue sky day to visit this famous town.

What a fabulous surprise to see a beautiful town with super friendly locals whom must be tired of pointing out places to tourists but didn’t seem to let it show.

We only had a short time here and determined to make the most of it we walked into town and straight to the cable car to take us up The Rock.

Glorious views were our reward and with battlements and St Michaels caves to also see up there it was a few great hours of enjoyment. The caves are some of the best we’ve seen and the natural auditorium hosts concerts and other events in what was used as a hospital during WW2.

The Rock also has a glass skywalk which I was brave enough to walk on and is home to many Barbary Macaques monkeys which you have to be careful of as they are known to bite and attack to get food from tourists. Though they seem to be well fed from the amount of food we saw being put out for them by local rangers.

I returned to travel down by cable car and James walked down and headed off to the tunnels, moorish castle and suspension bridge while I had a pleasant wander through the town shops and enjoyed a flat white coffee before returning to the ship for our 2 pm sail away.

Gibraltar was an unexpected delight and would certainly go again.

By the way it’s duty free heaven for those wanting some great alcohol bargains.

1litre gin from £5.

It was pleasant enough to sit at the back of the ship on sunloungers for sail away with a cocktail and a beer.

While I was busy getting ready the trivia team of James, Wendy, Sandy, Phil and Kin won and there’s a Bottle of wine to share. It’s a hotly contested game so kudos for the team to take it out at least once.

The trip is quickly coming to an end and people are making arrangements for last lunches and dinners with new friends they’ve met and contact details are being exchanged left, right and centre as the time to start the packing begins.

This next photo is of Paula,Beryl, Pat and myself. My English mates I met onboard. We sat next to them most days on our sunloungers. They all either live part time or full time in Spain and were great fun.

We have met several English couples whom live in Cornwall and have found another couple who are headed down to Mousehole for a weeks holiday so we should be able to catch up with at least one or two of them whilst down there.


Before we knew it May 6 th arrived and on a stunning blue sky day we landed on the docks of Tilbury London and with lots of goodbyes and hugs we left all our Colombus ship friends and with Patrick and Belinda we called an Uber to take us To Paddington station.

There we parted company and we headed off to catch our train to Penzance, Cornwall and start our next adventure, 20 nights in Mousehole a cute and quaint fishing village.

DUBAI, OMAN, CHEFS TABLE, EGYPT, JORDAN & ANZAC DAY. 14th April – 25th April 2018

DUBAI,UAE. Saturday 14th April 2018.

Sad day today as our friends Karen, Stuart, Robyn and Paul disembarked, after enjoying their company for 7 weeks they will be greatly missed.

We had had a wonderful tour last year of Dubai and as we weren’t having a huge amount of time here this year decided to keep it simple and took the free shuttle to the Dubai mall and spent our day there.

It is of course a tourist destination in itself with not only shops but an aquarium, fountain, hotel and access to the observation deck in the Burj Khalifa.

We were quite happy not to be out braving the heat and enjoyed the good but expensive coffee we had and a chance to get some wifi and catch up on news from home.

It was a pleasant evening for sail away and we got to meet our new table companions.

MUSCAT, OMAN. Sunday 15th April 2018.

Having a late arrival here at 2pm till 8 pm allowed everyone to do their normal morning activities before having midday lunch and getting ready for the afternoon ashore.

We had gone to the shore excursion talk to get an idea of what you could do independently or if a ships tour would be the way to go.

We decided to go off on our own and explore.

Muscat was fabulous we absolutely loved it.

You really felt you were in the Middle East but as Oman is known as one of the safest countries in the world we enjoyed the friendly people, the cleanliness, and the interesting architecture and souks.

We took a long walk to the grand palace enjoying the beautiful waterfront and sights along the way.

We ended up getting a small amount of money then to get a taxi back and get a few cold drinks as well as a few extra to bring on board.

By the time we arrived back to the area closer to the ships port, the souks in Muttrah had fully opened and it was wonderful wandering through with the locals also shopping there. This is a contrast to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul where the locals no longer shop there like they used to.

This is of course a Muslim country so the dress is from slightly modest to the full dress where eyes only shown. But the friendly smiles and Hello and welcome we received was lovely.

There are lots of lovely things to buy if you’re here for shopping as has been the case for most of the stops and it looks like quite a few have done just that.

Rose the lovely English Indian lady who helped me with my sari on the Bollywood night is now up to 9 cases!!

Some of the ship went on dowel cruises which gave them a lovely view from the water of the rugged coastline. The water looked gorgeous and with the mountains behind the whitewash buildings of the town made for great photos.

Having no expectations we were thrilled to have enjoyed this lovely port of call as much as we did.

CHEFS TABLE, Tuesday 17th April 2018.

With a six day stretch of sea days we decided to treat ourselves with the degustation dinner with wines otherwise known as the chefs table.

We met our table companions at 6:30 pm in the library and were all given a glass of sparkling and a canapé with a run down of the evening before we all went for a tour of The galley.

As it was dinner time they were working in the galley and we got to see it in full production. A great experience for us all.

Taking the escalator back up to the dining room and our little alcove area especially designated for the Chefs table dining nights the full experience began.

More champagne, several different whites, a red and dessert wine all accompanied the nine courses plus petit fours with coffee/ tea to finish.

The courses were magnificent and much more than the bite size tastes we were expecting.

The company was great and a memorable evening was had by all.

SAFAGA, EGYPT. Sunday 22nd April 2018.

Our first port of call after 6 sea days where the day before on the 21st we celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s birthday with games on deck and buffet lunch outside as well.

We had booked to go to Luxor, The Karnak temple and the valley of The kings.

It entailed a very early start, on the bus by 5:15am and a long drive to Luxor.

Along the way the first few hours was mostly desert but once we started getting closer to Luxor we passed more townships which would have been great to stop to get some great real life photos.

There were plenty of checkpoints to go through and I don’t think I’ve had my bag scanned as many times ever as we did today.

There were some incredible scenes of everyday life and some really strange ones where police or military are carrying huge guns but they’re smiling and waving at you.

The security measures were pretty significant and they certainly have plenty of people in each of the security points we passed through.

The kids in particular were smiling and waving madly whether they were riding on the back of a donkey drawn trailer, motor bike or just walking down the street.

Our first big stop was at Karnak temple, just incredible, couldn’t stay as long as you really need to to do it justice but we will look at our photos and remember the spectacular remains of this place forever.

It was added onto over a period of 700 years staring 1900 bc with each Pharaoh wanting to leave his stamp.

To have seen it when it was standing complete and without destruction must have been an overwhelming sight as it’s still awesome now.

A buffet lunch at a lovely hotel overlooking the Nile was next and we enjoyed going and watching the Nile with the dry arid mountains in the background and the lush vegetation on the river banks as sailing ships passed by.

It was hard to believe we were actually in Egypt it felt surreal.

Of course everyone on the 9-10 coaches we had going on this trip were all looking forward to the valley of the kings and it didn’t disappoint.

We actually went into Tut Anhk Amuns tomb and though we weren’t allowed to take photos we saw his mummified body and sarcophagus .

Some of the tombs were just beautiful with their rich colours and amazing paintings and hieroglyphics.

We visited the tombs of Rameses the 4th and 9th and the tomb and sarcophagus of Siptah.

What a once in a lifetime experience we had and as we drove back to the ship we enjoyed the street scenes once again while also having a few sleeps.

Two weeks till we disembark!!

AQABA, JORDAN. Monday 23rd April 2018.

Last night we had to put our clocks forward not backwards which meant two big days in a row for those undertaking Petra today. Luckily we were lucky to have enjoyed the magic of Petra last year from The Sea Princess.

The ship had organised a shuttle into Aqaba town so we hopped on and visited the information centre along with a few others.

We partnered up with Belinda and Patrick ( a husband and wife team of intrepid travellers who make our own travels so far look pretty lame) and grabbed a taxi to South beach to have a snorkel in the Red Sea.

The wind was a bit high and the sea a bit cooler than expected which kept the boys on land but Belinda and I had a nice little snorkel before we headed for to a hotel for Jordanian coffee, reminiscent of a Turkish brew.

They had brilliant wifi so we all took the chance to catch up news from home and post a few photos before we headed back to town centre for a wander and an amazing local lunch of all things delicious, hummus, lamb, falafel, tabouleh, pita bread, pickled vegetables, and some other dishes and I enjoyed a glass of lemon, mint juice.

From there we walked to the Kepinski hotel the poshest hotel around and after they took a copy of our passports and informed us we weren’t allowed to use the beach we did exactly that…. the boys ordered one beer each and we spent the afternoon under a brolly on sunloungers relaxing, swimming in their private beach as we enjoyed their beach towels, free water bottles that they bought around and ice cold watermelon on sticks and nuts. Before we sat in their hot spa tub and infinity pool before we were then asked to leave. Oh well we were just going anyway.

After another walk around the town we caught the shuttle back to ship in time to shower and change ready for our 8pm dinner sitting.

Three days at sea including the transit of The Suez Canal and I believe they maybe putting on a dawn service that morning which will be the 25 th for our ANZAC day.

The temperatures have started to drop into the 20s now and we know the lounging by the pool days are probably coming to an end soon. Well it’s been great while it’s lasted and the seas have been so calm from Sydney we could be on a lake.

we did indeed have an ANZAC day service. It was very well organised and MC’d by the ships entertainment director Tony.

Australians and New Zealand filled the theatre early morning and some were given leading roles in a very dignified and emotional service, ending with wreaths placed in the pool on deck.

SRI LANKA and INDIA. 6th- 10th April 2018

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, Friday 6th April.

Having been to Colombo last year and doing the highlights tour where we still laugh about the lack of, we decided to book a ships tour that would take us out of the city and chose to go to Kandy and the temple of the tooth.

This ended up being a very long day 13 hours with too many hours spent driving and not enough stops. But what we did do we thoroughly enjoyed.

The Kandy botanical gardens were superb. Including a stunning display of orchids.

as was the lunch at the Hotel Suisse, a beautiful old colonial style hotel where we also looked through a suite of rooms. The buffet lunch was jaw dropping in the amount of variety and quantity, everyone enjoyed this sumptuous luncheon stop.

We also went to the temple of the tooth, apparently the tooth of Buddha. Elaborate and interesting story told in art works around the walls and of course the gold altar as is usual in these temples.

Our last stop was the pre requisite shopping stop for herbs and spices with a quick demonstration on the properties of each cream, oil or medicine. All some kind of miracle cure for all of life’s ailments as sworn by at each of these stops in every country you visit.

The drive although far too long for the amount of visiting time was an interesting look at villages and the countryside. We saw elephants walking down the Main Street of one village. Shanty shacks, more elaborate mansion estates, people shopping, working in fields, and generally going about their everyday lives just what you hope to see.

We were also fortunate that the bus wasn’t full so when you wanted to have a snooze you could fully recline your seat and have a little nap, and these seats really did recline a fair way.

They held the buffet dinner over for the tours that came in late, ours was an hour over the scheduled time and we managed to sit out on open deck for sail away and the deck music party.

These deck parties have been well attended and been a huge success for everyone as the entertainment has been good and lots up dancing going on and the weather has been perfect for such events.

A day to relax before we finally get to India which was the country most reasonable for shortening our cruise due to visa hassles.

COCHIN, INDIA, Sunday 8th April 2018.

We finally made it to India!

We had arranged to go off the ship with Karen and Stuart and had a plan of action to grab a ferry to Cochin Fort area, but like all plans open for change.

And as we walked towards the ferry terminal we were offered a U.S $2 tuk tuk ride to Cochin fort so we decided that each couple would take a tuk tuk there. On the way we stopped at an ATM machine and the negotiation began for a whole day package. we ended up agreeing to pay US $10 a day for each tuk tuk and they would take us to an area where we could get a backwater boat trip as well as sightseeing elsewhere.

Of course we ended up having our boat ride with someone they get a payment from but we had an interesting one and a half hours touring the water ways leading into the city.

Absolutely disgusting what’s going into the water and unbelievable that people were swimming and fishing in this polluted waterway.

The rubbish is beyond belief. But we saw a side of life we wouldn’t any other way and birds and wildlife that meant the water was still viable, though not sure how.

From there we said we wanted to go to the fort Cochin area and have a coffee. This is when it got interesting and annoying. They took us to a hotel with a cafe, no doubt another someone they knew and there wasn’t an espresso machine to be seen. They wanted to serve Nescafé instant coffee, umm no thanks.

Stuart and Karen have an overseas roaming package and he quickly searched on line and showed them somewhere where it looked we could get a real coffee.

On the way they stopped at this shopping bazaar, we’re saying no we want coffee, ( here first then coffee) this became the theme for the day, they get a payment for bringing customers even if we don’t buy. By the third time we were all over it. Told them we weren’t happy, we’re not doing what we want, but what you want us to do. Let’s say in the end we over rode them when they had suggested places and gave them the opportunity to be paid off early, which they declined.

We ended up having a great day but we learnt what to do with the tuk tuk drivers when we arrive in Mumbai so it was a great learning curve.

Over the day we stopped at a Buddhist temple to watch a wedding gathering and another wedding at the large Catholic Church also. The saris were magnificent.

We saw the Chinese fishing nets and the old colonial style town surrounding Cochin Fort, enjoyed a lovely lunch at the East India hotel and cafe.

And had a few beers in a beautiful hotel garden in Cochin, which weren’t cheap but the serenity was worth it.

We visited the Dutch museum and strolled down streets looking at the stores and market stalls.

Back at the ship by 4:30 for a shower and swim poolside before dinner and very entertaining show by an English comedienne and singer.

One Sea day to relax before we tackle Mumbai.

MUMBAI, INDIA. Tuesday 10th April 2018.

We so expected this to be crazy, mad and chockablock full of people and in some ways it was, but not to the extent we thought it would be. It was vibrant, quirky, full of contradictions and I absolutely loved it.

We walked off the ship about 20 past 8 in the morning and walked back on at 8 pm.

We again arranged to tackle Mumbai with Karen and Stuart and they have proved to be great company and Stuart is awesome at map reading, as an occasional Uber driver he has the map thing sussed out.

We caught a cab to the gates of India which in fairness we could have walked but didn’t realise it was that close.

Of course we had to go through the typical up sell spiel from the taxi driver, but we stuck to our game plan learnt from our experience in Cochin.

He even tried to rush off to buy our launch tickets to Elephante island which he told us were 1000 rupees, again he was quickly told no. Turns out the tickets were 200 rupees for the return trip. You have to be on guard all the time which is another reason having two couples took the stress out of the day.

We took photos of the impressive waterfront before boarding our ferry to Elephante island.

We had a great couple of hours here, walking up the many steps to the caves with little stores lining the steps.

The first cave is by far the most impressive and alone made the trip over worth it.

There are lots of monkeys living on the island and they’re always a great time waster watching them playing and grabbing water bottles and opening them for a drink and of course the little babies clinging on are adorable.

We climbed cannon supposedly for the view but the smog is just like a gauzy curtain over the distant city.

We have been surprised to see dolphins both here and in Cochin considering the water quality.

The ferry ride back was a nice relax from the heat and the vista coming back into the Gateway of India is impressive with the profuse amount of bright coloured local boats in the foreground and the stunning fascade of The Taj Mahal Mumbai palace hotel in the background.

It was to the hotel we planned our next stop and after walking through and deciding we were too hungry to wait for afternoon tea settled for a magnificent lunch in the air conditioning and lovely interior of one of the hotels restaurants.

We paid more than we expected to but we all have a great memory and it was another pleasant oasis from the heat.

From there we walked around the streets for a bit looking at what the shops held and Karen spied a shop selling saris for 170 rupees ( about $3.40Aus) so I managed to get one for the Bollywood deck sail away party.

We decided we would use Uber for the rest of our car rides and took one out to see the large outdoor laundries where only the men work and a large population lives there in quite substandard conditions.

From there we ubered to the train station which is a magnificent building and like a lot of the older architecture here is beautiful and we wanted to take some photos of the buildings that we had past by in the car on the way to the laundries.

As the train station was only a couple of kilometres from the port we decided to walk back having some great photo opportunities and enjoying the everyday scenes of life in Mumbai.

We stopped at a great cafe/ restaurant/ bar for happy hour beers, snacks and free wifi.

It was dark as we walked back to the ship which gave the city a different feel and once back it was a quick shower to get to the restaurant for dinner before going back to our cabin so I could try and remember the lesson the woman gave me at the shop on how to wear it.

I didn’t do too bad but when we got on deck I asked Rose one of the lovely guests on board if she could show me the next day again. She instantly offered to help me then and there and she told me they look better with a skirt underneath whereas I only had a petticoat, anyway she rewrapped it and made it all look easy but I think there’s a bit of practice for me before I feel confident.

The ship put on a huge Indian buffet late supper on deck but we were too full from dinner which even then we didn’t eat that much. In the heat it’s liquid that you most crave.

We thoroughly enjoyed our first taste of India and I look forward to coming again for a more in-depth time.

We have three days at sea before Dubai where we will unfortunately have to sadly say goodbye to our table mates and friends Karen, Stuart, Robyn and Paul as well as quite a few other new friends we’ve made on board.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed their company and have had lots of laughs. The wonderful thing about these longer voyages is that you have time to bond with people as no ones is rushing off except to the activities they choose to.

The ship sails from Dubai with a full capacity so lots of new friends to be made for our last three weeks.

We are now entering the area at risk from Somalian pirates. Last year we were on pirate watch and as part of the measures put in place for keeping everyone safe we were on shut down from dusk to dawn with the Window coverings up, and not allowed on open decks at night. We also did a pirate drill.

This year on a different cruise line we’ve been told about the low risk and what to do should we be alerted of any trouble and have been told we have a security team on board for this time we’re in these waters. The captain announced they were doing a practise drill exercise this morning. All quite low key for us passengers and we’ve not been discouraged from being out on deck at night.

THAILAND,SINGAPORE and MALAYSIA. 27th March -2nd April 2018

KOH SAMUI, THAILAND. Tuesday 27th March 2018.

This is my all time favourite Thailand holiday destination and both James and I were excited to be spending a day here.

It’s a tender port and it was 10am before we alighted at Nathon port town and only ten minutes later we were on our hired scooter for the day and headed off to Lamai.

We enjoyed the easy ride there and soon found ourselves back in familiar territory though some businesses had changed and new resorts had sprung up since our last trip here, it still retains it smaller town feel.

I was pleased to see as we rode away later that the same lady selling pad Thai at the night food market was setting up in the same place she has been for at least the ten years it’s been since my first visit here.

We managed a proper coffee before James had a haircut which we followed with a one hour massage before we headed to the beach for lunch at a table on the sand and a swim and relax before it was time to head back to Nathon for a last beer before lining up for a tender back to ship.

It was a very hot day and I think the ship’s showers would have all had a good work out as everyone returned home.

We had a quick recognisance while we were in Lamai for accommodation that would give us a good monthly rate should we decide to do this maybe next year. We found a couple of potential places so would be happy to wing it when we arrived another time.

It’s beautiful beach and unhurried and less populated town continues to attract us.

LAEM CHABANG, for PATTAYA, THAILAND. Wednesday 28th March 2018.

We had arranged to share transport with Paul and Robyn to Pattaya and we managed to be some of the first off the ship with Karen and Stuart just behind us whom were heading off on a long day private tour.

We scored a private car and driver for 600 baht each way ( about $12 per couple) which was a fair price considering it’s about 40 kms away. We organised a return pick up time and waved him off from our drop off point at The Hilton hotel and all sat down at Starbucks for a coffee, wifi fix and look at the maps we had picked up from The Hilton concierge desk.

What can I say about Pattaya!! Well I’m glad I’ve been and it was only for a day visit. It’s crowded, dirty, hot, sticky and with a thriving night club and sex trade not our kind of place. The beach was full of boats offering para sailing and the water didn’t look like anything I’d want to swim in. Apparently just two years ago the beach was able to have sunloungers and brollies out. It would appear weather has eroded the beach.

James and I headed off for a walk around to the point to see if around from there, there might be a nicer beach area.

We had to stroll down the area called “ the walking street” full of strip clubs, night clubs and seedy looking characters, before we managed to get around past the large Pattaya City sign on the hill and find a little quiet rocky bay with a patch of sand and some large trees for shade where we camped out for a couple of hours reading our books and snoozing enjoying the sea breeze which was a welcome relief from the dirty sticky sweaty heat the town offered.

On our return trip we stopped for a cold lemonade at McDonald’s where we could wash our hands and face as well.

We did find a covered local food market area where they had refrigeration and had a lovely freshly cooked lunch of two meals for 120 baht. Plus two large beers for another 140 baht.

Finding a busy and clean looking massage business we had a one hour massage each before heading back to our pick up point for our ride home.

We managed to make the most of our day in Pattaya but won’t be returning by choice.

Two sea days before Singapore 🇸🇬. Which will also mark halfway on our ten week trip.

SINGAPORE, Saturday 31st March 2018.

A very pleasant surprise to find we were docked next to Sentosa Island making our decision of what we would do for the day all the easier. Having spent time in Singapore in 2015 we didn’t need to do the run around in a day to see everything.

We went and bought an unlimited cable ride ticket that also gave us two attractions to choose from.

It’s a fantastic cable ride over our ship to the island and we had a great day. We thoroughly enjoyed our chosen bus ride around the island as one of our included attractions and even better we ended up being the only two on the bus so private tour with the guide providing a great commentary and giving us tips of what to do with our day.

After the bus we took the cable back down to Sentosa fort where we spent a really entertaining and informative time with their interactive displays. Well worth a visit.

A lot on the island is free so families have an opportunity to spend a day out without spending huge amounts. Though there is Universal fun park and a water park that seemed popular with lots of people.

We decided to go back to the ship to get our swimmers so we could spend the mid afternoon at the beach on Sentosa. We used the trip back to eat a quick lunch on board as well.

We had a very pleasant and relaxing day pottering around Sentosa and the sail away was very attractive with all the lights from on land and on the boats all in the straits.

PORT KLANG, MALAYSIA. Sunday 1st April 2018.

This is our first time to Malaysia and we’ve been looking forward to getting a small taste to see if we’d like to return.

First thing we noticed is that it seemed more affluent than some other Asian countries we’ve been to.

We managed to get on a ship tour with a glimpse of Kuala Lumpa at the last moment as our docking time was so short this was we felt the safest way to see a little something.

The ride into K.L took just over an hour o nice to see the out skirts of the city and our first stop was just a photo opportunity of the Grand Palace before we went onto a lovely garden and fantastic statue at the cities cenotaph. The statue designed by an Australian was impressive as were the gardens surrounding it.

On then to the city and a nice walk around the cultural hub , British colonial mixing with moorish style mosques and temples gives you a glimpse of this multicultural city and country.

Muslim, Chinese and Indian living in harmony with each other still following their traditions and giving the country a great character and feel.

We went to the famous Petronis towers built with the input of The Japanese for one tower and the South Koreans the other.

Back to the port and a bit of wifi before boarding for our 7 pm sail away.

A toast at dinner to celebrate what would have been James mum Doreen’s 88 birthday.

PENANG, MALAYSIA. Monday 2nd April 2018

We didn’t book any tours for here as the port is right at Georgetown and plenty to do in the surrounding area.

We hopped on the free local bus and it was great to see the local area with Little India and China town also here as they were in K.L.

We got off in the historical centre and even though the heat was intense we really loved walking around seeing all the old buildings, lovely little shops and the street art which is a big factor around this area.


We walked around a few temples and a mosque as well as the Chan piers where the houses and shops were on stilts over the water.

We had a great coffee in a lovely cafe and enjoyed fruit smoothies as we walked around before heading back to the original cafe for a shared nasi goreng and banana fritters and ice cream, delicious 😋.

After taking the free bus back to closer to the port we walked past the Cornwallis fort and surrounds before enjoying a little snooze under a tree canopy at a local park.

With still nearly three hours before we needed to be back on board we grabbed a taxi and drove to one of the more well known beach areas where we had a swim. Our driver waited for us and we had an interesting chat while we drove back getting a good idea of that part of the island as well.

We spent the last of our ringette at the local grocery shop before boarding and relishing the relief of a shower and clean clothes after the sticky heat of our day out.

Sad that our friends from our Christmas tour weren’t able to meet up as they had to go to their Grandmas funeral. We will have to come back to catch up with Sen and Anna in happier times for them.

We now have three days at sea before Colombo, Sri Lanka.

SHANGHAI, HONG KONG, CHAN MAY and PHU MY. 15th-25th March 2018.

SHANGHAI, CHINA, Thursday 15th-Saturday 17th March 2018

As we sailed towards our next port of call Shanghai the weather began to cool and the time on deck was shortened with just a few good hours of warmth in each day.

We woke on the 15th with the ship docking early in the morning around 2:30 am to find ourselves surrounded by incredible skyscrapers of all shapes as we are right in the hub of the city on the Yangtze River.

What an amazing sight and lots of surprised people like ourselves staring at the incredulous skyline around us.

We had booked a Best of Shanghai tour for our first day and it was early starts to clear immigration and get on our tour buses.

We had a great day visiting the Jade Buddha temple, old Shanghai and bazaar, the gardens a nice included lunch and a silk factory.

Pretty tired when we returned to the ship but we were keen to get on top deck to see the surrounding skyscrapers with their night lights on and watch the colourful lit up river cruise boats as they floated up and down past us for their dinner cruises.

It was time for dinner and recap of our day with Paul and Robyn before we all headed to our cabins for a semi early night as we all had tours booked for the next morning.

Our other dinner companions Karen and Stuart had departed for two nights staying onshore to explore on their own so we will look forward to hearing about their adventures when they reboard before our sail away.

Our second day adventure started with a fast elevator up to the 88 th floor of the Jinmao observatory for a fabulous view over Shanghai.

We were disappointed to find that today’s tour actually revisited several of our stops from the day before but we made the most of them by taking a chance to go further scouting around some of the better places by not joining the guide on a couple of repeated walks.

We enjoyed a lovely meal at the Grand Hyatt with our friendly small group of 15 tour members for lunch before finishing off at The people’s park and surrounds before it was time to return to the ship.

For a city with such a large population we have been surprised not to feel surrounded by masses of people and genuinely can’t believe how peaceful lots of places have been.

Our last day in Shanghai and with a 2 pm departure we had a great tour which included a trip on the worlds fastest train ride, the one to the airport which gets up to 430 kms an hour. They go this speed for two periods of time during the day and the rest of the day it travels along at a leisurely 300 kms ph

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the experience before we headed off to the top of the tower again, ( unfortunately there seemed to be quite a bit of overlapping on the tours provided) after that we stopped for a walk around the circular bridge that hovers over a Main Street intersection and allows for some magnificent views of the tv tower and highest skyscrapers. One thing we have constantly been impressed with here is the gardens and trees planted all through the city.

We have really enjoyed our time here and would definitely not be adverse to coming back.

We also along with a lot of the ship watched with awe the buildings, boat building and other happenings as we sailed out into the mouth of the ocean. The scene went on and on and this was when you really got the scope of how big Shanghai is. What an incredible and surprising place it is.

Next it’s two days at sea before we arrive at Hong Kong and we will say goodbye to a few of the lovely people we have met on board.

We also will look forward to the weather warming up again after getting out our thermals for the last few days.

We enjoyed a champagne toast to celebrate my dad Douglas as he turned 90 today the 17th, St Patrick’s day.

HONG KONG, Tuesday 20th to Wednesday 21st March 2018.

Having spent time here in November 2017 we didn’t have to feel rushed or under pressure to see it all in two days which with myself Jacquie harbouring a cold was just as well. Medicating myself up I was able to keep up with the little schedule we picked for ourselves.

The port provided a shuttle into the city from the cruise terminal which is the old airport and from there we took the underground to admiralty station on Hong Kong island and walked to Hong Kong park where we had visited in November but too late in the day for the aviary to be open so we wanted to tick that off. This is a lovely park and very close to the tram up to The Peak.

We had taken an Uber up and bus down last time so purchased our return tickets on the tram and headed up for the great ride that it is. I’m not sure at what degree the angle is but be sure it keeps you pushed to the back of your seat.

We did the reverse walk around the mountain when we reached the top and enjoyed it every bit as much as last time and wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a traditional walk each time we return to Hong Kong.

When we returned to the Diamond Hill station and shopping complex before grabbing the shuttle back to the ship James managed to pick up a couple of tee shirts at Uniqlo.

We had dinner with Paul and Robyn as Stuart and Karen had again taken the opportunity to hotel it in the city for the night and as it was Paul’s birthday we had a sparkling or two to celebrate and shared the birthday cake the ship provided along with the crew singing happy birthday as well.

As we had another port day to follow we headed to bed after dinner which to be fair doesn’t finish till almost 10 pm as our sitting is 8 pm.

The next morning we once again took the shuttle in and right across from Diamond Hill station is the gorgeous gardens and nunnery.

Truly worth a visit, they came recommended and didn’t disappoint. Get there early for a leisurely stroll with less people.

The nunnery doesn’t allow for photos inside the buildings which is a shame but understandable but the Buddha’s are gorgeous as are the flowering lotus’s in the pools.

We decided to purchase a few accessories for my phone and glad we did this in Hong Kong where English is still spoken, though not as widespread as it once was. The staff were able to walk us through The apps and instructions needed for what I wanted and we went off happy.

Spent our last money on a few treats to take on our future shore excursions and left the city after another pleasant visit.

Dinner was a great catch up hearing each other’s stories of their time spent and we watched the late show guest comedienne as we had a Sea day the next day.

We lost quite a few passengers at Hong Kong and welcomed on a new batch of friends to share our cruise with and we said hello to our new neighbours Jennifer and Paul from Queensland and chatted to another new couple in the gym Vicky and Mark also from Queensland and we were able to introduce them to our dinner companions when they walked past later that evening.

There’s only one Sea day till we arrive in Chan May, Vietnam for the first of our two stops there.

CHAN MAY, VIETNAM Friday 23rd March 2018.

This is our first visit ever to Vietnam and we have been looking forward to it immensely as it’s been on our “ want to go to “ list for some time. In the past when it’s come up our dollar had been quite strong so we had decided to keep returning to Europe and the last couple of years we had other things booked including our first world cruise so knowing this cruise had several stops in Vietnam was one of the reasons we had persevered with the booking and visa hassles.

We had a ships tour booked to Hoi An along with Karen and Stuart so we met beforehand to get on the same bus.

It’s always good when the tour means driving through the countryside and several towns as you get a feel for the place.

We drove past Marble beach a.k.a China beach from the war that the Vietnamese call the American war.

Hoi An is a gem and apart from hawkers every few steps wanting to sell wares it’s an incredibly easy town to be in. After our tour with the guide we spent our free time walking the markets including the local fresh food and seafood before finding a lovely cafe that made an excellent flat white and sat watching the world pass us by.

Lunch was quite a ride away but an extensive buffet was offered in a lovely river front setting.

It was a late lunch and afterwards it was just the drive back to the ship with a stop at the beach for a few photos as we had an early sail away at 6pm and in fact we slipped off about ten minutes early.

PHU MY, VIETNAM. Sunday 25th March 2018.

What an awesome day we had here and big thanks to Karen and Stuart whom had booked a private tour which had room for several others so when they offered, we jumped at it.

Xuan and his driver met us at the port entrance and after quick introductions we boarded the very spacious and comfortable van for our incredible day.

Xuan is a delightful young man of 27 who has taught him self English online and by utube. We could understand most of what he said except when he got excited and talked quickly.

He had a great itinerary planned with room for changes so we were able to forgo going to a temple and do a walk around Saigon ( Ho Chi Min) in the afternoon.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We headed off to see the Cu Chi tunnels which was a long drive as our ship was docked a fair way from the city but, Xuan filled the time with lots of information and pointed out lots of interesting facts about local life which we were grateful to find out about.

We drove through the middle of Saigon and though Xuan said it was quieter as it being a Sunday the colossal amount of motor scooters we witnessed and the hair raising driving at the intersections was entertainment enough till we got to the tunnels.

Xuan with his knowledge made sure that we really experienced as much as possible at this site.

What can you say about this piece of history that all those of our era and older have heard about, except it was mind blowing, the incredible spirit to survive and the cunning needed to ensure this was shown to us over and over as we witnessed the magnitude of the tunnels used to not only get around in, but the forced need to live underground with the surface area wiped out by agent orange and napalm. The building of wells, traps for their enemy, hospitals underground where women had to also give birth and raise children. After crawling around only 20 metres through one tunnel we emerged hot, sweaty and puffing as though we’d been in a race.

How anyone existed for the years they were forced to do this for is totally a study of mans resilience and survival instinct.

After an ice cream break we headed into the city and Xuan took us to an incredible restaurant for lunch. Nothing beats having a local help you order and teach you how to eat the delightful array of dishes we had. By far I think our favourite was the seafood hot pot with its delicious soup that Karen and I would have happily bottled and bought back to the ship to finish later.

No one left hungry and we all had a couple of beers so at just over $20 a head we left smiling and ready to explore more.

Our next stop was the war museum.

All I’m going to say about this stop was that it was compelling but the most heart wrenching story told by photos that I’ve ever witnessed, in easy comparison to images of concentration camp survivors but somehow worse were the photos of the deformities caused by agent orange on children born of survivors both Vietnamese and opposing soldiers.

There was no way I could take any photos it was just too emotional and almost disrespectful to do so. It will stay with us all for a long time.

There are a couple of famous photos that most will remember from the Vietnam war with America. One is the photo of the Napalm girl and the other is the shot of the last helicopter leaving Saigon from the top of the CIA building.

Xuan knew a guy who was able to allow us access to the rooftop and we got great shots of ourselves at this historic site.

Apparently the building is scheduled for demolition and this piece of history will be lost.

We had a walk through the city seeing the post office and Catholic Church and then enjoyed a delicious coffee before it was time to take the 90 minute trip back to port.

We had almost 11 hours of touring and we were surprised how we were all still awake enough to head for our 8 pm dinner but we did, although I was well ready for bed afterwards, still harbouring the last of a cold I’ve picked up.

Vietnam was everything we hoped and we will definitely have it on our return visit list.

We have one day at sea before we anchor at one of our favourite places Koh Samui, Thailand.

COLOMBUS CRUISE, SYDNEY to LONDON 10 weeks 24th Feb -6th May 2018



Right from the start I want to say in all honesty we didn’t mind loosing the first seven weeks of this cruise as it gave us a chance to spend time catching up with family and friends. I still could have stayed longer to spend more time with the kids who lead such busy lives time is always hard to find to share lots of good quality time together.

So this time out was a bonus and we will make sure our scheduled visits home in the future allow for longer time frames.

We boarded at White Bay and found our cabin to be in both a good spot in the middle of the ship ( good for me with my tendency for seasickness) and a good size. We packed backpacks each for this trip with an extra shopping bag full of books and an emergency folding duffle full of toiletries.


Having ample hanging space and drawers we quickly had things away and backpacks stored under the bed.

We did the requisite walk through the ship and were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the refitted public areas. Lovely bright and open bars where live music is played and two good sized pools on the main open deck.

The gym was perfectly placed on the 2nd deck which for me is fantastic. Little movement there means I’m likely to get there more frequently.

We have made a decision at this point to not drink at all or very rarely on this trip. Having travelled for over nine months now it’s time to pull the “this is a lifestyle” not a full on holiday of indulgence 24/7 and reign in the bad holiday, habits. we both want to walk off fitter than we have been lately.

I’m sure a few drinks will be had but we’re trying to keep it to the minimum.

Over the next few days we settled into life at sea and after a couple of sleep ins began getting up earlier and doing our exercise thing after a quick coffee one floor up at the Plantation restaurant I started walking the circuit with a group and James headed to Pilates. This followed by breakfast and a session at the gym meant we were starting on the right foot.

The rest of the day while the weathers been pleasant is spent poolside on a lounger in the shade reading and snoozing.

Dinner is at 8 pm and after sitting on our own for two nights with no shows from whom ever was supposed to be sharing our table we happily accepted an invitation to join Robyn,Paul, Stuart and Karen at their table.

This has ensured great starts to our evenings and often we all go onto the 10 pm show from there together.

We have continued to be surprised by the difference at the attendance of people out late each night compared with our last cruise. For a ship of mostly over 50s they’re a party crowd and the bars are well attended till very late. Even the parties which haven’t started till 10 or 11 pm have been well patronised including the 60s night held on top deck.

YORKYS KNOB: Wednesday 28th February.


Our first port of call and we were SOOO EXCITED to be met by the fabulous Ms Julie whom we had met onboard our World cruise 2017, along with her husband Matt they had been part of our family of friends till they left us at Dover, but the powers of Facebook meant we had kept in touch and here we were reunited for a fantastic day of a personal tour of Cairns and surrounds.

We first drove to Palm Cove a gorgeous seaside area reminiscent of Noosa and met up with her brother Michael whom joined us for some of the day and as we drank coffee in a local cafe we listened as the days plan began to unfold.


A coastal drive up to Ellis beach gave us views of the long stretch of coastline that goes to Port Douglas and beyond.

It’s beautiful country where the rain forest meets the sea.

White sand and inviting blue water gives you that idyllic tropical view but deadly repercussions should you dare swim in those waters from September till end of April.

Giving the nippers surf clubs up this way the normally “out of season” “in season”.

We took a short side trip to Smithfield shopping centre for us to pick up a few things and we drove on up to visually attractive town of Kuranda and stunning Bowen falls before heading to Julie and Matt’s stunning home for a little “scan” ( senior citizens afternoon nap) of around 20 minutes on their comfy outdoor lounges overlooking their pool and magnificent views to the hinterlands beyond.

Julie dropped us off in Cairns as she had to do a short 1 1/2 hour stint at work. We had a walk around the seafront shopping area and had a drink with Julie and her delightful daughter Cassidy when they came back to reclaim us.

What a wonderful day we had and from the sounds of everyone else’s story I think we had the best day. Look forward to taking our caravan up that way and poking around this gorgeous area in a much more in-depth way.

I confess I was a bit teary saying goodbye, good friends are just the best.

The next few days on the ship we met more people, kept up my morning walk and James his Pilates but changed our gym to late afternoon and made more use of those sun loungers .



We looked forward to meeting James cousin’s daughter Nadine in Darwin who had offered to pick us up and show us her home town even though she had never met us before. What a lovely gesture and what a lovely person she is.

We really felt immediately relaxed in her company and we went into town for a coffee and chat about what we’d do that day.

As we drove all around Darwin we were impressed with the many public green areas some teeming with kangaroos. Had a stop at the museum to go through the Cyclone Tracy exhibit and other great exhibits including some awesome art. We enjoyed lunch on the waterfront at one of the marine clubs after looking at some beautiful homes on the waterways very reminiscent of the Gold Coast and Mooloolaba areas.

Another stop at K Mart to pick up a few last things we felt we needed to make our cabin stay more comfortable. A lovely walk through the botanical gardens and before we knew we had come to the time to say thank you and goodbye till next time to Nadine.

Our next stop will be Komodo Island and a visit onshore to see those mighty dragons the islands famous for.

KAMODO ISLAND, Wednesday 7th March 2018


We were taking a ships tour today for the Dragon experience and although it was fantastic to see the Dragons up close and a lovely walk through the forest I wish I had checked out private tours as there is a lot more to this gorgeous island paradise than it’s namesake monster lizards.


It is beautiful here, lots on very green undulating hills, beaches and marine life to enjoy as well.

I would definitely consider a tour here for more time to enjoy it all.

It’s exceedingly hot today and as our tour only was for a few hours we have plonked our selves poolside hiding in the shade with frequent pool time.

The Dragons are an incredible story of survival as the likelihood of making it to adulthood is extremely difficult what with predators after them from the time they’re just an egg till they’re hatched and growing to adulthood and not just other animal predators but they’re cannibals and even parents will eat their young.

The island is home to humans as well and of course you have to walk the gauntlet of store holders wanting you to buy. Sadly if they left you to look at leisure you would be more inclined to stop and peruse. James did want a tank top for the gym but they were quoting ridiculous prices even with bartering would have been way too overpriced and the shirt ended up being bought at our next stop Manila.

Sailing away through the beautiful waters with glorious green islands was stunning and a real highlight.


The ship life is continuing to agree with us and we’ve had pretty smooth sailing.

Our dinner companions are great company and the shows at night have been enjoyable.

Drinks packages on here have been very reasonable and they’ve captured quite a few purchasers and probably one of the reasons the bars are busy and full till late.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES, Sunday 11th March 2018.


We arranged to be picked up by Ronnie at The Manila hotel which was just off the port we were docked at for our stay in the city.

Ronnie was our room steward during our world cruise in 2017 and James and he have kept in contact via Facebook.

We were delighted and thrilled to be invited to his home to meet his family including his wife Tina and their two daughters, son in law and brand new grand daughter.


We were welcomed into their home and given lunch before we walked around to their friends home where the son was celebrating his 21 st birthday with karaoke which had we stayed later would have got louder I’m sure as more friends were expected to arrive as the afternoon wore on into the evening.

Not knowing we were coming they certainly didn’t blink an eye and made us very welcome. Opening wine for us and bringing out different dishes for us to try.

Not wanting Ronnie to have to leave the party to drive us back we grabbed a Grab and headed to the Robinsons shopping mall where the ship had organised a shuttle from.

James bought that tank singlet and a real coffee before we took the shuttle back to the ship and a lovely warm evening on deck as the three main male singers entertained everyone as we sailed out of the harbour and started our journey to Shanghai China.

We had had a great day and as we drove through the city and suburbs we got a good view and tour by Ronnie. There’s a lot more to see here and who knows there may be another time to explore more.

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