Sunday, March 21, 2010

Athena cruise to UK

Athena Once Again

We have been remiss about updating our blog, but then you know how it is, transfers, hotels, unpacking and sitting by the pool and lest we forget, breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and late night snack, it is hard to find the time to write.

We all arrived safe and sound in Perth, which is a beautiful city. Most of us did our own thing. Ewan and I walked to the jetty and then up to the botanical gardens. A steep climb almost needing climbing gear, but the view from the top was spectacular looking down and the city and the Swan River.

By our hotel there was this wonderful Korean restaurant. It was so popular that people were queuing to get in. Needless to say it was authentic and very nice.

The Athena greeted us with open arms. For those of us who sailed with her in November it was like coming home. (That is Colleen, Ewan and I) Many of our friends, Jerry our waiter, Silvo our breakfast waiter and George the cruise director greeted us warmly.

I do believe we are all into the swing of life on board the ship. Poor Lorna found the first day a bit of a challenge but has since found her sea legs and can be spotted at the rear of the ship chatting away.

Of course we must be feed at least ever 2 hours or we will starve to death. The food is lovely. We are, however a fit bunch and everyone is out there every day walking around the beautiful promenade deck. Les and Cherryl have spotted some whales and we had a pod of dolphins following us.
The entertainers on board are all the same as last year and just as amazing.
Everyone was speechless after the performance by Los Paraguayos. Silvio and Alcides are from Paraguay. Silvio is a big teddy bear and what you picture an opera singer to be. His voice, ahh his voice is amazing! He serenades everyone on their birthday- Lucky Dorothy and Clive who celebrated their birthdays on our 2nd day at sea.
Silvio’s partner Alcides is a wonderful musician too. I never knew the harp could be such a versatile instrument. From classical harp to a bass guitar and even a steam train. Really they are a highlight!

Day 4- Amazing entertainment

Christina, a lovely Romanian girl who was on the ship last November sang for us and we were mesmerised. She sang beautifully, even bringing tears to some eyes. Her rendition of Edith Piaf’s “Je Regrette Rien” and “La Vie en Rose” was superbe.

Day 5- Beach Party

After a hot and humid day it was time for a beach party on deck. It was a very hot evening but everyone joined in. We discovered we have some tinkle toes in the group. Norm is a fantastic dancer and keen to give anything a go and so is Clive. Lorna and Robin danced up a storm.
Ewan and Dennis also got up and danced much to Adrienne and Monique’s joy. We were able to practice the moves we have been learning. Everyone had a great time!

Day 6

A very important and memorable day for all.

We crossed the equator!

As per sailing lore King Neptune came aboard and we had to ask permission to sail his seas and get his blessing to do so. It was a long ceremony full of fun and merriment. For all those who have never crossed the equator they had to undergo a special ritual involving being marked by a siren and then being blessing by Neptune himself, which involves being doused with water, kissing a fish having an egg cracked over the head and spaghetti (I’m thinking the spaghetti symbolises sea weed). Neptune is all-powerful as it was raining before the ceremony and when he appeared the rain stopped- just amazing!

Day 7 Singapore

Last night was a special night as Colleen, Angela, Les and Cherryl were invited to dine with the Captain.

An early start, we docked at the cargo terminal, which is about 15 minutes by shuttle to the cruise terminal. The cargo terminal is mind blowing, you get the feeling that every single container in the world is there as well as all of the forklifts and high lift cranes which can lift up to 80 tonnes! It even has streets with traffic lights.

It was of course hot and 85% humidity.

Colleen, Angela, Elaine, Berwyn, Les, Cherryl and Janice joined us on a ½ tour of Singapore including the magnificent orchid garden. It was interesting to see Singaporeans doing their tai chi and exercise. Some did their Tai chi using swords. It was quite beautiful.

We got a brief glimpse of Little Indian and then onto the Colonial part of Singapore and of course ended up in Chinatown, where Colleen, Angela, Elaine, Janice, Ewan and I sampled real Chinese food in to authentic food court.

Our independent travellers seem to have had a great time exploring the city. It seem unanimous that taxis are one of the best ways to get around, fast and inexpensive.

The MRT is very efficient as well. The Cruise Terminal is a stop on the MRT so it is easy to get into Chinatown and Orchard Rd from the terminal. The terminal is also a shopping mall. How convenient!
Shopping… minor shopping successes, shoes, tops, nothing of note. I think we are saving ourselves for Phuket and the other destinations where we hope to find things that are bit more exotic.

Day 8- Day at sea
Life it tough!

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