Monday, 8 April 2013

Last day of the cruise and Southampton - 15 March 2013

Well today is the last day of the cruise and I can't believe it's gone so quickly.

It has been really good and I thoroughly recommend it.  Especially if you are in a wheelchair and never been on a cruise, it's a great way to travel.

Me at the start of the cruise in Ocean Terminal
That said, I think visits to ports need sorting out.  It isn't necessarily P&O's fault that wheelchair accessible transport isn't available as it is down to the individual country's port authority.  But maybe P&O could put more pressure on these ports to provide the transport.  After all they are getting fares from disabled passengers and it isn't fare not to cater for them as equally as they do for able bodied passengers.

Also the gangplank situation is hair raising if you are in a wheelchair.  Seriously, if the able bodied passengers had to put up with that every time they had to get off the ship, there probably wouldn't be any port stops at all.  What's the answer?  Hmm, I don't know but I'm sure it will involve money and therefore it won't get done anytime soon.  If anyone at P&O would like to experience it for themselves and then work out a solution, that would be my first suggestion.

Today was spent reading (cakes galore!) and eating and last minute packing.

This afternoon Andy and I went to the Footlights Theatre for Andy to listen to a piano player playing classical music.  I read my kindle as it's not really my thing, but it was good from a technical point of view.

No photos of our last meal as I didn't take any.  Be assured, it was delish!!

Southampton - 16 March 2013

The next day we arrived in Southampton.  Andy opened the curtain and we had arrived.  The sky was grey and cloudy ..... no mistaking we had arrived in the United Kingdom.

We got up super early and was up in the Plaza buffet for our last delicious breakfast.  Everyone else was up early too and it was the busiest we'd seen it up there.

Then we went back to the cabin to pick our hand luggage and we had to be out of the cabin before 8am.  So we were out by 7.45am and had to go to Le Club on the 7th deck where all the other disabled passengers were congregated.

There was quite a queue for the lifts what with everyone needing to use them.  Did everyone NEED to use the lifts?  Yes if they were elderly with lots of suitcases but NO if they were fit and younger.  But, of course me and a lot of older people seemed to be left waiting while the younger and fitter squeezed into the available lifts .......

We went there incase we might need assistance getting off the ship.  We didn't so luckily didn't have to wait too long and disembarked by around 9.15am.

We went down with the rest of the passengers back into Ocean Terminal to find the rest of our luggage.

We were so lucky because we didn't have to wait long before Drew, our taxi driver, arrived to take us back home.

I will be back for more tales to tell soon but that is my cruise diary finished with.

Until the next time.  Thanks for stopping by.

Sea Day - 14 March 2013

We wake up to another sunrise.  We get up onto the sun deck early again and enjoy a lovely breakfast.  We really have enjoyed breakfast a lot.  To have such a variety of fruit, all prepared for you, it's a real pleasure.

Spent the morning chilling and reading my kindle.  We sit in the Plaza buffet drinking coffee and watching all the people turning up for a late breakfast.

At lunchtime I discover the curry in the Plaza buffet.  It's been on offer everyday and I've only just discovered it!  It is DELICIOUS, wow I love it.  Then I have plum upside down cake which is also yummylicious.

This afternoon I buy a turquoise top from the ship's Emporium shop.  We see a huge queue for something.  It looks like a queue to one of the dining rooms.  Not more food!  We ask someone who's been in there what is happening.  She informs us we MUST go and check it out.  It is a chocolate sampling session complete with chocolate fountain.  Noooooo.  For once I'm determined not to eat any more.  However .... we decide to join the queue just 'to see' and have a cup of tea.  Yeah, right!  We share a table with a couple called Del and Marley and have a nice chat.

Andy goes and takes some photos of the cakes.  And, of course, we sample some!!!!  Yes, YUM!!!

close up on cakes!!!!
Chocolate fountain
I'm restrained, sort of .... I have two :)

Tonight is the last formal night.

All glammed up

It's a special night because all the chefs who have cooked such fantastic food come out and we all cheer them and wave our napkins at them.

We take pictures of Daniel and Suchin our lovely waiters.

And the Maitre d, Neville who has made sure Andy has had his vegetable menu every night.

Neville with Andy's menu
Setting my baked alaska alight
Chef's parade
Me and Kate
It was a lovely night and we were full up as usual.

Tommorow is our last day at sea.  I can't believe our wonderful holiday is nearly at the end.  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Lisbon - 13 March 2013

We woke to a beautiful sunrise.  Okay our cabin window is a bit dirty!

Up on the sun deck nice and early and sit outside as we sail up the Tagus river to Lisbon.

We got off the ship at 9.30.  The gangplank was the best ever, not steep at all.  We were first in line for the wheelchair friendly shuttle bus (how civilised!!).  I was impressed how organised this port visit was.  There was a friendly rep there to tell us which bus to get on and we didn't have to wait long before we set off. 
Me on the wheelchair friendly bus
The temperature was supposed to be 10C but felt a lot warmer than that.  We were dropped off at Praco da Figueira.  We stopped for a lovely cafe and had the most delicious coffee of our trip.  Oh yes and I had a custard tart which was heaven!  

Andy with a plant growing out of his head
Trying to photograph the cafe behind me
The port and chocolate shop
After buying some coffee and Andy checking out the port, we walk to a pedestrianized area called Rue Augusta.  I buy a t-shirt, sunglasses and a postcard.

We see this cool Mozart 'living statue'.  At first I thought it was all stone statue with Mozart music coming from it.  One of the pigeons wings was mechanised and it was flapping.  Andy was about to take a photo when the man got out and posed with me.

Me and Mozart

Rue Augusta
Another living statue
'Juggling' with balls on a wire
Later we stop for another coffee.  The sun is out and its warm.  We get chatting to Karen and Keith from the cruise.  They tell us the cafe has wifi, yippee!

My new red specs
A man selling sunglasses starts hassling us to buy some 'ray bans' for £25.  I decline, having just bought 3 much cheaper ones from the shop.  After a bit of a haggle I get him down to £10.  Okay I didn't have to buy them but I liked the colour.

After a wander around and a visit to a supermarket to buy some port, we make our way back to the shuttle bus pick up area.  We only had to wait for 15 minutes.

On the coach back to the bus

Graffiti seen from the bus

Seen from the bus
Seen from the bus
Taken from inside the bus
Back at the port building, Andy takes photos of the ceiling which has some interesting things hanging from it!

Back on the ship we get up onto the sundeck 14 for chips, tea and ..... cakes!  And a photo session from the top of the ship overlooking Lisbon.  Very nice and I'd like to visit again.

Near the back of ship
in the Plaza Buffet where we had tea
For dinner tonight I have a feta and watermelon starter with pumpkin seeds.  Then chicken piri piri and then desert - I can't remember what it was called but it was very pretty and tasted yumm!

Lisbon is unfortunately our last port visit.  Tommorow we have a day at sea.  The next two days are days at sea before we arrive back at Southampton.  Thank you for visiting, I'll be back for the next blog post on Monday.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Cadiz - 12 March 2013

Wake up this morning and we have arrived in Cadiz, Spain.  Andy opened the curtains and we were greeted by a drizzly day that looked remarkably like the United Kingdom.

The rain in Spain....
We decided to have a change of breakfast and go to Cafe Jardin.  This time I have fruit followed by pancakes with maple syrup ....... yummmmmmm!

As it's raining outside I have to stay on the ship.  We didn't think to take raincoats on holiday.  And because my sister had visited Cadiz back in January where it was hot and sunny, we expected it to be even hotter in March.  D'oh!

So I go up to deck 14 to read my kindle while Andy goes to do a recce in Cadiz to see what it's like.  Andy returns to say it looks good.

On our way to our cabin we meet a couple of fellow cruisers who are on the same deck as us who offer us their raincoats as they say Cadiz is lovely and we have to check it out.  We plan to go after lunch.

Lunch is in the Adriatic Restuarant for a change.  We meet John and Trish, Dot and Matt and Pat.  A 3 course lunch starting with Cesar salad followed by pasta, feta and black olives.  And then for dessert I had marmalade sponge pudding and grand marnier sauce - it was really delish.  Infact just writing about food is making me hungry again!

After lunch the rain has stopped so we get off the ship.  Getting off the ship is SCARY as I go down the gangplank BACKWARDS!!  Half way down my chair starts to tip up!  I only did it because the man helping me told me to even though I had a feeling it was a BAD idea.  Next time I'm sticking to my survival instincts!!  Anyway I made it down safely in the end even though I nearly died of fright.

Cadiz is lovely!  We walk through a park and can smell orange blossom from the orange trees.

We discover a nice cafe and stay for a coffee.  By now it is feeling a lot warmer.

After we have a wander

Andy taking photos
Beautiful orange trees

Andy in Cadiz
We don't see many shops but find one where I buy a souvenir for a friend.

On the way back Andy spots a cat having a snooze in the park.

It was cool to see the ship towering over the trees through the park.

A bit out of focus
Warmer and now too many clothes

The ship at the end of the street
Going back up the gangplank to the ship wasn't so scary thank goodness.

Made it safely back on board!
Later we sit on deck 7 to watch the ship sail away from Cadiz

Bye Bye Cadiz

We ate a lot of food today and I remember struggling with my dinner.  I think I had italian meatballs with spaghetti.  Anyway I chose a desert I thought was going to be light and fluffy but was actually really rich and heavy so I didn't eat it all.  Mind you as I'd had dessert at lunch time I'm not surprised.

It does look lovely though ...

Chocolate fudge layer
Tomorrow we arrive in Lisbon, Portugal.  Thank you for visiting.