Sailing the Arabian Sea

Woke up late this morning and once again I didn’t want to go to breakfast.  I still wasn’t feeling well but I have to shake this cold off come what may, certainly before we reach Goa, India, on Monday.  What made it seem even worse was that we’d had to advance our watches by an hour and a half to India time, so we’d effectively lost 90 minutes’ sleep.

Trevor went off at 10 o’clock to listen to a lecture about the Big Bang Theory, but it was after 10:30am when I finally mustered the strength to climb out of my pit.  I got washed and dressed and went out onto the balcony for some fresh air, and to await Trevor’s return.

Meanwhile, we’d picked up some brochures yesterday from the Future Cruises desk, so we looked through them to see what we fancied booking. There was so much to choose from and so many places that we still haven’t been to, but which are on our list.  Not only were Celebrity Cruises being advertised, but also Azamara Club Cruises, who is the sister company of Celebrity (Celebrity is 5-star whereas Azamara is 6-star).  We’ve done an Azamara cruise before, in May 2011, when we went to the French and Italian Riviera and the Monaco Grand Prix on the Azamara Journey.

We eventually picked out two cruises we wanted to book; one in May 2019 and one in October 2019.  In 2009 we had done a transpacific on Holland America’s Volendam, from Seattle to Japan, and had crossed the 180th Meridian (the International Date Line) leading to us going to bed on the evening of Monday, 28th September and waking up the next morning on Wednesday, 30th September – we didn’t exist at all on the 29th!  Since then, I’d wanted to the same or a similar cruise in reverse, thereby repeating the same date and experiencing a “Groundhog Day”.  😊

We therefore booked a transpacific on board the Azamara Quest, starting in Tokyo, Japan, and taking in the Kamchatsky Peninsula in Russia on the way to Alaska; it looked a fascinating itinerary during the 14-night cruise.

We also booked a cruise from Los Angeles to some of the Hawaiian islands, taking in Ensenada in Mexico on the return journey to L.A.  This one would be on board the Celebrity Eclipse and would last for 15 nights.  As we were booking on board, we got special promotions, an early booking bonus and free on-board credit.  We also got the all-inclusive drinks package thrown in, and the lady gave us a free bottle of wine and said we’d get two tickets in the raffle for a chance to win an Apple iPad.  So that’s now all our holidays taken care of for 2019 now!  😊

This took us nicely up to lunchtime, so I enjoyed some fresh salad vegetables washed down with a bottle of Budweiser.  Then we went and sat out by the pool for a while, which was predictably very crowded; bikini-clad and swimsuited bodies, liberally coated in sun-tan cream, lay out on sun loungers while children splashed in the pool, and one of the entertainment team bellowed into the mike, trying to get passengers to take part in a deck quoits competition.

We sat there for a while then decided to go to the stern of the ship to the Sunset Bar, where I enjoyed an Aperol Spritzer and finished with a glass of chilled prosecco.  😊

At two o’clock we went along to the Celebrity Theatre to see “Land of the Tiger”, a presentation by our on-board naturalist Don Enright.  As the tiger is my favourite animal and we were lucky enough to see them the last time we went to India in 2015, I enjoyed the talk very much, which was illustrated with lots of great tiger photos.

We then enjoyed another afternoon sleep, and I took a couple more Advil and drank lots of water to fight this bloody cold off!  ☹ Then we just pottered around a bit and sat out on the balcony until it was time to go to dinner.

One of the things we had noticed about this American ship, compared to the ones that cater to mainly British clientele like Fred Olsen or P&O, was the way they try to upsell you absolutely everything.  If you ask for a glass of water they ask if you want “regular” water or special water like Pellegrino or Evian.  If you ask for a cup of coffee they ask if it’s “regular” coffee or “speciality” coffee.  Every other “presentation” in the events programme seems to be involved in trying to sell you something, whether it’s an art auction, a spa presentation where they try to sell you skincare or haircare products, a gemstone talk about diamonds or tanzanite, or a wine-tasting event for which a fee is payable.  Also, the on-board prices in the boutiques and spa are way, way more expensive than those other cruise lines I mentioned above.  If people are daft enough to fall for the hype though, then that’s their lookout.

Another thing we’d observed was just how many different nationalities the passengers were.  There are a lot of British; others we’d come across were American, Canadian, Russian, German, Croatian, Jamaican, Indian and Brazilian.  Quite a United Nations really!  😊

Anyway, I eventually got washed and changed and tried to convince myself I was feeling better, but I didn’t really have much appetite for my dinner and left half of it (not that it will do me any harm, ha ha!)

We were finished in time for the evening’s performance at 7.00pm, so we took our usual seat in the theatre to enjoy the voice of Peter Grant who was doing his tribute to Swing music, accompanied by the fabulous and talented Constellation Orchestra.  It was an excellent show, marred only by the fact that it was freezing cold in the theatre and I was shivering under my alpaca wrap.

At 8.15pm I wasn’t feeling too good again, so I decided to return to the cabin for the evening, and relax with a book or some kumihimo.  Trevor, however, went along and watched the quiz, wandered around the ship and just passed pleasantries with our fellow passengers.  Then, at around 10.45pm (very early for us!) we settled down for the night.  I just hoped I would feel better in the morning; as it was, I had a fairly restless night and it seemed an age before sleep came.  Meanwhile, through our open balcony door, I could hear the gorgeous sounds of the Arabian Sea swishing past, and I looked forward to what tomorrow would bring.

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