Xmas 2021 Canaries Cruise - December 20th 2021 - January 4th 2022

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Off for a cruise on this lovely Fred Olsen ship.

The MV Bolette. This is as seen in the harbour of A Coruña.
It was the old Holland Amerika “Amsterdam”
now, after a refit in Fred Olsen livery.

There are two trains per hour from Waterloo to Southampton Central, where you need to grab a taxi to the ship. Parking is very expensive in Southampton.

The trip took us from Southampton to

A Coruña
Xmas Day
Gran Canaria
La Gomera
La Palma

Monday 20th December 2021 - Boarding

Usual trauma on departure day but I got up at 07:15 & Avis, half an hour later. We finished up the breakfast food, so I’m not sure what we will eat next year when isolating. We have milk, cereal & tinned fruit but no crème frache or Greek yogurt. (There is Elmlea, vegan cream). We were minutes early at the bus stop. Apparently, our Crumbly Cards do not work before 09:00 & we were thrown off. Another 341 arrived with 4 minutes to spare. I told this driver Avis was 86 & could he stretch a point, which he did. We were soon at Waterloo, as there seemed to be no one around. We were on the train about 20 minutes before departure, which was good, too. Of course, all the way down to Southampton, I had the anxiety of wondering if we would pass the Covid test.
The new Horizon Terminal looked rather half-finished & bleak. There was quite a long queue at 11:30 for the tests. Then, we had to sit down to wait for the results. Phew! We were clear. In fact, if anyone was not, they must have been very discreet about getting rid of them. We could not go straight to the cabin but it was pre-our lunch time & we had lunch in the View Café buffet. Then, we were let into the cabin & soon, our luggage arrived preceded by Kharom, our over-keen Thai Cabin Steward. There was also, a bottle of Cava, which Avis does not like & I tolerate. After unpacking, we had to go to our lifeboat to confirm we knew where it was & that we had watched the Safety Film. There was no full-scale drill because of the Covid restrictions.

The Quay & Southampton

The new Horizon Terminal

We gathered our books & went to the Bookmark Café, where Avis fell asleep! We had been put on a table for six as requested for dinner but only one other couple turned up. This was in the Orchard Room, which is off the Terrace to the main restaurant, which is quite nice.Pat had finished his career as a HGV driver, which he enjoyed until the refugee crisis started & drivers were made responsible if refugees got into their vehicles, which is still unfair. Like landlords (us), the drivers are supposed to double as unpaid border guards.

So much for the daily mail government agenda but on the other hand, he showed the usual humanity the government does not understand operates between normal people, a type conspicuously absent in the government. The show was 3 tasters. Just as well, as the Welsh singer was rubbish. The funny man was a bit out-of-date (as in un-PC) but sang to finish his gig & blew the so-called singer out of the water. The hour went on, as we are berthing in Spain before we get to the Canaries, a Pain.

Tuesday 21st December 2021 - Day at Sea

Consequently, we did not get up until 08:26, to my shock-horror. Avis was totally disoriented at first & when I said we where in a ship, at first thought we were going home. This is a new development I need to watch. Then, she was fine, more or less. We had breakfast in the big restaurant for the service, although there is a lot more service than usual (remember ‘usual’ & probably, never again). I had haddock & poached eggs & Avis, Eggs Benedict. We went to the port talk, only missing about 5 minutes & it was A Coruña, which we know well enough but I got one new piece of info, which is that Columbus may have been Galician & not Italian, as he claimed. However, the lecturer would have put whiskers on an egg. What a bore! After settling Avis in the Bookmark Café, I tried a walk round the deck. I got in two circuits (over half a mile) before the icy wind drove me in, although I was fully dressed up in a tee-shirt, wooly shirt, fleece & wind-cheater (Patagonia quilted). We had coffee in the View Café on deck 8 & back in the Bookmark, chatted to a couple, she an actor & he Norwegian with a thick accent after 50 years in Blighty. After a limited lunch, we had a kip until 4, then got ready for the Driver’s party, where his introduction of the chief officers was more thorough than usual. I introduced myself to Sammie, called the Entertainment Manager (what happened to Cruise Director?), as I had found out that the Classical musicians had Covid so did not come. I said I could fill in & she said, write it up as a note, as she would have to clear it with shoreside first. Maybe that is why the job title has changed. The Show Team show was quite good & there are 11 of them.

Port 1 - A Coruña

Port 2 - Cadiz

Xmas Day

Port 3 - Lanzarote

Port 4 - Gran Canaria

Port 5 - Tenerife

Port 6 - La Gomera

Port 7 - La Palma

Port 8 - Madeira

Next Page - A Coruña

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Contact: Ken Baldry at 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 or e-mail him
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