Caribbean Cruise April 2013 - March 31st to April 26th Index

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Caribbean Cruise April 2013 by Fred Olsen

Off for a cruise on this lovely Fred Olsen ship.
The MV Black Watch, photoed at Castries, St. Lucia, Caribbean

Black Watch

There are two trains per hour from Waterloo to Southampton Central, where Fred's coach would pick us up to take us to the ship but we were given a taxi lift by one of the lecturers, Peter the Lawyer. (Car parking in very expensive in Southampton).

The trip took us from Southampton to

Funchal, Madeira
Bridgetown, Barbados
St.Georges, Grenada
Castries, St.Lucia
St.Johns, Antigua
Philipsburg, St.Maarten
Road Town, Tortula
Ponta Delgada, Azores

& back to Southampton.

The map on the right is from Fred's brochure.

Sunday March 31st 2013 - Boarding

Every time we go on Freds, the boarding seems a bit more efficient & we were soon in our cabin. We met Jackie, the Deputy Director on the way in - old ship-mate. So were two out of three bags already. We met our Cabin Steward, Suay, dropped a note to the Cruise Director (Alan Tait, the only one who has not used me ad hoc) & had tea. I was soon asked if I was giving talks by a member of my 'fan club'. I didn't know I had one but said I was cargo, not crew. We are on late sitting but went to the Lido Lounge before, where Glen Monie is the crooner again & glad to see us, as on the last leg of the round-World cruise, 'nobody' came to his shows. There was a rather drunk woman dancing exotically. No one joined us on our dinner table & then, the Maitre d' said they had all moved to 1st sitting, so we were moved to another table with Mike, a Roll-Royce engineer & Ellen, a midwife. Nice people. A large piece of pork for dinner. The show was a bit truncated, with the entertainers being introduced & the show team doing one dance.

Lifeboat Drill - very thorough

Monday April 1st 2013 - Day at Sea

Avis was up earlier than I would have been & the water was not very hot. Ok but it was the proper temperature in the evening for shower No.2. Breakfast in the Garden Café. I had intended to go in the Glentanar for fish but forgot. I variously read, worked on the Berlioz Talk & before lunch, had a walk round the deck, the Bay of Biscay behaving itself quite well (for a change), if hazy & breezy. We did go to a talk, interesting but incoherent, about the sea. After lunch (in the Orchid Room, most unusually), Avis insisted we go to the dance class. I just could not 'get' phase two of the Cha-cha-cha, as my feet are so used to moving naturally, they won't do something unnatural. Then, a talk on the conspiracy theory that the Titanic wreck is really the re-labelled Olympic (for which there is some evidence) as part of a massive insurance scam by J P Morgan. Of course, it is April Fools Day. Snooze after tea, as it was formal night. On our new dinner table, the craft lady Mavis & her sister Katie appeared.

Tuesday 2nd April 2013 - Still at sea

This time, we did have fish in the Glentanar for breakfast. Peter the Lawyer gave a talk about a Dickens autograph letter he had bought that everyone thinks is genuine except the Dickens Society, who failed to out-bid him at auction. There was a talk about the legal ownership of the Falklands Isles (Argy), which interestingly raised hackles. Martin gave a piano recital. Well-known pieces but no patronising crappy stuff. Otherwise, I worked on my Berlioz talk. Dinner in the Garden Café. A visit to Glen & a long chat with two others who knew him well. I had popped out to Smokers' Corner to chat to Jackie, the Deputy Cruise Director. She told me that Fay, one of the Show Team Managers we have met, has died of cancer at 27. This is awful. Avis has what she describes as 'my' cold but we don't get each others illnesses, so it will be someone else's cold with similar symptoms.

Let's have a look round the "Black Watch"...

Our cabin

Garden Room

Garden Café

Braemar Lounge

Wednesday 3rd April - Still at sea

Last day at sea before Madeira. Warmer but still windy & choppy. Breakfast in the Garden. We went to the Barbados port talk, Robin's Madeira (sort of) talk & Peter's legal one, which ended with an amazing punch line I can't really go into. Otherwise, I did some part-circuits of the deck & more Berlioz talk, discussing it with several people who were curious. Funny man after we had had dinner in the Garden Café. Welsh & laughed at his own jokes.

Port 1 - Funchal, Madeira

Port 2 - Bridgetown, Barbados

Port 3 - St.Georges, Grenada

Port 4 - Castries, St.Lucia

Port 5 - St.Johns, Antigua

Port 6 - Philipsburg, St.Maarten

Port 7 - Road Town, Tortula

Port 8 - Ponta Delgada, Azores

Next Page - Funchal, Madeira

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Contact: Ken Baldry at 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 or e-mail him
URL: Last revised 27/4/2013 ©2013 Ken Baldry. All rights reserved.