Saturday, 29 January 2011

New Zealand - North Island

Monday January 24th

Arrived at Russell, Bay Of Islands, a small old fashioned town where most of the houses seem to be made of wood - clapperboard style. Only 73f today so starting to cool as we head south toward the Antarctic.

Guess what… I managed to find the only charity shop!!! Vance could not believe it but no I didn’t buy anything this time.

Back on the ship we were told they are now able to broadcast ESPN International sports so Vance is happy…he may be able to see a bit of the golf each day…sad eh!! But at least I get to watch the Australian tennis open.

Tuesday January 25th

Auckland. What a fantastically clean and exciting city. Vance was fascinated by the pedestrian traffic lights as they had a visual count down of the number of seconds left on green…he loved leaving a crossing as late as possible just like a kid playing chicken…

Had a hike up to Victoria & Albert Park … oxygen at the top please nurse…and took loads of pics  - see Auckland Pics - then descended back down to the harbour where it seemed every other shop seemed to be selling Rugby World Cup stuff – we’ll wait until Thailand and get our ‘original’ T-shirts there.

Left Auckland about 6pm and the sea started to get really rough but the sunset was a brilliant mix of grey, reds and oily blacks. We decided to have an early night after the show so we made our way back to our suite at 10:45pm only to find that we were locked out. The door lock had jammed totally and even the night supervisors pass keycard failed to open it. After 25 minutes of sitting on the floor in the corridor - because the ship was rocking so much it was difficult to stand - the master override key was found and we finally fell into bed….new lock to be fitted tomorrow.

Wednesday January 26th

Cruising the Southern Ocean today in beautiful sunshine so back on deck for more sunbathing and chilling out after our ‘ordeal’. When we returned to our suite we found a massive bouquet of flowers as an apology for any inconvenience we may have suffered!!

Thursday January 27th

WellingtonCapital City Of NZ and also called the ‘Windy City’ ….with good reason!!!  Docked at 8am and by 9am we took the cable car up to Kelburn Hill for views of the city and harbour. We then walked down through the botanical gardens – a good walk of at least on hour – my feet were really killing me.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Missing Friday

Thursday January 20th
Day at sea today. Another beginner’s bridge lesson and starting to get the hang of this must join the Henbury Golf Club Bridge Class upon our return…not…

I entered the golf putting competition today & came….wait for it…last!! Vance says that it’s best not to join HGC yet!! I’m convinced that the Captain knew every time it was my turn to putt and made the ship roll..!!

It was my last jewellery lecture today about ‘The World Greatest Diamond Heist’. We now know how to steal diamonds from an impenetrable vault but not about how NOT to get caught – it was also the draw for the $3000 pendant…alas to say I didn’t win…boo hoo….perhaps Vance will buy me one instead …..I won’t hold my breath.

Went to bed at 11:30pm on Thursday 20th January and woke up at 7am on Saturday Jan 22nd …. Where’s Friday gone? Crossed the International Date Line going west last night and lost a whole day....can’t believe we are now 12 hours AHEAD of the UK instead of the 12 hours behind we were yesterday. Vance says that because we didn’t eat or drink for the whole of Friday we can have extra tonight!!

Saturday January 22nd
Another day at sea so spending the day on deck in the sun enjoy the company, good weather, great food and the odd drink or two….hic!!

Sunday January 23rd
Still at sea making our way toward Russell, Bay of Islands in New Zealand…really relaxing and the weather is wonderful.

Brilliant show tonight (Can’t Stop The Music’) all the great hits of the Beatles, Eagles etc etc. but the sea is starting to get really rough with heavy swells. Vance says it’s best to batten down in our comfy beds with a night cap but I sat up most of the night worrying that the ship was about to sink…Vance was snoring as soon as his bald little head hit the pillow…love him!!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Moorea, Bora Bora & Raratonga

Sunday January 16th – Moorea - temp = 86f.

Decided to get a taxi to the beach for a few hours to enjoy swimming in the sea instead of the pool….back on board by 1pm for lunch (of course!!)

This evening’s entertainment was a ventriloquist who was funny & brill.

Monday January 17th – Today we are in Bora Bora & decided to do the Glass Bottom Boat trip to the reef. Only 1.5 hours which was long enough as there are only so many fish you can look at without getting hungry so…back to the ship for lunch as always.

I played shuffleboard today…..never played before and was absolutely hopeless but the team I was on won … 1st prize = one Seabourn Pen…wow!!!

Tuesday January 18th – At sea today so have another beginners bridge class…not sure it’s making much sense at the moment.

This morning was Baggo Toss … another prize game on the top deck....another game I have never played…you have to toss a bag onto a slopping board and hope it goes through a hole on the board…you start fairly close about 6 feet and throw 4 bags each then move to about 10 feet and repeat and then move to 15 feet and do the same again….it was unbelievable…first round I got four out of four, second round three out of four and the third round one through the hole and three on the board so almost max points again…..I WON !!!!....lots of moaning by the other competitors ..they weren’t pleased…everyone is so competitive it’s unreal…I said it’s just a game but that didn’t go down too well. Anyway I won a Seabourn Visor which was great because I’d just asked Vance to buy me one ….so more money left in the vgr massage kitty.

Weds January 19th – Should have anchored off Raratonga today but there was so much swell that it was dangerous to launch the tenders so the captain decided to head for Russell New Zealand early…so another day at sea, which Vance loved…again……****** big trouble … the laptop crashed this morning so we’ve no computer and no internet access and I’ve lost all my email contact addresses. Vance is trying to fix it but it looks like he’ll have to back the hard drive up to memory sticks and then wipe everything before restoring….keeping everything crossed that we are back on line in a few days….apologies to everyone but we are now very much behind in our blog & picture updates. Vance says it’s due to a windows update corrupting something…bummer though.

Clocks have gone back another hour tonight… now 12 hours ahead of UK time.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Papeete - Saturday January 15th

Docked in Papeete at 1.00pm, temperature 83F….went ashore after lunch but being a French island most of the shops were closed (Vance was pleased because they were very expensive) so it was just window shopping.

That evening we had a private world-cruiser-only function (there are only 60 of us ..the rest of the guests (about 300) are just doing LA to Auckland or LA to Sydney). We went to a beautiful restaurant right on the beach and had champers and cocktails watching the sun sink into the sea, followed by a 4 course French cuisine meal…much too rich for me but we aren’t exactly hungry so I ate very little….then there was a Tahitian show in the gardens with locals dancing and singing…it was fabulous…the photos are great…

Vance couldn’t decide which dancer he preferred so in the end he chose two!! … Click Here To See Pics

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Land Ahoy

Weds January 12th
Another jewellery lecture (and another raffle ticket…) draw to take place soon. Clocks back 30 minutes tonight….never heard of that before.

Thurs January 13th
Land Ahoy – Arrived at Nuka Hiva today the first land since LA…guess what…everyone’s really looking forward to going ashore. Not a lot to see but nice to feel dry land and be able to walk in a straight line for more than a few hundred yards. Clocks back another 30 mins tonight…this is really weird.

Crossing The Line – Tuesday January 11th

Today we are crossing the equator and there is a ceremony called ‘Crossing the Line’. Those who have already crossed are called Shellbacks & those that have not are called Pollwogs…Vance is OK (previous Merchant Navy) but guess what … I haven’t so I have to be initiated by King Neptune to ensure safe passage of the ship to the southern hemisphere. Have been told to report to the swimming pool area at 3pm to await my fate…sounds mucky.

Vance has taken loads of pics so look at for more info.

OK…I’m now an official Shellback after kissing the fish (luckily a dead one) and having goop poured over me … ugh!!

Celebrated with several (3+ ) glasses of champers…hic!!

Getting Close To The Equator - Monday 10th January

Clocks go back 1 hour tonight making us 9 hours behind UK time. Told that all ‘Pollywogs’ must report on deck tomorrow for the crossing of the line (the equator) ceremony at 3pm.
Vance can’t believe that we’re in the middle of the South Pacific and we still get torrential rain - Wet of Bristol!!

Friday, 21 January 2011


Apologies to all followers but our laptop has crashed and getting the repair files in the middle of the South Pacific is....well you can imagine.

Hopefully back up online tomorrow (Sunday).

Keep coming back...

xxx Helen & Vance xxx

Monday, 17 January 2011


Here'a a link to our journey by pictures which we will update from time to time..warning...some are boring zzzzzzz.

Click Here To View

I went to a lecture today on Jewels mainly because they were offering a free raffle ticket for a $3000 sapphire & diamond pendant …hope I win!!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Los Angeles to …. The Middle Of The Pacific

We are spending the next nine days at sea….Vance says it will be fabulous but I’m not too sure…sounds a bit scary to me. It’s ok for him he loves the sea being a Devonshire boy with family from Plymouth it’s in his blood as his great, great, great, wayback grandfather was Francis Drake - ask him to recite Drakes Drum sometime… snore zzzz….

We have an in-suite mapping system on the TV which shows where we are globally and it makes you understand how massive the Pacific Ocean is. And how small we are!!

Thursday 6th January
We’ve decided to join the beginners bridge classes because even we can’t sit in the sun all day. It was our first class today … really complicated but I’m sure that in time it will get clearer.

Temperature only 21c but feels a bit cooler because of the breeze and the ship’s speed of 16 knots so have been spending the day finding our way around the ship. We’ll give you a guided tour later.

Funny story… at lifeboat drill yesterday after donning our life jackets the safety office pointed out some safety features… the whistle, the light ….and the reflective strips that would make us more visible in the sea…Vance pipes up and says ‘yes the reflective strips also make it easier for the sharks to see us as well’ …not everyone laughed!!

Saturday 8th January
Have booked for exercise classes – the Kinesis wall ( a series of resistance exercises using pulleys and weights that come out of the wall) and Pilates for the next seven days. The Pilates is a real killer!!

Going to Restaurant 2 tonight which serves a six to seven course small tasting menu … you get them all!! See picture of menu - didn’t bring our scanner so had to take a picture so apologies for the clarity.

Sunday 9th January
Moving about is difficult today as the Pilates class workout has really knackered us so a quiet day around the pool followed by room service dinner, a film and an early night…phew!!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Bristol To Los Angeles

Ok folks we’ve been onboard for a week now & it’s about time we started  our blog…no excuses just a mixture of chilling out and the Internet connection in the South Pacific being at best s…l…o…w..

Tuesday  4th Jan…
Vance (worried of Bristol) spent all night Monday (3rd) looking out the window as the snow kept falling but although the snow pitched the chauffeur did get to pick us up this morning and get us to Heathrow T5 for our British Airways noon flight.

Arrived at T5 @ and whizzed through BA first class check in and made it into the 1st Class (Concorde) lounge for breaky. I wandered around the lounge at least 3 times looking for celebs … no luck… really disappointed.

Vance had a complimentary massage at the spa in a high tech all singing & dancing massage chair (no extras!!) now he wants one at home… only £25k…yeh right!!

Boarded plane @ and turned left for 1st class & escorted to our massive seats …Vance had a window seat or should I say a 3-window seat which gave him a wonderful view of the outside world. After a glass of champers & a vodka tonic we were airborne. Only 14 seats in 1st so we managed to chat to our fellow travellers and found that 4 others were also joining the cruise ship.

After a 3 course lunch with plenty of good wine we changed into our BA provided PJs and the stewardess made up our fully flat 6ft+ beds with duvets & pillows. 6 hours sleep later we woke for earl grey tea & sandwiches before landing.

The flight crossed the Atlantic heading north into Canada before dropping down over Denver toward LA. Vance loved looking out of the windows seeing the terrain change from the wild expanses of snow & mountains to eventually the fertile landscapes of coastal but crowded LA.

Landed in LA @ LA time everything going smoothly….until Immigration & Customs. Could not believe it…we queued for 1.5 hours to get through. Finally made it though to find a luxury Cadillac waiting to take us to the Ritz Carlton at Marina del Rey. Finally….into our room at …..body time next day…knackered of Bristol….we just felt like falling into bed. Only trouble was we had to attend a gala reception & dinner at to meet the other world cruisers.

Managed to hang on until without falling asleep at the table….body time now ….we gave our apologies and went to bed… phew!!