Saturday, June 30, 2012

Last Day

Sadly this is our last day and we're going home tomorrow.

This morning the ship sailed in to Venice, passing right across the front of St Marks Square, so this mornings Veranda View is a bit special.

Once we had been cleared by customs and the rest, we took the vaporetto (water bus) right through the city to St Marks, then after a good look around, we took another long ride back. By this time it was almost five, and we're meeting our neighbours in the bar for cocktails at six, so we'll leave you with a few pictures of the city while we go and get ready.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Hvar Hvar Hvar

We're anchored off the island of Hvar which is off the mainland of Croatia. Hvar appears to be the holiday resort of the area. This is today's Veranda View.

Last night we finally found out how you pronounce Hvar. You say it just as it's spelled except that you do so with a kind of Daffy Duck lisp.

We didn't go ashore, preferring to stay on board instead. Quite honestly there isn't a lot to see on the island. The main attraction for cruise ships are things like off-roading, sea kayaking and snorkeling. It was also very hot, reaching 102 degrees at lunchtime. So we sat by the pool this morning and sat on our veranda drinking champagne this afternoon. I know, it's hard.

Funny thing this morning, we went out on deck and found the pool had a slope to it. Ideal for water skiing.

Tonight is the Captains farewell party. Actually we've another full day and night to go but this is a formal event so we have it before everyone has packed.

Off for a shower now, but look out for the final blog from Venice tomorrow.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hot in Croatia

After a day off from blogging we're back. Yesterday was an at-sea day where we did very little. It was a bit windy in the morning, and the sea had a bit of a swell on it but this didn't prevent a tour of the bridge in the morning. By afternoon it was very hot. So much so that the ice carving demonstration by the pool had to be abandoned. As soon as they took the covers off the ice blocks the heat shock caused them to crack. Finally last night we had dinner with Marina, the guest relations manager.

Today we're in Dubrovnik. We're on the side of the ship away from land, so this is today's Veranda view.

On the other side of the ship is the suspension bridge leading to Mokosica.

We took the bus into the old town, which made a very pleasant morning, if a little warm. Make that a lot warm.

It's very impressive how they can have modern shops yet keep the character of the town. Whats more you wouldn't know how much of the area was damaged in the fighting just a few years ago (except that most of the roof tiles look brand new …).

And finally did I say it was warm. 87 degrees at a quarter past five ...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


It's another day at anchor today, this time at Lipari, off the cost of Sicily. We were on the land side, just a mile or two from the shore. This is today’s Veranda View, the cathedral of St Bartholomew.

We took the tender ashore, which is interesting when you are travelling with a wheelchair. As you might expect the crew were experts and we landed (and returned) with no major dramas. Of course it helped that the sea was flat calm.

The town has a beautiful waterfront, behind which are a maze of narrow streets dull of shops selling local fruit & vegetables and all the usual souvenirs. We didn't stay long because the temperature was in the 90's and by the time we got back we were soaked in sweat.

We did however find an interesting place to eat, should the cruise not have been all-inclusive.

Must dash now for a shower. We're meeting folks in the bar for pre-dinner drinks at

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hot Rocks

Today we're anchored just off Sorrento. Being a popular cruise destination (it's the nearest port to the ruins of Pompei) you often find you have company. So today's Veranda View includes a ship from the other small ship cruise line. It's not as nice as ours, no verandas.

Last night we told you we were dining with our neighbours, Kathy & Jim, both school teachers from Colorado. The Hot Rock dining experience is just that. They bring a slab of basalt heated to 500 Celsius to your table, with various cuts of meat, fish and prawns and you cook them yourself.

The “restaurant” was on the pool deck, and at 7:30 in the evening it was like a summers day back home. All in all it was a great evening. The food was excellent and so was the company.

This morning Marie went off the the spa. The cruise comes with $1000 on-board credit which pays for our internet time, purchases from the shops, and spa treatments. So far Marie has had a manicure and a facial, and bought some perfume. While she was in the spa I took a walk round the ship and found the pool deck deserted. It was like having your own private yacht. Seems like everyone was either ashore, or having a late breakfast.

Tomorrow we are in Lipari, an island off the north-west tip of Sicily, but for now here are a couple of pictures of our home for the next few days.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Corsica to the left, Sardinia to the right

We're at sea today so this mornings veranda view isn't terribly exciting. The little dot on the horizon is a tanker, seen end-on.

Things got a little more exciting just after lunch (just a hot dog and fries from the poolside grill, since you asked) when we passed through the Straits of Bonifacio between Corsica and Sardinia. The gap looks to be five miles or more so I'm afraid you will have to look hard to spot the land.

We did our watching from the newly installed observation lounge which is at the front of the ship, above the bridge.

In other news Marie visited the spa yesterday for a manicure and tonight we're dining with our neighbours, at the outdoor restaurant. This is called the Hot Rock and they really do give you a large, flat, very hot stone and cook your meal right in front of you.

More news tomorrow when we reach Sorrento.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The ship in the street

We're in Sete today. It's a fishing port where the Canal du Midi joins the Mediterranean. But before that, today's Veranda View. We're on the seaward side so it's of the port, and a ferry just arriving from Palermo. It's called the Fantastic.

But back to today. We had a stroll round town, and Marie bought some fabric. Note for Jenny, it's got CATS on it. On the way back to the ship we stopped and took a photograph of the ship on the street. Not everyday we park among the cars.

We're at sea all day tomorrow, during which time we will squeeze through the little gap between Corsica and Sardinia, before we arrive at Sorrento on Monday morning.

Tonight is the Captains cocktail reception and it's formal dress, so I had better get off now and try to remember how to fasten a bow tie ...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Heathrow 0, Barcelona 1

When you disembark from an aircraft have you noticed that travelers with children have their buggies brought from the hold ready to use. It's supposed to happen that way with wheelchairs but our experience is that it doesn't happen. Yesterday at Heathrow we were told that Wizzy, Marie's wheelchair would be waiting, but there was no loader available to get it so “to save time” we would have to collect it from the baggage claim area. So, we spent 20 minutes being taken in a Heathrow wheelchair then waited another 30 before we were finally reunited with Wizzy.

Today at Barcelona was a different story. We always wait until last before we disembark, and as we left, there was Wizzy, waiting for us. So why oh why can't Heathrow get it right.

On the plus side, WE'VE ARRIVED. We're on the ship, meeting old friends, and I mean the crew, from previous cruises.

The cruise terminal at Barcelona is a busy place. There are at least six ships in. We're next to the P & O ship, Adonia.

It's just after four so I must dash. Lifeboat drill and safety lecture at five, then cocktails on the pool deck at six as we set sail.

More tomorrow.


Thursday, June 21, 2012


The BOGOF household have officially started their holiday. I'm writing this in the BA business lounge at Newcastle Airport. It's a nice light airy room with friendly, helpful staff. It has free wi-fi, snacks, tea/coffee, soft drinks and all the alcohol you could drink, should a weary traveler chose to do so.

Today we're off to Heathrow, on the 18:25. We're staying over near the airport and tomorrow we take the 8:30 to Barcelona where we board our ship. The weather in Barcelona today is 28 Celsius and sunny. At home it's barely into double figures and raining. Really raining.

We should be on the ship by 1pm tomorrow. To say we are excited doesn't do justice to the word. We're REALLY EXCITED.


Monday, June 11, 2012


So what's been happening recently in the BOGOF household.

Jan, Andy and Jenny came up for a long weekend over the Jubilee bank holiday. No Chris sadly, as he was on a stag weekend.

Saturday evening we treated (or inflicted....) them to a sit down meal of individual beef Wellington and a chocolate torte for desert. Both were very nice indeed.

Sunday morning we all went to the Metro Centre. Jan and Jenny know my fear of clothes shopping so volunteered to find me some tops for our cruise. We had only been in M&S for a few minutes when they had already found me five things.

We met up with the boys then went for lunch in a lovely Chinese restaurant in the Mediterranean Village part of the Metro Centre.

There was still some food and drink left from the Sunday nights buffet so they went home with little doggy bags. I even made one for Chris containing all his favourite buffet food.

The countdown to our cruise is ticking away merrily. To say we're excited is an understatement !!!!!!