Saturday, May 31, 2008

All At Sea

Hello, we’re back with more adventures of the BOGOF household on holiday.

We left Mahon at 6pm yesterday and should arrive in Valetta at 8 am tomorrow.

For those of you with GPS our current position is 37:50:28 N, 8:51:51 E. For those without, we’re midway between the south coast of Sardinia and the coast of Tunisia.

This is the view from our Veranda this morning.

I think the view of Mahon from the ship has to be one of the best on the island. This is the view from the pool deck.

Just to prove that we did walk all the way up, here is Marie at the top.

And here is a view of the ship, the Silver Whisper, also from the top.

And this is me, as taken by Marie, before we left Mahon.

After breakfast yesterday we spent time blogging, then we went into town. We returned to have lunch, then lazed around by the pool until afternoon tea. After that we got ready for the Captains cocktail reception, followed by dinner then on to the theatre for a show.

If you are thinking that life revolves around food you would be right. You can have coffee and Danish pastries from 6:30 in the observation lounge (this is above the bridge and has large glass windows and a GPS display) then breakfast is 7:30 to 10:00. At 11:00 they serve boullion and crackers in the panorama (this is at the rear of the ship. In the evenings it becomes a cocktail lounge where Henry plays the piano). At 11:30 they open the poolside grill. Then lunch is at 12:00. Today it’s a galley lunch so we get to go right inside and meet the chefs. Afternoon tea isn’t until 4:00 pm, but you can always go back to the poolside grill (and bar) until dinner which is served between 7:30 and 9:30. It’s great that you can just turn up without a reservation, and either eat alone, or take a chance and sit with someone you’ve never met.

Well, it’s 10 O’clock so we’re off for a wander round the ship. More tomorrow

Marie and John

Friday, May 30, 2008

We've Arrived

Yes, we’re here, and so is our luggage – Result.

So what’s happened since we set off. The flight to Heathrow was quiet. We sat behind Alan Shearer who was on his way to do his football pundit bit for the BBC at Wembley. We didn’t eat chicken at the hotel. But we found some familiar faces in the bathroom.

Heathrow security was a revelation. At Newcastle we had to take off our shoes and belts, and the computer out of its case. At Heathrow there were none of these. Either they’re very lax, or their scanners are much much more sophisticated than those at Newcastle. Hopefully the latter.

The journey to Barcelona was uneventful and we boarded the ship at 3 pm. This was the view looking back from our veranda.

Dinner was it’s usual best, and before that we attended the welcome party on the pool deck where we drank way too much Pimms. As we left our berth the ships band (well, a quartet actually) struck up “Anchors Aweigh”. Then they played “Y Viva Espana”. All the British laughed at the irony, and the Americans couldn’t understand why.

We’re currently in Mahon and about to go ashore. This is the view from our Veranda.

More tomorrow.

Marie and John

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A life on the ocean wave

By the time you read this, we'll hopefully be on our way. Tonight will be spent at Heathrow staying at the same hotel as the famous "chicken conference".

Tomorrow we'll fly out to Barcelona, where we'll hopefully be reunited with our luggage which we will entrust to the tender mercy of British Airways at Newcastle airport this morning. We're flying in to terminal five so there's some cause for concern. The Barcelona flight leaves from terminal one so who knows where the luggage might end up.

From there on it's a life on the ocean wave for the Bogof household.
The ship has wi-fi so we've decided to be geeky and take the laptop. This way we can blog with pictures during the cruise.

Will the luggage turn up. Will we have stuff confiscated at security. Will the flight be delayed. Will we get chicken to eat at the hotel tonight.

More news tomorrow.

Monday, May 26, 2008


It’s two days to our cruise and what have I got – a stinking cold ! ! ! It started late on Friday with a sore throat which turned into the dreaded cold. Perfect timing…

We spent this afternoon packing and given what happened last time* we’re taking no chances so have packed extra clothes into our hand luggage.

John weighed the cases and I’m getting a little concerned as they’re not that heavy. What have we forgotten ! ! !


*we arrived in Barcelona but our suitcases didn’t. Thankfully they arrived the next day.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Double take

As you know we’re off on our cruise shortly – one week and five days ! ! !

With the exception of our cruise to Monaco, this is the first time we have booked our cruises through a travel company. Previously we have booked direct with Silversea. We won’t be doing it again…

The travel company were cheaper than Silversea but we have had nothing but hassle with them. So much so that the Customer from Hell had to make an appearance and told them that if the problem wasn’t resolved, I would be taking the matter up with ABTA. It was sorted within 24 hours.

As we had completely lost all faith and trust in the travel company we requested that all correspondence, including our tickets, be sent direct to us from Silversea and not the company. They assured us this would happen.

On Wednesday our tickets arrived and guess where they had come from, - the travel company. We were not amused….

Yesterday a special delivery parcel arrived direct from Silversea - with our tickets ! ! !

We now have two lots of airline tickets, cruise tickets, even Silversea leather luggage labels. Sadly though they’re identical and not for another cruise.

Given the incompetence of the travel company that wouldn’t have come as no surprise….


Monday, May 05, 2008

Conference venues

Yes – we’re back from our wandering.

Since Saturday we’ve covered over 800 miles to look at three venues, two of which are possibles for spring conference.

Saturday saw us heading off to Swindon to look at the Hilton. This has the “wow” when you walk in, and is in a great location, about 200 yards from the M4. It has overspill hotels nearby, and also some shopping. The price is excellent and there are no single room supplements.

On the down side, you have to pay £22.50 for a bottle of wine (though we may find a way to ease the pain) and some of the conference rooms are a bit of a tight squeeze.

Sunday was The Ramada in Maidstone. A totally different kind of hotel, set in 20 acres of parkland with a lake and tennis courts. Inside it doesn’t have the wow of the Hilton, and looks a little tired in places though the bedrooms are new and of a very high standard. The conference facilities are great but will cost more than Swindon A bottle of wine only costs £14, but the location isn’t as good. It’s close to the M20 but there’s nothing around. No shops and no overspill hotels.

So now we have a dilemma. Swindon or Maidstone. And next week we’re off to Glasgow to see two more.

Any preferences ...