Four days ago I set sail on another cruise, once again on Fred. Olsen’s Balmoral. Not only was it my first cruise of 2016, there are a number of other ‘first’s that make this voyage stand out, and finally prompt me to start this blog:
– it is my first long voyage – at 46 nights it is twice the length of any cruise I have done before
– it will be the first time I will cross the Equator and enter the southern hemisphere
– it will be my first visit to a new continent – South America
– it will include my first tour ashore that will involve aeroplane flights (that will also be my longest tour by far)
It is only my second cruise as a solo passenger, without any family or friends on board too, so embarking on such a long voyage was just a little daunting at first. However I very soon settled into the familiar routine of life on board. As an experiment I am trying another first, late dining. The family and friends I have travelled with in the past have always wanted to dine early, and I was happy to join them. With the early sunsets on this cruise, I thought I would try the later dining, so that hopefully I can make the most of the daylight and the sunsets for my photography.
This map shows the route we will follow on this cruise, and all the places we are due to visit:
This is the third of three days at sea before we reach our first port of call, Madeira, tomorrow morning. I have been entertained by day by some interesting talks on diverse subjects, including behind the scenes of the Red Arrows and the Dam Busters (by a former RAF pilot), various aspects of maritime history, and particularly good ones about the first three islands that we are to visit. By night the show which has particularly stood out for me so far was by the Spanish flute virtuoso, Andrea Amat:
After a very busy time leading up to this cruise, I have been glad of the chance to rest and relax provided by these sea days, before the busy days ashore start tomorrow.