I am delighted to report that I am back in my ‘second home’ – a cruise ship – once again. By the time I return from this fifth and final cruise of the year I will have been away on board a cruise ship for around a third this year! It’s just six weeks since I left my French Rivers cruise on board Braemar, and I am back on board the same ship, albeit sailing further south this time into the Mediterranean. There’s a few other differences too, a different captain and cruise director are on duty this time, and I’m single occupying a double cabin midships rather than a single cabin in the stern – trading much less engine noise for a longer walk to the restaurants.
We set sail late yesterday afternoon for a 16 night cruise visiting 7 ports of call. Two of these are new to me, and three others I have only visited once before. The cruise is snappily called ‘Barcelona, Monaco and the Island of Elba’ – this map shows the itinerary we will be following:
After the French Rivers cruise it’s a return to a more familiar sailing pattern – scattered amongst the seven port calls are eight days at sea. Today is the first of three days at sea to settle in before we reach our first port of call, Malaga. The French Rivers cruise was possible because Braemar has a flat keel, but this morning that was a disadvantage as we began to transit the Bay of Biscay in rough seas! I am relieved to report that this afternoon blue skies and sunshine replaced the wind and rain of this morning, and the seas are calmer too – hopefully the fair weather gods that followed me around on all my other cruises this year have not deserted me after all.
This morning’s rough weather was in contrast to yesterday afternoon, when our voyage down Southampton Water and into the Solent was made in lovely sunny and calm conditions:
This cruise I am on the earlier sitting for the evening meal, so I had to retreat to the dining room just as we were leaving the Solent at dusk. I was delighted to find that this cruise I am dining in the small restaurant located high in the ship, sat next to a big round picture window affording good views of the scenery outside, so I could observe if not photograph the final stages of our departure after all.