Thursday, 27 November 2008

Oh My! Mumbai!

The TV news this week has not been very good has it? Especially if you have visits to Bangkok and Mumbai on your holiday travel list.

First was the closure of one of the Bangkok airports and today they closed the other one so their are no flights out for either national or international travellers - haven't seen any mention of them blockading the ports yet........

And then there are the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, so far over 100 dead and British and American passport holders being targeted. Naturally we are hoping that this is not going to be a long term disturbance and that by the time we get there next March all these troubles will be long forgotten about.

Next worry of course is the pirates around Somalia - we cruise past there on the way to the Suez Canal. Did we pick a bad time after all?

Are we downhearted? Of course not, we have great faith that we will be well protected and looked after and that this holiday will be a great success and that the next time we blog the clouds will have lifted and we will have positive news to report.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Growing Excitement

Two years ago a friend of Sam's - someone who lived down the road when he was a boy and contacted him via a mutual interest in Harwich where they were born - went on a pretty much identical cruise around the world. She and her friend who live not far from Bournemouth, boarded Oriana at Southampton and set sail across the Bay of Biscay. They had a fabulous time on their cruise and offered to help us out when they learned about our intended trip.

A long phone call gave us information on how to deal with cash in different countries, advised us about inoculations, some general safety tips, how to haggle with taxi drivers, which excursions are worthwhile and generally what to expect about life on board. Oh and how to avoid the queues for getting on and off the ship.

Today we received a big brown envelope containing details about the excursions they went on in Mumbai and Cochin - two places that Hilary is desperate to see - also included was one of the Oriana menus with mouth watering dishes and a day sheet for one of the days of their cruise. The menu clearly indicated several vegetarian and fish dishes so that is one problem we don't have to worry about, incidentally we have already spoken to P&O about soya milk for Hilary and they have confirmed that she will have plenty of supplies on board.

We were staggered to see the detail that is available every day for those on board - Watercolour painting lessons, Ballroom Dancing lessons, Bridge and Whist competitions and lessons, entertainment galore, talks on finance, history of the next destination, sporting competitions in fact so much that for sure we will not be bored. Quite the reverse, it will be hard to decide what not to do rather than which activity to do next. We thought that it would be a lot of lazing by the pool reading books, but I don't think we will have much time for that!

Sam's friend Margaret and her friend George apparently used to plan their activities the night before and then decide when and where they would have time to meet each other the following day. No moping around in deckchairs for them.... maybe that is what we will have to do.

As the boarding date gets ever closer we are getting more excited, a little concerned about the possble onset of sea-sickness in the early part of the journey, but we are growing ever more confident that this was a good decision to throw caution to the winds and go off on the trip of a lifetime. It may not be as adventurous as Jess going to China, or of Hayley, Emily and Beccy going to the Far East on little more than pocket money, but for two old fogeys who rarely venture into non-English speaking countries it is big step!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

The Itinerary

Just to get you into the flavour of this journey our first post will be to highlight our travel timetable.

January 8 2009 - a limousine from home to Southampton to board the P&O cruise liner Oriana, embarking at 2.00pm and setting sail at 5.00pm.

January 9-10 - at sea, across the Bay of Biscay and dreaming of calm seas all the way (please God!)

January 11 - First stop Madeira, just off the African Coast.

January 12-15 - at sea crossing the Atlantic Ocean into the Caribbean

January 16 - St Maarten, Leeward Islands

January 17 - St Lucia, Windward Islands

January 18-20 - at sea through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico

January 20-21 - through the Panama Canal

January 21-22 - at sea up the west coast of Mexico

January 23 - Acapulco, Mexico

January 24-26 - at sea up the west coast of the USA

January 27 - San Francisco, USA

January 28-31 - at sea, crossing the Pacific Ocean

February 1 - Honolulu, USA

February 2-5 - at sea, crossing the Pacific Ocean

February 6 - Pago Pago, American Samoa

February 7-8 - at sea

February 9 - Lautoka, Fiji

February 10/11 - at sea cross the International Date Line

February 12 - Tauranga, New Zealand

February 13 - Auckland, New Zealand

February 14-15 - at sea

February 16 - Sydney, Australia

February 17 - at sea

February 18 - Brisbane, Australia

February 19 - at sea

February 20 - Whitsunday Islands, Australia

February 21 - Yorkey's Knob, Cairns. Australia

February 22 - at sea

February 23 - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

February 24-28 - at sea

March 1-3 - Hong Kong, China

March 4 - Nha Trang, Vietnam

March 5 - at sea

March 6 - Laem Chabang, Bangkok, Thailand

March 7 - at sea

March 8 - Kemaman, Malaysia

March 9 - Singapore, SE Asia

March 10 - Port Kelang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

March 11-13 - at sea in the Indian Ocean

March 14 - Cochin, India

March 15 - at sea

March 16 - Mumbai, India

March 17-21 - at sea

March 22 - Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt

March 23 - Suez Canal/Port Said

March 24-25 - at sea in the Mediterranean

March 26 - Citavecchia, Italy

March 27 - at sea in the Mediterranean

March 28 - Barcelona, Spain

March 29-31 - at sea in the Bay of Biscay

April 1 - Southampton, limousine home to Yelverton.