Sunday 15th July 2018
I should be writing this several thousand feet in the air, or however many feet airplanes fly at, but thanks to the French Air Traffic control we are parked up on Heathrow tarmac, in the baking sun, waiting for clearance. And the we have to fly the long way around! Its the scenic route the pilot informs us, over Mont Blanc. Reality is I just want the fastest route to my destination. It’s not all bad. We are flying Club Europe and they have e already dished out some iced water. Maybe the fizz will follow!
So my day, or should I say, my week so far. Last weekend I started the packing, not conventional packing as I know it. This time I have invested in packing squares and they have revolutionised the way I pack. Colour coordinated, so one colour for me and another colour for Mr C. Swimwear is one, undies in another, t-shirts in another, sundresses in the bigger one. You get my drift. That all resulted in a big stack of packing squares last Sunday. I felt very organised. During the week I got the cases out, slotted the packing squares into the case folded dresses and suits on top, and it was all done. I could see instantly what I had got where if I wanted something I knew where to locate it. And in theory, unpacking should be less stressful because all I need do is lift the majority of packing squares into the draws and onto the shelves. I will let you know how that pans out.
Saturday night I didn’t sleep. Mr C was snoring for England and there was no shutting him up. We were up and dressed by 5.00am and pacing the floor shortly after. Our driver was picking us up at 8.30am so I had time to fill. I pottered, stripped the bed, washed and dried it, as you do!
The driver was right on the dot. I was already stood outside with cases. I tried to doze in the back of his shiny Mercedes, but it wasn’t happening. I resorted to consuming a full bag of foam M&S Lobsters. I needed fizz really. Why didn’t I bring fizz with me for the journey?
We arrived at LHR terminal 5 in plenty of time. No need to stress or rush about. We made our way to the Priority queue. Karen Brady (The Apprentice) stood behind us. Mr C is not very subtle when he spots a celebrity! She must be used to it, but I just rolled my eyes. Check in and bag drop was smooth, just hope the cases make it to same destination as me, and on the same flight. They will, won’t they?
We decided to head for the North BA Lounge. I passed all the shops and never paused once to browse. The Lounge was busy. Busier than I have known it before. We struggled to get seated, but eventually settled on the noisiest high metal stools known to man. I had wine, I had a view of the planes. The chilli was nice. The cakes were yummy, and I finished it off with southern comfort. Then we discovered we needed to track all the way back to the South side for our gate. Ted Baker shop, Kurt Geiger, I had to walk past them all.
We were second on the plane, bags in overhead lockers, in fact everyone boarded very quickly, doors were shut and we were ready to push back. That’s when the pilot told us that we couldn’t go anywhere for at least half an hour thanks to the French air traffic control deciding to have one of their strikes. So the pilot drove us to a quiet sunny spot and there we sat for 30 mins or so. I’m bored now!
The flight was quite enjoyable when we eventually got in the air. The G&T and wine might have helped. I opted for a very acceptable chicken salad lunch, no Sooner had that been eaten and cleared away we were preparing for landing. Venice lagoon was in full view on the right hand side of the plane so I had a perfect view. Smoothest landing ever, swift disembarkation, all four cases on the carousel much to my relief. So now to get a water taxi.
We hadn’t precooked a water taxi, we just went to the first water taxi booth we saw as we came out of arrivals. It’s a standard fare anyway at 130 Euro. Pay by cash or card. Given a voucher. Then it’s a 7 minute walk to the water taxi station. Easy, as long as you can manage all of your luggage, which we could. We were immediately allocated a water taxi, effortless and stress free.
Oh wow! This could well be the highlight of the holiday already. If you have never done it, put it on the to do list. Loved it, loved it, loved it! We left the airport at high speed and it stayed that way until we reached the main part of Venice. Then he took a gentle meander through all the internal waterways until we emerged close to St Marks Square. Then it was full throttle to the Molino Suckly Hotel. Better than any Gondola ride, and I’ve had a few! The concierge was on hand to take the bags. Effortless check in, and straight up to the room, and the bags weren’t far behind us. An Executive King room with view. Ooh the view did not disappoint! Room was to my liking. All good. Mr C had previously had many mutterings as to ‘why’ I needed to pay extra to have a view. Now, he gets it!
Mr C was itching to get into Venice, mainly to fill his belly with food. So, after a quick shower and freshen up, we headed out. The hotel provide a frequent shuttle service to St Marks so we took advantage of the service. Had a massive boat to ourselves for the entire journey. St marks was relatively quiet at just gone 7.00pm. We strolled through the winding streets and alleys and reached our destination of Rialto bridge. Restorante Saraceno is our go to place, has been for several years and it didn’t disappoint. A lovely evening, bottle of wine, good food and the every changing scenery of the Grand Canal and different people coming and going on Gondolas and water taxis.
As we stood on the Rialto Bridge we realised people were taking photos of lightening in the distance. There’s a storm brewing. We didn’t have the energy to rush through the streets of Venice so we strolled back to St Marks. Venice takes on a whole new feeling and look in the evening. By the time we reached St Marks, Mr C decided it was time to quicken our pace. Rain was starting to fall in rather large spots and the lightening was getting closer. We somehow reached the Hilton water taxi station without getting wet. Just as we reached 5B shelter the heavens opened, the thunder rolled repeatedly across the sky and made for a very dramatic end to our evening. The water shuttle ride across to the Hilton was a warm and uncomfortable one due to it being so busy on the boat, but the dash from the boat to hotel door in torrential rain kept us on our toes. The hotel room was cool and inviting. I laid in bed and watched the storm over Venice. It’s been a long day.
Monday 16th July 2018 Venice
Woke up this morning to glorious hot sunshine and the sight of P&O Oceana just gliding into view. I must admit, despite her not being among my favourite ships, she did look good as she passed by the hotel window. She was closely followed by Norwegian Star, very bright and cheerful.
Breakfast for us this morning was in the Executive Lounge. Not a huge choice of food but more than adequate. The view was good, food fresh and tasty, no complaints. Mr C had planned a morning in Venice with his camera. Fine with me. I spent a little while in the room catching up with a bit of work, then I made my way to the rooftop bar and pool area. Oh yes, this is my kind of place. It was hot, very, very hot. I needed a Mojito, and it didn’t disappoint, cooled me down for all of 5 seconds too! Mr C arrived back from his adventures in Venice with his camera. Time to retreat to the shaded terrace of the Skyline Bar. Nice bottled of chilled Sauvignon and a salmon sandwich and an amazing view. It was lovely just chilling. I was keeping my eyes peeled for a certain ship to arrive, but reality wasn’t in line with what the shipping schedule was advising. More drinks it is then. Several drinks later and my ship still hasn’t come in. We retreated to the coolness of the room, but it soon became overcast outside, so the view wasn’t looking quite as bright and sunny as I like it. But wait, here she comes. I see a ship. Good afternoon Silver Muse, you are looking good. I will see you tomorrow.
This evening we had a reservation at Imora the fine dining restaurant within the hotel. The plan was to dine outside with the glorious view of Venice in front of us. But it wasn’t to be. It was raining stair rods. It always rains in Venice at some point of our stay. I wish it hadn’t chosen this evening to put in such an appearance though. We had pre dinner drinks at the Skyline Bar and watched Oceana head back out to sea for her next port of call. The restaurant was deserted. I’m still trying to figure out why the waiter seated us within a few inches of the only other two guests in the restaurant. Even more so, I’m trying to find out why I accepted the table we were given. Not like me at all! I blame the Bellini cocktails.
The meal was OK. I wasn’t blown away by it. It was nowhere near as good as the food served on the rooftop of the Intercontinental Athens, which is a similar concept. My lamb was way too tough for me, foolishly Mr C ate his and then moaned. To be fair the waiter did check with me why I wasn’t finishing it, and my desert was complimentary. All in all, it was nice. But it was expensive for just “nice”. It’s a shame we didn’t get to dine outside as planned. But worse things happen.
Tuesday 17th July 2018 Venice
There are times when I want to strangle Mr C and at 4.45am this morning was one such time! Why does he think it acceptable to batter and clang about, put lights on, and then set up has tripod etc in the open window just to capture the dam sunrise? Four hours sleep is not acceptable for me and then he starts asking me questions about water taxis and shuttle services to the dock. Read the bit of paper Mr Chadwick, this ‘travel agent’ (as he calls me) is trying to sleep! But let me answer that question anyway. Water bus shuttle stops outside the hotel. Cost is 9 Euro per person with one case plus one piece hand luggage each. Each additional suitcase is 3 Euro. Private watertaxi transfer is 65 Euro. He then has a full blown discussion with me re the logistics. Public transport – how do we manage five suitcases and three bits of hand luggage between us, V’s private water taxi, porter to load the bags on, watertaxi man to hand luggage to a porter. Arrive in style V’s arrive all caffuffled. No contest for me. It was never up for discussion in my head! Private water taxi it is then.
I dispatched him for coffee at 6.00am. He came back empty handed. Executive lounge doesn’t open until 7.00am. He makes me tea instead. I hate hotel room tea.
The sun is up, it’s set to be a glorious hot sunny day. And I’m going on a cruise. Not just any cruise. A Silversea cruise!! All inclusive, all Butler, all suite cruise. 596 passengers and two of them are us!
Mr C was dispatched again for coffee and muffins, then sat up in bed thinking about my day.
I had a bit of an incident with my back whilst stepping out of the shower. It often gives me jip first thing in the morning, but this was worse than I had experienced in a long time. I could barely move. It really was painful and all I could do was administer tablets and lay and wait until it eased enough to move. Breakfast was short and sweet. I had work to attend to. Luggage labels to write. Attaching them baffled both of us. It completely baffled engineer Chadwick. It was me that made sense of them in the end.
Hotel check out wasn’t a smooth as I would have liked. There was a query on the bill, a rather large query at that. The room charge was on there, but I had a receipt to show it had been prepaid. In the end Mr C had to log in to check his account. We agreed we couldn’t see it as charged at the time of booking so paid again. To be fair to the receptionist, she was professional and discreet, and did give us contact details and the business card of the reception manager if we had any queries on our return home when we can check it properly.
The Concierge ordered our water taxi, and we were directed outside to Julia who was coordinating them. Julia was lovely, we chatted whilst we awaited the arrival of our water taxi. They are expecting a very hot September through to November if anyone fancies a long weekend in Venice. She was also loving my dress. I have to confess, I did clock her dress yesterday and loved the way she rocked a pretty dress with a pair of Converse, but she is Italian and slim – they just do it effortlessly. Our water taxi arrived. The porter loaded our cases, the taxi driver offered his hand as I tried my best to step elegantly down into the water taxi. Hair tied back, shades on. Oh yes, I have thought through my arrival for the last few months! I had to make the most of this short journey. We whizzed along, took a right turn and glided along past the starboard side of Silver Muse. I had my concerns regarding where we would be set down. The Concierge at the hotel the previous evening suggested it would be at the public waterbus station at the far side, but our driver took us right alongside the ship, at speed and tied up just at the stern of the ship. The driver offloaded our cases. Mr C just had to work out how to get the cases off the jetty and to the waiting porters on the quayside. A couple of short trips along the jetty and up a steepish ramp and it was sorted. It would have been easier if the porters had come down the jetty to assist but let’s not get wound up about it.
Check in and embarkation was swift, amazingly swift! Health declaration form completed, passport checked, through security and we were stepping onboard. What a welcome. The spa girl handing out refreshing towels was in love with my dress. I think an online order might have been placed with the hour. The Entertainment man meeting and greeting was in love with my bag, or should I say Pom poms. Yes, it was quite a welcome! We were guided into the lounge and handed a glass of fizz and checked in formerly at the reception desk. We were checked in by assistant cruise director from Yorkshire. I admit to being confused. He was a red striped officer, which in my cruise world is a medic, but apparently in the Italian cruise world it’s not. We were fully checked in no time at all. I even forgot we were checking in, we had such a lovely chat.
We chose to sit for a while. Gather our thoughts and senses and just chill. We then had the decision of where to have lunch. We decided on La Terrazza, table for two on the aft rails. Perfect, absolutely perfect. Well apart from the view to the side of Thomson Celebration, it amused me if nothing else. Lunch was simply Devine. La Terrazza is self service at lunch and breakfast. I fully surveyed the entire choice on offer, which had to be seen to be believed, before I settled on some pasta. I didn’t even have to wait for it to be prepared. I was told to go back to my seat and a waiter would bring it to me. Sure enough he did. Oh, and another thing, fine china and crystal glasses are used in this restaurant. None of that thick red plastic eat your dinner off a plastic tray, and drink from a plastic beaker nonsense. My wine was continually topped up, we are on holiday according to our waiter.
The suite, oh the suite. No photos will do it justice. I was expecting beige, and that’s what I got, but very calm, inviting, contemporary beige. It’s lush. Bigger than I imagined, spacious, light and airy. I have more draw and closet space than I have at home. UK plug sockets as well as all other combinations. Our Butler Joseph has just called by to introduce himself and ask if he could unpack for me. Dam, why did I unpack already. No Butler, on any ship I have been on has ever asked if he could unpack for me. He offered me the full range of choice of toiletries. I chose Bvlgari but I can swap at anytime I want.
Unpacking complete, which was easy thanks to the nifty packing squares. Just lifted each packing square into a draw or on a shelf as predicted, hang the dresses, place the shoes, and it was job done.
Time for muster. We were assembled in the Panorama Lounge, which was short and sweet, but then we had to file out to the deck and assemble below the lifeboats. Take note, if the sun is shining so fierce as it was this afternoon I will not make it to my designated lifeboat in an emergency. I thought I was going to pass out there in my bright orange reflective life jacket. What we were standing waiting for baffles me somewhat, but eventually the Captain announced we could stand down.
A drink, I really need an ice cold drink after that experience. So we headed for a shaded spot by the pool and a frozen Strawberry Daiquiris was before me in no time at all. Now for one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen at sea. Set up on deck in front of my eyes. A shoemaker! A shoemaker at sea? Only on Silversesa! Choose the stones, jewel’s and embellishments and he makes them to your liking whilst you cruise. I was fascinated.
Back at the suite I had a nice relaxing soak in the bath. As baths go it’s a very comfortable bath, I emerged fully immersed in every Bvlgari product to hand. Mr C was next to use the bathroom. WARNING . . . . . . Amusing Mr C tale coming up.
Mr C went into the bathroom and I heard him cursing in disgust “Really” he shrieks to himself “are Silversea for real” he asks. I went in to investigate. He is stood in the bath, trying to crouch under the handheld shower device, which he tried to hold above his head with one hand, but he was too tall. With the other hand he tries to wash whilst pouring Bvlgari all over him.
“Mr Chadwick, what on Earth are you doing” I asked in a surprised voice. Ooh he was not happy. Apparently, the idiots at Silversea hadn’t thought the showering facilities out properly, there is not even anywhere to secure this hand held shower to the wall m-m according to Mr C.
“Errm what’s wrong with using the shower cubicle?” I asked. The massive double shower enclosure right in front of you”. Oh I laughed. He was not best amused! I left him to turn off the mixer tap on the bath and step across to the real shower.
Oh my life!!! What on Earth is he doing now. ‘Screaming like a girl‘!! doesn’t even come close. It’s a wonder half the crew didn’t come flying in through the suite door. So, he had unhooked the shower device from the wall and angled it whilst he tested the water temperature and got that right before he put it back to have a proper shower. What he hadn’t spotted was the massive rain shower head in the centre if the shower enclosure which he turned on accidentally and basically dumped ice cold water on his head. He ran out into the suite traumatised by his bathroom experience. A bit like a cat that accidentally came across a garden sprinkler. He was not happy, not happy at all. But I was helpless. Totally helpless with laughter. He’s an engineer in charge of multimillion pound laser machines, but a bathroom and three shower heads was too much for him!
We eventually made it to a bar for a well deserved glass of fizz before heading to dine at Atlantide. Table for two by the window was perfect. Fe as our waitress, wine just kept coming. I ordered way too much food. I couldn’t help it. Poached salmon in strawberries, pumpkin soup. Then I stupidly thought a New York strip steak would be a slither. Wrong, it was massive. It was smooth though. Like eating velvet. But it beat me, I felt bad for not eating it all, but I will know for next time. Maybe a starter and a soup no main next time lol
Mr C was taking some convincing to stay awake for the 11.30 departure from Venice. This is Venice. How can he contemplate missing a late night sailing past St Marks Square. A Dark Chocolate Martini seemed to be the key to keeping him on his feet for another 30 minutes. I had a Lemon Drop Martini. Devine. We timed going out on deck perfectly. We arrived on top deck just as we past the Hilton Molino Stucky. It looked fabulous all light up. Then we went across to the other side of the deck to watch us glide past St Marks and the Grand Canal. It was so quiet. So quiet and serene. Fabulous. Just fabulous.
Mr C had fulfilled his obligation and was permitted to go to bed. He wanted hot chocolate but couldn’t possibly order it himself, too many buttons on the phone. He was asleep long before it arrived. I sat out on the balcony and watched the final lights of Venice disappear into the distance. It was a perfect hour. What a day!
But before I can get into bed I have to try and figure out how to turn the magic mirrors off. It’s like an activity information wall and television. Way to technical for me. I tried touch screen, I figure they are not touchscreen and I guess the suite attended Eric will not be impressed with my hand prints all over it. Eventually I found a remote and the red button for off.
Wednesday 18 July 2018. Koper
It’s hot, like 32 deg intense sun hot. Too hot to even think straight.
We chose breakfast on the aft deck of La Terrazza. It’s the buffet restaurant and you can’t really describe it as self service. Orders for juice, coffee, eggs etc is taken at the table. The choice of food from the buffet is outstanding, and when you have made the choice a waiter carry’s it back to the table for you. Whilst I feel a little guilty about someone carrying my plate of fruit outside to my table for me, it’s the Silversea way, so go with the flow.
We lasted all of an hour ashore. It was simply too hot. Koper doesn’t have a lot to offer anyway. Mr C was keen to go to Piron. It for 35 Euro each way I was t keen. I’m not the best at the tourist thing. Getting back on the ship was not as easy as it could have been. Before we disembarked there was much confusion about whether or not passengers were required to carry passports ashore. Guest Services had retained all passports at embarkation in Venice. We are convinced that the last announcement before we disembarked had changed to ‘passports not required’ We were ashore early, only stayed an hour, so were obviously one of the first set of passengers to go back onboard. We put the bags and camera through the scanner in the deserted security tent, then showed our cruise card to the nice man on the exit to the dockside. “Passports” he growled at us. We politely explained that the ship had advised passports not required to be taken ashore. He just kept demanding Passport, Passport! Didn’t matter what we said, it wasn’t going in. We didn’t speak his language and he didn’t speak ours. I told him to radio the ship, but it was all falling on deaf ignorant ears. Eventually the nice lad from the security scanner came over and asked what the problem was. He calmly explained it to Mr Growling Immigration Officer, who dismissed our explanation. We were in stale mate. Next two nice passengers turned up. They explained to the security scanner lad that there had been a lot of confusion on the ship, re passports or no passports, but just before they disembarked it was changed yet again to ‘passports required’ I knew I wasn’t totally bonkers and was usually pretty switched on as to what documents were required or not required. I am a travel agent after all. The passengers offered to go onto the ship and get our passports from reception, to which Mr Grumpy Immigration agreed. Hang on a minute, the ship is not going to randomly hand over our passports to a stranger, that’s that plan foiled and by now I wanted to proper yell at the grumpy Mr Immigration. His face still hadn’t cracked. The lovely security scanner lad was still trying to reason with him. Eventually the other passengers said they would get back onboard the ship, got to Guest Relations and send someone off the ship to get it sorted. As soon as that was explained to /Mr Grumpy Immigration he decided we could go through. I will know not to get off there again, ignorant git. Apparently it was all political, I don’t do politics so I’m none the wiser. Many announcements were made over the ship during the afternoon apologising for passport confusion and for the local immigration.
As you can imagine, I am in need of a drink and chose to get changed and go and chill by the pool. We almost melted. The supply of fizz and cocktails helped a little though, as did the ice cold refreshing towels. I could do without the stress on holiday. My people watching skills were on full alert. There was a lot going on.
Time to retreat to the shade of The Grill. Chilled wine, nachos and a BBQ chicken wrap. Our lunch was enhanced with some jolly banter with the guys sitting behind us. We did have a laugh. By the time we retreated to the suite it was time for a quick turnaround and head out for pre dinner drinks. How lunch merges into pre dinner I know not – blame the all inclusive enjoy yourself’ness.
Formal night this evening. We have a reservation in La Dame, but my timing was all over the place and had no time for pre dinner drinks. I slipped into La Dame and asked if we could be excused for 20 to 30 mins whilst we went and chilled with a pre dinner drink. I suppose I expected a roll of the eyes and a non appreciative grunt from the Maitre D, but oh, I forgot, this is Silversea! No problem at all Madam come through when you are ready. So we did. I do like the Silversea way.
La Dame is the Relais and Chataeux French dining experience. One of the smallest and most intimate restaurants on Silver Muse and one of only two restaurants onboard that carry a supplement. Its all very intimate and cosy. We were welcomed with a glass of champagne whilst we perused the menu. The table next to us has arrived. Its one of the people I was people watching this afternoon. I wasn’t really being nosey, he is the sort that likes attention. For example, Tables for two are seated as one on a built in sofa bench type seating, with a chair opposite for the second guest. Im sat on the sofa type seat, as does the lady of the table that has just arrived. Mr C is on a chair opposite me as per the table setting. Not this guy. He sits his very glamour wife down, then takes off his jacket, flings it onto the sofa seating, pulls his chair round to a 45 degree angle with his wife and sits back in his chair with one leg pulled up over the other. I expected him to pull out a big fat cigar at that point. Maitre D comes over and has a word. I would guess he suggested it was formal night, jacket required and that he needed to be seated as per the table layout so that the waiters could serve, comfort of the guests who would be at the next table etc. nit him, he was having none of it. Our food started to arrive as they were looking at the menu. “What have you got, whats that” they would ask as our dishes were unveiled. Peoples mannerisms and ways do amuse me, so it kept me very entertained. At one point, one of our courses arrived and on checking what it was he summonsed the waited to tell him to change their order to the same as ours. Bet Maitre D was not best pleased, or chef. We had a lovely evening in there. Turned out not to be quite the intimate setting we had imagined, but it was all about the guy at the next table. We finished off our evening in Panorama Lounge with a French Martini. Our bellies were full and our eyelids were closing so we retreated to the suite before the show in the Venetian Lounge finished and the place got busy.
Thursday 19th July 2018. Split
We are not due to arrive in Split until noon, but by the time we arrived at breakfast at La Terrazza land was already in sight. We hugged the coast and it made for a very delightful breakfast view. Entertainment at breakfast was provided, rightly or wrongly, by a couple of guests causing near chaos and leaving the waiters shaking their heads. They had started off at one table and placed an order then they both left the table to go into the buffet, but when they came back the waiter pointed out that they were now sat at the wrong table. They were having none of it even though the waiter advised him that there was already an order placed for that table, and that his order would go to his original table. No, he was having none of it and the waiter was ushered away. Next the restaurant manager appears and suggests, very discreetly, that he gets their food lifted across to the original table. No joy. The other couple had by now been moved without any fuss. Then the food order arrives. The waiter is trying to determine who’s food is who’s but the man insists he put it all down on his table, which he does, then another waiter comes by with food looking totally confused because said man already has a mountain of food stacked in a tower. He is asked if he had ordered an omelette, but before I could interrupt and suggest it might be Mr C’s omelette, the man had claimed it. We had no coffee, no food from our order. Mr C is totally oblivious to what is happening at this table of confused disruption. Mr C’s people watching skills are not on the same level as mine. By now Mr C is wondering where his omelette is and getting a bit vocal to me about it. Kicking his shins was not helping the situation. Eventually the waiter that took our food order came by and couldn’t believe we were still waiting. Then he too clocked the table of confusion and had maybe put two and two together because no doubt the waiters were having behind the scenes mumbling about the couple who refused to move. He quickly scurried off to get more Illy coffees and get another order in for the omelette. I gave the man at the table of confusion my best Paddington Bear glare.
I went for a browse of the shops onboard after breakfast, because we are in port every day its not easy to catch them open. I had literally just set foot inside the jewellers and they declared shops closed because we were too close to port, so we pottered and continued to explore Silver Muse.
Mr C had a tour booked for this afternoon. He was very excited to be going on a photography walking tour with a local photographer. However, he returned earlier than expected a little miffed that the tour had been monopolised and spoilt by a couple of other guests. Im not painting a very good picture of our fellow guests, am I!
Meanwhile I had found my hideaway pods on the aft of the ship and that is where I stayed most of the day. I had waiter service throughout my stay. A Silver Spirit cocktail managed to knock me out for an hour. I had my own private jacuzzi and a shower, so I utilised both of those. It was just sheer bliss and I must hope nobody else finds my pods.
This evenings decision was what to wear, where to have pre dinner drinks, and where to dine. One thing at a time. I went and consulted my walk in wardrobe and decided I was feeling in a red kind of mood, so red it was. We stepped outside for a couple of photos and oh heck it’s hot. Still very intensely hot and humid. We retreated to the most forward lounge bar on the ship. It was deserted. It is a library too, but that’s no excuse to not use it. It was blissfully quiet, just what I needed. Somewhere to chill. As you can imaging the Barman was very attentive and ensured that the Hendriks flowed. We were still alongside in Split with departure planned for 9.00pm.
Dinner venue was discussed over our Hendriks and Brandy’s. We chose Indochine, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s the Asian Thai influenced restaurant. Presentation of the food was outstanding. Very tasty, and maybe a little too spicy for my own personal preference but apparently can ask chef to tone it down a little, so maybe next time. Mr C was however in his element. Spicier the better for him. He loved it.
I now get to browse the shops onboard. No jewellery caught my eye, but the Joseph Ribkoff collection impressed me. Thing is it conjures up an image of a Jane McDonald blasting out one of her songs whilst dancing around the shop. Have I maybe drank too much already? But Jane Mc does like a nice bit if Ribkoff.
We headed to the Panorama Lounge where Joyce has already decided I should have a French Martini. Can’t fault her suggestion. Mr C is back on the brandy, large brandy’s at that. Entertainment comes in the form of a kind on one man band guitarist. He plays the guitar whilst magic music appears from somewhere to back him. He had a lovely time, but we too had a nice time listening to him. There was a show on in the Venetian Lounge but we didn’t get to see that. When the show kicked out a lot of guests came up to Panorama Lounge just in time for the disco. The dance floor was busy for an hour or so before they left and once again we had the room and bar to ourselves. A walk on deck, and so to bed.
Friday 20th July 2018 Kotor Montenegro
I was woken this morning by the delivery of breakfast. We had decided on a leisurely start to the day as we observed the sail in to Kotor, and so the lovely Butler delivered breakfast to the suite, omelette, fresh fruit, cornflakes Salmon bagel, fresh orange juice, ooh and tea, I must have some English breakfast tea to start my day.
Jimmy the Cruise Director is giving a talk over the public address system describing the sights of the arrival. Interesting but a bit too much for my brain at this time of the day. Im fortunate to have done the sail into Kotor several times, so I would have been happy this time to just sit and watch the scenery drift by. As always it was stunning, and if you haven’t experienced it yet make sure you put it on your to do list.
Azamara Quest got the berth so once again we were at tender. No queue for the tender and we were straight onto a ships tender and in the walled town of Kotor by 9.45am when it was relatively quiet, just as I like it. It was hot though! Oh so flippin hot. What to do! We had a little wander through the cobbled streets. I was a bit desperate for some wifi, sad I know, but I do have a business to run at the same time as trying to take a holiday. The sun was making me irritable and no mobile signal or wifi signal was sending me over the edge. I’ll be honest I dont even understand why I cant use my phone in the land if Montenegro, something to do with EU I think? Mr C has tried to explain, but as I don’t do politics it glided neatly over my head. By now Mr C has decided he needs a loo. I now understand why this used to wind my Mum up during our family holidays some 40 years earlier. Is it only women who know to use the bathroom before they leave the ship? I though men were once boy scouts? Anyway, just another thing to add to my grumbles of the day. So I sit, on a bench, in a little square, surrounded by cats, whilst Mr C goes in search of a gents. Now I love cats, I’m a bit of a crazy cat lady, but the combination of stray cats, lots of flies, sun baking from above and roasting me from below whilst glaring off the hot shiny cobbles, throw in the stench of cat P, and I declared I had had enough. I need the ship, I need air conditioning, I need wifi, and so for me my date ashore was over. When Mr C eventually returned from his loo trek I was gone. I had a tender all to myself and I arrived back at my beautifully airconditioned luxury cruise ship. Im not really a girl that needs ports of call in her life. I got into my suite, poured myself a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc and retreated to my balcony. Ah that’s better. Sometimes one just needs a bit of time out, and today Im fortunate that I can have just that in such an idyllic spot.
We had lunch in our usual spot on the aft of La Terrazza. I cant begin to explain the range of food that is on offer. I could eat so much, but I try to be good and keep it as light as possible. Wine waiters are so attentive too, perhaps a little too attentive but im not complaining.
After spending the afternoon just chilling, lounging around and admiring the view we prepared fro pre dinner drinks in Arts Café. I love the randomness of how or why people start talking to you. With me people usually comment on my shoes or ask what drink I have, because I can and do try every cocktail on the list. Tonight was no exception, Australian lady a couple of tables away calls out how nice my shoes are, closely followed by “whats that ya drinking” Third sentence was “where are you two dining tonight and can we join you” just as choke on my drink my fast little brain kicks in with “oh that’s vey sweet of you but my husband and I don’t get to see a lot of each other so we will just be a table for two, but thank you anyway” She was only being friendly, but I just prefer my own company.
Tonight we are dining Italian in La Terrazza. Table for two by the rails, just as I like it. The food was exceptional, the service and attention to detail faultless, and of course the wine flowed. There was the most stunning sunset as we sailed out of the Fjord, Mr C was in his element with his camera. There are no words to describe settings like this, but I love nights like this. After dinner we head up to Panoram Lounge, pull up two bar stools and I sample a few more Martini cocktails, some on the bar menu, some not. It turned into a busy evening up here tonight. The show dancer rocked up, the disco kicked in and suddenly our bar stools were edging onto a packed dance floor. Time for our romantic stroll on deck in the moonlight.
Saturday 21st July 2018 Corfu
It was very nearly death caused by the heat today. All self inflicted, so no sympathy required but why I though coming to the Mediterranean in mid July was a good idea beats me. What’s more, I then go and sit out in the Midday sun and then attempt a hike back to the ship in the full glaring sun.
So, the day started relaxed and calmly with breakfast by the rail at La Terrazza as we tied up alongside at Corfu. Then I spent an hour at my laptop catching up with work, before setting off for the town just after 11.00am. We chose to walk through the port to the terminal building, then got on the shuttle bus to town. I should not have sat at the front of the coach. My heart was in my mouth as the driver wound his way through the narrow streets by the fortress. He arrived at the drop off point only to find a police car, in the busses drop off point, booking a car driver for something. The coach driver went mental at the policeman, he gave him both barrels. I didn’t hang around to see if he got himself arrested. It was hot. Mega hot. The crickets in the trees were going nuts and were deafening. We have been here 10 minutes and Mr C is doing my nut in. He has utilised every bit of camera equipment in his sport billy bag and taken a hundred different shots of the same thing. I’m hot Mr C, get a shift on. I was on edge walking through the park area. There must be lizard things around somewhere, and what if those cricket things fall out of the tree on my head. As we approached old town I offered Mr C some choices – we go the shops, we go to our favourite bar down by the sea, or we split up and he does photography and I browse the shops. He chose the lapety, lapety bar by the sea, so we treked across there. It was hot, like very hot. So why did I choose seats in the full sun. Why not go around the other side in the shade where there was a bit of a breeze! Why, because I wanted to sit more or less near to where we usually sit. I thought my jug of wine would cool me down. Reality was the sun heated my wine up. Mr C had iced coffee and then a cold beer. It was now getting on for 12.30 so decided that by the time we got back to the ship it would be a very late lunch, and too close to our booked evening meal. So, we decided to have a light lunch here. I had a lovely tuna sandwich on the freshest bread. Mr C had seafood platter which to me looked disgusting, but he really enjoyed it.
We decided to go our separate ways as we left the bar. He wanted to do photography, I wanted to look in the shops. I knew when I was heading back to the shops up the hill that maybe I should head for the shuttle bus instead, but in my head the shopping streets would be shaded, and by the time I got back through to the other end of town I would be half way back to the ship, or so I thought. The cobbled streets were so hot and slippery in the heat, I could barely stay upright. I don’t think the wine helped. I couldn’t browse the shops it was simply too hot. I headed for the exit to the main road thinking I would see my ship. In hindsight I was not as close to being at the port as I thought I was. I started to question my actions. As I walked through the hottest car park in the world, I looked up and there was Mr C 10 ft in front of me. I called him back to assist me. My head was on fire so I had to take his sport billy head covering from his head to protect mine. I needed water, and I needed it fast. I was holding my maxi dress up as high as I dare, I nearly lifted it over my shoulders in an effort to protect them, but it wouldn’t have been a pretty site. We stopped at a road side kiosk. Mr C had a Fanta but seemed shocked that I went for the healthy option of ice cold water. He was even more shocked when I stood and poured it all over me, then proceeded to drink his Fanta. It was not a good look, but I felt slightly better. Where was my ship! We walked into the port area and I knew the last bit was going to frazzle me, and it did. I got some very funny looks on the port bus round to the ship, but did I care? Straight into the bathroom and I stood under the cold rain shower until I stated to cool down. Then I slapped on layers of aftersun. Won’t be doing that again in a hurry.
I stepped outside the suite this evening, and as always Joseph our lovely Butler was close by. He took my arm and escorted me all the way to pre dinner drinks. He seems concerned that he doesn’t do enough for us, but really, I want for nothing on this ship. He keeps our wine supply topped up and everything in the suite is perfect.
We had pre dinner drinks in the Observatory. Wesley one of the entertainment team dropped by for a chat and we talked about our day in Corfu. It was his first time here, but next time I think he will be visiting g my lapety lapety Bar.
We headed down to Hot Rocks in the hope that it might have cooled down a little. It hadn’t, it was still as blisteringly hot and sunny as it was at 2.00pm this afternoon. We were offered a table in the shade, which I accepted, but it really didn’t help. It was so intensely hot it was becoming unbearable. Iced water wasn’t helping, and chilled wine was doing little to ease my pain. I knew before I started that I was going to struggle with my meal. And struggle I did. I chose the smallest fillet Mignon on the menu, but it was still too much for me. I chose to have mine cooked by the chef before coming to the table. Meanwhile Mr C was in his element cooking his on his hot lava rock. To be honest I should maybe have just opted for the jacket potato and sour cream. The beef was beyond amazing but I wasn’t appreciating it this evening. I had to go inside and find coolness whilst Mr C ate his steak. Coolest place I found was Connoisseurs Cigar Lounge, the rest of the ship seemed to be struggling to keep the aircon cool. I returned to table and the waiter was in full agreement with me about the heat. How they were managing to work in it was beyond me. I chose a nice light fresh fruit desert with ice cream.
I couldn’t wait to retreat to the Dolce Vita Lounge in an effort to cool down. We had the place to ourselves and was entertained by the guitarist singing and playing some lovely relaxing tunes.
Local folklore dancing up on deck, so we headed up there to watch the show, which was very good, and made a refreshing change. The plan was for an early night, but bumped into others we had met during the cruise, and best laid plans were straight out the window. Drinks on the aft deck outside Panoram Lounge it is then. There was some banter flying between the tables tonight, until we all merged into one big gathering. On the quayside there must have been a ferry delayed or something because there was a lot of people with suitcases appearing. It was like a swarm of ants at 1.00am when their ferry turned up. 8 hours after leaving the suite for pre dinner drinks, we eventually made it back there! A fab night of giggles and good company though.
Sunday 22nd July 2018 – Corfu
Yes, we are still in Corfu. A planned overnight until 2.00pm today. Everything seemed like an effort this morning. No idea why lol. We did make it into breakfast and I enjoyed a nice salmon bagel, fresh orange juice and a latte. I decided to stretch my legs with a stroll to the dutyfree shop at the terminal, then a stroll back in the heat. We spent a couple of hours chilling out on the aft deck with a latte before moving onto Spaccanapoli for fresh pizza and several glasses of wine. It’s hard to stop the waiters from pouring and constantly top up your glass. Somehow, we completely missed the fact that there was a deck buffet one deck below. They were cooking sea bass, duck and stir fry. But I enjoyed my pizza so no complaints from me. We arrived back at the suite just as the Butler showed up with Champagne and ice cream, so we sat on the balcony and enjoyed the sailaway from Corfu. We, the ship that is, must have looked stunning as we glided past my favourite lapety lapety Bar.
As you can probably imagine, my eyelids were getting a little heavy. The duvet was calling me, so that’s where I ended up for an hour.
I woke up refreshed and decided to chill in a nice Bvlgari bath. Then I sat out on the balcony just chilling. The doorbell rings and in comes Joseph with this evening’s canapés. He pours us a nice glass of chilled wine, lays the table on the balcony with fresh white linen tablecloth, places the canapes, and he left as discreetly as he arrived. And so we just sat, chilling yet again with chilled wine and canapes and the most relaxing view.
Formal night tonight so pre dinner drinks were taken in Dolce Vita. There was a cocktail party to attend for Venetian guests but we prefer to chill at the bar. One French Martini, and a Putting on the Ritz later we decided to head to dinner in Atlantide. It was busy, and the Maitre d Informed us that we had taken the last table for two. It wasn’t the best of tables right by end door, but it more than made up for in people watching opportunities. I didn’t miss many things this evening. Hat Woman beyond fascinated me. She was wearing a hat which matched her evening dress. The lady on the next table spotted me staring in disbelief and reliably informs me that Hat Lady has a hat for every occasion and is never without a hat. Apparently, her embarkation outfit, in Venice, with matching hat was a sight to behold. Good food, free flowing wine and lots of people watching. what more could a girl want?!
After dinner we went to what we now refer to as Joyce’s Bar for an sherry or two before bed. We sat at the Bar chatting to Alex before it got busy, but once the DJ kicked and the dancing started we left. It’s be getting old lol, but I was in need of my bed.
Monday 23rd July 2018 Taormina
It was a bit of a choppy night and we awoke to overcast sky’s. But it was still not, very hot. We decided on breakfast in Atlantide with full waiter service, just for a change. Excellent as expected. We were anchored in Giarda Noxos so it was a tender ashore then a bus ride to the village of Taormina up the hill. Taormina is pedestrian only so the coach dropped us at a car park with the elevator upto level seven. Taormina is so very pretty. It as breezy and it was like having a hot hairdryer blowing at you constantly. It was a bit wearing. We wandered to the other end of town and back, then stopped for a nice refreshing drink, before heading back to the coach. I had never been heare before but its not hard to see what the attraction is. Very quaint, lovely little shops to browse, stunning views. I was convinced we had just missed a transfer coach but due to a road accident it was delayed so we made it. Just getting out of the car park was a bit of a farce. We were in a mini bus because the larger coach couldn’t negotiate the detour to get us back down avoiding the traffic accident. For some reason the driver didn’t seem happy, and there was much discussion between him and the ground staff. Then it transpired that he didn’t have the magic pass key to get out of the car park barriers, so he resulted in manually lifting them, but by the time he got back behind the wheel o the coach the barrier would lower. I thought we would never make it. The journey down was much faster than the one going up. Mr C decided to walk along the beach to get some photos. I was on the next available tender back to the ship, which at one point I thought they were going to cancel. The sea was a bit choppy and they couldn’t get it secured to the pontoon enough. Thankfully they managed it and a handful of passengers ventured back to the ship. Once onboard I had a bit of work to catch up on. I was well aware that the scenery outside was changing rapidly and we were swinging on our anchor. At one point we tipped quite considerably. Clearly the wind had caught us and we were battered by a sudden gust. Things in the suite slid around and was quite a scary feeling. Mr C made it back in one piece though.
We ventured out on deck for an hour and then decided on a light lunch in The Grill. I opted for lamb from the rotisserie and Mr C had the chicken wrap, washed down by a couple of glasses if white wine for me, and beer for MR C.
I had to do a bit of maths this afternoon and try and work out how many informal and casual nights were left. It was even more complicated by the fact that I had to work out what day it is. Life gets so complicated at times when all you have to think about is what shoes and dress to wear.
So, it was a semi formal evening this evening. Despite it being very breezy I thought it might be nice to go and sit outside the Panorama Lounge for pre dinner drinks. As we stepped outside the suite Joseph was there to escort me, as he is most nights. So where are you going this evening Mrs Chadwick. “Joyce’s Bar” was my reply. He didn’t flinch, but I could see his brain ticking as we approached the lift. “where did you say you were heading Mrs Chadwick”. I briefly explained that Joyce was the waitress in Panorama Lounge, and Joyce is clearly the boss in there despite what the bartender Alex thinks. When the penny dropped he had a right little chuckle. He clearly knew who Joyce was! We arrived at Panorama Lounge only to discover that there was a private party for first time guests in full flow. Joseph didn’t bat an eyelid. “It’s ok Madam, you wanted to sit outside, we can walk through”. As you can imagine there were more than a few heads turned as we strolled through with me in the arm of a white gloved Butler. Well, if you are gonna make an entrance, make it a good one!
It was breezy on the aft deck and it took 3 seat changes to find one out of the breeze. We were still at anchor in the bay. At one point during the afternoon the Captain did abandon tender operations for safety reasons due to 55 knot winds. So now we had to sit out the weather changes and make sure all passengers got back on board. One minute it was calm and the next minute the Captain was sounding the horn very loudly. Next thing I knew heavy metal chairs were being lifted from the deck. My French Martini slid towards me and Mr C demanded that we get inside. As I stood up I was facing the sea, almost literally parallel to me, and it was not an easy passage to the doors of the Panorama Lounge. We did right ourselves by the time I reached a bar stool but the look on everyone’s face confirmed we were all thinking the same “ what happened”
We chose to dine in Indochine this evening. Mr C was clearly hungry and asked the waiter for a selection of everything. Why? It was too much for me. I was done after starter and soup. I wanted my bed, and I decided I needed it fast. Im not sure if this cruise is death by food, death by drink or death by the heat of the sun. The couple on the table next to us were lovely. She clearly shared my passion for people watching and we had a few giggles about a few of the characters onboard. Earlier in the evening the couple behind me caused my radar ears to be on full alert and I was highly amused whilst I was eaves dropping on their conversation. They sounded like they were from the Deep South and not quite in tune with the 21st century. There view of the 21st century was amusing me. I struggled my way through the meal to a light desert of sorbet and then I heard my bed screaming for me, so I had to dash back to the suite and stay with my bed, it needed me tonight.
Tuesday 24th July 2018 Palermo
My usually perfect location table for breakfast in La Terrazza appeared to have changed location and I was now sharing it with a noisy bulldozer thing collecting rocks. I was not impressed.
After breakfast we ambled along to the shuttle us not knowing that it was waiting for us, there may have been a few rolls of eyes as we entered the coach. As soon as we got in the bus it set off into town. He went the long way around. From what I understand the main shopping area is just opposite the port gate, but Silversea seem to like to drop you in the centre of town, which means going up around and approaching the town centre from the other end. The Costa ship next door had no such luxury, they walked. We wandered off down the more interesting looking side streets until we declared ourselves lost, and had to return the way we came. Mr C had his port map out n everything, but he is no boy scout. We found the main pedestrian street, stumbled across local graduation celebrations and were heading back to the ship before lunch time. The shuttle back to the ship was like a comedy sketch. Mr Irven, who I have since learnt is a well known guest, was sitting in the seat in front of me on the bus. “Driver are you taking me back to Silver Muse” he asked repeatedly before we even set off, with nil response because the driver was Italian. Eventually, the ground staff lady stepped in and explained that the driver didn’t speak English, and yes the bus was going back to Silver Muse. The. ~Then his mobile phone goes off very loudly and the woman at the other end of the phone was screaming at him “why are you screaming and hollering at me” he asks? It might help at this stage if I explain he is about 90+ years old. He continues “ . . . well I just saw a bus and I got on it”. Truth is he couldn’t just see a bus and get on it, you had to disembark and walk to the other end of the dock, so he continued “will ya stop screaming at me, the whole gawd dam bus can hear ya hollering” By now the whole gawd dam bus was in hysterics. She hung up “doh she seems a little mad at me, I guess she wanted to come into town too” the uproar of laughter increases. He knew he had messed up somehow, but he couldn’t for the life of him figure out how, bless him. His next question was how will he know when he is back at the ship? A passenger assures him he will be ok and they will put him right. As we approach the port gate he sees a ship “oh driver, I gotta get off of this gawd dam bus, that’s my ship right there in front of me!” He took some convincing that we weren’t quite there yet. It was hardly a surprise when the bus door opened at the dockside and the tour manager immediately said “ah come on Mr Irven lets get you back to the ship”. We have double checked, he is still alive and well, and his wife hasn’t killed him, yet.
After a quick freshen up we headed to the pool for an hour on the sunloungers. Honestly, an hour in this heat is an hour too much. It’s so hot and so humid.
We went for a spot of lunch in La Terrazza. It was too breezy to dine outside so we sat inside for a change. The chef prepared me some pasta arrabbiata and I followed it with a scoop of mandarin ice cream. Perfect. Oh there was wine too, always wine!
We just chilled for the rest of the afternoon in the suite and on and off the balcony. Unfortunately the ugley big Costa ship was in full view alongside and I wasn’t impressed.
We had our pre dinner drinks in Arts Cafe and there was the most perfect sunset. We were dining in Silver Note this evening. Im going to be honest and ay that the menu was not at all to my liking. Very seafood esque, and just the thought of squid in ink was enough to turn my stomach. But a very pleasant evening non the less. It’s a sort of cosy dining club experience with entertainment. It wasn’t a late night this evening. Im looking forward to Sorrento tomorrow.
Wednesday 25th July 2018 Sorrento
We took the tender across and then opted for the shuttle bus up the hill. It took the driver forever to get in the driving seat, they had times to stick to and that’s what they were doing despite the mini bus being full and ready to go. There was a lot going on in the port area. Many had chosen to take ferries and hydrofoils across to Capri and various other places. The shuttle dropped us just past the main square and offered no indication if which way we should walk. Use the port map I hear you all say. Well that’s the sort of paperwork that I find on my bed the evening previous. I read it in bed, ‘read’ being very loose terminology, before falling asleep and it ends up scattered about the floor as I cast each bit of paper aside. We were actually in search of breakfast ashore this morning. We had this vision of sitting in Sorrento having breakfast overlooking the bay. Finding the reality of that vision was not proving easy. We opted to walk back to the main crossroad and turned right, knowing that this was roughly the direction of where the ship was anchored below. Views of the sea were not forthcoming, just the entrances to nice fancy hotels. More and more people were passing us walking in the opposite direction. I did point out to Mr C that this must be a sign that there is nothing this way of any significance. My belly needed food and my thirst needed quenching. After what seemed like a ten mile hike in the every increasing heat, we reached a viewing area with stunning views of the bay and our lovely silver Muse. There was a bench, so I sat whilst Mr C utilised every lens and setting on his camera to capture the same photos over and over again. I have no idea according to him. At this point I thought he would see that there was no point in walking any further, there was nothing to see. But no, we had to walk to the next junction just to prove it. When we eventually turned around to walk back the way we came we did eventually find more than enough places serving breakfast. We chose somewhere that was about as far removed from the idyllic spot we had originally imagined, right on the traffic crossroads. But no complaints, the food, service, and fresh orange juice were exceptional. Nice breakfast. So whilst sitting it wasn’t hard to note that all pedestrians were walking to the left of the main crossroads into a nice quiet, serene pedestrianised area, with quaint, narrow windy little streets to wander down. Mr C must of thought that I wouldn’t have the energy to investigate every little street and vendor, but I did. Some of them I checked out twice because I could. We chose to have lunch at the Aurora Pizzeria because we had seen its amazing looking pizza oven as we stepped off the shuttle bus. Pizza was nice, service wasn’t upto scratch. I ddn’t like having to keep asking for my wine. After lunch Mr C decided to walk back down, whilst I took the shuttle bus. Oh my life it was hot on the shuttle bus as we waited for him to come and turn on the engine and engage the aircon. People were melting, me included. By the time the shuttle dropped me off at the port area Mr C was just reaching the same point, and he said the walk wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. We had a little mooch around the port area and wandered over to the main beach area, which was very busy. We opted for a bar on the tiny beach area close to the tender area. I had a limoncello spritzer which was very refreshing, and I sat as close to the ice blowing aircon unit as I possibly could. At one point the bar owner came over and apologised for the cold blasting machine being directed at me, and tried to turn it down. Was she crazy? Leave it alone you mad woman, I’m chillin. We spent a very chilled out hour just sitting people watching and doing nothing. We had the tender to ourselves back to the ship. Most people were off on some big adventure somewhere. I had a nice cool shower to refresh and cool down, then met Mr C at the pool bar for a drink. I opted for a ‘Swimming Pool” as you do!
Pre dinner we chilled on the balcony admiring the view, before pre dinner drinks and then we dinied in my favourite little spot outside at La Terrazza. I cannot put into words how perfect this place is. The view is stunning, food is perfect and the wine is flowing. There is a party on a posh yacht anchored out in the bay. I think it was someoness birthday, and what a way to celebrate.
There was local entertainers in the Venetian Lounge so I stuck my head in there, and we retired to the aft deck with a French Martini and a bit more chill time before bed.
Thursday 26th July 2018 Sorrento day two
We had never really planned to do anything on our second day in Sorrento. For us it was just going to be a stay onboard and chill day. But it’s difficult to sit and chill in heat like this so we decided to go ashore and more or less think on outer feet. So, after a leisurely, but early breakfast outside on the aft of La Terrazza, we took the tender across to Sorrento. We pondered about getting the ferry across to Capri but having been there in recent times we wanted something different. We asked a taxi driver about a drive along the Amalfi Coast, but he was a grumpy old Italian that didn’t speak very good English. He sort of suggested Positano, but his price was minimum 250 Euro plus waiting time of 50 Euro per hour when we stopped. We walked away, and another taxi driver followed us and asked us where we wanted to go. He said Positano was the best choice. Romantic! He would take us on a nice drive, stop for photos, take us to Positano, wait for us and bring us back. And he only wanted 160 Euro no waiting time. He was fab. He had a nice air conditioned Mercedes minibus thing. He told Mr C to get in the front seat so he could get best photos and off we went. He told us about Sorrento, how many live there, how many visit per day, how hot it is -m know how hot it is! We know who grows the best tomatoes, who the best olive farmer is, the Bougainvillea season, lemons, we know all about lemons and Citrons. But as you can tell I don’t retain much of the info given out. Having said that it was interesting, and he was not at all boring. He was very chatty and friendly. The Amalfi Coast is stunning. I was mesmerised. There was little the driver didn’t know, he told us about beaches and how to get there, he told us about private islands. He was just great. When Positano came into sight, we knew we had been right to listen to him and this had been a good choice. Just the type of place we like. A tiny village nestled into the hillside with pretty coloured buildings. He dropped us as far down the hill as he could get, and shortly after that it is pedestrianised with tiny meandering little streets and pathways, and a lot of steps. I was already dreading the journey back up. There were some lovely little shops, chic boutique and nice jewellery shops. We made it all the way down to the beach. The beach itself was not the best, it was hot dark pebbles, but the view looking back was stunning. Mr C was in his element with his camera. I was already dreading the climb back up. I went for a little browse of the shops while he took photos and then we rendezvoused for our climb back up. It was getting busy, and for me it would be too much when it reached the peak of day visitors. I just had to put my head down and walk and take it slowly when I reached steps. We stopped for a Lemon slush halfway up. That was refreshing and certainly aided the second half back to the taxi. The drive back meant I could take in the Amalfi Coast again. There was a bit if traffic on the way back, especially back into Sorrento but he knew how to avoid it and took us a bit of the back way. He dropped us in town as requested and we had another little wander around before deciding to walk down to the tender station. We took the steps which wasn’t as bad as risking our life on the narrow bends of the busy road.
It was so, so hot. My dress was clinging to me. We were dripping. A tender boat was in so we climbed onboard and we were back in our air conditioned Silversea world. We had to freshen up, before going to lunch out on the aft terrace if La Terrazza. How fab is that though? We have been along the Amalfi Coast and back to Positano, and all before lunch! Chilled White wine, ribbon pasta of the day, stunning view. Perfect. We chilled, we chatted, we relaxed, and yes I sipped my wine.
After lunch we got changed into swimwear and went and hid under sun hats by the pool. Everywhere was so hot. The arms of the loungers scolded your arms so a second towel had to be laid across them to protect your skin. I found the best cool spot was in the waters edge of the pool water overlap, hat on, frozen Margarita. I took more than one dip in the pool. You were no sooner out than you were dry and hot again. A lovely relaxing afternoon after several busy days. We never went back to the suite until late afternoon. My dresses were back from being pressed. I’m done with laundry rooms.
I had a nice bath. Love my Bvlgari and it doesn’t matter how much I use, it’s always replenished. We were very late going out for ore dinner drinks this evening, but it had been a full on kind of day. We hadn’t planned to dine in any of the more formal restaurants. To be honest we are a little fooded out. We planned just a nice chilled out evening and then going along for a pizza on deck at Scappanopolli. So that’s what we did. We went to the Observation Lounge for pre dinner drinks and watched the most stunning sunset. Mr C somehow managed three very large, free poured brandies to my one Hendriks and tonic. The barman just keeps walking over with the bottle. Mr C is going to be trouble tonight I can tell. Our pizza night did not disappoint. We had the place to ourselves. A view across the open deck and Hot Rocks below us. The wine was free flowing. The waiter went and got us a nice green salad. Chef made the perfect pizzas and we finished it if off with stracciatella ice cream. The best ice cream ever according to Mr C.
A little stroll on deck, a wander through Panorama Lounge. A browse of the boutique and jewellery shop. A flyby of the show in the Venetian lounge, looked like it was a Blues Brothers type show. If I read the Chronicle sometime I would know! I nipped down to Indochine for some mints and bumped into B & G coming out of Atlantide and we all ended up having a nightcap in Dolce Vita with lots of giggles. In fact we had a gay old time, in the old fashioned sense if the word. Another fab night on Silver Muse.
Friday 27th July 2018 Civitavecchia
I had made up my mind today that if we were berthed close to the port gates we would go for a wander into town, it if we were three or four ships along the dock we would have a day onboard. We did indeed get the berth closest to the town, with MSC, Costa and Holland America being behind us. There was a very big expensive yacht Ulessys berthed opposite. Somebody has a lot of money. Mr C was fascinated by its toys of helicopter, speed boat, tender etc.
After breakfast in La Terrazza we took a walk into town. It was supposed to be a stroll but it was so dam hot I could feel the sun burning into me. We had a little wander up as far as the market and back, then for me a brief walk along the sea front. I saw a tiny little lizard thing which might as well have been 10 feet long. It finished my morning off and I was gone. I left Mr C taking photos of the promenade and I had a brisk walk back to the ship. There is something very satisfying about reaching the tranquil air conditioned surroundings of a luxury ship, especially when it’s scorching outside.
Once Mr C was back onboard we decided to have lunch on deck at The Grill. Mr C had a burger and I had chicken from the rotisserie, our lovely waitress Holiday provided the freeflowing wine. We sat in the shade for lunch. We had to. The sun was so incredibly intense. After lunch we took up position on our sun lounger and along came my frozen margarita, just to aid the cooling down process you understand. We took to the pool in an effort to stay cool, and I alternated between the pool and sitting in the water overspill with a cocktail. The ice cool flannel man also aids our efforts to cool down with his icy face cloths. I needed an ice cold bath towel toady. Eventually, I persuaded myself to return to the suite and get the majority of the packing done. My new packing squares did make it easier. Unworn items were still folded in the packing squares inside the drawers so I simply zipped them back up, folded over the empty excess and placed in the case. Dirty washing in one case, clean folded items on top of the packing squares, shoes in another case. It was an hour well spent and meant I could enjoy Portofino tomorrow without that hanging over my head. I watched someone important, or with a lot of money, arrive at the yacht opposite. There was a fleet of four black minibus people movers and a lot of luggage. The crew lined the dock to await their arrival. I’m intrigued who it was. Probably just someone with money!
Joseph our Butler dropped by with some canapés and nice chilled wine so we sat for an hour on the balcony and chilled.
Pre dinner drinks in Dolce Vita this evening, always a good little crowd at this bar and the pianist sets the tone. We decided to dine in Indochine. Once again we are greeted by Holiday with Indochine pre dinner cocktail. I kept my meal as small as I could this evening. I’m just fooded out and my dresses are telling me to stop. I went for the egg drop soup followed by crispy sweet n sour king prawns, delicious. Our waiter encouraged us to go up on deck for the desert because it was the Chocolate buffet. Oh my life a chocolate smelling deck. It was a bit overwhelming. The waiters had white chocolate cocktails, dark chocolate cocktails, milk chocolate cocktails, chocolate fountain, slabs of chocolate, chocolate cakes, chocolate everything. It was hot, humid and a little bit much for me. The deck party kicked in and the whole deck was on its feet partying surrounded by chocolate. Meanwhile there was a Blood Moon which Mr C was desperate to photograph, but the combination of a moving ship and low cloud didn’t make for a very good viewing. We chilled on the big sofas in the serenity of the aft deck of Panorama Lounge with a nightcap whilst the ship partied.
Saturday 28th July 2019 Portofino
Well, it’s another hot one, overcast, but very hot. After breakfast out on the aft deck of La Terrazza we headed down to see the local tourist information representative that embarks the ship for a couple of hours in each port. Her suggestion today was to take a walk up the hill to the lighthouse or the castle. Neither interested me until a bar at the lighthouse was mentioned!
We walked straight onto a tender, exactly as we have done at every tender port this cruise. We have never been asked once to wait in a public lounge and collect s ticket etc, we have never joined a queue and we have never waited for a tender.
We like to arrive ashore early to see the full beauty of the place. Portofino was just coming to life, restaurants were just opening up, as were the shops. It is so picturesque here it was such a joy to see it before any mass of tourists invaded. As we stepped off the tender there were steps up the hill, rather a lot of steps, so Mr C asked a shore excursion representative if that was the best way to get up there. In her very best broken English, she told us not to attempt the steps, it if we went through the town we would see a hill, just past all the buildings. That would be a much better route she suggested!!! What could possibly go wrong, it sounded so simple! After a little mooch around the shops in the bay we decided to find this gentle incline of a hill to get us to the lighthouse, or more importantly get me to the bar.
We walked through the town, past the buildings and up a gentle hill. What were we faced with next? A practically vertical hill. I told Mr C I couldn’t do that, but he somehow persuaded me that it was only a short sharp hill, and soon be over. We attacked the hill, I took a big of dragging but we got there. What’s next? I feel as if I’m already half way to the sky. Where is the lighthouse? The lighthouse with a bar? Now we have steps, hundreds and hundreds of stone steps, some of the barely resembling steps. There is an Italian information board telling us where we are going, which wasn’t much use to either of us at this stage. I attack the first set of steps that are in view. We turn a corner, there are more steps. I’m struggling. It’s easily 40 degs. I have a maxi dress on and I have diamanté flip flops on. I thought I was going to Portofino to mix with the rich and famous when I got dressed this morning. Mountain climbing never crossed my mind! This isn’t working. I stop, and I have a mini tantrum. To be fair to Mr C he said we should turn around and go back. Had he looked back. Had he seen how far up this mountain, disguised as a hill, we actually were? No way was I giving up now and going back. That lighthouse and bar were going to be just around the corner in a beautiful serene setting. I set off again. We were passing signs suggesting that snakes and lizard things were in the area. We were surrounded by trees, bushes, brambles. We hadn’t past anyone going either up or down the hill. Somethings not right. I stopped. I looked around. I can’t do anymore. The steps were covered in giant ants and dirt but I didn’t care. It was either sit down or collapse. I looked back down the hill. Wow, what a view. Well at least that’s something! Some very fit looking muscular Italians passed us and even they were struggling, so suddenly I didn’t feel quite so pathetic. As I sat, a suspicious looking man came up the hill, but went into undergrowth. He looked totally out of place. Looked like he knew where he was going, but not dressed for such a walk. After a while we heard stamping on the ground, then he re-emerged, sat on a step below us and made a phone call. I’d had enough, something weird was going on. I told Mr C to carry on, but I was going back down the hill, which I didn’t relish, but it was better than going up. Mr C went for a quick reckie up the hill to see if conditions improved, but he said they were getting worse. He insisted on watching me down the hill past the dodgy looking man. Apparently as soon as I past him he also got up and went down the hill himself. Mr C was hot in his heels. The man eventually passed me, and once we reached civilisation, he was sat on a moped having a heated discussion. Mr C reckons he was a drug smuggler. I reckon Mr C watches too much tv.
Right, I’m hot. I’m sweating. I’ve lost the serene six star look I left Silver Muse with a few hours earlier. I’m in the first gift shop and purchase a bottle of cold orange Fanta. And I sat and got my breath. Mr C is still wittering. We have hills to 3 sides of us, and he’s trying to decide which one to attack next. No Mr C, I need a Bellini.
Oh my life, we headed back to the square at the waterfront and it had been invaded, mainly by MSC passengers on tour and other tourists from neighbouring resorts. All of the pavement cafes were busy, way too busy for my liking. We had another little wander around. Maybe the answer was to go back to the ship and freshen up. I sat on a bench pondering while Mr C walked around getting some photos. I looked around wondering where we went wrong. I decided to investigate an alley. What do you know, a signpost to the long lost lighthouse. How did it get so complicated? Well, we had to investigate didn’t we. It was a very civilised path with stunning views. First stop was a church, again with stunning views down. Now where? Mr C decided we needed to go around the back of the church through a graveyard. Really? Oh, he was adamant, and he reckons he had seen this on the tv on the ship, so it must be true! This was a graveyard in the true Mediterranean sense of the word. Wall to wall tombs of loved ones remains. Some were 10 tombs high. It was in 3 levels, and he dragged me round all three levels with me muttering it couldn’t possibly be the way to a lighthouse and a bar. Oh, what do you know, we reached a dead end. No pun intended and I apologised to all the graves as we retraced our tracks.
Once we got out the other end, what do you know, another sign directing us to the lighthouse. This dam lighthouse, or more importantly the bar, had better be good when we get there. If we hadn’t been mountain trekking in the previous hours it might actually have been a pleasant walk, but I just needed the bar. I kept telling myself it would be around the next corner. Eventually it was. I was rewarded with a seat with a view. A view of my ship and the most amazing Bellini I have ever had anywhere. It was truly amazing. The rest of the bar looked on in envy as they sipped their water and coffees. If only we had found this 3 hours ago. I could have stayed her all afternoon just taking it all in. Only the walk back to tackle, and we were soon back in the hustle and bustle of Portofino. The restaurants were doing a roaring trade, and I could understand why because it’s such a stunning setting. We went to the tender station and had a very welcome drink of fruit punch, before getting back on the tender to the ship.
I needed to go and stand under my cold rain shower, and that’s exactly what I did as soon as I was back in my suite. We decided to order some lunch to the suite and today it was a fillet of fish burger that hit the spot for us, washed down with a nice glass of Sauvignon for me and beer for Mr C. What a day!
I had a bit of packing to do, thankfully I had done the majority of it yesterday. Incidentally Joseph the Butler did offer, but as much as I hate packing I do prefer to do it myself. He said he has packed for 8 out of 14 suites. Rather him than me. He said if it made his guests happy, it made him happy. He is such a sweetie. He bought us some warm canapés this evening and made sure I had a glass of chilled wine.
Pre dinner drinks this evening were in Arts Cafe. It a popular little after dinner bar, as well as a popular place for people dropping by for a coffee and snack to go. My chairs were waiting for us and a lemon drop Martini was soon delivered.
Our final dinner was in La Terrazza, my favourite restaurant onboard Silver Muse. Another stunning view, this time in the form of Portofino. I could see my lighthouse! We had placed special orders this evening. Mr C fancied a seafood pasta and I just wanted a simple chilli pasta. The food has been beyond amazing, but I just wanted something a little bit simpler. The pastry chef was also preparing us a Baileys Cheesecake. Silversea are amazing and will provide more or less anything, within reason, with 24 hrs notice. The meal could not have been more perfect. We were seated and immediately offered chilled champagne, and we just sat and chilled and admired the view with our anti pasta. The sommelier came along and offered us his chosen wines of the evening. I have loved everyone that I have been offered, if I hadn’t liked them he would simply have bought me a wine of my choice. The meal was superb. The table next to us looked on with envy. After dinner I chose a Southern Comfort whilst Mr C had a brandy, oh my life they were huge.
We took a little stroll up to the Panorama Lounge, mainly to say goodbye to the fantastic bar staff up there who we had spent many a happy time with at the bar. One last speciality cocktail for me and a French Martini and then we had to go for our very last late night stroll on deck.
Oh dear, the corridor outside the suite is looking very sad with all the suitcases outside the doors. None of ours are out yet. I like to keep them back in case of a last minute packing. As per usual Mr C finds a tiny bit if bed space to fall asleep on while I put our clothes from the evening into the cases and close them. One final check that I have all required items for the Morning and our disembarkation, and I wake Mr C and instruct him to put the cases out.
Thanks Silversea. You have been amazing. We enjoyed every nano second.
Sunday 29th July 2019 Monte Carlo
Its here! Disembarkation day has arrived. No point delaying it, we are up and out of bed early and at breakfast at the aft of La Terrazza in time to watch us dock on Monte Carlo. What a place to disembark, or embark, a cruise. Absolutely stunning views and a glorious morning. After a very leisurely breakfast we returned to the suite to collect the hand luggage and then decided to set up camp on the deck by the pool. This would have been a fabulous idea if it hadn’t been in the scorching hot sun. Anywhere outside this morning just proved too hot. I went for a bit of a wander, poking my nose in suites that I shouldn’t have been in, but they had been vacated so I couldn’t see the harm in it. It was research! We retreated to the Dolce Vita lounge to await our time slot to disembark.
It soon became apparent that things weren’t moving very quickly so I went to investigate. I could see that there were cases sitting on the dockside in groups, so that was a good sign. Some people had disembarked but a lot hadn’t. I had booked a private transfer to the airport and by now I had a very irate French driver calling me to ask why we hadn’t disembarked at our allotted time. The gangway staff were telling me we would be off in the next 10 mins, but that didn’t happen so we decided to disembark anyway. Chances are our cases were on the dockside, and we knew our driver was there because she was super vocal. We got on the dockside only to discover that our cases hadn’t been offloaded yet. Our driver really was going nuts, lol, and she started rattling off at the dock workers, baggage handlers, Silversea staff, literally anyone regardless of whether they wanted to listen or not. It soon became apparent that the cases that were being given priority were those belonging to passengers that were transferring to a Monte Carlo hotel. That didn’t make sense, people had planes to catch. It was hot. I had had enough. Mr C instructed me to walk away from the French taxi woman because he could see I was about to tell her to shut up! All around us disembarking passengers were getting more and more agitated. It seems that we weren’t the only ones to disobey the rules of remain in the cool comfort of a Silversea lounge. Sometimes I do wish I would do as I was told. Eventually the Captain came down the gangway and went straight back into the ships hold where the luggage was being manually passed out to dock workers. This will sort it, or so I thought! No, he just went in there to retrieve his own family’s luggage. It wasn’t the best end to a cruise, but to be fair to Silversea it wasn’t their fault. I had disembarked through my own impatience. I could have been sat in an air conditioned lounge with a cool drink. Plus, it was the French, their ground staff and lack of equipment to successfully off load a cruise ship full of luggage.
We eventually got into our air conditioned Merc and the French Woman driver went off like a coiled spring. Shut up woman, Ive heard enough. She didn’t shut up all the way to the airport. I left Mr C to acknowledge her conversation. I was done.
And so we arrive at the airport. The check in desk has indicated it wont be open for bag drop until much later, in my opinion to close to the planned flight time, but what do I know! Due to lack of airport facilities we decided to just stay put and queue with another couple from the ship, at least when it did open we would be straight through without any pushing and shoving. That was until the Silversea airport transfer showed up. Us and the other couple were stood right at the front of this so far imaginary queue, but all of a sudden, we saw a different side to some of our other fellow passengers. You would not believe how many people could barge past the only four people in the already non existent queue. Some people’s manners never fail to astound me. And when some airline staff came to make some preparations at the desks there was a bit of a surge and a lot of grumbling. As it turns out the check in was quite late opening and we then found out that there was a slight flight delay. Oh well, what will be, will be.
We headed for the airport lounge, got a seat and some drinks and nibbles and calmed down after what had been a less than stress free few hours. Eventually it was time to go to the gate. Oh heck it was hot down at the gate. Where has the tranquillity of my Silversea Suite gone? We stood and we stood and we stood. Our flight time came and went. Nobody knew what was going on. There was an announcement to say that there was a delay, but that we would be boarding soon. By now I just wanted to go home. People were pushing and shoving. What was the point, none of us were going anywhere? I was quite close to the front in the Priority queue, and I could tell something was going on and being discussed amongst the ground staff. A passenger list was printed off. Here we go, I thought to myself. My Miss Marple skills deduced that there had been a spot check of the aircraft by the powers that be, and it had been decided that some seats were broken and unsafe. If it was only a seating issue I would have thought they would have asked if there was anyone willing to offload and take a flight the next day? It later transpired that there would have been several volunteers. Instead the ground staff decided to see if there were any passengers travelling on a concession fare that would be prepared to sit on the jump seats (my Miss Marple’ing skills are impressive hey?) Turns out there was a family on a concession, but somebody from the group had already agreed to sit on the jump seat at check in, and other members of the group were minors and not permitted to sit on the jump seat. I relayed this to Mr C, he would take the dam jump seat, but as this wasn’t public knowledge he couldn’t volunteer until passengers were made aware. There was also an off duty air hostess travelling, but for some reason she wasn’t approached to see if she could swap flights or move seats. It was all getting too much. Ground staff said we could go back to the lounge and updates would be on the screens. More wine it is then!
When we eventually got on the aircraft it was a right old nail of a plane. Allegedly being decommissioned the following week. We were in the last row of Premium with a very noisy rattling screen behind us. The bloke in front of us was being very vocal about his broken headrest. One lady was really upset that she had not been allocated a seat with her husband, and I could understand that. The annoying thing was, the family that were on a concession fare all had seats together over two rows of 4, in Premium, none of them ended up on the jump seat. In my opinion they should have been the ones split up and the couple could have had seats together. Lots of passengers were being even more vocal about their connecting flights to the US etc that they had already missed. A flight manager was up and down the plane with an ipad trying her hardest to get connecting flight issues resolved. We were on the ground on that plane for what seemed like an eternity. Even when it took off, I wasn’t convinced it would get us back to Heathrow. How could we be so unlucky to get flight delays going out and coming home. When my cruise is over, I just want to be home as fast as I can. It was nearly the final straw when they started dishing out the inflight meal. We were the last row of Premium so I knew they would run out of my chosen meal before they got to me. And sure enough they did. Who had the last meal choice? The family on the concession Grrr.
I couldn’t wait for the flight to be over, through immigration as fast as we could and to the baggage carousels. I stood back and let Mr C retrieve the bags. Our driver was waiting for us. Home James, an don’t spare the horses!
I cant explain how much we enjoyed this cruise, it ticked a lot of boxes for us and some extra ones. From the moment we stepped onboard we really were treated like welcome guests. Silversea seem to have mastered the art of perfection to make it appear effortless. Joseph, our Butler, seemed to always know what I wanted before I knew I wanted it myself. The Bar Staff knew what drinks to suggest, and they were never far wrong. The chef made us the perfect cheesecake on request. The waiters in La Terrazza knew I liked a table by the rails. I could go on.
We would usually choose suite accommodation on any cruise line, and factor in the all inclusive element, Silversea can become very good value for money. Another thing to remember is that Silversea is ‘luxury’ all inclusive. This isn’t a mainstream cruise line offering suite accommodation, and very little else. This is Silversea who have won endless awards in the luxury cruise categories.
I know many of you will be wondering if it is all to posh and la-di-dah and uppity to be enjoyable. Well, if you think that, you clearly don’t know me. Im about as down to earth as you can get and Mr C certainly is, let’s just say he was fast tracked through etiquette skills several years ago! We are a hardworking couple who like to go away to chill out and relax in nice surroundings, and we like to share a drink at the bar with like minded people, and that’s exactly what we do.
Our next cruise adventure is just around the corner. The packing squares are out and filled ready for the cases. Dresses have been selected, and I’m trying to convince myself to take less shoes, but I have four cases to fill so its falling on my own deaf ears.
I’m happy to answer any Silversea questions that you have and more than happy to help you choose and confirm your next Silversea cruise. My advice is do it, you will not regret it! We have some amazing Silversea offers, so get in touch
Call Jane or Lizy Tel: 02476 742135