Thursday 9th May 2013 – Kotor, Montenegro
I woke up to another amazing backdrop to the balcony this morning. It was the earliest I have woken all cruise, but it’s as if something made me wake up so that I didn’t miss out. The scenery is absolutely stunning. I suppose it is some sort of Fjord, but oh wow! We are just gliding along, twisting and turning our way through the mountains and pretty little villages beneath. Several crew told us yesterday that it was a beautiful country and from what I see so far it is. Ive sat for ages on the balcony in my fluffy dressing gown just watching this bit of the world go by, listening to the birds, watching the rippling reflections in the water, smelling the fresh clean air. There are some stunning little houses on the water edge. I want one. I dressed and crept out of the stateroom just after 8.00am trying my hardest not to disturb lizy. That hot chocolate must be strong stuff because she sleeps for England in her Princess and the Pea bed. I went for a nice latte and fresh croissant in Baristas and admired the view. The coffee in Baristas is just perfect. I love this place, overlooking the deck and beyond.
Lizy took some getting up this morning and her timing was perfect as they had just announced that it was now open tendering ashore with no need to collect a coloured card from Riviera Lounge. We walked straight onto a waiting tender and were alongside the port in about 10 mins. Shame the windows in the tender were not level with the seating in the ships tender, but at least it wasn’t far to go, staring at the face in front of you. As we got outside the port gates most people were turning right, but I wanted to walk along the waters edge to get a picture of the ship. It was a good 20 min stroll but very picturesque with all the little bars etc and I think what might have been the naval college, as Lizy reliably informs me many officers are from Montenegro. We then headed back towards the old city walls where everyone else was heading earlier. Oh wow, it was a warren of tiny little pedestrian streets full of little shops, loads of street cafes. It was just really quaint and pretty place to stroll around. We sat and had a drink in one of the many squares and made use of the wifi, before strolling back to the tender. We opted for a light lunch in the Terrace Cafe. The sweet n sour chicken and satay chicken was very nice. I was so good though to decline a desert. The drinks service is as efficient as ever, even when only having soft drinks which are included in the price. Sprite and cola is topped up during the meal without asking too. As always I had a bit of work to do, but no complaints about the view from the office window of the day! Lizy went and laid herself on one of the double sofa beds out on deck and read her kindle in the sunshine. I did manage an hour on the sunbed late afternoon before nipping into Baristas for another latte – again all coffees and teas are included in the fare. I know I have paid close to £5 for a Costa coffee on a ship before now, so it all adds up!
Lizy has taken herself off to art school which she is loving, yes, all included in the fare and she has made some lovely things so far. My bath is ready so time to get ready for the evening ahead.
The sail out from Montenegro was possibly even more stunning than the sail in. We of course had the opposite side going out. The Cruise Director was up on the bridge doing commentary of the history and sights etc. We sailed past a pretty little church on an island, everything was just so pretty. If you haven’t already been there you need to put it on your list of ports to visit. Its a little gem of a place. For the more energetic there is a castle perched high in a hill, that apparently has the most stunning views. I spoke to a couple who had walked it, up what must have been hundreds of steps, and they said it took them and hour and a half each way. One day I might have that much energy.
We had aimed for 6.30pm pre dinner drinks but one of us had a dress crisis, and it wasn’t me! Martinis seemed very quiet this evening but it was nice and relaxing, so relaxing that we had two martinis and stayed until just gone 8.00pm – we do like our Martini o’clock! Dinner this evening in the Grand Dining Room and of course the best table in the house for two beautiful ladies! I had the melon in port to start, followed by double consommé, not two bowls it was just double consommé, and then I had the coq au vin, ah and then the most divine brandy snap basket filled with strawberries. We were mid course when our second bottle of wine arrived, as in we still had part of a bottle from last night. We didn’t even have to try this bottle as the sommelier did it for us with posh little silver cup dangling round his neck. That amused us a little, but we had been to an extended Martini o’clock. Our wine waiter this evening was June and he has been very entertaining, not that I think wine waiters are supposed to be entertaining, but it all adds to the evening. After dinner we had a little stroll around, dropped by the shops and then the theatre to check out the cabaret artist. She was very good, a jazz and soul singer with a very soft mesmerising voice. And then it was off to bed for us. I don’t want any of you to think that there is nothing going on around the ship. There is plenty, with dancing, cocktail pianist casino, bit of jazz etc, but we are just here to chill. I’m more than happy with my pre dinner drinks and my after dinner liquor. We should perhaps put a standing order in for the hot chocolate but it is always here within a few minutes anyway.
Friday 10th May 2013 – Corfu
Well we just glided into Corfu and are now two hours ahead of UK time. I say glided because that’s what it feels like this ship does. I lay in bed last night and I could be in a 5* hotel somewhere. There is no judder, no jiggle, no nothing. It must have the quietest bow thrusters ever because they barely vibrate through the ship. The ship was no sooner tied up than there was about two dozen crew on the dockside erecting the gangways and hospitality gazebo. They are working away like little ants. Meanwhile, lizy is doing yet another deck head inspection having already woken once! It’s time to wake her though as we are only here until 4.00pm and we have shops to hit, a bar to locate, and we want to be laid on a sunbed by this afternoon.
We got the free shuttle into Corfu old town and went for a very pleasant wander around the little streets. It was deserted, but then it was early! We had a nice little browse around, but lizy decided she needed to see clothes shops so we went in search of the new town. It turns out we went the longest possible way that we could have, and I did comment that it might have been a good idea to have taken a map from the ship, but hey ho, the walk did us good. We found an M&S which was rather exciting, no purchases were made though. We thought the dress shops generally were expensive which is a little odd as Greece is supposed to be in some sort of economical crisis. We could have helped their economy along if they were a bit more reasonable with their pricing. We eventually got back to the old town having gone full circle on ourselves and decided it was drink time! We strolled down to my favourite little bar in Corfu right on the waters edge. That too was deserted when we arrived. It was just so lovely down there. Lovely and peaceful, and away from all the hustle and bustle. I was quite happy with my jug of white wine and lizy had a lemonade. Then we decided we were hungry so lizy ordered bread and olives and various other bits. It was all very civilised. MSC Fantasia came sailing past on her way to the berth, and little boats and ferries were coming and going. Locals were swimming in the very clean and clear water from a lido nearby. I could have sat there all day, but the sun was rather hot and toasty and we did have our earliest departure time of the whole cruise. Oceania Riviera departs at 4.00pm today so we didn’t want to be late. We arrived at the shuttle bus just at the right time just as a shuttle bus was loading, and were soon on our way back to the ship. Once at the port lizy took the second shuttle bus back to the ship while I preferred to walk to get photos of the front of the ship. All was ok as I followed the yellow marked footpath along the dock. I was just passing a green grassed roundabout when I lizard appeared. Oh my giddy days, I took a massive detour via the road. Good job no coaches or lorries were coming! He looked very smug with himself in his bright green livery. All lizards should be exterminated and it seems I am not safe from them anywhere!
Back on the ship we got changed and took up residence on the top deck which was lovely and peaceful. Cocktail of the day today was rum punch so it seemed rude not to. I then moved onto the complimentary frozen non alcoholic cocktails. I also had a delicious mango sorbet in a cone – again no charge as its all included in the fare. And its all served with a smile. Nothing seems to be too much trouble for any of the crew on here. It was all aboard for 3.30pm and the jazz band played us out with some nice music on deck. We stuck it out for another hour, but it was oh so hot. Yes, me complaining that its too hot!
Its almost 7.00pm now and I have just had to close the balcony door and curtains as the sun is beaming in and frying me. Anyway, that’s all for now – its Martini o’clock, followed by dinner in Chez Jaques.
We ticked off the final two Martinis on the martini cocktail list so that means we can start afresh tomorrow and revisit our favourite ones. All of them have been delicious. All served table side, shaken table side and there are a good one and a half to two large martini glasses in every shaker.
We were about 5 minutes late for our reservation at Chez Jaques which I believe is called fashionably late. This is the only restaurant we hadn’t managed to get a reservation for a table of two, and this time were to share so I was a little hesitant. But our dining companions for the evening were a delight. A lovely couple, from Long Island New York. We were a table of six, but the other two never showed. We had a really lovely evening chatting and learning about life on the other side of the pond. I had smoked salmon to start, followed by pumpkin soup which was served from a pumpkin – impressive and delicious. The pork chop that I had for main was like nothing I had ever tasted before, in fact I didn’t know pork could taste like that. Just amazing and to be honest, words defy me on how to describe that pork to you. if you want to know what it was like, you really are going to have to go try one for yourself. Words defy me on that one! Of course I had to finish with crepe suzettes, my coffee and drambuie.
Yes, you’ve guessed it that was us done for the evening. We had had a lovely evening but after a stroll around the open deck for a bit of air we headed for our beds. We enjoy our hour or so pre dinner, then we enjoy our dining experience. I don’t have my afternoon nap, so by 11.00pm or so I’m ready for my bed. Mr C has missed out on some early nights lol.