Sailing onward to destination Bermuda – West End

image image

We’re on a three-week cruise celebrating our 50th anniversary, along with the Caribbean Princess Cruise Line!

Our journey so far, after a delayed start from Houston due to severe weather, took us to Port Everglades in Florida (See my first post in this series.)

Trying to make up for lost time, the Caribbean Princess sailed away during the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, April 21, leaving Port Everglades in our wake and headed for the next port destination, West End – Bermuda.

Just call us lazy because for the past few days we have requested breakfast delivered to our room to enjoy as we watched a little news on TV, and kept current on the ship’s course. We decided to take our paperbacks out to the deck chairs for some contemplation and relaxation. We have settled into our lazy days, gourmet meals and live entertainment every evening.

Tonight will be our first formal evening, so we made sure that we had our party clothes ready to go to the Coral Dining Room on this always-fun occasion. The dinner was a culinary delight, unfortunately, I felt ill a while later and stayed in my room the remainder of the night. These things do happen and it’s a good idea to pack Imodium for such occasions. The next day is Friday and I thought it best to take it easy and do some reading on the balcony, which is really an awesome alternative! The weather is in the 70’s, mild and pleasant. The views of the Atlantic are spectacular in its deep, aqua-blue sereneness.

The Caribbean Princess is back on schedule. Today we would prepare for our arrival in West End Saturday morning April 23 around 7 a.m., by watching a presentation on Bermuda. The island offers glass-bottom boat rides, an aquarium, museum, zoo and several golf courses, plus lots of beaches and water adventures! We were planning a tour on our own and take a boat ride from West End to Hamilton, then take a bus back to the port area, or vice versa, with our friends Don and Margie.

This island is quite spectacular! As we near our destination, from our ship we can see the British Royal Navy WWII staging area in our sights. The weather is perfectly pleasant and in the 70’s.image

West End, Bermuda, is a bustling place full of tourists, buses and traffic. Buses have the right of way here, where every possible post boasts a sign that says, “Give way to buses!” I wonder what’s the rush, as buses fly by.image

Once in town, we walked the streets and found shopping malls, churches and restaurants. The history here is British, so traffic drives on the left, which makes American’s uneasy to say the least. There are narrow, winding streets, so our bus ride was pretty much like a fast ride at DisneyWorld. I could see pedestrians hopping out of our path as we barreled through, barely missing bus stops!

The City Hall and Arts Building caught our attention with its pristine white exterior and clock tower — very British!

Our walking tour led us to a church with beautiful stained-glass windows and tall steeple. The Anglican Church of Bermuda, Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, was consecrated in 1911. Beautiful!image

Walking around West End was exhausting on sloping streets, and often the walkway would lead to steps down to the next street level.

We decided to stop for a beer and snack at a restaurant with outside tables – Bone Fish Bar & Grill. Here was the best place to do some people watching, and enjoy our cold drinks during the heat of the day, which was still only in the 80’s.image


Our boat ride across the bay by water taxi was uneventful, although the scenery was well worth the effort.image

We left West End, Bermuda, thinking that for a tropical island, this one’s climate was not too hot to enjoy the surroundings — I give it an A+. I would like to return for a longer visit one of these days…

The Caribbean Princess would now set its course for Liverpool, England. Yes, that means we won’t see land for about a week on this trans-Atlantic voyage.

(You are reading the second post in a series depicting my travels on the Caribbean Princess ship for three weeks from Bayport Cruise Terminal in Houston, Texas, to Ft. Lauderdale, Bermuda, Liverpool, Wales, Hamburg, Le Havre/Paris and South Hampton/London in the spring of 2016.)

image image image image image image image image image  image image image image image image

How many miles from Texas to Singapore?

We set sail on The Mariner of the Seas on April 21 on a 41-day journey to the other side of the world — From Galveston, Texas, to Singapore!
In my blog, I’ve tried to give an up-close and personal experience for my readers — taking them along for the ride to 10 countries and 13 ports of call.
I hope that each description of our excursions helped to make the journey real for my readers.
This cruise consisted of three, two-week cruises…each one spectacular in its own way.
It was amazing how the miles seemed to go by so quickly, even though the average speed of the ship was about 18-20 knots.
We were amazed as we checked on the ship’s TV channel daily to see the speed, sea depth, and total distance from the last port.
The first leg of the cruise was from Galveston to Barcelona, which totaled 5,456 nautical miles. From Barcelona to Dubai, we covered another 5,048 miles. On the third and final two-week cruise from Dubai to Singapore, which ended on June 1, a total of 3,693 nautical miles were logged.
Drum roll please! Our 41-day cruise from Galveston to Singapore equaled a combined total mileage for the entire journey of: 14,197 nautical miles!!!
At around 1:00 a.m. on June 2, we boarded Emirates Air for our flight back. It took seven hours to fly from Singapore to Dubai, with about 4-4.5 hour layover in Dubai. We left Dubai on an 18-hour flight straight to Houston, for a total return trip time of 29 hours!
This would explain why my internal clock is still mixed up, and why I’m dreaming about far away, exotic lands.
Until next time…
(Look for a link to Trilla’s Travels at

Docked in Singapore, here is my last glimpse of the Mariner -- I'm going to miss her!

Docked in Singapore, here is my last glimpse of the Mariner — I’m going to miss her!

We were surprised to see our flight path back to Houston!

We were surprised to see our flight path back to Houston from Singapore, via Dubai!

Final destination – Singapore

Singapore -- Look up Feng Shui and you'll find Singapore!

Singapore — Look up Feng Shui and you’ll find Singapore!

Saturday, June 1, 2013 – Day 12 of 3rd cruise
We had anticipated this moment for the past 41 days, yet it arrived like in a dream. Could our transatlantic cruise actually be coming to an end? How can we ever possibly repack all our belongings into our meager luggage? How long will it take to get back to the U.S.A.? Does anyone really know what time it is? We have only known “ship time” since our departure in Galveston on April 21. And that seems like eons ago!
But let’s take first things first! We are disembarking The Mariner of Seas for the last time this morning, and we are booked on a four-hour excursion in Singapore, before heading to the airport. A bitter-sweet occasion!
Let me first say that I thought I knew what a hot, humid climate was like. We have lived in the Houston suburbs since 1985 and the summers there are brutal. But nothing prepared us for the climate in Singapore.
With that said, let me now concentrate on the City/Island of Singapore! Please don’t let a little heat and humidity deter you from visiting this great island city! After all, if you look on a map, you’ll see that the equator is not that far from Singapore, so what else can one expect?
The city is jaw-droppingly beautiful, with the Singapore River running through it. My first impression was the feeling of serenity that is emitted here. I later learned from our tour guide that the city prides itself on harmony and balance using the art of Feng Shui. I wasn’t aware that I was sensitive to Feng Shui, but now I know – it really, really works! Here in Singapore it works on a grand scale, with buildings, skyscrapers, parks and gardens all existing in harmony along the river – I was amazed! The city is striving to add more green spaces and has pledged to be a “City within a Park” rather than having a park within the city. I do like their thinking!
Our air-conditioned motor coach drove us over the Singapore River and down Shenton Way, which is commonly known as Asia’s Wall Street, through the exotic quarter of “Little India,” where visitors can find aromatic spices and everything from saris to intricate ornaments. We also observed the grandiose grounds of the Raffles Hotel.
As we toured the city, we took in the beautiful skyline of modern architecture, and enjoyed Dutch, Colonial and Chinese influences. In historic Chinatown, we observed architecture from a by-gone era.
The Botanical Gardens in Singapore, which encompasses the world’s largest orchid collection, features 60,000 plants displayed in a natural setting. My clothes were soon drenched and perspiration ran off my face in rivers! We heard that it’s best to do the night visit at the zoo – I would advise it.
When our city tour had ended, it was time to be dropped off at the Singapore Airport – by far the nicest airport terminal I’ve ever visited.
With a few hours to wait for our departure, we dined and shopped and recharged our mobile devices. From the time our plane left Singapore, until we arrived in Houston, 29 hours will have passed. Can you say “jet lag?”
Thanks for coming along on our transatlantic journey of a lifetime from Galveston to Singapore in 42 days. The Mariner of the Seas became our retreat and our playground, but there’s no place like home! We traveled to 10 countries and stopped at 13 ports along the way, and it truly was amazing! After Penang, our second stop in Malaysia was Port Klang; however, we opted not to tour Kuala Lumpur in order to get ready to leave the ship the next morning. This was the only port we did not participate in an excursion, although we had booked one, but later cancelled it.
Please come back to Trilla’s Travels soon, as I plan to blog about the long flight home and other travel observations.
I also hope to travel and blog again in the near future – destinations to be announced!
Look for a link to Trilla’s Travels at
Chinatown is a must-see in Singapore

Chinatown is a must-see in Singapore

National Orchid Gardens in Singapore

National Orchid Gardens in Singapore

Sights in Singapore




Dubai – World’s biggest, tallest and fastest!

Dubai -- viewed from The Mariner of the Seas. Look for the world's tallest tower, Burj Kalifa.

Dubai — viewed from The Mariner of the Seas. Look for the world’s tallest tower, Burj Kalifa.

The view from The Top of the Khalifa Tower -- world's tallest building!

The view from The Top of the Khalifa Tower — world’s tallest building!

If the city of Dubai set out to break all records for expectations of a modern city, it has surely succeeded! Here we found the world’s tallest building, Burj Kalifa. We entered the world’s fastest elevator to take us to the top – The Top! My ears popped three times going up and five times going back down! Yes, it truly is fast! The view from The Top was incredible, even with the haze that lingered over the vista; you could see the surrounding desert, water and spectacular cityscape. Looking straight down, the streets and cars resembled a diorama or mere toys. It was spectacular!
We toured this city full of skyscrapers, which are perfect examples of modern-day architecture, on May 21! Also, the Dubai Mall, which – by the way – has one of the world’s largest aquariums and the largest viewing panel on earth! Are you getting the picture now – everything here is bigger, taller or faster!
But, Dubai is full of contrast – the old and the new. Having only gained independence in 1971, it is part of the United Arab Emirates and is considered by many to be the financial and trade center of the Arab world. The old and new exist side by side in this extremely clean, modern city. Local people go about their day-to-day lives observing their centuries-old, Islamic traditions. While the city is also filled with westerners, tourists, and businessmen converging to give the appearance of any other European or American city, life outside the city, in stark contrast, consists of desert dwellers or Bedouins.
We knew on April 21, as we left the shores of Galveston, that we setting sail on a journey of a lifetime aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Mariner of the Seas – 41 days. By the time we docked in Barcelona, we had cruised 5,456 nautical miles. That was the first two-week cruise, which included Nassau, The Bahamas; the Island of Madeira, Portugal; Gibraltar; Alicante and Barcelona, Spain. All glorious and wondrous sights!
By the time we reached Dubai, the destination for the second, two-week cruise, we had covered another 5,050 nautical miles, making a total of 10, 506 miles for the first two legs of our journey. This time our ports of call included Alexandria, Egypt; The Suez Canal; Safaga, Egypt; Aqaba, Jordan, and ending in Dubai.
When we left Aqaba on May 14, one of many stops on this transatlantic journey from Galveston to Singapore, the guests were made aware of the precautions the captain would take, as we sailed from the Red Sea into the Sea of Aden to get to Dubai. On this day, Captain Flemming sent letters to guests and made PA announcements explaining his plan. He wanted to prepare us in the event of a pirate attack. That day we even had a pirate drill, where we were instructed to go to the inside hallways if we heard the “secret code” on the PA. We were also told to keep the curtains closed from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. during those days in the Aden Sea.
For four nights the upper, outside decks were closed and all lights extinguished. Last night was the first night the outside decks were once again open after dark, and we could open the drapes, as well. While this little bit of information was not in the cruise guide, we were very appreciative of all the efforts our captain took to make sure the guests would be safe.
Among those precautions was extra security. At one point in the middle of the sea an announcement was made to alert passengers that a small boat would be approaching our ship; however, this rendezvous was for the purpose of collecting our “security kit.” Indeed, it was a drop shipment of arms. We watched as the boat pulled along the ship to unload. On the last day, once again the boat came to collect the “security kit,” when it was no longer needed. Our thanks go to Captain Flemming for making a plan for our protection and for being cautious.
After leaving the Persian Gulf, we are now cruising the Indian Ocean. Next stop – Goa, India!
Bye for now…see you next time!
Look for a link to Trilla’s Travels on
Burj Al Arab - This building is amazing!

Burj Al Arab – This building is amazing!

Gateway to treasures of ancient Egypt — Safaga!

Luxor and the Valley of the Kings excursion!

Luxor and the Valley of the Kings excursion!

May 13, 2013
This was an incredible day – so hot I nearly died but so fascinating that I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.
The excursion that we chose to take from Safaga, Egypt, was a 3 ½ hour bus ride to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. This one seemed to be the most interesting to us, but I’m sure the tours of the Giftun Island Hideaway, the Bedouin Experience, the Red Sea Submarine and Hurghada were also fun.
As a special note of interest, all of our excursion coaches thus far have been equipped with onboard restrooms. A lot to be thankful for!
We left the Mariner of the Seas early Monday morning to board one of more than 40 buses that were lined up waiting to take thousands of eager tourists away!
If I say it was a hot day, just know that we all now know why the people who live here cover up from head to toe. The sun can be brutal, so we splashed on tons of sunscreen, wore loose and baggy clothes and made the best of it.
Our bus journey took us over roads on barren mountains with wonderful vistas toward the awe-inspiring treasures of ancient Egypt at Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. Our tour guide, Ghada, gave us the history of Upper Egypt – which, by the way, is in the south of Egypt. The northern part is called Lower Egypt. Yep, the Nile flows north so…you figure it out!
At the Valley of the Kings, our tour included a visit to three tombs. We paid extra to enter the Tomb of Tutankhamen, where the mummified body of the boy king lies. Even more impressive were the tombs of Ramses III, Ramses IV and Ramses IX. The hieroglyphs were spectacular and more impressive than I ever dreamed. For some reason I was later compelled to buy lots of Egyptian souvenirs!
We visited the magnificent funerary temple of Queen Hatshepsut and Deir El Bahari, said to be the finest building in Egypt and one of the most impressive in the world. We stopped to take photos of Amenophis III, also known as the Colossi of Memnon, still standing where they once marked the entrance to the temple by Alexander the Great 5,000 years ago.
We took a mid-day break for a sumptuous buffet lunch at the Sonesta Hotel in Luxor.
The Luxor Temple was also a great photo opportunity, but the greatest and most awe-inspiring attraction of the day was the Karnak Temple. The breathtaking temple awed us with its unique Hypostyle hall, the largest hall of columns in the world! The next thing we knew, we were amidst the Avenue of the sphinxes not far from the sacred lake. One can imagine that, in its day, it was a sight to behold. We were told that only the high priests lived in the temple, however.
So, that’s enough about our visit to Safaga, Luxor and the Valley of the Kings! We survived the heat and barely survived the merchandise vendors – but that’s a whole other story!
Tomorrow, we go to Aqaba to visit Petra in Jordan! Now that’s something you won’t want to miss!
See you back here soon!
Look for a link to Trilla’s Travels at

My friend Janet Wallace and I were amazed by the Avenue of the Sphinxes!

My friend Janet Wallace and I were amazed by the Avenue of the Sphinxes!

Navigating the Suez Canal

Cruising the Suez Canal

Cruising the Suez Canal

Sunday, May 12, 2013
From Alexandria, Egypt, we sailed on The Mariner of the Seas east to the Suez Canal where we cruised from one sea to another! The Suez Canal separates two continents – Africa and Asia. It’s fascinating that after many years of trying to join the east and the west, in 1858 the Suez Canal Company set out to build a man-made, salt-water passage between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The canal opened 10 years later making the connection between Europe and Asia possible, without sailing around the southernmost tip of Africa.
We entered the canal Sunday morning around 1 a.m., May 12, and could see from our port side balcony nothing but sand – lots of sand! That would be the Sinai Peninsula.
From the beginning of the canal at Port Said, through the Great Bitter Lake and ending at the City of Suez, the canal measures more than 100 miles in length.
This was a great day to enjoy the ship and spend some time on deck! Temperatures at this time are still mild and breezy.
Preparing for a big day tomorrow, Monday, May 13 – we’re going to Safaga, Egypt, and then take an excursion to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings!!! Can’t wait!
See you back here soon!
Look for a link to Trilla’s Travels on

Did someone say Bon voyage?

Today is the day! Our journey of a lifetime begins now! We are actually on the shuttle to the Port of Galveston, where we will begin embarkation on The Mariner of the Seas! Everyone is so excited! Why? Because this cruise will take us from Galveston to Singapore by way of Nassau, Portugal, Spain, Egypt, Jordan, Dubai, India, Malaysia — Incredible! Bon Voyage to us!


Sailing, Sailing over the ocean blue…

This is the tune I’ve been busily humming to myself the past few days!

The excitement level around here is sky-high and climbing. It will culminate on Sunday, when we are actually on the shuttle bus that will drop us at the Port of Galveston, where we will board The Mariner of the Seas!

Kudos to Kingwood Travel for arranging transportation to Galveston for approximately 30 travelers from my area that are embarking on this 41-day cruise to Singapore. Parking our car near the port for six weeks would not be an acceptable option

Not only is Kingwood Travel arranging our shuttle, they have also planned a Bon Voyage cocktail party for our group on board The Mariner of the Seas at 4:30 Sunday evening. Then we will truly know that this unbelievable journey of a lifetime is actually happening!

Royal Caribbean International Cruise Lines allows us to bring two bottles of wine per stateroom, per each leg of the cruise – or six bottles for the bon voyage celebrations! We’ve chosen a couple of bottles of celebratory wine — bringing just a little bit of southern comfort from Texas with us.

A favorite Texas wine!

A favorite Texas wine!

Every day this week was spent either sorting and packing or shopping for the last minute have-to-haves. I’m certain we don’t need half of what we’re taking.

Another chunk of time was spent with AT&T customer service sorting out what we need for calls and texting on the other side of the world! Jodi did a good job helping us out. Let’s just hope we made the right choices!

Did I mention that we are excited? Our son and his family live nearby and will drive us to our shuttle bus. They will have fun using the pool and looking after our place while we’re gone. They have promised not to throw too many parties!

We’re looking forward to chatting with our family members via Skype from exotic ports of call such as Medeira, Portugal, Barcelona, Alexandria, Egypt, Dubai and Singapore to name a few.

I’m also excited that my newspaper publisher has linked my blog to!

Just two nights and one day left!


One week to sail date!

Exactly one week from today, The Mariner of the Seas will embark on a 41-day repositioning journey from Galveston to Singapore. That leaves only six more days to finish packing and set our sights on the horizon.
As luck would have it, the Lyrid meteor showers will peak during the first and second nights on the ocean, and I’m really looking forward to that experience – far away from the lights of the coast. The Lyrid meteor showers come along this time every year, and it just so happens to coincide with the kickoff of this cruise. We lucked out!
With the countdown to the voyage speeding by, it seemed like a really good time to soak up as much Texas as possible today, while on a day trip to visit with family.
The first thing we did was chose a place to enjoy some real Texas BBQ. We chose the Chappell Hill Bakery and Cafe, where it doesn’t get any better. This eatery was recently mentioned in Southern Living magazine. We sampled all the BBQ meats on the menu, including brisket, ribs, sausage and chicken, which were all very delicioso. The sides were very yummy, also! Then, of course, we had to sample a piece of pie and take home some Kolaches! They are famous for pies and fruit and sausage Kolaches.

Another “pure Texas” experience presented itself as we made our way back home. Just east of Chappell Hill, hundreds of Bluebonnet lovers had pulled over to take advantage of this perfect Sunday afternoon to snap their yearly “Bluebonnet Pics.” Non-Texans may not know about this very traditional spring activity in Texas. The larger Bluebonnet fields were so crowded that we decided to make do with a small patch beside the road…it was better than nothing!

Now back to my packing list…and dreaming about a Royal Caribbean cruise that will take me and my fellow travelers on this exciting adventure, thanks to our friends at Next Sunday we leave the Port of Galveston and will dock in Nassau a few days later. After that, we sail across the Atlantic and on to the Mediterranean, finally ending up in Singapore after a total of 41 days. Pinch me to make sure I’m not dreaming!