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 http://www.ourtribune.com)

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!

Barcelona – A city of tourists!

Montserrat

Montserrat

Today, May 6, marked the end of our 15-day cruise from Galveston to Barcelona on the Mariner of the Seas. It also marks the beginning of our 16-day cruise from Barcelona to Dubai!
It was a day to do some sightseeing in Barcelona and surrounding points of interest.
We had a rocky start this morning getting off the ship, as there seemed to be too many people who needed to get to too many different places, with very unclear instructions. There were cruisers getting off the ship in Barcelona; cruisers getting off and taking an excursion before flying home; cruisers getting off for excursions then continuing on the ship for the next cruise. Mayhem ensued! Somehow it all got sorted out and everyone went on their way!. Things don’t always go smoothly on a cruise but most of the time it’s like a dream!
Our onshore excursion was by autobus, which took us one hour out of Barcelona to Montserrat, whose name means serrated mountain. We have never seen anything like this mountain before!
We visited the mountaintop monastery with magnificent views of the city and countryside. In the cathedral here you will find the Black Madonna, which is so named because of its appearance following a fire that once burned everything to the ground. The wooden Madonna statue was still standing and had turned black from the fire. It is considered to be a miracle and attracts visitors who wish to view and pray before the Black Madonna. On this day, the crowd was huge due to many buses from several cruise ships docked in the port, as well as groups of school children on a field day.
After enjoying the unbelievable vistas and sights of the rock formations, our bus took us back off the mountain and into Barcelona. Here we were amazed by the many different styles of architecture. Views from the coach included the Columbus Monument, Catalunya Square, Passeig de Gracia Boulevard, Casa Mila and Casa Batllo Montserrat.
All of these things were truly amazing; however, even more amazing were the crowds of people we saw in the city and the numerous motorcycles and scooters that were parked on every street! Barcelona seemed to be the city where everyone in the world who is on vacation gathers at once!
If we ever come back to Barcelona, I’d like to visit the Gothic Cathedral, built from 1298-1450 on the site of a Roman temple dedicated to Hercules, and some famous art by Gaudi and Picasso. But there is only so much one can see in a day!
We departed Barcelona sailing across the Mediterranean to Alexandria, Egypt! After three days at sea, we will arrive in Egypt on Friday.
Happy birthday to our son, Matthew Dale Cook – May 7!
See you back here – until next time…

Look for a link to Trilla’s Travels at http://www.ourtribune.com

Sights of Gibraltar!

After leaving the Portuguese Island of Madeira on May 2, the Mariner of the Seas navigated further across the Atlantic and through the Strait of Gibraltar, passing by many exotic places on the northernmost coast of Africa, such as Casablanca and Morocco. By 5:00 this morning, the Port of Gibraltar was nearing.

Our decision to take in Gibraltar’s sights via taxi/van turned out to be a very good idea!

Paul, a native of the area who spoke excellent English, was our driver and tour guide, and was extremely knowledgeable about the region. Unfortunately, ours was one of many taxis, vans and buses making their way around town and up the mountain. Some excursions included a ride on the cable car and others included attractions such as dolphin/whale spotting or WWII historical tours.

Most excursions included a ride through town and to the top of the mountain, encountering Barbary Apes, which are actually tailless monkeys, along the way. Gibraltar’s population is 30,000 people and 300 apes! The monkeys live on the “rock” and the city subsidizes their food intake by placing fresh fruits and vegetables in certain feeding stations. Visitor need to be aware that the apes will grab anything that is loose, hoping to find a yummy treat! They are not afraid of visitors and seem to by saying, “Come on in, we’ve been expecting you!”

Europa Point is fabulous! It is one of the southernmost points of Europe with breathtaking views, directly across from Morocco. Harding’s Battery is located here, as well as Trinity Lighthouse, Mosque of the Two Holy Custodians and the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe.

The Moorish Castle, dating back to 1160 was a highlight of our tour, even if was only viewed from a distance.

It must be emphasized that vistas from high points on the mountain are spectacular, with views of the bay and marina, the Mediterranean and, on the other side of the airport/ airstrip, La Linea, Spain.

Only a few of the many interesting points at Gibraltar are included in this brief blog, so I hope you will Google it and explore more for yourself! You may want to see it in person!

More excursions are scheduled for us – Alicante, Spain on May 5 and Barcelona, Spain on May 6! (When the ship reaches Barcelona, the first two-week cruise comes to an end. Some voyagers will leave the ship and new travelers will come aboard. The next two-week cruise for us goes from Barcelona to Dubai. The last two weeks will take us from Dubai to Singapore.)

Come back soon! Photos by Estel D. Cook.Image

Look for the link to Trilla’s Travels at www.ourtribune.com.

Moorish Castle looking out over Gibraltar from the "rock."

Moorish Castle looking out over Gibraltar from the “rock.”