Sailing onward to destination Bermuda – West End

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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

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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.)

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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!

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 http://www.ourtribune.com.
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

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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 http://www.ourtribune.com!

Just two nights and one day left!

 

Journey of a lifetime! Finally getting those ducks in a row!

This 41-day, trans-Atlantic cruise has been booked for months and I can’t believe it’s now only 1 1/2 weeks away!

In just 11 days a group of 30 random people from my hometown in Texas will board The Mariner of the Seas in Galveston to begin an exciting voyage half way around the world — from Galveston to Singapore! Of course, thousands of other travelers will also board.

At first the mere thought of packing for such an ambitious undertaking seemed insurmountable. After brainstorming with a few friends and doing some online research, the lightbulb finally came on.

It suddenly occurred to me that packing for 41 days with the idea of flying back was truly impossible. However, my eyes suddenly opened with the realization that this voyage is literally three, two-week cruises combined to make one voyage.

So, all I need to do is pack for one, two-week cruise, then recycle everything for the next leg and, finally, the last leg of the cruise. Ta-Da! Now I’m ready to put this packing dilemma down.

Now, to take this idea of “packing light” one step further. One of my friends suggested that I consult an online list for packing light on http://www.rIcksteves.com, so I did. This list is not specifically for cruises, so I’ve had to modify somewhat, but it’s very helpful. Rick Steves suggests that you pack for 4-5 days no matter how long your trip. It’s a little different when you’re on a cruise because of the variety of activities calling for both casual and dressy attire.

A big sigh of relief! Packing for two weeks is the plan — including medications and toiletries for six weeks is manageable. And, we’ll be packing a hand-held scale to weigh the packed luggage before heading to the airport in Singapore.

Can’t wait!

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http://www.ourtribune.com/section.php?c=3&sc=117

Get ready for some southern comfort!

Here is a look at a few spots that I consider the cream of the crop!

Tuscaloosa! Dreamland BBQ — now that’s what I’m talking about.
Tuscaloosa pic
Read the story here! http://www.ourtribune.com/article.php?id=12951

Daytona! Not just for NASCAR lovers! The sights, the sounds, the aromas — Love Dayton and nearby spots, too!

Read more here:

Daytona Beach

Read more here! http://www.ourtribune.com/article.php?id=12918

Civil War Trail in West Tennessee! Follow the Civil War Trails in Tennessee and learn why both sides had their stories to tell. Memphis is a great place to start on this journey…
Civil War Trail in W TN
Read more here: http://www.ourtribune.com/article.php?id=11010

Sailing in the Gulf of Mexico from Kemeh – Galveston!
Sailing in the Gulf
Read about it here: http://www.ourtribune.com/article.php?id=7846

Beaumont! The little city with a big heart — visit Spindletop, home of the big gusher!
Beaumont treasure
Full story link: http://www.ourtribune.com/article.php?id=12914

La Torretta Lake Resort and Spa – Golfing, boating, swimming, and more — all on Lake Conroe, TX!
La Torretta Lake Resort La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa [/caption]
Read more: http://www.ourtribune.com/article.php?id=12929

Mountain Lakes in N. AL! Surprises around every bend makes this one of my favorite locations in the south for soaking in all the south has to offer!
Mountain Lakes region of N. Alabama!
Get the scoop here: http://www.ourtribune.com/article.php?id=13001

Shreveport-Bossier! Shopping, casinos, movie stars (yes, they make movies here!) and much more!
Shreveport-Bossier
Read more here: http://www.ourtribune.com/article.php?id=14084

Mobile, AL! This is the ultimate location for southern hospitality and charm!
Mobile, AL
http://www.ourtribune.com/article.php?id=14255

Navarre Beach! Located in the Florida panhandle, this is one of the lesser known white sand beaches…one of Florida’s best kept secrets!
Navarre Beach!
http://www.ourtribune.com/article.php?id=11840