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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Grand opening of Casino Royale on Day nine

Today was an exciting and much anticipated day for those passengers awaiting the grand opening of the newly refurbished Casino Royale! A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on the Promenade at 6 p.m. and free champagne was served! (I’ll post photos later when they are downloaded from my iPhone. The ship’s Wi-Fi works best when I use my laptop, so photos from my iPhone will have to wait.)
As with any grand opening, there were a few hiccups in the new casino. Machines didn’t seem to want to print out tickets, so at one point every machine in our row was blinking “call attendant!” However, things are sure to smooth out nicely along the way, we hope! Everyone was very excited and one slot player had already hit a $7,000-plus jackpot!
I don’t think I’ve mentioned that about 80-90% of the passengers on board are what you would call “Senior Citizens,” or retirees. Of course, there are a few young folks, and some even have small children.
At our dinner table, all are retirees! One couple is from Illinois and they are traveling with their 18-year-old granddaughter. They found out about the cruise when their Texas cousin sent a gift that was wrapped up in The Tribune newspaper with an ad by Kingwood Travel. Funny how fate works sometimes!
The rest of the diners at our table are either from Kingwood, Texas, or they used to live there. The table next to us is also filled with retirees from Kingwood. These two tables make up most of the group that booked this cruise through Kingwood Travel. A very nice bunch of people!
Since my last update, we’ve enjoyed excellent stage presentations in the evenings in the Savoy Theatre, with acts such as Hannah Starosta performing world class music on her violin on Saturday. Sunday night we were entertained by two-time gold medal gymnast, Lance Ringnald. I had a chat and took a photo of Lance, and I hope to talk with Hannah soon. Look for more talk and information about some of our entertainers in upcoming posts.
Today we decided to spend the afternoon enjoying the movie “Jack Reacher” on the big screen in the Savoy Theatre. Our friends Janet and Steve decided to take in “The Hobbit” poolside tonight. Of course, we had to check out the casino for a while – sadly, with no big jackpot to report!
It’s always our choice to make as to whether to stay busy with ship activities or just relax, read a book by the pool, take a class or take in a lecture, go to the spa, walk on the jogging track, play golf, climb a rock wall, play basketball or in-line skate. There is no end to the activities – the hard part is making up your mind. However, this morning was my time to catch up on lost sleep, after setting our watches up one hour each day, including today! Does anybody really know what time it is?
Until next time…

Golf in the middle of the Atlantic anyone?

Golf in the middle of the Atlantic anyone?

Day nine at sea on The Mariner of the Seas – we’re half way across the Atlantic!

Ahoy, there! As Day 9 comes to an end, it seems we are at the half-way mark in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, as we continue on this journey to the other side of the world. We will see land again in four more days, when we dock in Funchal, Madeira near Portugal. An excursion called “A Taste of Madeira” is planned for us, and we hope to see some awesome sights and sample a few local wines that are made there.
I last updated my blog on Friday, April 26. Since that time, we’ve been making our way to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. On the map, we can see the Azores in the far distance. Other than that, we are pretty much in the middle of nowhere! The captain said we are as far away from anywhere as we can possible get! It’s a really weird feeling…but nice!
Let’s talk about getting our bearings. As I write this blog the time is 8:50 p.m., and the sun is shining so bright it looks like mid-afternoon. Sunset today will be at 10:07 p.m. We are traveling at a speed of 17.9-18.2 kts. Sea depth is 11,150 ft., and we have now cruised a distance of 3,283 nautical miles from Galveston. Sunrise tomorrow, Tuesday, will be at 8:39 a.m. We are loving this cruise and all the good servers and attendants who try to make our journey as enjoyable as possible.
Mariner of the Seas Captain Flemming has assured us that the worst of the wave action is behind us. Truthfully, we expected to endure a lot worse turbulence than this, so we have no complaints!
We haven’t seen anyone experiencing seasickness, thankfully.
Come back soon for another update!

A gorgeous sunset on day 9 at 10:05 p.m.

A gorgeous sunset on day 9 at 10:05 p.m.

Mariner of the Seas – Atlantic Crossing

April 26 – Day 6
Cruising across the Atlantic Ocean on The Mariner of the Seas is like living on a resort! Meals are served, rooms are kept clean and entertainment is provided all day and most of the night! On the ship you can be as active or as laid back as you want to be – it is up to you. Activities are available every day and every evening/night. Sometimes it’s nice to just chill!
Now for some sailing statistics for all you sailors! When we left the Port of Nassau on Wednesday, April 24, on day 4 of this 41-day cruise, the time of departure was approximately 5:30 p.m. The ship’s log is displayed on its own TV channel continuously, so we can see the stats anytime. Temperatures were in the 80’s on day 4, and we had traveled 1,132 nautical miles (nm). Our ship’s speed was 18.5 kts, and the sea depth was 10,180 ft.
By Thursday, April 25 – day 5, we had covered a total distance of 1,522 nm, sea depth of 17,870 ft., and it was exciting to see the color of the ocean waters change from Caribbean blue to a deep, dark navy blue, when the ocean floor dropped deeper below us. Temperatures had dropped into the 70’s with gusting winds, making it seem much cooler.
Today is Friday, April 26 – day 6. At 4:40 p.m. we have covered a total distance of 1,924 nm, and the sea depth is 16,240 ft. This morning the sea depth was 16,990, so you can see that it fluctuates. We were nearing Bermuda, and at one point at 8:20 this morning the sea depth was displayed on the TV screen as 215,010 ft. We thought that couldn’t be right, but just figured that anything is possible in the Bermuda Triangle!
The temperature is still cool tonight and expected to become even cooler as we cruise NE toward Funchal/ Madeira.
After dinner last night we took in the stage production that was performed by the Royal Caribbean production team, which was an absolutely sensational Broadway-style show.
Tonight Paul Tanner, an impersonator/singer from Killeen, Texas, wowed the audience while impersonating Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Elvis, to name a few. We just left a 70’s party that is in full swing at The Promenade…so fun!
Something that I forgot to mention, which makes an enormous impact on our day-to-day life on the ship, is the time change as we are on this journey on The Mariner of the Seas from Galveston to Singapore. As we sailed out of the Gulf into the eastern Caribbean in line with the tip of Florida at 11:30 a.m. on day 3, the ship’s captain asked that everyone set their watches forward one hour. After that, we have been asked to set our time forward one hour at 11:30 a.m. on several days. As of today, we have moved the time forward three or four hours – nobody can remember exactly. So we are sort of out of kilter, not knowing what time it truly is – we only know the ship’s time now.
The first leg of this six-week cruise will end in Barcelona on May 6, and we have two more ports of call before we dock there. I’ll report on our stops at Funchal/Madeira, Portugal, and Alicante, Spain, next week followed by the last stop on this leg of the cruise – Barcelona!
Come back soon for more updates at sea! (I’m at the mercy of the ships WiFi.)

Saying goodbye to The Bahamas!

Saying goodbye to The Bahamas!


Everyone loves The Promenade in the center of The Mariner of the Seas!

Everyone loves The Promenade in the center of The Mariner of the Seas!


Towel elephant takes charge!

Towel elephant takes charge!