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    September 7 to 15 Tony and Jo will visit us from the UK

    13-23 January, 2018 Cruise out of New York around the Caribbean on the Norwegian Gem

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    July 1  Saw “Napoli, Brooklyn” by Meghan Kennedy at the Laura Pels Theatre. It is based upon a real-life disaster, the surprise staging of which, is mind shattering! However, the story line has a surfeit of themes added; religious brain-washing, the effect of a bullying husband and father and lesbian freedom. None of these is fully convincing in spite of the excellent acting of the cast.

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Xmas and New Year on the Queen Mary 2

We love sailing on the QM 2. Its older world charm and service makes us feel right at home. The holiday voyage around the Caribbean was great fun and relaxing, but it was not without incident and drama. An outbreak of the ‘Norfolk’ virus sent the Medical staff and the sanitary arrangements into a tail spin. Self-service in the buffet was abruptly stopped, toilet doors were wedged open so that one didn’t have to touch anything on the way out and, at every turn a crew member was stationed with a distinfectant spray bottle ready to spritz you as you went by. The  outbreak was confined and brought under control so that only a hundred or so passengers were affected but not without many of them being quarantined. Some refused quarantine and were put off the ship!

Unconnected to the virus outbreak, the Captain had to divert the ship towards Puerto Rico so that a medivac helicopter was in range to evacuate a seriously ill passenger.

Our carefully arranged dinner-table seating went astray. We had made prior arrangements to eat at a table for six with our travelling friend Sandy. But, when we spoke to the Maitre’d on the first night, he had no knowledge of them. Sandy was nowhere to be seen and we were  seated with a hundred year old lady and her daughter. The lady, naturally, had a very short attention span and needed constant attenion from her daughter. Ethel and I get a large part of our enjoyment from cruises from the dinner-time conversations and exchange of ideas, so we, very reluctantly, changed tables. Sandy had decided that she would eat at the late sitting.

However, we were honoured to meet with Alice, the 100-year-old and her daughter Vivian. We met at every occasion on the decks and were entertained by them. Vivian even joined my watercolour class. I have posted a picture of them together on the ‘Home’ page.

I took the first opportunity to join the Watercolour class. Two sessions of 2 hours on each of the five sea days. Since we didn’t need to visit the Islands for the most part, I painted away to my heart’s content. I will put up the results on my next post.

The Queen

Hide and Seek!

High Bridge

The Queen?

Robing Room

The Merrymakers

Guess who?

Jens

Waiting for the balloon to drop

Winnie

Sandy on my right

Blow harder!

That's better!

Sandy

Fun in the Queen's Room

Still having fun

. . . . . . . .As were the chefs

Irene

The Islands and around the ship

Ultra-modern yatcht

Modern Sailing ship

Islands craftwork

Island flora

Island colours

Ethel

We had more volunteers to take our picture together than usual

Two whales a'leaping

Extra-large nuts

Stowing the lifeboats

Relaxing in the evening sun

Caribbean Crabs

Island Architecture

Needs more work?

I included this house in one of my paintings

Island colours

Duty-free selling fields

Mostly, I was content with the ship's view of the Islands

The art of the ship's equipment

Sandy with the maritime flag. The background is another large cruise ship

Happy New Year to All!

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10 Responses

  1. Happy New Year. Glad you and Ethel stayed well. Beautiful photos!

  2. Ben,

    Your write-up and photos are outstanding. I am glad to read your narrative as well, as I think some folks thought I was complaining (ask Ethel what “crevtching” means.) What a pleasure to be with you both. I will always remember the fun lunches with Ethel.

    Best wishes for the New Year!

    Sandy

  3. Ben, Loved the pictures but not a one of anyone running to the bathroom. You and Ethel looked especially grand in your New Tear garb. I look forward to the watercolors.
    John

    • John and Ann. Great to hear from you! In spite of the virus we did enjoy ourselves very much on the cruise–Ethel in the Casino and me with my paints.
      Ben and Ethel

  4. Lovely pics, Ben. It’s nice to see so many of you and Ethel, together! VERY glad you both (and Sandy) managed to dodge the virus. Looking forward to the watercolors! Love, Bonnie

    • Bonnie and Nancy, Thank you! And thanks again for yourvery nice holiday card. Who knows? We may see you both in Seattle this year. Love, Ben

  5. Ben and Ethel,
    Sandy has shared your blog and photos and alerted me to the “unique” adventures of this trip. Glad you’re all OK. Happy wishes for a great 2011. Please put me on your distrubution for the watercolors. Your photos brought back super memories of my last voyage.

    All best-Doreen

    • Doreen. Nice to hear from you again. Ethel and I were looking at your picture only yesterday, remembering the fun meal we had together in the Royal Court. You can access the watercolors by clicking on the post: “Art class aboard the QM2” at the top of this page. Happy New Year to you, Ben and Ethel

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