• Upcoming trips

    May 2 to May 14 London vacation. We will be staying in the President Hotel, 56 - 60 Guildford Street, Russell Square, London, WC1N 1DB. Telephone : 020 7388 4443. Hope to see you all then.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    February 20. At Christine’s prompting, and, offer to go to the box office for Family Circle tickets, we went to see the Met’s production of Parsifal–from 6.00 to 11.30! It is a modern production for the new generation of opera-goers (the ones that hoot and holler at slightest excuse to the detriment of all others’ listening concentration). Modern dress  clashes horribly with the ancient myth of the story line, and state-of-the art lighting and staging effects  enlighten and intrigue the semi gloom in which the action(?) of  all three acts take  place. I was pleasantly impressed with the singing cast and  thought that it compared favorably with the greats of my younger days.

    The new conductor was enthusiastically welcomed (The Levine era is now forgotten completely) but I thought the sound he produced from the orchestra did not quite evoke the agonizing pathos that I remembered.

    February 21.  Saw “Amy and the Orphans” at The Roundabout Theatre. It is a story of parents’  tussle with the agony of caring for a child with Down syndrome and the adult siblings’ efforts to atone for their parents’ weakness. Wonderfully convincing acting all round and written with great humour to counter the guilt dialalogue of the characters.

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‘Star’ Cruise

NCL has eleven ships in their fleet, I believe,  and we have travelled on six of them at various times. But we had never cruised on the ‘Star’ before. Along with its sister ship, the ‘Dawn’, it had recently been refitted and the format of the public rooms and restaurants were changed a little from the layout we remembered on the ‘Dawn’, ‘Gem’ and ‘Jewel’ etc. For example, our favourite restaurant, Le Bistro, was now completely inside–no view of the sea while dining–and was decorated with posters rather than impressionist paintings (some original?). Never-the-less, we were pleasantly surprised, and decided that the cruise was, in every other way,  an improvement upon similar NCL cruises we have taken. The entertainment especially. The large and sophisticated stage allowed “Cirque du Soleil” type shows, and we were delighted  with the variety and quality of the acts. The ‘Star” is now Ethel’s favourite NCL ship!

The cruise took us to Bermuda where we stayed for two nights, but I thought it worthwhile to cover the ship at length in this post so that fellow cruisers could compare. I will show some Bermuda pictures in a separate post.

The pictures in this post were taken with my new Sony 55a, a birthday gift from my wonderful grandson, Kiowa.  It will be a long time before I have mastered all its attributes, but I am reading the manual avidly. Don’t forget to enlarge the pictures to show the detail.

The majestic “Star”

Funnel of the competition (Disney’s “Magic”) as we sailed out of New York

Escort overhead (New York harbour)

Sail-away view

Grand Atrium

Floral scene


Party time

Show time

Sunbathing time

Pool deck. The art-deco palms are, I’m afraid, a signature of NCL

Kitchens . . . . . .

. . . . chickens


Lamb shanks


Chicken preparation


Wardrobe Mistress

. . . . .some of her charges

Hair styles to suit every occasion (Actors, I learned, do not generally display their own)

A view of the Bridge

The officer of the watch, watching. The Staff Captain told us that the large number of private yatchs in the Caribbean used to be a great concern. But since the depression started they have largely quit the scene!

Staff Captain fascinating us with descriptions of his ship’s enormous capabilities. Including such mundane topics as waste processing, laundry, and water production.

He also gave us a few insights into the financial aspects of running a ship; he said that fuel, alone, cost each passenger about $300 per voyage! And, although the thrusters on modern cruise ships had generally eliminated the need for tugs, if one were needed, a minimum charge of $65,000 would be incurred!  A passage through the Panama Canal would set the company back as much as $600,000!

The colourful buttons on this console, command the power of 10,000 and 8,000 horses. Only the mighty have the authority to press one!


4 Responses

  1. Wonderful pictures, almost makes me want to take a cruise, but not quite. Best wishes to you and Ethel.

    • Many, many thanks for your good wishes. When you reach the stage when a good day is measured by nothing else hurting, I am sure that cruising will be an option for you. So, prepare to enjoy. All the very best, Ben and Ethel

  2. Ben and Ethel you both look handsome and beautiful. I booked a cruise to Bermuda (copycat me) on the celebrity summit leaving 7/8. Looking to see your next blog on Bermuda.



    • Sandy, thanks. I have posted my Bermuda pictures and I may have included the Celebrity “Summit” among them? Ethel is disappointed that we couldn’t coordinate our trips this time. Better luck at the end of the year perhaps? Don’t forget to take advantage of the travel passes. Love, Ben and Ethel

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