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    13-23 January, 2018 Cruise out of New York around the Caribbean on the Norwegian Gem. Note : this trip has been cancelled altogether because of the damage caused by the hurricanes to the Caribbean islands.

    October 31st - 11 November. Caribbean cruise to break up the winter. Note: The itinerary has not yet been determined owing to the havoc wreaked by the hurricanes.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    October 8 Went to BAM, for the first time since Ethel died, to hear a wonderful modern opera composed and written by Matthew Aucoin called “Crossing”. It is based on Walt Whitman’s experience and the libretto is largely taken from his poetry.

    The story is multi-themed, as modern plays tend to be; the first is a harrowing anti war depiction of the suffering wounded seen through Whitman’s eyes when he volunteered as a nurse during the American civil war; the second is Slavery and its effect upon a run-away slave who fights on the Union side; the third is treachery portrayed by a guilt-laden deserter who spies for the South. And forth, inevitably these days, is the (entirely fictional) homosexual one.

    The powerful music fits the story perfectly and the voices of the lead singers and the chorus is magnificent; Rod Gilfry, bass-baritone, sings the part of Walt Whitman, Alexander Lewis plays John Wormley, the deserter, and Davone Tines, whose baritone reminded me, distinctly, of the sound of the legendary Paul Robeson.  Both Christine and I were extremely moved by the work. We newly discovered Walt Whitman’s poetry, too.

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Cruise on the “Breakaway” (part 1)

The prime reason for my taking this cruise was, as you might imagine, to escape from the terrible trauma of Ethel’s last nine months and to assuage the terrifying void left by her passing. In this, I was largely successful, helped hugely by my neighbour, Christine, who agreed to join me at short notice. An added bonus was that we missed some of New York’s nastiest winter weather–it was a shock to see the ice floes around the ship as we came in to dock at New York!

The NCL “Breakaway” is a new addition the fleet and I had not sailed on it before. It displaces 144,000 tons and carries 4,000 passengers–far too many for those who would like to have had a short respite from the madding crowds of New York! There are no secluded spots for quiet contemplation (or painting) and the library is miniscule. It is a ship for younger people who relish the hustle-bustle of crowds. The ship has a bowling alley,  ice bar, climbing wall, rope-climbing structure,  massive water chutes and, a concession to the ancients, a miniature golf course. The state rooms are smaller than those of the smaller ships (ours could not even accommodate a chair to sit on). Never-the-less, twelve days away from Second Avenue and the hospitals was just the medicine for me.

Click on the pictures for detail:

The majestic Breakaway showing off it's Peter Max design

The majestic Breakaway showing off it’s Peter Max design

All aboard for lunch-- Christine seems happy!

All aboard for lunch– Christine seems happy!

Massive waterchute

Massive water chute

Log-jam in San Juan harbour

Log-jam in San Juan harbour

Fun on the lower desks

Fun on the lower decks

Ugly sentry

Ugly sentry

Christine is still happy

Christine is still happy

Dinner companions sharing a joke

Dinner companions sharing a joke

Detail of the rope-climbing structure

Detail of the rope-climbing structure

  . . .. . . .

. . .. . . .

 Rope party

Rope party

Fort at San Juan

Fort at San Juan

Floating cemetary

Floating cemetery

Romantic view of the ship

Romantic view of the ship

 . . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

View from the top of the cable . . . . .

Views of St. Thomas from the top of the cable lift . . . . .

 . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . .

Mimosa bean pods

Mimosa bean pods

Sleek private craft

Sleek private craft

Ripening fruit

Ripening fruit

St. Maarten beach

St. Maarten beach

Dockside entertainment

Dockside entertainment

 . . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

Christine's hat

Christine’s hat

 . . . . . .

. . . . . .

St. Lucia cathedral

St. Lucia cathedral

Christine chats to a parishoner

Christine chats to a parishioner

Coconut birds

Coconut birds

Island boat

Island boat

Perilous walk, but . . . .

Perilous walk, but . . . .

 . . .well worth the view at the end!

. . .well worth the view at the end!

Sunbather

Caribbean shower

Sunbather

Sunbather

Barbados

Barbados

All dressed up for dinner

All dressed up for dinner

Intent wisdom at dinner

Intent wisdom at dinner

End of part 1

End of part one

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5 Responses

  1. The one time I was on a cruise ship I found it hard to swim because the water in the pool would sway a bit. I wonder what it’s like to bowl.

    • Lloyd. I watched people bowling several times–they played with bowling balls about the size of those used on bowling greens and the alley appeared to me to be only two thirds the length of a normal one. Even so, the balls ran truly and this must had required some stabilizing engineering. Ben

  2. I’m so glad you were able to get some time away, Ben, and cheers to Christine for being able to join you! Trips are so much nicer when shared, and you certainly have been overdue for a relaxing time. I’ll look forward to Part II – I enjoy living vicariously through you!

    Love,
    Nancy

  3. Claire and I agree with you on super-ship sizes and effect of so many on board. Just came back on a small older cruise ship the Holland American ship RHYNDAM out of Tampa for the western Caribbean. lots of people our age and a slow lovely trip away from the ice and snow here in the metropolitan area.

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