Saturday, November 30, 2013

Aboard Riviera: Sailing The Bermuda Triangle

We're traversing one edge of the legendary Bermuda Triangle as we spend our penultimate full sea day enjoying activities and dining well.

It's not as warm as we thought it might be, the skies are gray, and the water is choppy, but the ride is basically smooth.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Aboard Riviera: Bermuda Sail Away

Today is the kind of day that Captains earn their large salaries. We were up on the top deck aft taking part in the daily shuffleboard tournament as Riviera eased away from the dock at Kings Wharf, using the side thrusters and stirring up mud as we backed up, turned around, and headed around the island and in a generally southwest direction toward the Port of Miami, where we are due to dock after our final two night aboard.
Bye-Bye Bermuda.
And it's down to the pool deck to play some post-shuffleboard table tennis doubles with Andre and Maurice, friendly fellow cruisers from Montreal with whom we've spent several hours hitting the little white ball back and forth.
But the gusts of wind are not only blowing towels off lounge chairs and the water out of the fountain but making the ball spin in all directions and we spend as much time chasing it and laughing as we do playing.
As we get ready for dinner this evening, the ship is rocking gently but the ride is fairly smooth.

Miami here we come.

Cloudy Bermuda

It's windy but not raining this morning. We heard waves bumping against the hull at various times throughout the night. It's a good day to stay aboard and play some table tennis. We sail away at 3:15 p.m. and are scheduled to dock in Miami early Monday morning.
Some people are at work this Friday morning as we watch a tugboat push a large crane on a barge right past our balcony.

And 20 minutes later the sun appears as we experience wind gusts of 25 mph. It's unsurprisingly clear that Bermuda enjoys island-type weather changes, at least at this time of year.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Kings Wharf Bermuda: Wandering The Royal Naval Dockyard

A lot of history here. Once we had confirmed from a couple of sources that the area where we are docked is one of the touristic highlights of Bermuda we wasted no time. Once the British lost the Revolutionary War to those pesky colonists, they suffered from a logistical problem as described here:

The British Royal Navy established the Royal Naval Dockyard after defeat in the American War of Independence left Britain without a secure operational base between Halifax, Nova Scotia and the West Indies. Bermuda was quickly identified as a strategic mid-Atlantic location where a secure anchorage for the Navy’s fleet and a dockyard, victualling yard and ordnance depot to maintain the ships could be developed. 

The Royal Navy purchased 200 acres on Ireland Island in the west end. In 1809 work began on the North America and West Indies Station, as the base became known, and continued into the early 20th Century. It was a huge project that involved large land reclamations and the labour of thousands of convicts from Britain who were housed in appalling conditions aboard rotting hulks of former naval fighting ships.
 Apparently much or all of this area suffered from great neglect but recent restorations have resulted in an incredible place to visit and to learn. We took the free tram from the dock over to the main area and wandered around the grounds of this historic place before entering the National Museum of Bermuda to spend a couple of fascinating hours.

The extensive defensive fortifications and munitions storage buildings within the same "keep" are fascinating to tour. 

Then it was back inside to tour the fascinating exhibits about shipwrecks in the magnificent Queen's Exhibition Hall, formerly a munitions storage building designed by the same architect who designed a couple of 19th-century Britain's most famous buildings.
Suddenly we realized it was raining outside. We waited for the rain to abate but it didn't. We walked back to the ship and arrived thoroughly soaked. Maybe we should have brought that umbrella after all.
We bought a token and dried out our clothes in the dryer down the hall, treated ourselves to lunch in the Grand Dining Room, and proceeded to play table tennis and shuffleboard.

Now we're on our way to afternoon trivia with a team that usually finishes in the money - or at least in the Big O Points that are the currency for hats and T-shirts at the end of the cruise.

Tonight we snagged another reservation in Toscana. We expect we'll manage quite nicely even without turkey.

Kings Wharf Bermuda

After five days at sea, we're up bright and early this morning (thanks to the clocks being turned back one more hour).

First, it's a quick elevator ride up to Baristas to pick up two double-shot cappuccinos to go.
Then we enjoy the view from our balcony as a couple of tugs join us to help in the docking on a breezy day.
We've arrived for  our first time in the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda

Happy American Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Atlantic Crossing: Aboard Riviera

We enjoyed our dinner at Red Ginger last night. A special shrimp appetizer not on the menu was spicy and we thought that was the highlight of the evening. We confirmed that Crème brûlée flavored with lemongrass doesn't really improve on the original.

The seas were quite bumpy last night but fortunately didn't bother us a bit. Our routine most mornings has included a trip up to Baristas, the coffee bar, and we've learned that a double-shot cappuccino offers a good jump-start to the day.

We try to skimp on either breakfast or lunch to save room for dinner. There is no question that the food on Oceania continues to be outstanding.

The ocean is calmer this morning and we're enjoying the view from our balcony before setting off for the daily table tennis tournament.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mid-Atlantic Depression

We've had a mixture of weather today that includes wind, rain, sun, and ocean swells. The Captain announced that we were sailing through an Atlantic depression that was too big to sail around.

Riviera is pitching a fair amount (that's rocking from front to back for you landlubbers) but it hasn't kept us from playing quite a bit of table tennis today.

We climbed to the top deck aft this afternoon to play shuffleboard but it was windy enough that the daily tournament was canceled, as has been the show tonight.

We were lucky enough to snag another extra reservation in a specialty restaurant for this evening and will be dining in Red Ginger.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Cruising Life

We sailed away from Funchal Madeira Friday evening, November 22. Our next scheduled stop is Kings Wharf, Bermuda Thursday, November 28. The Atlantic is smooth so far and we're having fun keeping busy with activities. We also enjoy spending time doing nothing.