Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Land Ho on Marina! St. John’s Antigua Six Days Later

We departed the Canary Islands Thursday, November 24 and this morning are docked at St. John’s Antigua Wednesday, November 30, one of our longest ever stints of continuous “sea days.”

Land Ho!

We also experienced our longest ever continuous period of rolling in heavy swells on a cruise, starting shortly after leaving the Canary Islands, and continuing all the way to Antigua.

We managed just fine, but were happy to have a good supply of Meclizine and decent balance. Still, a couple of times we thought we’d roll out of bed onto the floor.

One of our subscribers asked for more food pictures, believe it or not, so we’ll include a few. First, three other couples and we enjoyed dinner in the Grand Dining Room with Marck, the General Manager. He is a charming and interesting host, who took the time to write thank-you letters to his guests. Classy!

And now for some food photos…

Kathy’s favorite Cocoa Sorbet, made once a cruise…

An Asian sampler plate at lunch…

Sunset in Horizons Lounge…

Tempura in Red Ginger…

Our friends Bud and Jessie discover the Christmas decorations…

And a couple of mornings ago we spotted the best - maybe the only - rainbow we’ve seen at sea.

Auspicious? We hope so.

The dock area is full of tour hawkers, who generally take a polite and friendly “ No thanks” for an answer.

It holds little charm for us on this warm day, especially once we step outside the artificial little tourist street adjacent to the dock.

Soon we’re back aboard and looking forward to lunch.

And in early evening we sail away in the direction of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Sailing Along on Marina

Our recent sea days have been generally smooth, with a few bumps from time to time.

Last night we dined in Toscana, the Italian specialty restaurant, and enjoyed our meals.

Brian’s Cappuccino dessert was quite artistic, with everything edible including the handle, and worth the calories.

Tonight we’ve been invited to dine with the General Manager in the Grand Dining Room. We’ll also be attending our third consecutive evening cocktail reception hosted by the General Manager to recognize returning customers.

It’s a rigorous schedule but so far we’re coping nicely as we head toward the last few days of the cruise.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Santa Cruz de Tenerife: Sea Days to Come

We docked at Arrecife, Santa Cruz de Tenerife this morning, US Thanksgiving Day. To our knowledge, this is the first time we’ve stopped in at this particular spot, although we’ve docked in the Canary Islands in previous transatlantic cruises. Arrecife is a port city of about 60,000, but it felt smaller.

We were made aware that we had to wear masks  on the free shuttle bus.

It was mildly amusing to spot the maskless employee who handed out masks to those needing them as he chatted with the maskless driver.

Once dropped off, we went for a stroll along the water and then into a little central shopping area.


We even saw the mounted skeleton of a female whale.

We bought a couple of bottles of Spanish Albsriño at a super Mercado to sip a glass at a time over a few lunches, and then it was back to Marina.

Our next scheduled port is Antigua Wednesday, November 30. We’ll have nothing but ocean views between now and then.

Anchors aweigh at 3:30 pm.

The Atlantic is straight ahead and all around.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

An Atlantic Sunset on Marina

We stayed aboard yesterday, eschewing the charms of Malaga. We sailed past the Rock of Gibraltar last night around 8pm, but of course it was dark and we were enjoying dinner in the Grand Dining Room.

Once we sailed from the Mediterranean into the Atlantic, the ride became quite bumpy, and that carried on into today. We’re doing fine, thanks to judicious doses of Meclazine,  our miracle seasickness drug of choice.

As we get ready for dinner, we step out on our balcony and catch the final few minutes of sunset.

In the few moments it took to type this, it’s already dark at 6:15pm, even though we turned our clocks back one hour last night.

Monday, November 21, 2022

A Walk in Alcante

It’s another large Spanish city, and we enjoyed wandering around a very small section of it near the cruise port.

We are yet again impressed - mesmerized - by Spanish sidewalks.

Christmas is naturally in the air and in the shops. This giant ornament must be lovely at night.

We gawk a bit more, including a peek at the old town hall.

We even spot a Bentley before returning to our ship.

Our impression is of a remarkably clean and well kept waterfront. Kudos to Alcante.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Ships That Pass in the Night

We just happened to be looking out our balcony window Friday evening as this behemoth floated by.

When the MSC Grandiosa came into service in November 2019, she was the second largest cruise ship in the world  by tonnage.

She is 1,087 feet long, holds 4,842 passengers at double occupancy (6,334 maximum occupancy), and 1,704 crew members.

Marina, in contrast, is 783 feet long, holds 1,250 passengers double occupancy, and 780 crew members.

Oh, and the Titanic? She was just under 883 feet long, held 2,435 passengers, and 892 crew members.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Tendering to Port-Vendres

Although it’s a deeo-water port, Marina anchored outside the harbor and we tendered in to this charming little French town of about 4,000 residents.

Once docked, we strolled around the harbor and enjoyed the sights.

We ran into Bud and Jessie, who let us know of a wine shop up the hill near the obelisk. Up we went.

This obelisk has quite a history.

The 98-feet tall structure was started in 1780 under the direction of King Louis XVI, who directed a major expansion of the port. It is adorned with four bronze bas-reliefs representing the newly independent United States of America (above), the abolition of serfdom, free trade, and the strengthened French Navy.

Across the way is a plaque honoring Charles DeGaulle’s leadership of the French Resistance during World War II.


Adjacent to those monuments was the wine shop Bud and Jessie had spotted, complete with a friendly proprietor who spoke some English. The shop features the local wines of the Roussillon region. 

He offered us a generous sample of one wine he recommended. Sold!

We walked out with three bottles of wine that we look forward to tasting as we cross the Atlantic.

We caught another tender back to the Marina, and enjoyed a light lunch before sitting on our balcony and watching rhe tenders come and go.

Two perfect ports in one cruise, Port-Vendres and Ajaccio, each with its own character.

It’s a breezy day with clouds moving fairly quickly. We’re not surprised it was prudent to cancel our visit to not-too-distant Sète.

Au revoir, as we sail away toward Barcelona.

Dining in Jacques Aboard Marina

The French specialty restaurant aboard the larger Oceania ships is named in honor of Jacques Pépin, the celebrity chef who serves as Oceania’s Executive Culinary Director.

We suggest that a plurality of experienced cruisers consider Jacques to be the best of the four specialty restaurants. It’s certainly the most difficult for which to snag extra reservations.

Accordingly, we had high hopes for our dinner there, and were happy to discover the restaurant met our expectations.

There’s a semi-open kitchen that adds to the entertainment for those facing in that direction.

We stayed with familiar dishes and weren’t disappointed, starting with escargots.

What wouid dinner in Jacques be without foie gras?

Brian enjoyed a tasty cup of Vichyssoise that served almost as a palate cleanser.

Strangely enough, the medium rare Prime Rib served in Jacques bad widely regarded as the best on the ship, and it was indeed delicious.

Bud enjoyed his filet mignon.

All four of us splurged on dessert, and all were good choices, starting with Crêpes Suzette for Bud.

Brian enjoyed a healthy portion of a pistachio-infused (hence the color) Crême Brûlée.

Kathy and Jessie chose, respectively, pot au crème and crème glacée.

C’est un bon repas!

This morning we’re anchored in the tender port (passengers are “tendered” ashore via the lifeboat tenders) of Port-Vendres, France.

We’ve just been informed that weather will prevent us from docking at tomorrow’s scheduled port, Sète, France, and we’ll instead dock overnight in Barcelona.

C’est la vie. It just might be time to break out the little pills that hold off mal de mer. The Mediterranean can be bumpy at times, as we know from experience.