Muscat, Oman to Aqaba, Jordan
The 2nd segment of the 2015 World Cruise from Dubai to Southampton consists of two contrasting periods, with the first being a long sea passage, followed by a port call on most days from Suez to Southampton. From departure Muscat we have another five sea days and the first couple of days are through the remnants of the Tropical Cyclone. While long since made landfall and now dying out, the seas generated will be around for many days. Therefore, our passage the first few days will continue with the roller coaster ride.
Temperature: High 33C/91F, Low 29C/84F
Wind/Weather: SW’ly winds at 25 kts. Rough swell of 14’ from ahead. Partly cloudy to overcast and rain
Clox: Z+3 (back 1 hr) Clox now remain constant until we reach Santorini
Distance to Noon: 310 miles
Throughout the morning and afternoon, Sea Princess maintained generally southerly courses along the Oman coast. In early evening, when abeam Ra’s Al Hadd Lighthouse, course was altered to SSW still following the coast towards the Gulf of Aden.
Based on today’s schedule we planned to attend the following:
- 10:00 AM Trivia
- 11:00 Enrichment Lecture
- 12:00 Lunch
- 14:00 Princess Cruises Presentation
- 14:45 Vista Lounge
- 16:15 PM Trivia
- 18:30 Production Show
- 19:45 Dinner
- 21:45 Showtime
Still recovering from the chest infection that nurse Judi has well under control, I will continue taking a break from my normal morning exercise routine for a few more days. Therefore, the first activity this morning was breakfast in the dinning room, where we sat at a table of four with a mother and daughter travelling together. After the usual breaky of porridge for me and pancakes for Judi, we had some excellent conversation and although one of the first to arrive, were almost last to leave.
Sitting in Vista Lounge it was rather strange watching the tail end of Zumba, rather than being up on the floor participating. Hopefully, in a few days I’ll be right as rain and back participating. Trivia was rather tough this morning and we scored a poor 11/20, however the winners only had 15, which is an unusually low winning score. At 11:00 I headed to the Princess Theatre for today’s enrichment lecture. Commodore Trotter departed in Dubai and we have a new lecturer – Michael Bendon, an archaeologist and avid diver with interest in marine issues.
While performing an archaeological dig on the island of Crete, Michael went for a swim to clean off the dust. He swam over a wreck that was close to shore and on questioning the locals could not get a straight answer to what ship had sunk so close to shore. After extensive research he determined it was a British Tank Landing Craft dating from early in WW2. In addition, he located the Captain, who at 97 is still alive and living in UK. The Captain was a very young acting Sub-Lt who was awarded the DSO, a very high award for a junior officer. The landing craft was assisting the evacuation of Allied Forces from Crete and was ordered to sail to a new location on the other side of the island. With a top speed of only 6 kts, they sailed at night and secured inshore during daylight. Unfortunately they were spotted by a German Stuka and bombed.
Clear photographs were a challenge this morning, as the Princess Theatre and screen were moving significantly in the seaway.
This evening was another formal night and must admit the entertainment and dinning were the low point of the cruise so far. We attended the 18:30 Production Show, which was titled, “The Look of Love”.
We expected the traditional Princess Production Show with singers, dancers, elaborate costumes and ever changing stage scenery, but were sadly disappointed to find a barren stage with only the excellent orchestra and the very average resident four singers. While some of them may be adequate singers individually, together they don’t mesh. A polite description of their abilities is they sing songs made famous by other singers, imparting some individual flair. Whereas, a number of other passengers around us commented that they murdered most of the songs they sung. Definitely one of the worst performances ever seen on a cruise ship.
Although the first formal evening of the segment, their was no welcome aboard cocktail party and champagne waterfall, so no free drinks this evening before dinner. They have also replaced the traditional menu with the special 50th anniversary special, with a selection of their best selections for each decade. Having worked or cruised in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s and 2010’s I have experienced most of the menus and would not agree that these are the best dishes ever produced. Regardless, the galley had an extremely poor night, as I returned 2 of the 3 dishes ordered. The only one that was correct was the Appy – Duck Turrine.
This was a dish from the 70’s and the pate and sauce were very nice. However, pate used to be served with toast cut into strips, not a roll. Also couldn’t figure out why they included a small cup of mushroom soup. After the pate, Bob and I ordered the Risotto Cakes, which were served almost stone cold. Needless to say they were returned. For Main Course both Judi and I had the Tournedos, which basically is a small filet steak. Judi requested medium and I medium rare. Judi’s came out a beautiful medium rare, but on touching the top of mine I knew it wasn’t even close. Cutting into the steak it was seared on both sides and raw in the middle. Yet again, it went back, so I opted for the fish, which looked good. Didn’t find any desserts appealing, so we finished up with tea.
Oh well, surely the post-dinner entertainment in the Vista Lounge will be an improvement, surely all three can’t be bad. The show was billed as Magic and Comedy from UK award winning Magician James Long. It started at 21:45 and we quickly realised he wasn’t funny, so hopefully he was a good magician. The first trick dragged on for an eternity and being devoid of any energy, I was fast asleep before 22:00. The entire show continued at a snail’s pace, absolutely dreadful.
Hoping we got rid of all the duds in one night and tomorrow we can return to the mostly excellent entertainment we have experienced since Sydney.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.