Suez Canal Transit

May 25, 2019

Yesterday we were at sea in the Gulf of Suez.  Ray, our cruise director, created another event – Arabian Nights, and Mario had an Arabian buffet in the Terrace Café.  The show was at 5:30 so that we could have a deck party at night.

We originally had a transit time through the Suez at night but that changed to a day transit, so we were anchored outside the canal until early morning hours when we would begin the transit. As Ray said, this is “Egypt time” so there is no telling when the transit would actually begin but we are sure to be anchored for the deck party.

What a fun night!  I had the abaya and hijab that I had to purchase in Abu Dhabi on a previous trip and Norm had the fly net from Australia..  Here are our outfits.  The flies are everywhere through the Suez.

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Many of the waiters and crew were also dressed up.  And the buffet was fantastic (as always!)

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We had a great time at the deck party. They had 2 for 1 drinks because there were too many good outfits to give prizes.  Lots of people thought Norm was the most creative!

Here are some pictures from the deck party.  Not all came out great because of lighting.

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And here are Andy and me in the casino after the party.

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Now for the Suez Canal.  This is our third passage, and there are some changes for sure.  We call it “day in a ditch” because there are no locks and it is really kind of a boring trip.  There are very wide areas and then some that are quite narrow.  It can take about 11 hours for the full transit and only one ship at a time – so there is kind of a convoy.

The first part of the canal was completed between 1860 and 1862 and had an immediate and dramatic effect on world trade and played an important role in increasing European penetration and colonization of Africa.  There was a lot of unrest and tension between Egypt and the UK and in 1954 the British agreed to pull out and Egypt’s president Nassar nationalized the canal.  This caused Britain, France and Israel to invade in the week long 1956 Suez War. As a result of the damage, the canal was closed until April 1957.  A UN peacekeeping force has protected the canal since 1974. About 14% of world shipping passes through the canal each year.

In 2015 Egypt officially unveiled its expansion to the Suez Canal which was completed in one third of the time originally estimated.  This added an additional 22 mile shipping lane and widened the current canal.  This allows an increase of the number of ships that can transit in a day from 50 to 97 and reduces the time of travel from 18 hours to the current 11 hours.

Here are some pictures from along the way.  There are security checkpoints, ferries that take people and cars across as well as floating bridges that can be moved into place.

Lots of development is taking place.  You see the mosques (and by the way, notice the loudspeakers – every mosque has them to announce the call to prayer 5 times each day).

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The last picture shows a ship in the additional shipping lane.

Today, Ray announced something different.  We will have a time change at 2 PM instead of doing it at night!  We move one hour ahead before Israel. Lots of people are doing overnight tours and many are leaving early on day long tours so he thought it would be cool to change the time in mid day.

We are very excited to go to Tel Aviv tomorrow and meet our son Mark and his fiancé Ramsay.  They have been traveling in Israel for 10 days and extended their trip so that we could meet them!  We will stay in Tel Aviv overnight and reboard on Monday when they will fly back to Boston and we will head to Cyprus and the start of our Mediterranean ports.  There will be very few sea days and lots of adventures in the ports in  Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Portugal and France. 

Posted in Africa, May, World Cruise 3 | Leave a comment

Safaga, Egypt Day 2

May 23, 2019

We were both able to get on the Red Sea snorkeling trip today and Norm was very glad he got to experience it.  We both agreed that it was maybe the top snorkeling we have done anywhere!

In Cairo, it is 116 degrees.  So plan B worked out just fine.

Mohammed was our guide on the bus and he accompanied us on the boat as well, just like he did yesterday. What I didn’t mention was that both days there was an armed security guard with us too.  I didn’t take his picture as you are advised not to and I didn’t want to have to stay in Egypt!

It was another spectacular day. Today our guide on the boat was Tina.  She was originally from Switzerland where she was a banker!  She gave that life up for this one – not as much money she says, but she is much richer.  She has a tattoo on her side that says “Don’t dream your life, live your dream” in Arabic.  She went to Singapore to have it done on the recommendation of a friend.

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She was also telling us that all plastic is banned in Egypt by June 1.  She was very talkative and I asked her a lot about her family and how they reacted to her extreme lifestyle change.  She isn’t married and her parents were initially upset but then saw how happy she was and now enjoy visiting.

It is very hot here – 99 degrees – but very comfortable on the boat.  There is a lot of construction going on and I don’t know how the Muslims work in the heat during Ramadan without drinking all day.  They must be made of stronger stock than I am.

Here are some pictures from the underwater camera – I guess I am the designated picture taker now.  Smile

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It was a terrific day all around.    One thing they do here to protect the coral is that they are not allowed to use anchors at all.  There are ropes already tethered to certain spots, and they need to tie up to the ropes.  Here we were right next to another dive boat. There were some kids and a dog on that one!

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Here are a couple of pictures from the boat. The water is so clear you can see to the bottom from almost everywhere.

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Almost everything is closed for Ramadan.  The roads are almost deserted.  When we returned to the ship we saw the ferry and tons of baggage of all kinds being taken off by the passengers.  I didn’t get a picture but it was amazing.

We are really happy that many of the crew had the chance to go to both Petra and Luxor.  There were crew tours in both places and it is great to see them have the experience and they are all so excited about the opportunity.

Can’t imagine wearing these robes everywhere. They put these sticks between the fences.

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Tina told us that after the 2011 uprisings, tourism declined 90%  It is picking up but she says now there are not enough flights to bring all the interested tourists and they are very expensive as well. There is a lot of building everywhere, the hotels near the dive site are being renovated by Kuwait. There is a lot of security – in fact one of the people at the check in center had a shirt that said “bomb squad”.  I didn’t take his picture either…

Now we have 2 days on the ship – one of them will include the Suez Canal which Ray says will be a night passage. We will have an Arabic deck party tomorrow night. There will be another “best dressed” competition.  Can’t wait to see the outfits.


Posted in Africa, Excursions, May, World Cruise 3 | 1 Comment

Safaga, Egypt

May 22, 2019

After hearing last night that our Luxor/Cairo trip was cancelled, we didn’t know what our plans would be for the day, maybe a quiet ship day.  Safaga is a very industrial town with not much going on, and it is still Ramadan, so even less to do. 

Here is the view as we arrived in port. A few beautiful yachts here.

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Norm and I were having breakfast when our friend Ellen came by and asked if either of us wanted to go snorkeling.  Marilyn had a ticket and has a cold and didn’t think she should go.  It was leaving in about 30 minutes.  So Norm encouraged me to take the ticket, which I did.  Got into a swimsuit, put the lotion on, and away I went with the group.IMG_0280

Here are some pictures of the town as we traveled to the boat.  It was about a 15 minute trip. There is a lot of construction going on here.

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I loved the snorkel trip yesterday, but I have to say that this is the best snorkeling I have ever done, anywhere.  The weather was absolutely perfect, no wind or current like yesterday and the water was crystal clear. The coral varieties and fish were just beautiful.

We were greeted by our guide, Mohammed (when he gave his name, he said “Mohammed, like everyone!” He accompanied us on the boat and told me to call him the “dolphin whisperer” in the off chance we would see any.  We didn’t but he was a fun guy to talk with.

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Here are some of the crew members. The man in charge, first picture, was from Germany!

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IMG_0237Why was this donkey at the snorkel dock?  Don’t know.

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We  made two snorkel stops.

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I took Norm’s camera, not the go pro. I got some pretty good pictures but there was so much else that I didn’t capture and photos never do it justice anyway.  Mohammed had given us a fish and coral chart and it helped to identify some of the fish.

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It was so terrific that I texted Norm that we should both go again tomorrow if we can get tickets!!  And we did, so watch for more great photos. 

I saw a small ray and also an octopus but couldn’t get the octopus fast enough.

The ray is in this shot. It is a blue spotted sting ray.  They are quite small and hard to find.

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Both snorkeling spots were great, the second even better than the first.  Can’t wait to come back tomorrow.

Here are some pictures of boats, people, the clear water, and a military island that we saw.

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What a great day.  Looking forward to tomorrow.

Here are some pictures from the way back to the ship.

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Posted in Africa, Excursions, May, World Cruise 3 | 1 Comment

Aqaba, Jordan

May 21, 2109

Our day started with the view from our balcony. Although we are in Aqaba, Jordan, the view across the water was Eilat, Israel. 

We were amused by the crows at the Terrace Café when we were eating breakfast.  They came right up on the railings and when no one was around they flew in to the trays of used plates and flew off with whatever leftover they could find!

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The two main must see sights near here in Jordan are the incomparable Petra and also Wadi Rum.  We have seen both on previous trips and they are truly amazing. Petra is a wonder of the world!  So today we are doing something completely different.

We went on a yacht for snorkeling in the Red Sea, it was a tour set up by Lori and Mark – we met them on the 2015 World Cruise.  There were just 12 of us and it was a terrific day. As we traveled out to the first snorkeling spot, we were in full view of three different countries: Jordan, Israel and Egypt.

Our guide was Paul who was from the UK.  The captain and all of the other crew were from Jordan.

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The yacht was spacious enough for about 50 people easily, so there was so much room.  The first floor had plush sofas and this is where they had our lunch buffet. No wet bathing suits were allowed in there.  The second floor had surround couches in the covered area with two outdoor areas, one had relaxation mats on the deck.  Very comfortable.

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It took about 45 minutes to get to the first snorkeling spot.  Here are some of the sights along the way, including our ship.

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The airplane in the above picture will be put into the water so that divers and snorkelers will be able to view it.

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The two pictures above are of Eilat, Israel and the one below is of a hotel in Egypt just across the border from Israel.

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There are a lot of beautiful resorts on both sides.  This one is on the Jordanian side.  Look at the color of the water.

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The first snorkel spot had a very strong current, lots of wind and only two people went into the water – Norm was one of them.  Both thought it was much too difficult for snorkeling.  They got pushed so far so fast that they both came back right away. The crew threw out a life preserver on a rope to assist them in getting back to the boat.  So we moved on to another spot.

The snorkeling was just beautiful.  I have video on my go pro, which won’t load on the ship, and Norm took these on his waterproof camera.  The water was cold when you first went in but so very clear. 

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Of course, pictures never do justice to the beauty you see underwater. We saw more varieties of fish here than I have ever seen before. They have some wire cages and other areas where they are encouraging the growth of coral, the last two pictures above show two of them.  We also snorkeled over a ship wreck after lunch, but I didn’t take my go pro on the later snorkel and Norm was already back on the boat.

A really wonderful day, great lunch, fun friends and quite a comfortable way to spend a day that was 104 degrees!

Here are some pictures from the return trip in the late afternoon, all on the Jordanian side. The mountains were such beautiful colors and the container ships are HUGE.

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Some of the friends having wine on our return.

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Here is the man who helps the boat get tied up on the return.  Had to snap this shot.

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Well, we had been looking forward to our trip to Luxor and Cairo tomorrow and Thursday.  We had been assured that in spite of the bombing in Cairo, the trip was still on and we had packed since we were leaving at 9 tomorrow.

At 9:20 PM tonight, I was in the casino and Norm came in to tell me that he got a call that the Luxor /Cairo trip was cancelled.  The bombing in Cairo happened 3 days ago so we don’t know why they only let us know so late tonight, but anyway we are not going – there were 66 people signed up for this trip.  They offered just the Luxor overnight to anyone who had been scheduled on the first trip, but we did that one last time we were here, so we will just explore Safaga tomorrow and have a nice leisurely dinner with 2 couples, Mark and Lori (who we went snorkeling with today) and John and Donna from New Zealand.

Disappointed but of course safety is first, we just wish this decision had been made a day earlier before we packed and got everything ready for the trip.


Posted in Asia, Excursions, May, World Cruise 3 | 1 Comment

Cruising the Red Sea–The “Whine” Cellar

May 20, 2019

Yesterday I came in second again in the blackjack tournament.  Today I made the finals but did not win.

Jose often repeats John’s joke from the last segment.  “What do you call it when Pat is losing in the casino?”

The whine cellar.  Yes, that’s right.  I happen to think that whining works, or at least it may annoy the dealers…  Wait, is that a strategy??  Maybe not.

Anyway, here is the terrific casino team.  They are fun but it is more fun when you win! Try harder, team!!!

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The dealers from left to right:

Shanvia, Dushan and Georgi.

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The manager, Andy

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The cashier, Marijana

And some of the “usual suspects” who have fun in the casino with me.

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Tom

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Isaac on the left and Jose on the right

This morning we had a world cruise event – the doughnuts were amazing.  I forgot to take pictures. They were all the European style with no holes, some had jelly, some cream, some peanut butter.. delicious.

Ray had a panel of staff who submitted information about themselves and we had to guess who matched the piece of information. Good time, and Ray is the best MC..  Very sharp and witty.

One of the projects on the ship has been the creation of this mural.  It has small pictures of passengers, sights in the ports, pieces of tickets and much more to create the big “O” logo for Oceania.  I haven’t spotted our pictures yet, but some people have.  They will have to point it out.  No news yet on what will happen to the mural at the end of the cruise, but for now, it will be displayed in different parts of the ship on port days.

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Tomorrow we are going snorkeling in the Red Sea from Aqaba Jordan and on Wednesday we are scheduled for an overnight trip to Luxor and Cairo in Egypt.  We know there was an incident there and we hope the trip will still take place.  Stay tuned.

Posted in Asia, At Sea, May, World Cruise 3 | 2 Comments

Cruising the Red Sea

May 19, 2019

We moved out of the Gulf of Aden and into the Red Sea and our extra Navy Seal security force has now departed the ship and the pirate precautions are over.

Here are some pictures of the passage between Yemen and Somalia.  No pirates spotted.

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On our anniversary, our butler, Sanjay, was upset that he didn’t realize it was that day.  So he gave us a cake the next night.  When we came back from dinner, this is what we spotted in our room! As you probably know, candles are not allowed on board,  the two bigger ones are the battery operated ones we brought with us and the small one belongs to the ship.  The cake was delicious.

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I came in second in the blackjack tournament yesterday, we will see what happens today and tomorrow.  They have the tournaments on every sea day.

Today was a Sunday brunch and Oceania always does it up so spectacularly.  Today there was a huge lobster and shrimp table in addition to the usual wonderful menu as well as an extensive buffet of delicacies.  And, oh, the desserts!

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Here are just two of the great chefs on board.  And the string quartet played for us.

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One more sea day to go before we reach Jordan, then our overnight excursion to Luxor and Cairo.

We have the Oceania Club cocktail parties tonight and tomorrow night, then tomorrow at 9:15 they scheduled an “ATW Get Together” with the Fun Morning Show – Call my Bluff.  Coffee and donuts and who knows what kind of fun to come.  Stay tuned.

Posted in Asia, At Sea, Food, May, World Cruise 3 | Leave a comment

Salalah, Oman

May 16, 2019

We had dinner with Ray, our cruise director, and Amy, our social hostess and one of the singers.  Joanne and Everett joined us.  Fun evening!

Today is our anniversary, and our suite attendants put this on our bed this morning when they cleaned!

Hard to believe it has been 37 years.

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Not much to write today – this is our third time in Oman and we have done pretty much all of the tours that are offered.  So today we stayed on the ship, relaxed, had a wonderful lunch in the dining room (we never take the time to have lunch there!) and generally had a very chill kind of day.  Will have dinner for our anniversary in Polo tonight.

Here is the port from the Terrace Cafe…Very big port and they export a lot of gypsum.

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Just a little bit about Oman though.  The mountains are the Dhofar mountains.  The city is known as the Land of Frankincense and on an earlier visit we went to the Frankincense Land museum to learn about it.

We usually like to get off the ship to have lunch or just explore but there was only a shuttle through the port and with Ramadan, no options for eating here.

Four sea days now, through the Gulf of Aden and then the Red Sea on our way to Jordan.

Posted in Asia, May, World Cruise 3 | 2 Comments

Dubai, UAE

May 13, 2019

This was our third visit to Dubai and it seems to grow bigger each time we are here.  Here is the view from our ship as we approached the harbor. The tallest building in the world (for now anyway), is the Burj Khalifa, the needle like structure in the picture.

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The plan for today- take the shuttle bus to the Dubai Mall, get a pedicure, do some shopping and, if it is clear enough, go to the top of the Burj Khalifa.

The Queen Elizabeth 2 is here and is now a hotel/restaurant. 

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And check out this other yacht!

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Dubai is spotlessly clean and growing all the time. What used to be desert is a mecca of shopping destinations, hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Not a blade of grass or flower is dead or out of place.

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This building is the Dubai frame. It is the world’s largest picture frame and is supposed to give you a view of modern Dubai from one side and older Dubai from the other side – it “frames” the city.

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About the malls.  Dubai is famous for its many malls and more are being built all the time.  There are currently 65 malls with 10 more being built – in a city of 3 million people!

Tax free shopping makes things less expensive in most cases than in their countries of origin. 

These malls contain all  kinds of attractions, including full amusement parks, indoor skiing and skydiving, skating rinks, aquarium and underwater zoo, bowling alleys, multiplex and Imax theaters, virtual reality parks and much more. 

In the Dubai Mall, our destination, there are 1300 stores and hundreds of places to eat (won’t list them all!)  – and the aquarium/underwater zoo and skating rink are in this mall.  It is attached to the Burj Khalifa.  The stores include high end ones like Harry Winston, Tiffany, Cartier, Rolex, St. John and many more.  There are 5 Starbucks locations. It stays open until 2 AM! Most hotels have shuttles and there are many buses bringing people to the mall.

Of course, it is Ramadan and so many of the places to eat are closed and others have curtains or other partitions to allow non Muslims to eat there.  Some of our friends ate at the Cheesecake Factory.

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I had a great pedicure and then we decided it was clear enough to go up in the Burj Khalifa.  We were here 4 years ago and went to 124/5 in the building then.  One thing that is remarkable is that one floor of the building was completed every 3 days!

You can go to the 148th floor where you have drinks and snacks (when it is NOT Ramadan) or get a less expensive ticket to the 124/125 floor.  The less expensive one was sold out but we got the 148th floor (with guide) for the lower price since they could not serve food or drinks.

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They know how to do waiting rooms – with screens that show construction, ask trivia questions about the Burj and provide a view of a model of the building.

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The Burj is currently the tallest building in the world. There is one being built in Saudi Arabia which will be taller when it is completed.  The Burj was completed in January 2010 and is 2722 feet high.  It boasts the highest pool, the highest outdoor observation deck, 57 elevators and 160 inhabited floors.  There are floors above but only accessible by ladder. You need to take 3 elevators to get to the top.

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Our guide took us to the 148th floor first.  Here is the lounge.

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I will show many pictures that we took from here – amazing views of the growing city, the harbor and the part of the city that is still growing up out of the sand!

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The picture above shows the World Islands in the distance.  300 islands were constructed here from dredged sand.  Construction began in 2003 but money ran out in 2008.  Finally they were finished but development has largely failed.  We had a World Cruise event here 2 years ago, on the Lebanon island which is the one that has been developed commercially and is used for weddings, corporate events, etc..

The islands represent all of the continents. In 2014 an investment group announced plans to develop the European group of the islands into a “Heart of Europe” concept, but not too much information about progress is available.  There have also been reports of some of the islands sinking into the sea but we couldn’t verify that info.

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This is just part of the mall seen from the top.

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They had this series of panels that you walk on and it makes a cracking sound and changes to make it look like you cracked through and will fall to the ground.

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As you leave, there are models and descriptions of the building of the Burj – very interesting.

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We had time to browse the mall and here are just a couple of pictures, including the huge aquarium.

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They are big on camels here.

Here are a couple of other buildings we spotted on the way back to the ship.

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Today was embarkation day for the next segment of the world cruise, so we had yet another lifeboat drill. Next – 2 days at sea before our next port of Oman.

We read news reports of explosions on four oil tankers that belonged to UAE, Saudi Arabia and Norway near the port while we were there –  in Fujairah. Some of the ships contained oil to be delivered to the US. It is thought that this is about Iran. In this area we do have extra security on our ships but no one is expecting any issues for us.

Posted in Asia, May, World Cruise 3 | 2 Comments

Fujairah, UAE

May 12, 2019

Mother’s Day in Fujairah, our first port in the United Arab Emirates.  This is our third time here and we are doing the same thing we did on both of the other visits – taking the shuttle bus to the mall! There is not much going on here. Supposedly the beaches are nice, but it is 104 degrees out and we are NOT going to a beach.

About Fujairah.  This city is a commercial center with a huge port.  It is the only emirate to front the Gulf of Oman and is the biggest town on that east coast.  It is small with only 1.5% of the UAE’s total area. It is not as heavily developed as the Arabian Gulf seacoast.  But the on the 30 minute ride to the mall, we saw so many apartment buildings that were constructed in the 2 years since our last visit. Most had for rent/to let signs.

Here are 2 different views from our balcony as we arrived this morning.  You will notice that it is very mountainous.  These are the Hajar mountains which run on into Oman.  We will visit Oman on Thursday.

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There are so many circular oil storage containers here and also lots of grain towers.

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I am not really sure that the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship really equates to a “Customer Happiness Center”!! At least not in the US.  Maybe here????

A security person boarded the bus and checked our landing cards and ship ID cards.

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Some scenes on the way to the mall.

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On the way to the mall we passed a new mosque, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.  Huge.

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So, in this mall you would think you are in America.  Many people in western dress (oh, wait, those are all passengers!)

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All the stores we are familiar with are here, including Victoria’s Secret, H & M, Hallmark, Toys R Us, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Chilis, McDonalds, Burger King, Jungle Juice, KFC, Aldo, Claire’s, Pandora, Naturalizer, Payless ShoeSource, Sketchers, Mothercare, Bath and Body Works, Body Shop, MAC, Adidas and yes, a Thrifty Car Rental!  There are also very many that are local to this area and all look very nice.

The mall also has prayer rooms for men and women and a movie theater.

The grocery is Carrefour which we see in many countries and it is huge, almost like a Costco or Sam’s Club.  I got plenty of snacks for our suite attendants as they rarely get to leave the ship, especially when the stores are 30 minutes away.  They are known for dates here, so I got some of those to share.  The casino dealers said they weren’t familiar with dates, so I will bring some to them later.

So our main objective was fast wi-fi and previously we went to Starbucks.  Now the entire mall has fast wi-fi and it is a good thing, too.  It is Ramadan here from May 5 to June 4 and all Muslims fast from sunrise until sunset daily.  During daylight no Muslims will eat, drink or smoke.  We were all requested not to eat, drink or smoke in the presence or sight of a Muslim and eating, drinking or smoking in public places during daylight is forbidden.

Starbucks was open and empty.  The baristas said we could order but had to take the drinks out to our cars (didn’t know we were on a bus) or go to the food court which is isolated.  The eating places were almost all closed. 

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The McDonalds was open but had this folding partition that you could go behind and eat. 

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We were able to back up our devices quite quickly then walked all around the mall.

I also wanted to get a pedicure, but there were no places to do that in this mall.  Plenty of make-up stores but no salons.

There are strict rules in the mall and really throughout UAE. For instance, it is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women and you must ask permission before taking pictures of men.  Shoulders and knees should be covered and there is no kissing or overt displays of affection.

Photographs of government buildings and military installations should not be taken. Ooops, I guess that Federal Authority I photographed from the bus was a mistake. 

When we went to Carrefour, Norm was told he had to check his bag, so he waited outside the store.  I had a bottled water which the security guard had to check and place a label on, and reminded me not to drink it in public, it is Ramadan.

Norm pointed out the Pandora store and I bought some charms.  Thanks, yayas, for my new addiction!!

Before we left, Tom sent me a text to see if we wanted to do something “crazy”- go to a movie.  He wanted to see the Avengers.  Not our genre, so it turned out he didn’t stay to see it either.

Back to the ship for lunch and relaxation.  Tomorrow, onward to Dubai.



Posted in Asia, May, World Cruise 3 | 1 Comment

Cruising the Arabian Sea

May 11, 2019

Yesterday was the first of two sea days between leaving Mumbai, India and our arrival to the first of 3 ports in the United Arab Emirates, Fujairah.

Our cruise director, Ray, had been getting us excited about the Indian “Bollywood” night that took place last night.  First of all, everyone was encouraged to wear Indian style clothing, so I think the passengers contributed a lot of money to the Indian economy. Norm and I had clothes that we purchased in India last time, so no need for us to buy anything!

First there was a pre dinner show at 5:15 with the entertainment team doing “Showdown” where each of them tries to get the most applause from the audience.  We have seen the show several times but each time this particular team seems to get even better.  This time Charise, aka Lucy Lopez in the show, was the winner.

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After the show, the crew came into the lounge, many dressed Indian style, for Salute, the farewell that always happens a night or two before the end of a segment.  A bonus this time was the winner of the contest the crew had – “Crew Idol”, who works in the engineering department.  He brought tears to our eyes with his rendition of “You Raise Me Up”.

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Here are some photos of the Salute.  There are 404 outstanding crew members on this ship, from 42 different countries.  Ray said that if only the world could be on a cruise ship and get along like they do, it would be amazing.

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The captain is in the center of this photo, in the dark uniform.  Sanjay, our butler, is the man in the first row far left.  He’s great!

Here are two shots from dinner – he came to find us!

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Here are some pictures after the Salute.

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Mario, our executive chef, has about 60 chefs on board and 21 of them are from India.  So he had them cook their favorite dishes and had an Indian buffet in the Terrace Café.  A lot of the crew was dressed Indian style, even those who were not from India.  The food was absolutely delicious, and how about this model of the Taj Mahal!

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As I mentioned, the staff looked amazing in their outfits.

IMG_9946IMG_9949IMG_9955IMG_9959Here are two of the chefs.

IMG_9960IMG_9961IMG_9962IMG_9971IMG_9972IMG_9983Sanjay is one of our favorite waiters.

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These three women are part of the entertainment team Charise and Amy are singers, and Kelly is a dancer.  The second photo is of Rex and Kelly, our dancers. Lamont is one of the male singers.

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Marijana and Shanvia from the casino looked lovely.  Shanvia (on the right) is from Goa, but she bought her outfit in Mumbai – she says she doesn’t dress this way at home!

There was a contest for best dressed couple and best dressed individual.  I tried to get all of them in photos, but the lighting didn’t work.

This couple won the top prize. Well deserved!

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Marie was among the best dressed women.  And she is every day in everything she wears!

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Ray gave bottles of champagne to all of the finalists, not just the winners.

So many people came to Horizons for the party – it was fun and a huge success.  Each of the entertainers performed too and the band, as always, was great. 

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Today is our second day at sea, and Norm spotted many dolphins – but he couldn’t get a picture.  But he did get one of this military ship.  Too hazy and far away to see the details though. We do know that there are threats to US interests from Iran and there are forces deployed here but so far it has not affected our route.

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Posted in At Sea, Food, May, World Cruise 3 | Leave a comment