Carcinoid A rare form of "slow-growing" neuroendocrine cancer

Susan Anderson - An advocate for Carcinoid and Neuroendocrine Tumor Awareness


Re-positioning Cruise – 18 days – Trans Atlantic
Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Greenland,
Nova Scotia, and Fort Lauderdale, FL

September 11 – September 29, 2011


Susan L. Anderson

September 11, 2011 Sunday – Copenhagen, Denmark -- 10th Anniversaries of the Twin Towers and Pentagon disasters. During the night our cruise statement was delivered for what we have purchased on board; the tours we took, photographs, and the few items we purchased in the gift ships.  This was taken care of with our credit card that we gave for this purpose.  We arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark and were along our berth about 5 a.m.  There was a beautiful bright sunrise a bit after 6 a.m.  I really prefer to see sunsets over sun rises.   A Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ship is just across the berth from us.  We watched the huge amount of luggage assembled for those disembarking the NCL, plus the buses and cabs lined up to pick up passengers from both ship.  After a 7 a.m. breakfast we returned to our statement as the sprinkling of rain began.  Later it was somewhat heavier and a grey day.  We are glad we did our canal boat tour and the city tour of Copenhagen before we boarded this ship on August 31st.

About 9:40 a.m. we went to the 6th deck Conference Room to remove this cruise card from security and have our photos taken for the new cruise card (for our second cruise).   There was one man ahead of us, so basically no wait and this, like everything else, went smoothly and very well organized.

We have the early, 6 p.m., seating for dinner – Bill and Dot Williamson were there to eat at our table #114, and a Carol from Ohio.

September 12, 2011 – Monday – The sunrise was at 6:43 a.m., but we didn’t see it.  The forecast today is partly cloudy sky and chance of rain with a high of 63 degrees. The cruise up the 60 mile Oslo Fjord was very pretty, some blue sky and white fluffy clouds and then dark storm clouds.  About 8:45 a.m. the captain announced due to stormy weather the next 48 hour, in the North Sea, the ship will leave Oslo at 7 p.m. not at 10 p.m. as scheduled and we would skip Kristiansand.  In the fjord we observed Oscarsborg Fort, with guns still in place that sunk the German heavy cruiser Blucher during the German invasion in 1940.

Shortly after the captain made his announcement letters were distributed to each stateroom.   It said in part:

We wish to let you know of a change to our itinerary.  Over the next 48 hours the wind and seas are expected to worsen as a result of the post tropical depression Katia.  In order to sail southwest and avoid the worst of the weather before it arrives, we need to make changes to our scheduled call for today and tomorrow.

We will leave earlier than scheduled from Oslo tonight. …. We will sail directly for Greenock, canceling our call tomorrow for Kristiansand.

Oslo is capital of Norway.  The country has approximately 5 million people and 540,000 of them live in Oslo.  The country is slightly larger than New Mexico.  The time zone is GMT + 1. There are many kinds of trees, but the natives sound very proud of their streets lined with Chestnut trees. Oslo wraps itself around part of a beautiful fjord – it’s as though the sea has been invited in for a visit.  Seafarers have lived in Oslo Fjord since the 8th century, taking advantage of the beautiful harbor 60 miles from the sea.  The city has many lovely trees, parks and statues, curvy & hilly streets.  There are 343 lakes in Oslo and 40 islands in Oslo fjord.

We were alongside our berth by 10 a.m.  Howard went for a walk to take more photographs and I went to the dock side welcome to Oslo with shops.  I purchased myself a “Norway” ladies tee-shirt; three Norway cake servers in “pewter”; several postcards and six pairs of sock for myself and gifts.  Then I returned to the ship by 10:30 a.m.  Some blue sky and sunshine, but also dark clouds, so it could rain.  Howard was back shortly thereafter.

The postcards were of the Viking Alphabet and Viking Laws.

Below are lyrics from: The Wisdom of the Vikings.

Viking Laws

Be direct
Grab all opportunities
Use varying methods of attack
Be versatile and agile
Attack one target at a time
Don’t plan everything in detail
Use top quality weapons

Keep weapons in good conditions
Keep in shape
Fine good battle comrades
Agree on important points
Choose one chief

Find out what the market needs
Don’t promise what you can’t keep
Don’t demand overpayment
Arrange things so that you can return

Keep things tidy and organized
Arrange enjoyable activities which strength
The group
Make sure everybody does useful work
Consult all members of the group
For Advice

We enjoyed a long 5 ½ tour from 12:30 until 6 p.m.  We started be seeing more things in Oslo; the kings palace, saw many streets lined with the Chestnut Trees,   the university, palace hall where the Nobel Peace Prize is given each Dec. 10th   

We did not realize that the Hadeland Glassworks was approximately 70 km north of Oslo (normally a one hour drive, but it took us 1 ¾ hours to get there.  We drove through a number of long tunnels in this long slim country of mountains, fjords and sea.  Due to rains every day this summer part of a mountain slide down over a long tunnel and highway so there were detours.  Coming out of the city we were on a wide freeway, but we were soon on narrow country roads.  We enjoyed seeing the rural area of this part of Norway; our guide pointed out a Viking burial mount.  We saw Utoya island, about 20 miles north of Oslo, where Anders Behring Breivik shot and killed dozens of teens at the Labour Party’s youth camp this summer.

The Hadeland Glassworks, 3521 Jevnaker, Norway,, gallery and museum (with collections of Norwegian glass from the 1700s); we heard a talk on glass making … they import sand from Belgium … watched the age-old tradition of blowing glass with multiple electric furnaces and 35 certified glass craftsmen, and a total of 140 employees..  Hadeland Glassverks was founded in 1762 so shall celebrate their 250th year in 2012.  Naturally they allowed time for shopping in the various shops; I purchased a blown glass flower and also a green toad stood / mushroom.  On the drive our guide showed us gasoline stations, the Norwegians pay an average of $12.50 per gallon …. the cheaper price posted is for liters.

Then we went to the Museum of Cultural History: Viking Ship Museum in Oslo built in 1927.  There are three enormous Viking ships and many artifacts and treasurers found in royal burial mounds in the Oslo fjord.  I was favorable impressed with the intricate / detailed carvings on the ships, on sleds and large wagons with wood wheels; some were very good wood carvers / artists.  Apparently the Viking were not the “savages” most believe; they were also farmers, developed settlements and sailed a good part of the world; according to all of our guides in the Baltic countries.

From a booklet purchased at The Viking Ship Museum.

That the Vikings built and navigated ships has been common knowledge ever since the name Viking was first heard. …. Without ships the great out-going activity which is so typical for the period known as the Viking age would not have been possible.  Moreover, the ships they used must have been good ships, strong and sufficiently sea-worthy to cross the North Sea even in storms; but at the same time they had to be light enough to be hauled across long distances on land, when necessary.  As time went on, such ships crossed the ocean to Iceland and Greenland, and from there the Norseman sailed their ships to America, at least as far as Newfoundland.   The Viking period was ca 800 – 1030 A.D.  William the Conqueror who invaded England in 1066 from Normandy, France, was of Viking stock and heritage.

The discovery and excavation of the Tune ship in 1867 and the Gokstad ship in 1880.  Then in 1904 the third and last of the “classic” Viking ship finds was uncovered the Oseberg ship.  The wealth of graceful furniture accompanying the ship shows an insight into the cultural life of the Viking Age.  These three ships are in the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo. …. In the summer of 1962 considerable remains of five Viking ships were uncovered near Skuldelev in the Roskilde Fiord in Denmark.  They had been sunk there in order to blockage a ships’ channel which led in to Roskilde.  These five ships have now been restored and are in a museum in Roskilde.  …. In 1970 another addition to the Viking ship fleet came to light: a partly preserved Viking ship was excavated on the land of the farm Klastad at Tjolling, Vestfold.  Since 1977 it has been on display at the Vestfold County Museum in Tonsberg. 

The captain said we left Oslo three hours early (7 p.m. vice 10 p.m.) as it would take three hours to cruise the Oslo Fjord.

September 13, 2011 – Due to the weather the port, Kristiansand, Norway, was cancelled.  We were supposed to visit Hollen fishing village and the Vest-Agder Museum where we would have walked the open-air museum featuring over 40 buildings dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries.  In this area we would have gone through an archipelago with over 1,200 islets and skerries.  Today is an additional day at sea which I enjoy. 

During the night Emerald Princess made her passage through the northern part of the Skagerrak and set her final South-Southwesterly course to reach the North Sea.  Emerald Princess will keep this course until the adverse weather improves and then will alter her course toward the North West and steer along the east coast of Scotland.

Some things have been rescheduled …. Several things that were going to be on Wednesday now will be today Tuesday.  No activity allow on the outside decks.

The wind and waves rose during the night and the balcony/veranda door keep coming open.  Finally around 3 a.m. Howard finally tied the door shut with the belt of his bath robe (provided by Princess).

I went for breakfast about 6:30 a.m. and suggested Howard try to get some sleep.  The way I usually go to Horizon Court on deck 15 (we are on deck 14) was blocked off due to the wind and waves of 12 to 18 feet (according to the ship’s captain on the bridge).  I had breakfast and then took pictures from deck 7.  People told me the waves are covering the windows on deck 5.  I am enjoying this since neither of us have ever had a touch of sea sickness.  All of the deck furniture / pool loungers / etc. have been taken up and no one may go outside onto the decks …. for safety.  This is fun!

At 8:30 a.m. the captain again spoke to the passengers.  We have 50 knot winds (58 MPH) and swells up to 25 feet.  He has slowed the ships speed and will resume normal speed after we are through this rough weather. (Later the captain said 30 foot seas.)

At 10 a.m. Howard and Bill Williamson decided to play banjo in the Wheelhouse Bar.  They played until noon; later I met several people who said they enjoyed them and would be there again tomorrow at 10 a.m. to hear them again.

At 10 a.m. I attended the Port Talk: “Glasgow and Dublin” by lecturer Pete Coyle.  I am very glad we already have shore excursions set up through the ship.  The theater is on decks 6 and 7 in very front of the ship so we have many slams to the side of the ship by huge waves.

At 11:15 a.m. I attended an Enrichment Lecture: “Fun and Fearful Tales from the Viking Past” by guest lecturer Cynthia Venables.  This was very interesting with excellent slides.  So many of the Viking tales and myths have come down to us since written down by those in Iceland from the oral stories.  Jack and The Bean Stalk comes from the Vikings; as does Shakespeare Hamlet and other plays.

Howard and I met and attended the 1:15 p.m. Enrichment Lecture: “Bad (Movie) Science: Disaster films are particularly prone to laugh or groan inducing science” by guest lecturer Dr. Ray Buland.  About 1:30 p.m. the ship started blowing the fog horn.  The wind and 25 foot swells/waves continue and I love it!

At 4:45 the captain again made an announcement; we were no longer cruising through waves/swells up to 30 feet and the 50 knot winds had decreased to 30 knots, so we were raising our speed on the way to Scotland.

Dinner at 6 p.m. with Dot and Bill, we are the only ones at our table.  Several really hard waves / winds hit the side of the Emerald Princess during dinner and I heard three large trays loaded with food crash to the floor, they were on the solid stands they go to before going to each person. 

September 14, 2011 – Cruising the North Sea.  This morning at 7 a.m. we had choppy seas, probably 10 foot waves / swells.  Not smooth sailing, but I really enjoy this as we head for Greenock, Scotland.  We can see land and know we are to reach the British Isles and cruise around the top of Scotland and down the west side to our port stop.  We like to watch the web cam from the bridge showing what is in front of the ship.  At 9:45 a.m. the captain made the announcement that we are sailing along the eastern coast of Scotland and early this afternoon will go around the upper most part of the country and head down the western coast of Scotland.  He said the winds are 40 knots and the seas / swells 14 feet or more with white caps.

While I fixed my hair I had Howard go to breakfast.  Then I went up to breakfast.  The “arts & crafts painting/watercolorist instructor” Maria Bacinich sat with me and we talked, then her elderly husband joined us, he was a physics professor.  They had heard Bill and Howard play yesterday in the Wheelhouse Bar and are looking forward to hearing them again today.  They would like to speak with Howard about technical symbols on the computer and how to convert their old things to new.

Bill Williamson and Howard again played banjo and sang in the Wheelhouse bar from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. when the manager said they had to leave as he was preparing the Pub Lunch.  I attended some of this so I could hear and also take some photographs.  Howard and I then went to “Elite” services and talked with two people about having a place to play on “sea days”

I planned to attended part of the 10 a.m. Port Talk: “Belfast – Gateway to Northern, Ireland” given by Peter Croyle, but with changes in Wheelhouse Bar and going to services with Howard I didn’t get there.

At 11:15 a.m.  Howard and I attended the Enrichment Lecture: “Viking Adventures, Discoveries and Legends in Art and Architecture” given by guest lecturer Cynthia Venables.  She is very interesting and has very good visuals (slides).  I need to learn if she has a book as I would like to read more about the Vikings.  Since they did settle Normandy and also England I should have Viking blood, may do a DNA screening later (this is becoming very useful and popular with genealogist).

Then decisions, decisions; the first Art Auction (of this cruise) at 2 p.m. with viewing starting at 1 p.m.  AND the Enrichment Lecture: “Fire and Ice: The forces that shaped the spectacular scenery along the Emerald Princess’ route” with guest lecturer Dr. Ray Buland.  I went to the early bird viewing, the first Art Auction and purchased: The Glory Revealed (med frame) by Walfrido, Lithograph on paper, year of publication 2011; molding 1 ½ matte black flat, 4 ply white 32 x 40 mat Raven Black 32 x 40; total edition size 690, while Howard attended the lecture “Fire and Ice”.

Tonight was the first of three formals (on this cruise, we had two formals on the Baltic cruise), so it was picture time again before dinner.

September 15, 2011 – We were aside our pier/berth about 7 a.m. in Greenock, Great Britain (also for trips to Edinburgh/Glasgow, Scotland).

After breakfast we watched the ship dock and listened to the two men playing bagpipes on the dock, they were decked out in kilts and the whole Scottish attire.

From the Navigator in the Princess Patter:  Since yesterday the Emerald Princess followed a south westerly course along the west coast of Scotland, starting from the group of islands that make up the Outer Hebrides.  She continued on a south westerly course, and finally altering to an easterly course where she reached the entrance of the North Channel which divides North Ireland and Scotland.  The ship boarded the local pilot North West of Kempock point, who guided us through the Firth of Clyde channel and then through the River Channel where the ship made her final approach to Greenock.

 Greenock is the chief port city in western Scotland, and the point of access to the unique culture of the Scottish Highlands.  Although the Scots do not always get along with their Irish cousins, the two groups represent the best surviving elements of the ancient culture of the Celts, which once flourished in most parts of Europe.  Today the only surviving Celtic languages are Highland Scottish, Irish Gaelic, Manx, Welsh and the Breton in northwestern France.  Another Celtic language, Cornish, survived in southwestern Britain until the last century.

The ancient Celts (also called Gaels or Gauls) have been called the “founders of Europe”.  As early as the 8th century B.C., the Greeks, Etruscans, and the Iberians were nibbling at the southern fringes of Europe – but the Celts dominated the northern and central area with their large numbers and powerful tribal culture.  Although badly neglected by historians, Gaelic people founded the first civilization north of the Alps.  What finally doomed the Celtic way of life was the struggle with the Roman Empire, lasting over three centuries.

Scotland is about the size of Maine and has a population of a bit over 5 million.  The capital is Edinburgh.  There were two mean wearing the Scottish Kilts and playing bagpipes on the dock to welcome us, and others in full Scottish dress to welcome us in the welcome center set up in a large building on the dock.  Greenock is a container port.

The full day trip we had reserved was good.  Loch Lomond Cruise and Scottish Wool Center.  We boarded our motor coach about 7:45 a.m. for a scenic journey through the rugged Scottish landscape in the lowlands, starting with a drive along the banks of River Clyde and seeing ancient castles.  We first went to the town of Balloch for a one-hour cruise on historic Loch (lake) Lomond.  Some guides say Loch Lomond is the largest fresh water lake in the UK.   Then back on the motor coach for a scenic drive through fertile pastures, lowland farms, and into Trossachs National Park

We stopped to see Hamish (a bull), a female cow and the adorable blonde calf, all of the Highland cattle or kyloe with long hair right down to the tip of their noses and curved horns.

We then visited the historic Loch Achray Hotel and have a huge delicious lunch. The desert was the Scottish dish Cranachan* The hotel booklet states: “the Loch Achray Hotel situated in the heart of the Trossachs, a famed beauty spot forever immortalized by Sir Walter Scott in his romantic writings.  Tucked away on the shores of the loch, the hotel lies within the shadow of mighty Ben Venue on the edge of the Queen Elizabeth Forest. …. The surrounding area is steeped in history and many famous names are associated with the Trossachs – Sir Walter Scott, Rob Roy MacGregor, William Wordsworth, Queen Victoria, John Ruskin, Robert Louis Stevenson and Jules Verne to name a few.”  The guide “Big John” wearing full Scottish kilt and the whole dress outfit got us a booklet at the hotel “Ceilidh Break” it includes poem “To a Haggis” and “Auld Lang Syne” by Robert Burns.

* Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert -- Sometimes called Cream Crowdie.  This recipe serves 4 to 6 people.

3 - 4 oz of toasted, sifted pinhead oatmeal

½ pint double cream

1 tablespoon whisky

4 – 6 ozs of raspberries

2 tablespoons of runny Scottish honey

Half whip the cream – not too stiff, it should be fluffy but still soft, for the oatmeal will thicken it.  Add the whisky and honey.  Fold in the sifted meal, then the fruit.  Serve in glasses.  Shortbread is a perfect accompaniment.

Leaving Loch Achray Hotel we continued our scenic drive, first stopping in the Queen Elizabeth Forest to take photographs of the beautiful lavender Heather.  Then we drove up to the “high-lands” of Scotland for a short drive viewing Achray Forest and drove over Dukes Pass seeing the wooded peaks of Trossachs National Park, before doing back to the lowlands.  We saw many lovely Lochs (and to me very small lakes) such as Loch Venachar, Loch Drunkie, Loch Katrine, Loch Lomond, among others and the only lake with such a name in all of Scotland – Lake Menteith

Our last stop (for almost two hours) was at the Scottish Wool Centre in the village of Aberfoyle to observe demonstrations of the importance of the working Border Collie dogs.  The show was a bust for us since we’ve seen so much better and much longer demonstrations of dogs gathering sheep, sheep shearing, multiple breeds explained and then rams shown, in both New Zealand and Australia.  The town had a main street lined with shops as well as the Scottish Wool Centre for the shopper in the crowd, but we are not shoppers.  I did purchase a nice picture book of the area, a few coasters and several postcards.  We did not go to the area for free samples of whiskey.

On this all day trip we did see the loch scenery that has played a significant part in the history and literature of Scotland.   Our guide was excellent telling us Scottish history from before the Vikings to the current era, he was very good.   At the end he sang us some Scottish songs and then did a sign-along with several songs. We returned to the Emerald Prince at 5:15 p.m.  It was a good day, but very tiring. 

September 16, 2011 – Dublin, Ireland

From the Navigator: Since departure from Greenock, Emerald Princess set various westerly courses along the Firth of Clyde Channel and then a Southwesterly course to exit the Firth of Clyde Channel.  After the local pilot disembarked, we sailed southward through the North Channel to reach the Irish Sea where finally we set a westerly course for the final approach to the port of Dublin.  We arrive about 5 a.m.

Ireland is slightly larger than West Virginia with a population of a bit over 4 million people.  There are more Irish in England than in Ireland and people around the world can point to Irish blood.  Many immigrated during the great hunger of the 1840s. Dublin is intimate and friendly, compact, relaxed, and easy to discover on foot, Dublin is a city full of surprises.  It almost seems like a small town with a bit of gorgeous architecture left there for safe-keeping.  Dublin has witnessed many towering milestones in literature, music, religion and drama.

During the Dark Ages, most the cultural remnants of the Roman Empire were struggling to survive on the continent of Europe.  Irish monks protected, and later spread, many of the great works of Ancient literature and Christian though.  Once the barbarian invasions subsided, it was Ireland that provided the stimulus to rebuild civilization.  Ireland gained their independence from the UK in 1921.

The Vikings came first to “raid”, later returned to build a settlement that was the start of Dublin in 841 A.D.  Thus Dublin began as a Viking settlement near the mouth of the Liffey River.  They probably called it “Dubh Linn”, meaning “black pool”, because of the springs and marshes found at the river’s banks at that time; according to local tradition, St. Patrick baptized some of his converts to Christianity at a natural spring there during the 5th century.  Today that site is marked by the church named for him …. St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  There are Norman buildings dating from 1190.

Early this morning the sky was totally over-cast with some rain clouds and it did rain.  But for our four hour tour called: River Cruise, Scenic Drive and National Museum it became lighter and we even saw some blue sky in this city and country known for their rains, which is why they are green!  Our motor coach left the Emerald Princess at 9:15 and had a city “tour” on our way to the National Archeological Museum for a 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. visit, we observed the very beautiful Custom’s House, the New Convention Center, and many interesting buildings, flowers and sights. 

The National Archeological Museum does not charge admission and has some very impressive collections.  It was founded in 1877 under the Dublin Science and Art Museum Act of 1877.  The museum houses artifacts ranging in date from 7000 B.C. to the last medieval period and beyond.  The museum’s collection of Bronze Age gold work is one of the largest and most important in Western Europe.  The earliest objects were produced between 2200 and 1800 B.C. from gold that was probably acquired from river gravels and worked into thin sheets by hammering.  Much of the gold jewelry, gold chains, necklace’s and earring would be in fashion today.  As usual I purchased a museum guide and picture book of Dublin.

Leaving the museum we “toured” the city of Dublin, so many old buildings, including Trinity College Ireland’s oldest university, Parliament the.  From the motor coach we observed many statues and the most interesting, to me, were: Molly Malone, and the six hunger statues.  We did a photo stop at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  We observed The Hunger Museum, housed in a replica of a sailing ship like many crossed the Atlantic Ocean on, which tells of the out-flow of Irish to American, Canada and Australia during the potato famine of the 1840s.  By the Liffey River side there are six statues showing the thin, starving people carrying all of their belongs as they prepared to leave Ireland.  Then we were again driving along the River Liffey where we boarded a boat for a 12:15 to 1 p.m. cruise along the river, seeing the Grand Canal, other canals and going under some bridges including those for foot, rail and motor vehicles.  After the cruise we turned to our ship and lunch.  Mid-afternoon we were on our way to Belfast.

September 17, 2011 – Belfast, Northern Ireland

From the Navigator: Overnight the Emerald Princess maintained an Easterly course heading into the Irish Sea.  We then set various northerly courses along the Irish coast, towards our next port of all Belfast, Northern Ireland.  During the night we passed Ballyquintin Point on our port side, which is the southern border limit between the Irish Sea and the Northern channel. 

As cities go, Belfast is not one of the oldest by any means.  An Anglo-Norman knight, John de Courcy, built the first of several castles in 1177 to guard a ford over the Lagan.  At this time there was nothing else but a fishing village.  The powerful O’Neill clan, who saw any intrusion by outsiders as a challenge to their control, dominated this part of Ulster.  Over the next centuries, there were many skirmishes and battles over turf, but it was not until the Reformation that the conflict took on the bitterness that religious difference can provide.  Belfast was an industrial giant in the 19th century, famed for its linen and its shipyards.

By the time of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, both England and Scotland had adopted the Protestant religion while most of Ireland remained Catholic.  There is much history and bitter conflict over the centuries all in the name of religion.

Northern Ireland is approximately 5,452 square miles with a population of 1,742,000.  There are more people living in the Dublin metro area than living in all of Northern Ireland.  The Irish Republic (mostly Catholic) covers 5/6 of the island and Northern Island (mostly Protestant) covers the remaining 1/6 of the island that is Ireland.  The Atlantic Gulf Stream keeps Ireland’s climate moderate with relatively mild winters and cool summers.  Belfast’s average temperature year-around is 50 degrees F.  The average in July and August if 60 degrees.  In Scotland we had Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert -- Sometimes called Cream Crowdie.  Here in Northern Ireland it is called Irish Mist Cranachan: dessert of fresh raspberries, whiskey, oats, honey and cream.

During the early 19th century tourist discovered Ulster’s spectacular natural beauty. They came to marvel Giant’s Causeway along the northern coast.  Ancient lava flows came in contact with the cold waters of the sea, and cracked into regularly formed columns, grouped in clusters …. more than 40,000 in all.  The tallest columns are almost 12 meters (36 ft.) high.  Most are hexagonal in shape, although there is a surprising variation in the number of sides you might discover.  The Causeway and surrounding bays and headlands are all volcanic. Due to the unusual shapes some have been given names such as The Giant’s Boot, the Giant’s Gate, the Wishing Chair and other. Myth claims the giant Finn McCool used the causeway as stepping stones to travel from Ireland to Scotland to visit his lover, a Scots giantess; and his rival giant in Scotland, Benandonner.  The area is owned by The National Trust.  Giant’s Causeway, tourist information centre, 40 Causeway Road, Bushmills, BT57 8SU. and also

In 1692 a bishop from Derry City and a Cambridge scholar visited the site.  In 1693, as a result of their discovery, the first known description of the Giant’s Causeway was published.  The Giant’s Causeway was designed a World Heritage Site in 1986.  The nearby Glens of Antrim offers a breathtaking and somewhat mysterious face of nature’s charm.

Belfast represents such a wealth of historic and cultural abundance, that one might even neglect the other notable places in Ulster: Armagh, Derry, Enniskillen, and Mount Stewart.

We got up in the dark and were in the Horizon Court for breakfast about 5:40 a.m.  The moon and Jupiter were showing brightly.  Forecast for a mostly cloudy day with high of 55 degrees, here in Belfast but we are going along the northern coast in a small, 26 passengers, but arranged by Marilyn Burke our friend and travel agent.

We met Marilyn before 7:20 a.m. and a bit later loaded onto the small bus she had arranged for the 21 of us and we were off.  Due to the number of buses doing this tour from our ship and it being a Saturday for day trip people from Dublin, Belfast and other areas our guide, Michael, and bus driver, Dan, decided to do the tour backwards from the others and that worked out very well.  We headed north on M-2 (motorway #2), from Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway it was 65 miles …. the scenic way we returned via the coast was 90 miles.

We made our first photo stop and place to stretch our legs at Old Bushmills Distillery Co. Ltd, 2 Distillery Road, Bushmills BT57 8XH.  This is Ireland’s oldest working whiskey distillery.  It is Ireland’s only “grain to glass” distillery (it was not open at 8 a.m.).   Then we continued on to the Causeway Hotel, we were there before 9 a.m. and the visitors’ buses didn’t start running until 10 a.m., but our guide got them to start a bus early for us.  It cost 1 pound (British sterling) to drive one way, either up or down, and 2 pounds (British sterling) for a round-trip; Howard had some coins including three 1 pound coins.  I paid for a round-trip as did 20 of us; Howard was the only one of our group to walk down the steep walk to the Portnaboe.  I did talk him into riding the bus back up and he did about 20 minutes after most of us.  The Giant’s Causeway is the best natural attraction we have seen on this trip, so far.  We were also able to photograph Swans flying in formation.  I purchased several silver bookmarks with 4-leaf clovers, a small picture of the Giant’s Causeway and at another shop a large picture (different from the smaller picture) of the same that was reduced in price …. it is the end of the tourist season.  I did get one small booklet on the causeway but no picture books were available for N. Ireland or Belfast.

Returning to Belfast we took the coast road for 90 scenic miles along the ocean.  We stopped to photograph Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, and stopped in Cushendun to photograph the harbor.  We saw thousands of sheep grazing, some lovely Holstein cows in pasture and the lovely greens, hedges, trees, “mountains”…. we were down at sea level, then up high and then back down at sea level, up and down.  The road was narrow and quite curvy.  We were in luck today, NO rain, a few sprinkles once, but clouds off and on, but bright blue sky most of the day.

Back in Belfast we were having a very good tour.  Then we stopped at a pub in near the university …. The Globe.  We have excellent fish, chip, a bit of salad, smashed (mushy) peas and soft drinks all for 6.95 pounds.  Next we toured all section of Belfast until we returned to the Emerald Princess at 3:40 p.m.  The all aboard today was at 4:30 p.m. so we could leave port at 5 p.m.  A few of the sites we saw (but thank goodness all were viewed from the bus) were: Prince Albert Clock, City Hall, various cathedrals, the library, a monastery or two, opera house, the Peace Wall (signed by Pres. Bill Clinton), murals along two long walls of city blocks about the difficulties between the Prostands and the Catholics over the centuries, venues for concerts. 

We went to 6 p.m. dinner with Dot and Bill Williamson and I enjoyed three pairs (six in all) of frog legs and they were delicious.  We crashed in our stateroom after dinner.  The captain came on and said we are headed to Iceland and are between two “tropical depressions” so there are swells/waves with white caps and although he has the ships stabilizers out they cannot control the pitch so be careful.

September 18, 2011 – Cruising the Atlantic Ocean -- Cruising along, the captain again spoke this a.m.: higher swells, winds only 20 knots and be careful walking around the ship.  A lot of blue sky this morning, but by afternoon overcast but no rain.

We ate in the Horizon Court about 8 a.m.  Then Bill and Howard played banjos and sang (Howard as Bill has a scratchy throat) from 10 a.m. until noon in the 6th deck aft conference room.  A few people came to hear them that we did not know before.  Rick Buss and wife Marilyn Burke came by as did Lila Miller (from our table on the Baltic cruise).  I left for part of their first hour to go to the Princess Theater and hear part of Peter Croyle’s port talk about Iceland, “Land of Fire and Ice”.

I went to the photo shop and out our photos leaving the ship in Dublin, Ireland and Belfast, Northern Ireland, both are good of Howard but I have far too much “double chin”.  Then I went to the Explorer Lounge and got a front table,  looked at the art they had set up and then sat and ate my Scottish Shortbread, some Life Savers and had a Coke skipping lunch.  Preview started at 1 p.m. and actual auction at 2 p.m. and was over at 3:15 p.m.  This was another “request” auction, showed artists that people put a card on asking this artist’s work be shown.

Dinner again with Bill and Dot in the Botticelli Dining Room.  Some mist/fog moved in, the swells and white caps are higher than they were.

September 19, 2011 – Reykhavik, Iceland

From the Navigator in Princess Patter:  During the night Emerald Princess followed a North Westerly course across the Atlantic Ocean, to reach the South West coast of Iceland, for our next port of all, Reykjavik.  As soon as we are in sight of the Reykjanes light, we will set our course to enter the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme) where we will alter our course towards the East to make our final approach into the port of Reykjavik, at approximately 12 noon. 

Iceland is about the size of Virginia with a population of 314000 people of which 2/3 live in the Reykjavik (the capital) area.  Reykjavik is the gateway to Iceland’s stunning natural wonders, which range from ice fields to boiling thermal pools.  The society blends Nordic tradition with sophisticated technology.  This is the northern most port of this cruise. 

Although set in the North Atlantic near the Arctic Circle, the country is actually quite green, and sometimes even quite warm.  Deep below the ocean floor two tectonic plates, the European and the North American meet in what is called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and the only place any of the “rock” is above the ocean is in Iceland.  Iceland has vast amounts of geothermal energy and volcanic activity.  Iceland owes its origin to volcanic eruptions, which continue to this day.  They have glaciers alongside volcanoes and are known as the “fire and ice” country.

The first people to visit Iceland were probably Irish monks in the ninth century.  In 874 a Viking from Norway named Ingolfur Arnarson arrived and is considered the founder of Reykjavik.  Within 60 years more than 20,000 people have come from Norway.  Icelanders developed the first parliament in Europe as early as 930.

After Christianity was introduced monasteries and schools were established.  Sagas were written down from the oral histories.  Out of all contributions to world literature, the Icelandic Sagas are the most characteristic of the Nordic countries.  These adventures tales were written in the Old Norse language, which is the basis of modern Icelandic.  Literacy is almost universal in Iceland.  More books are written, printed and read here, per capita, than anywhere else in the world.

We did the Golden Circle 8 12/ hour tour …. we left about 12:15 p.m. and returned 9:30 p.m.  First we drove to The Pearl, a dramatic 10-story architectural icon that shines in both form and function.  The Pearl provides water storage for the greater Reykjavik area.  Here, we took in phenomenal views of the town and the surrounding landscapes and saw the glass-domed revolving restaurant.  Next we drove to the scenic Thingvellir National Park, where I purchased several books.  Established in 1930 as a historical, cultural and geological shrine, this breathtaking rift valley feature Iceland’s largest natural lake and a rich history tied to the formation of Icelandic Parliament in 930 A.DDeep below the ocean floor two tectonic plates, the European and the North American meet in what is called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and the only place any of the “rock” is above the ocean is in Iceland, mostly in the Thingvellir National Park. This park has been designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Most of our bus (bus #5 of 18 full buses) that did this tour did the walk in light rain, I took photos at the drop off spot and at the pickup spot and we saw miles and miles of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. 

Next we drove to the impressive to Gullfoss Waterfall, whose rushing water tumbles over a natural tiered “staircase” to plunge down a deep ravine.  Again I rode the bus to the pick-up point and got out to take photographs.  Our next stop was the hotel for a meal … too early for dinner and too late for lunch.  We had bread, carrot soup and then very good salmon, potatoes, and slaw plus water, tea or coffee.  After our meal we walked across the highway to observe the hot mud pots and geysersStokkur erupts every 4 to 5 minutes and often shoots 70 feet in the air.  Our last stop was at Hollisheidi, the world’s second largest power station, which employs geothermal forces from three volcanic systems dating back 11,000 years.  

Throughout the day we observed multiple homes … all had corrugated tin roofs and some had corrugated tin covering the outside walls.  Current construction is of concrete homes and buildings with rebar (steel bars) in the concrete for more stability in this earthquake prone country.  

18 buses did this tour about 50 people in each bush for over 800 people on this tour, they staggered the stops so it did not seem crowded.  This was a very enjoyable day, but also very tiring. 

September 20, 2011 – A beautiful day at sea with mostly sunshine.  At 8:45 a.m. the outside air temperature was 48 degrees with 91 percent humidity and about 12 foot seas (swells).  At noon the air temperature was 53 degrees.  I did my hair and then checked to see Bill and Howard playing Bluegrass music.  Then I went to the “Icebergs & Navigating in Greenland Waters” lecture / slide presentation by Ice Pilot Captain Gorm Houlberg who told about his experiences over the years.  Due to not getting there long before the start, as my usual method, I had to sit on the stairs again.  After the very informative and interesting talk I checked on Bill and Howard, and then went to the Horizon Court on Deck 15 for “lunch” which ended up being breakfast. 

Early this afternoon I attended the art auction again, and again “won” two prints, one my Rita Joyce and we already have a print by her and like it very much.  I purchased After The Storm (large frame) by Jim Warren, Giclee on canvas, year of publication 2010; molding 2 ¾ antique silver, 2 natural scoop w/gold lip liner, total edition size 195, this is third Jim Warren, we already have two large prints by him and I love his work.

Tonight was the second formal for this cruise and we again had formal photographs taken before dinner.  Due to the navigational positioning of the TV satellite signal is very weak now for awhile, so I am unable to get CNN International, and some of the men cannot get ESPN & ESPN2.  We moved our clocks / watches back one hour tonight, we must make frequent time changes.

September 21, 2011 – We watched the very bright sunrise today, orange sky, lovely.  Thus today has been a very beautiful day at sea with blue sky and sunshine.  The ocean is “moderate” 4 to 7.5 feet swells as we cruise the Atlantic Ocean. 

Due to the navigational positioning of the TV satellite signal is very weak now for awhile, so I am unable to get CNN and some of the men cannot get ESPN & ESPN2.  This morning each stateroom was given a four page USA NEWS with news and sport since we cannot get TV.

Good breakfast in the Horizon Court; I get “English bacon” which is ham to us and an over-easy fried egg plus two croissants and butter daily, often I add some fruit and maybe potatoes depending on which kinds they have.

I attended a presentation of Jackie Kennedy jewelry (copies) in the Wheelhouse Bar.  After the Peter Croyle talk I went to the good jewelry store and purchased the copy of her (fake) three strand pearl necklace.  I’ve been wanting one for a long time and just hadn’t found one and did not care for the prices on Amazon for three strands of “pearls”.

Next I attended the port talk “Qaqortoq, Greenland” by Peter Croyle.  He stated there are approximately 3,000 people living in the town, about the same number of passengers on this ship.  We shall use tenders to go ashore.  The one gift shop opens at 8 a.m., there is a small museum, the only fountain in Greenland is in the Town Square, a church or two to visit, and rock carvings (done in the mid-1990’s) around the small town.  There are no roads between towns in Greenland; they get around by ship, smaller boats, helicopters and airplanes.

Yesterday the Ice Pilot Captain Gorm Houlberg told what the different colored houses mean: red - they are merchants, blue – they are technicians, green – they are communication, and yellow – they are medical personal.

Peter says we may see whales in this area now; and we should be out on deck when we leave town at 5 p.m. tomorrow evening to take photographs as we cruise down the fjord, as we may see some small icebergs.

I then listened to the latter part of Howard and Bill’s Bluegrass music; they had an even larger audience than they did yesterday.  People were grumbling that the ship should have found them a better place to play music. 

About 7:30 p.m. we were delighted to see a large iceberg on our port side, but it was too dark for photographs.   After going to Antarctica in 2010 we didn’t think about icebergs on this trip.

September 22, 2011 – After a very early breakfast, we stood on our balcony and took photographs on the way into Qaqortoq, Greenland, (pronounced: cocker  tock ) and enjoyed the large number of icebergs, and sunshine!  There were many more than we had expected.  This morning each stateroom was given a four page USA NEWS with news and sport since we cannot get TV.

The southwestern tip of Greenland is remote enough, but it is the best part of the island many believe.  Greenland is about the size of Alaska with a population of 55,000.  The capital is Nuuk and the currency is the Danish Kroner (about five to one US dollar).

People who live in Qaqortoq commit themselves to a dauntless struggle to survive the harshest forces of nature.  Greenland is the largest island in the world, but a relative mystery to most people.  It has a long rugged coast which is etched massively by glacial fjords and towering cliffs.  About 85% of Greenland is permanently covered with an ice-cap two miles thick in places.  There is enough water captured in this frozen mass to raise the world’s oceans by almost 20 feet; if this were to happen most coastal cities would look like Venice.  Those in Qaqortoq live in closely knit village and towns, where warfare is unknown, and mutual help is taken for granted.  They believe they live in the world’s most beautiful place, and there is much to admire here.

The different colored paint on the homes and buildings is nice, and I can imagine the snow covering things and still being able to see the homes / businesses due to the bright pain.  Ice Pilot Captain Gorm Houlberg told what the different colored houses mean: red - they are merchants, blue – they are technicians, green – they are communication, and yellow – they are medical personal.

The civilization of Greenland is both ancient and resilient.  The people blend the native Inuit culture with some enhancements from Norwegian and Danish Vikings.  About 900 AD the first Vikings sighted the coast of Greenland, probably blown off course from Iceland.  Eirik the Red landed near the southern tip in 982 AD and founded a settlement.  In addition to hunting, Eirik’s Norse farmers raised sheep, cattle and hogs.  At the peak, the Viking settlement had over 300 farms and 5,000 colonists.  The Europeans did not mix with the Inuit, or learn from their wisdom.  As a consequence, they nearly died out several times.  Norway annexed Greenland in 1261 and Iceland a year later.  Denmark absorbed Norway and its colonies in 1380 but the Danes were concerned with Europeans affairs.  A cooling trend in the climate further isolated the Greenland settlements, and contact was lost after 1408.

Greenland was rediscovered by the English navigator John Davis in 1585.  He established a warm rapport with the Inuit people and did a study of their culture.  Renewal of colonization began in 1721 with the missionary Hans Egede arrived.  The Inuit people welcomed him.  Qaqortoq was founded in 1775 by a Norwegian merchant named Anders Olsen.  He called this little settlement Julianehab, after the dowager queen of Frederik V.  The towns coast of arms has a blue center, reminding us of the stream that through it to the sea.  The present name is an Inuit word meaning “the white place”, which it certainly is most of the year.

Today approximately 3,500 people live in the municipality, which includes the town and several outlying settlements.  To the east are 13 sheep farms.  To the west are two reindeer stations.  The main town square has the only fountain in Greenland, and the top is fish spouting.  There is a small museum that presents the history of the town, the colonial period, and Greenland’s culture housed in the old governor’s house, dating from 1804.   Although Qaqortoq is remote, they have satellite dishes and receive TV programs, use the Internet and cell telephones, doing their best to stay up to date with technology. 

We were all to go to the Princess Theater, deck 7, to obtain our “tender ticket” starting at 8:30 a.m., the same as arrival in Qaqortoq …. we went 10 minutes early and were still on tender #7.  Such a beautiful sunny day and although we dressed in layers we were too warm.  The high was forecast to be 46 F, but we believe it was the mid-50’s F and very comfortable.  We first took a few photographs and then walked along some of the wonderful stone carvings during in 1993 and 1994 and also 2000*.  We then went to the town square for photographs of the fountain and then I went into the general store.  After this we walked across two bridges spanning the beautiful stream with clear water and riffs over the rocks.  We circled around and stopped to listen to three young men playing guitars … two were singing and were quite good.  Next we visited the museum and enjoyed seeing the beautiful ivory carvings, paintings and other items on display.  I purchased two books; one being The Culture of Greenland in Glimpses” by Ole G. Jensen.  It was a nice surprise that he was in the museum and autographed my book while one of three teen age girls working there took photographs of us.  Outside we saw some teachers taking some pre-school age children for a walk around the town square; they were adorable and some would say “hi” back to us and wave when we said “hi” to them.  Then the teachers sat some of them down along a wall and dozens and dozens of people took photographs.

Next we separated, Howard to walk along the stream to the lake/reservoir and me to go to the welcome center and gift shop.  I should have done the latter when we landed as it was packed.  There were two check-out lines, one for cash and one for credit cards.  I quickly found a small snow-globe and a magnet and got in line, which lasted 50 minutes until I was finished.  I then returned to the tender dock and returned to the ship.  When I got to the room Howard had also just arrived.  We changed clothes and went up to deck 15 for lunch, then took short naps.

On the way out of town, we got underway at 4 p.m., we say multiple beautiful icebergs.  About 5:30 p.m. the fog rolled in, really cool to see the leading edge of it.  We had dinner at 6 p.m. with Bill and Dot Williamson.  Then we visited the photo shop for photograph taken of us last formal night in the dining room, and the one taken of us this morning in Qaqortoq, Greenland. 

* Stone and Man – a perpetual project.  In the summer of 1993 eleven sculptors from all over the Nordic countries started working with chisels and grinders for the project “Stone and Man”.  Creativity was given free rein; some created reliefs on rock faces of the town, other carved sculptures in block of stone.  After five weeks these sculptors left.  In 1994 the project continued with additional Nordic artist.  This project has continued on a smaller scare and in 2000 the town was 225th anniversary.  Now there are 31 works of art in all.  This is a cultural document of our time chiseled forever into the granite of Greenland. 

September 23, 2011 – A nice relaxing day cruising the Atlantic Ocean.  There was a beautiful bright sunrise this morning.  Breakfast in the Horizon Court … we seem to meet very interesting people there no matter when we go.  On all past cruises I disliked the Horizon Court very much as it is buffet, but this time I like it … at least for breakfast.  Last night we received our third USA NEWS with news of the day, stock market and sports since we are out of satellite range so cannot get CNN International or ESPAN.

At 10 a.m. I attended the port talk “Halifax – Discover Canada’s East Coast City” by Peter Croyle.  Marilyn Burke and husband Rick Buss came to sit by me.  We enjoyed a short visit after the lecture.  Then I went to the Wheelhouse Bar where Bill and Howard had a huge crowd enjoying their Bluegrass music; they played from 10 a.m. until almost noon.  They were approached and asked if they would appear in the passenger talent show the last day/night of this cruise.  They will have to work up several songs things they both know and that Bill can stay on the notes to harmonize with Howard and could work for a show like this.  After this I went to lunch, with Howard, in the Horizon Court, then back to the stateroom.  We can watch the water from here. 

I sorted all of the photographs taken of us on this cruise then went to the photo shop where I ordered digital copies of 25 of them.  Only one was of a “port call” as we left the ship and all the rest were formal portraits.  There is one more formal, but ….   I took a nap.  The final day of the cruise I will pick up the last DVD from the Baltic cruise and the DVD’s from this Transatlantic cruise.  Then we went to dinner at 6 p.m.  This cruise none of the theater performers or production numbers have appealed to us so have not gone.

September 24, 2011 – Cruising along coming south from Greenland, which surely was a treat to visit.  This was a nice relaxing day, I did my hair.  We went to breakfast separately today which is rare.  The guys cannot play music in the Wheelhouse Bar today from 10 a.m. to noon, as hoped.  They also cannot use the Conference Room on deck 6 as it is being used today, as it was yesterday, from 9 a.m. to noon and then 4 to 7 p.m. giving back our passports.  They did play on deck 16 in the Adagio Bar from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m.

Dr. Ray gave another interesting enrichment lecture today at 12:30 p.m. “Earthquake Prediction: After 35 years, earthquake prediction is still more art than science, but there is hope”.

After Dr. Ray’s interesting lecture about predicting earthquakes we both went to the Explorer Bar for the “under $500 Art Auction” with preview at 1 p.m., we arrived about 1:20 p.m. and the one hour auction did last a bit longer until 3:20 p.m.

Dinner again at 6 p.m.  When we returned from dinner we had another USA NEWS, but then found that CNN is back … the satellite is in position for the ship to get the signals.  We heard the ships fog horn all night.

September 25, 2011 – Last night the fog was so thick we couldn’t see anything, it came in while we at dinner between 6 and 7:30 p.m.  “Pea soup” or just thick fog.  We heard the ships fog horn all night and morning.  We went to breakfast about 7:20 a.m. and the fog was still very thick, but starting to lift.  We ate with Marilyn Burke and hubby Rick Buss, and a nice couple from MI.  We chatted a long time after breakfast and enjoyed that very much. 

We docked Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada about 11:50 a.m. this Sunday.  Halifax has the second best natural harbor in the world; the first is Sydney, Australia (we’ve been there, too).  The harbor is 16 miles long facing the Atlantic Ocean along the shoreline of Nova Scotia.  The Queen Elizabeth a Cunard ship is in port as is a smaller ship of the Silver Seas line.  Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia; it is approximately 38 square miles in size with a population of about 372,000; official languages are English and French

The British colonizers of the 18th century appreciated the many advantages that their French rivals already had in Canada; a century of active settlement, control of the St. Lawrence River, access to the Great Lakes and Mississippi Basic, and the powerful fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island.   Edward Cornwallis saw its value as a naval and military depot and founded a small town there in 1749.  He named it after the Second Earl of Halifax, who was then president of the Board of Trade in London.

Fishing off the coast of Nova Scotia is among the best in the world and the large harbor was an excellent terminus for Atlantic shipping.  Shipbuilding began immediately, and has continued to be one of the most important industries in Halifax.  Exports include timber, fish, rope, and agricultural products, especially apples. 

We were to meet our bus, for our excursion, on the pier at 12:20 p.m.  We did get there, but two people didn’t and the bus waited 25 minutes for these people.  We were to leave at 12:10 and return between 6 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. 

First we saw a bit of downtown Halifax then stopped at the Citadel Fortress.  The British established Halifax along the eastern shore of Nova Scotia in 1749.  The harbor defenses are known collectively as the Halifax Defense Complex and today consists of the Halifax Citadel, York Redoubt, Prince Wales Tower, Georges Island and Fort McNab national historical sites in Canada.  Our next stop was at the Halifax Public Gardens, the oldest original Victorian gardens in Canada and we took a 15 minute walk through the gardens, many beautiful flowers were in bloom.  Next we went to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic for about 45 minutes; the Halifax Symphony was playing.  Their emphasis is on the Titanic and also the Halifax explosion.  One exhibit in the rotating displays was about “gay sailors” over the years.

From the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on the Halifax waterfront we walked to Murphy’s for lunch of a lobster wrap, slaw and deep dish apple crisp.  I skipped the latter to go to the gift shop where I purchased a small picture book of Halifax and one of Peggy’s Cover …. The Maritime Museum ONLY had books related to the Titanic (and many of those).  The Titanic sunk about 500 miles east of Halifax.  We then boarded our bus for the one hour drive to Peggy’s Cove, an idyllic fishing village, and the most famous lighthouse in Canada.  This was a delightful village and great lighthouse (I have photographed them up and down both the Atlantic and Pacific coast lines of the USA.  I had my photo taken, with the lighthouse in the background, and put on a postcard.  Then it was time to board our bus for the return trip to the pier.  Due to the “late” people to start with and six that were 10 minutes late to return to the bus in Peggy’s Cove we did not get back until 6:40 p.m.  The all-aboard for the ship was 6:30 p.m.; and the supervisor of the day tours was calling our bus to see where we were.  Anyway it was a good afternoon tour.  Fog rolled in again tonight.

Various times on this cruise the captain and the bridge have announced sighting marine life, i.e. Humpback Whales, porpoise, seals, sharks, but mostly the whales. 

September 26, 2011 – Fog last night and very thick this morning when we went up to deck 15 for breakfast.  The fog started to lift mid-morning and we started getting sunshine and blue sky.  The closest we have been to land today was Cape Cod, MA, when we were 100 miles off the shore.  I went to the photo shop and picked up the DVD of 25 photos that have been taken of us on both the Baltic and this Transatlantic cruises, and picked up the original pictures.  Later I return to the photo shop to check on the second photo journal.  Then I sorted our papers, the Princess Patters and other information, trashing most of them plus some file folders.  I started putting the photos, camera bag and a few things into my carry on case.

Howard and I went to the talk by Dr. Ray on “Climate Change, part 2”, as usual very informative and interesting.  He did a review (with visuals) of part 1 given earlier.  Tonight was the third, and final, formal night on this cruise; we had our photographs taken at three locations (there were eight locations with different backgrounds).  Dinner as usual with Bill and Dot Williamson.  Some cruises we attend all shows in the theater and others in the lounges, this trip neither of us have cared to go to the shows, no doubt next cruise we shall go to the shows. 

September 27, 2011 – At 6 a.m. the bridge said (via channel 44) that the air temperature is 81.5 degrees.  Cruising the Atlantic Ocean today, we are half way between Halifax and Ft. Lauderdale.  At 9:30 a.m. the captain said we are off the coast from Norfolk, Virginia.  Even though CNN and ESPAN are back, thank goodness, we are still getting USA Times in the evenings and we appreciate that.  Among other things we see the temperature in Phoenix, now down to 102 from 107 earlier last week.

We went to breakfast about 6:45 a.m. even before the sunrise.  When it did rise there were clouds so we only saw pink rays.  When returned to our stateroom/cabin we had the disembarkation information, customs form and luggage tags.  Oops for walk off at 7 a.m. you are required to carry all of your luggage …. we each have a large rolling duffle bag and a rolling carryon bag.  I went to the service desk, no waiting, and turned in our luggage tags and had things changed … now we shall leave the ship at 9:30 a.m. and then pick up our luggage on the pier (porters will be available) and go through customs.  We have a rental car reserved.

I was at the photo shop shortly after they opened at 9 a.m. to review the photographs taken last night.  Howard and Bill played and sang Bluegrass music at 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. in the Conference Room on deck 6 fwd.  I attended for awhile and then went to the Princess Theater for an Enrichment Lecture: “Savage to Saint: The Viking journey to political correctness built into the nations they conquered” by guest lecturer Cynthia Venables.  After this I got food in the International Café, a good cheese and onion quiche, and took it to the Explorer Lounge for the Art Auction.  We had dinner with Bill and Dot in the dining room.

September 28, 2011 – Today the sky is blue, the sun is shining and the ocean is sparkling as we cruise along on the last day of this good cruise.  Then I packed my large rolling duffle bag … I’ve purchased too much, but Howard left space in his large rolling duffle bag for things he figured I would purchase.

I went to the Photo Shop to get the DVDs of the cruises; then chatted with some of the people working there and other cruisers.  Then I went to the Conference Room, deck 6 fwd, for Bill and Howard playing banjos and singing for the last time.  They had a very appreciative audience.  After taking Howard’s laptop computer and banjo back to our cabin / stateroom we went to deck 15 for a large lunch.  Then Howard started to pack his roll around duffle bag.  Both of our large bags were out in the hallway before we went to dinner.

September 29, 2011 – Disembark, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  We had to leave our staterooms by 8 a.m.; we went to a lounge to wait.  Our group was to leave the ship at 9:30 a.m.  First ship into Port Everglades this year (or something like that), so they took the incorrect luggage off first.  We finally got off the ship about 11 a.m. and obtained a porter and picked up our luggage, it was a fast line for customs.  Then we got a cab … they said we could walk to the Budget car rental office IF we had no luggage.  Got a cab, and went to the Budget office, long wait there, but finally got a mid-size Chevy (feels like a compact) and started north.  I drove to Melbourne, FL and finally checked in to the Holiday Inn Express, 4510 W. New Haven Ave., Melbourne, FL.  Howard got an app for his iPhone to use directions.

I telephoned Angie Olds, later she joined us at the hotel and then her husband joined us (his office is south of the hotel).  We visited and then over to the coast for a sea food dinner; then we went to see their lovely home and to have key lime pie for dessert.  Later they took us back to the motel.

September 30, 2011 I drove to Jacksonville and we check into our hotel …. Best Western JTB/Southpoint, 4660 Salisbury Rd., Jacksonville, FL.  I called Sarah and we make plans to go to Scott’s and her home.

We drove to Scott and Sarah’s lovely home, on the banks of the St. John’s River, in St. John’s Landing.  Scott, a surgeon friend and two other business owning friends had been 60 miles off shore, with Scott in his new cabin cruisers, fishing today.  They had just arrived when we arrived.  They unloaded the boat, Scott washed it, and then power lifted it into its slip in his long dock.  Since Scott had company, us, the other three men  did all of the cleaning and filleting of the fish … one a 40 pound Wahoo, plus many Trigger fish.  We enjoyed watching the tugs, container ships, car carriers and other ships pass on their way to the Port of Jacksonville.  Luke had a baseball game so Howard went with him and Scott.  Sarah and I visited in their home until after the guys returned from Luke’s game and then we returned to the hotel.

October 1, 2011 … Breakfast provided in the hotel, not as good as the one provided in Melbourne, FL.  The hotel is full of two busloads of Saints fans here from New Orleans for the New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars game Sunday.

We went to Scott’s, it is Saturday.  Wade had a baseball game that we attended, since his team won Scott purchased all of them slurpies plus also for the siblings.  Wade’s team is named the River Bandits.  Later we all went to a very nice Mexican restaurant in the same mall as Wade’s party location.  They had Wade’s 7th birthday party in a place with the blown up slides and fun things to jump in/on.  Spent one hour in the first room and then went to the second room that had a huge dragon with several slides.  Then to the party room for drinks and cake (made by Sarah); throne for the birthday boy and a few gifts.  After this we returned to Scott and Sarah’s for visiting and then our return to hotel.

October 2, 2011 – Luke playing in World of Baseball had a 9 a.m. game which his team The Hurricanes won.  Since they won they had to play a 1:30 p.m. game, so we rode up with Sarah and Wade, about 30 minutes away.  Luke was mostly catcher and then at the end the pitcher.  These teams hire a professional to coach and teach the youth.  Luke’s team barely lost the second game, if they had won they would had to play a third game in this tournament.  We all returned to the house.

Chuck and Mary Taylor, next door, were taking her parents and their daughter (Luke’s age) to a marina for dinner and asked Scott and all of us to take Scott’s boat and also go out to dinner with them.   So Scott power lowered his new 39 ft. cabin cruiser and we loaded, plus the girl from next door, Katie.  Scott purchased it with only 250 hours used, so warranties are still in force … two 250 horse power motors.  It took 30 minutes to arrive at the marina, in two spots under bridges had to go slow with no wake, but the rest of the time running fast, it was great!  We ate at Billie’s Boat House Grill and due to the live band playing very loud music; we had a long table upstairs.  We all enjoyed fresh sea food dinner.  We then made the 30 minute run back to Scott’s home, arriving after sunset.

October 3, 2011 – Monday, we had breakfast here in the Best Western then drove to Logan Diving and Salvage at 4811 Bowden Road, Jacksonville, FL 32216.   Scott has been with the company, founded in 1947, since 1984.  I hadn’t been in the “warehouse” since Scott and Sarah purchased the business, moved out of the old small office and remodeled this building to make some offices and still have shop and storage areas, both inside and outside.  We met Sharon the secretary; Scott and Sarah showed us their offices and showed us around.  We then left, ate an early lunch at McDonald’s and returned to the hotel for some rest.

We waited to return to Scott and Sarah’s until about 4:30 p.m. to the boys would be home from private school and would have their homework completed.  Soon Sarah’s mother (Susan Hench), brother (Mike Hench) and six month old nephew (Parker Hench) arrived and Scott arrived home early at 5 p.m.   The boys, Luke and Wade, and Katie (from next door) ran up to the club house for their group tennis lesson for an hour.  Later we enjoyed a wonderful meal of Trigger fish caught on Friday, plus fresh scallops a friend took to Scott at the office today and all grilled by Scott, fresh fruit salad cut up by Susan H., plus garlic toast, a tossed green salad and dirty rice made by Sarah, and topped off with a second birthday cake for Wade.  Later we were finally able to give Wade his birthday gifts, and Luke’s gifts.   Wade was very pleased with his oceanography books as was Luke.  They also like the big packages of marker, books to color, sports cards and Mother West Wind’s stories.  Then went ahead and gave them the magnetic wheels to play with.  But, the big hit were the original steel “slinkies” and they had fun with them …. Howard showed them how to make them walk down the stairs.  Later Howard was asked to play his travel banjo.  He played two banjo songs and then I asked him to explain a little bit about the banjo and the music.  Soon it was 8:30 p.m. and we left to return to our hotel.

October 4, 2011 … After breakfast this morning we drove to St. Augustine, FL, south of Jacksonville.  We toured the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, 12 S. Castillo Drive (it was recently moved here from Key West).  We enjoyed it very much and being early it was peaceful and without other people with us.   This museum is located directly across the street from the Castillo de San Marcos Fort.  After touring the museum we strolled St. George street visiting shops and the area without motor vehicles.  In The Pirate and His Lady I purchased a tee shirt for Shelly and two for me.  Later we had a very nice sea food lunch in the Columbia Restaurant.  They were founded in 1905 in Yuber City the Cuban/Spanish section of Tampa, FL.  We walked along the Fort and then I sat on a bench watching the Fort, and harbor while Howard walked down to the marina to photograph a huge 160+ feet long yacht that Scott told us about and his company is to check it out this week so it can be registered.  We returned to the hotel and Howard took a nap.  I caught up with my trip log.

We arrived at Scott and Sarah’s just before 5 p.m. and Scott arrived a few minutes later.  Sarah fixed a very good dinner of jambalaya with crayfish and sausage, a tossed green salad, fruit salad and the rest of the second birthday cake.  Then I gave the boys what we had purchased for them at the Pirate Museum.  I gave them each the tee shirts of the museum, and books …. Wade’s an easy reader of pirate stories, and Luke’s information about 50 pirates and the equipment they uses.  They were very pleased, especially with the books and that pleases me very much.  After the gifts we all talked about the Scott family reunion next summer in Jackson Hole, Wyo.  They said they would go ahead and make reservations now and hope to get there.  Luke thought it really sounds good they could visit two national parks.  We left about 8:30 p.m. and returned to our hotel.  A very good visit! 

October 5, 2011 – SW flt 1919LV Jax at 2:30 p.m., AR Las Vegas 4:35 p.m.
                              SW flt 335 LV Las Vegas at 5:30 p.m., AR Phoenix at 7:05 p.m.

ART purchased:

Vibrant Santorini (med frame) by Viktor Shvaiko, Giclee on canvas, year of publication 2010; molding 3 5/8 dark gold rev w/compo, 2 natural scoop w/gold lip liner; total number of editions 450, this is giclee on canvas number ______.

The Glory Revealed (med frame) by Walfrido, Lithograph on paper, year of publication 2011; molding 1 ½ matte black flat, 4 ply white 32 x 40 mat Raven Black 32 x 40; total edition size 690, this lithograph is number _____.

After The Storm (large frame) by Jim Warren, Giclee on canvas, year of publication 2010; molding 2 ¾ antique silver, 2 natural scoop w/gold lip liner, total edition size 195 , this is number _____________  This is third Jim Warren.

ART won - prints only - no frames (pay $20 shipping):

Mother and Child (large frame size) by Elaine Hughes, Lithograph on paper, year of publication 2011; total 420 prints.

Anthurium, Ginger, and Heliconia (med frame size) by Joyce, R, Lithograph on paper, year of publication 2007; total 425 prints.

Enchanted Cove (large frame size) by Michael Muffins, lithograph on paper, year of publication 2011; number of prints is unknown.  (If I remember correctly he is the artist that did the leaping Orca Whale that we have framed in the family room.)

Books read on the cruises (all on Kindle unless noted):


Megan’s Way by Melissa Foster (2011 Beach Book Festival award winner)

Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabians


Wild Montana Sky (The MT Sky Series) by Debra Holland

Paul Moon Rider by Marsha Canham

China Rose by Marsha Canham

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

Pleasure With Purpose by Lisa Renee Jones

Maid for the Billionaire (Bk 1), (Legacy Collection) by Ruth Cardello

The Light Horseman’s Daughter by David Crookes (set in Australia)

A Proper Companion (A Regency Romance) by Candice Herm

A Man of their Lives by Francoise Bourdin (translated from French)

The Accidental Existentialist by Joshua Graham (a short story)

Traveling Bug by Edna Curry

Hearts Aflame by Johanna Lindsey

A Secret Life by C. J. Archer (Bk 1 of the Lord Hawkesbury’s Players)

Cry Uncle by Judith Arnold

Border Crossing by Michael Lee Weems

A Kiss of Adventure by Catherine Palmer

Cloudburst by Ryne Douglas Pearson

Throughout the two cruises I also read:

-        Large picture books and smaller picture books:

-        Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Hermitage, Oslo,
Tallinn Estonia, Norse Myths & Legends, Loch Lohman, Ireland, Iceland,
Greenland, Halifax and others.

September 29, 2011 – Drive to Melbourne, FL
                                    Holiday Inn Express, 4510 W. New Haven Ave.

September 30 – Oct. 4, 2011 – Best Western JTB/Southpoint
                                                 4660 Salisbury Rd., Jacksonville, FL


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