the cruise I did not have enough time to translate the whole story into English for my British friends.
It was also not possible to write a consistent story, because of the bad
internet connections. I was glad if I could publish small parts and some
pictures now and then.
|Grand Cuba, Mexico & Caribbean Experience - 35nights|
I hope I
have produced a more consistent story now. At least it was a nice thing to do.
Bussum – Bristol Avonmouth (27th
- 28th February)
|Ready to leave|
We left our home town Bussum on the 27th of February by car to Hoek van Holland, where we took the Stena Line ferry to Harwich.
|Bussum - Bristol Avonmouth |
|Cabin on the ferry|
We had a very nice cabin on the ferry with a mini-bar and enjoyed a lovely meal in the restaurant.
We arrived at 5 o'clock in the morning (local time) and drove with our car to Bristol.
After a long trip of 6.5 hours with a lot of queues and much delay we arrived in Avonmouth at last for the good old Marco Polo. We were supposed to embark at 16.30 hrs, but we were allowed to go aboard at 13.30!
Bristol –Azores ( 28th February - 3rd
We have had a very rough sea for several days. Our
portholes were covered all those days.
|Closed portholes on the Marco Polo|
We started with our painting lessons, followed the
lectures of Dr. Louse Bonner, presentations about the ports of call and enjoyed
it to be on the Marco Polo again.
We had lovely table mates at our dinner table
and after 5 weeks we may say that we have new friends with similar hobbies,
experiences, interests and of the same age! Roy and Dianne, you are
wonderful. Of course we have good memories of the others too, but we did
not spent so much time with them as with
Dianne and Roy.
|Waldorf restaurant with our new friends Roy and Dianne|
|Beverly and John|
|John, Christine and Dough|
Ponta Delgada, S. Michel, Azores (4th March)
We did not
do any excursions in Ponta Delgada, because we have been there several times and have already done all the excursions
of the list. Instead of touring, we went shopping and internetting and the most
important: drinking wine at a beer garden.
|Exit cruise terminal|
|Beer garden and in the background the Marco Polo in front of the cruise terminal|
Sea days (5th - 11th March).
After 9 sea
days with much storm and high waves, we finally reached the Caribbean. A lot of people
had become seasick and stayed in the cabin for 9 days, but we were ok.
|In the background Ponta Delgada|
enjoyed the festivities and activities
aboard, such as, the painting course, the lectures, the nice dinners and the music and the dancing.
painting course was a success, we learned basic techniques, but more important
maybe, to develop our own creativity.
|March 7th From the Azores to Sint Maarten |
March 10th: Marco Polo had a course deviation because of a
search action at sea
|Market in Marigot|
|The artist signs her work for us|
looked not very clean and we saw a lot of dirt along the road.
|Dutch cheese in Sint Maarten|
lucky, there was a Hard Rock café and Jan bought me a new little guitar for my
|Hard Rock café|
Roadtown, Tortola, Virgin Islands (12th
March). Excursion: Tortola by Land and Sea
Islands (Tortola) were fine. We did a trip to Treasure Island with a catamaran
and sipped a rum cocktail already at 9 o'clock in the morning.
|Route excursion 'Tortola by Land and Sea'|
After the boat trip we went
with a wobbly safari bus and a lousy driver over the island. It was a little bit
scary, but beautiful.
|Wobbly safari bus|
|View from the safari bus|
In the harbour
we had a well known neighbour: the Costa Magica. With this ship we sailed the Mediterranean Sea in 2011. We do not intend to sail again with this large floating amusement park.
|The Marco Polo next to the Costa Magica in the harbour|
|And now closer|
Romana, Dominican Republic (13th March). Excursion: Altos de Chavón & River Boat Cruise
|Excursion route 'Altos de Chavón & River Boat Cruise'|
with a coach with airco and Internet(!) to Altos de Chavón.
village is a rebuilt village in medieval and Mediterranean style. It is very
special, because of all the different kinds of stones which are used. The
village has an amphitheatre, which is used for concerts with famous persons
such as Frank Sinatra, Santana, Julio Iglesias, The Pet Shop Boys and many others. It is situated
in a picturesque surrounding.
| Altos de Chavón|
| Altos de Chavón|
| Altos de Chavón amphitheatre |
the visit to the village we went to the river and embarked on a huge raft. There
was Caribbean music and the crew offered coconuts filled
with coco milk and rum. We were invited to dance with the friendly female
crew members .
beautiful river you could see all kinds of birds.
|With our friends|
|Coconut with rum|
When we were back at the Marco Polo, we
walked to the city. (La Romana). There was a demonstration of village people
against corruption. We didn’t dare to photograph them, because you saw
police officerse verywhere. Later on we discovered that we still have a picture of the protesting people in the background of a statue.
|The beautiful river|
|La Romana, statue|
The republic should have a democratic
government, but we got a different impression. The government leads the tourists
to places where the security is guaranteed by barriers and a lot of policemen. If
you want to leave this area individually, they
send you back. Passengers of the ship told us, they were not free at all to
walk where they wanted and they were forced to go back.
The ship and the cruise
terminal were situated in an highly guarded territory.
Other people drove with their guided coach to other parts of the island and saw more of the poor country through the windows of the coach, then we did.
|Protest against corruption|
visited a supermarket and this was huge (about 20 checkouts). The prizes were,
even for us, Europeans and Britons, very high. We suspect that only rich people
could do their shopping here.
conclusion was that we were only showed what the government wanted us to see, and nothing else.
To be continued . . .
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