5 weeks ago my life changed forever.

waiting for a liver.

(Before you start reading, I just want to say that I started writing this post two weeks ago… in between recovering I have been busy living my life again so it’s taken me a while.)

Well, I’m still here but I’m no longer waiting.
I was hoping to write this post much sooner than this but I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. I really don’t know how to put the last few weeks into words but the time has come where I’m ready to try.
Five weeks ago, on Wednesday 1st October, a family made one of the most difficult decisions they have probably ever had to make. The most difficult, courageous decision. That decision was to say yes to donating the organs of their loved one who had just passed away. I’m sat here typing this yet I still can’t believe that decision connects to me… but…

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Marco Polo in Balestrand, Norway Marco Polo in Balestrand, Norway

Several news sources are reporting that the cruise ship Marco Polo has run aground in northern Norwegian waters.

The veteran liner- which celebrates her fiftieth anniversary next year- went aground on the Lofoten archipelago this morning. The 22,000 ton ship was under the control of a local Norwegian pilot at the time.

As of now, no obvious damage appears to have been done to the ship, and there are no casualties among either passengers or crew. Two Norwegian tugs are reported to be en route to assist the liner as this is written.

Some passengers have supposedly been disembarked. The Marco Polo is said to have overshot the pier where she was scheduled to dock.

It is worth remembering that the ship-originally built as the Alexsandr Pushkin in 1965- has a specially ice strengthened hull, that would make her far more resistant to such damage…

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Europa 2 – Raising the Bar

Want to experience a 5 star small cruise ship line with service beyond compare then read this blog.
An amazing ship and service.

Solent Richard's Cruise Blog

” The best cruise ship that you’ve never heard of”.

Around mid July this year I received an email notification from a well respected American cruise blogger that I follow. The text was along the lines ….” the best cruise ship that you’ve never heard of“.

That cruise ship was Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2  and at least one industry guidebook has awarded Europa 2  its highest-ranking ever for a small ship:  5 stars plus from the Berlitz Complete Guide To Cruising & Cruise Ships, highest space ratio of all cruise ships, industry’s youngest luxury ship, most dining venues for a ship of its size.

Now that has to be a challenge and, yearning to try a few different cruises before the year was out, I booked…

…and we were to discover even more attributes as  you’ll hear about in this review of  our voyage last week.

The reservation was…

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Ogden Point: End of Alaska Season 2014 (almost)

Been awhile since my last post as we were in Barbados with family so missed a few months of cruise ships porting to Ogden Point , Victoria Canada.

Only one week  left and the ms Zaandam on October 6 , 2014 will be the last ship in for the 2014 season , all will be quiet.

The ship will arrive from Hawaii on October 4, go to Vancouver , back here and off to San Diego.

– Tomorrow on September 29, 2014 the Star Princess will arrive from Ketchikan , Alaska and then on to San Francisco.

– On September 21, 2014 I went down to Ogden Point to see the Silversea ‘Silver Shadow’  and the Celebrity ‘Solstice 

Have added some pictures.

Silversea  - Ogden Point   Sept 2014
Silversea – Ogden Point Sept 2014
Ogden Point Sept 2014
Ogden Point Sept 2014
Leaving Ogden Point , into channel
Leaving Ogden Point , into channel
Ogden Point ,
Ogden Point ,

We  had a good season with lots of passengers and no loud noise from the community of pollution , noise, horse poop , cars going through quiet streets.

The Victoria Harbour Authority has done a lot of work in listening to concerns, offering ways to provide options to go into town that lessen traffic and yet retain a vital business for the community.

Early 2015,  the North America Act for bunker fuel usage by cruise ships comes into effect,  as in ” more stringent 0.1 percent sulfur rule effective in 2015 ‘ .

Some estimates suggest a cost increase per week per passenger as in Alaska by $100+ , which in the broad scheme of things is less then tax you pay by Air for fuel usage and in this case , much cleaner , so less impact to environment, peoples whose health can be effected and other reasons.


Alaska Cruises weather comments (Fog)

Right now I am sitting here in my living room thinking about the weather while Ms Lucy (Labrador dog)

Ms Lucy, dreaming of being on a cruise :)
Ms Lucy, dreaming of being on a cruise 🙂

relaxes enjoying the comfort of the carpet and at times the bed.
You see it is starting to get darker and cooler now

yet our summer is in full bloom f9f2d-p5130108

while during the day it is warmer !
As our Alaska cruise passengers arrive , one  hopes they have a sweater or hoody as weather  can surprise one and we are not in the part that gets more rain or could
The Alaska weather is beautiful yet it can have bouts of Fog 😳

Did I say Fog !      On some cruise blogs and Facebook I have recently read about passengers who have complained about the sound of the fog horn.
In fact it seems to be a regular complaint by a few on multiple cruises. Some have requested a refund or credit of $100 or more though  the best is to request the Captain to turn it off,  especially at night , so they can sleep. Entitlement comes to mind of these people and thankfully they are not the vast majority of cruisers.
One evening this year , it was reported that cruising in waters between Victoria and Seattle it was sounded almost every few minutes as the fog was thick and of course our waters are the gateway for the Pacific
I wonder if they really understand they are on a ship with a few thousand other passengers and it is for their

Safety !

Certainly I would prefer knowing other ships know I am near and I know they are present also..
Maritime law prevails period.

Alaska cruising is a wonderful experience but you are in a climate of seas and mountains. Cruise 2001 - August - Cruise to Alaska Victoria BC Ogden Point Cafe and Crew WiFi Access
It blows my mind away to read how some people want to dictate against ones own safety

A few years ago I discovered I had Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) which means that today being cooler or going up and down many steps like a cruise ship,  can make my knees ache
Thankfully it can pass and I watch myself , though Ms Lucy right now is sleeping and snoring beside my leg as I type on my mobile.
I will close with the ‘Fog’ observation and add some more revelations in my next post
Cheers. / Rob

Should We Work For Free?

Not cruise related but an interesting take on cultural differences as to Free or no pay for experience

Mabel Kwong

“Does it pay? How much does the job pay?”

That’s the first thing my mum asks when I land a volunteer stint or get a job that pays. Coming from the average traditional-minded Chinese-Malaysian family, I’m expected to be a filial Asian kid, working for the money and supporting the folks in their old age.

The distance between dreams, so near yet so far. Buskers playing, working, for free | Weekly Photo Challenge: Between. The distance between dreams, so near yet so far. Buskers playing, working, for free | Weekly Photo Challenge: Between.

Why we shouldn’t work for free, shouldn’t take up that internship or volunteer? When we say yes to working for free, we might be naïve. We might get taken advantage of, made to do “slave labour”.

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From Travelswithanothny
Informative COSTA integration


Iberocruises; set to disappear over the cruising horizon at the end of this year Iberocruises; set to disappear over the cruising horizon at the end of this year

As previously rumoured on this blog, it has now been confirmed that Iberocruises, the Spanish cruise subsidiary of Costa Cruises, will be fully integrated into the Italian Carnival affiliate as of next year.

The Spanish cruise operation- once so buoyant- has been on borrowed time since the local cruise market went bows down in the wake of massive austerity cuts inflicted across the entire Iberian peninsula. The first signs of enforced retrenchment came when the company’s most prestigious ship- Grand Mistral– was hived off to Costa and refashioned as the Costa NeoRiviera.

Then, early last year, the Spanish offices of both cruise products were brought together for the local market.

Next, a recently completed, 4.5 million euro refit of the Grand Celebration was followed with the announcement that she, too, would transfer over to Costa 

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Saw this on my news today and from Travelswith Anthony
I remember seeing the first 747 arriving at Montreal International Airport , what a sight and in those days one could go on top of the building to see planes leave and arrive.


A British Airways Jumbo Jet on the tarmac at Singapore's Changi Airport. A British Airways Jumbo Jet on the tarmac at Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Today marks one of the most auspicious landmarks in the history of commercial aviation. Today, Boeing’s Seattle factory rolled out the 1,500th production model of the most successful airliner in travel history- the Boeing 747, usually known as the Jumbo Jet.

The first production model of the plane was  delivered as far back as 1968. With it’s four engines and distinctive, dolphin styled silhouette, the Jumbo Jet became the backbone of the world’s aviation network almost overnight. Not until 2008 was its size exceeded in commercial service by the rival Airbus A380- itself ironically nicknamed the ‘Super Jumbo’ in many quarters.

This most recent 747 has been delivered to the German national carrier, Lufthansa. But, despite the plane’s extraordinary longevity, it now seems obvious that this recent delivery might be one of the last of the type.


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Growth in Cruise Activity Increases Economic Prosperity in BC

Found this informative item today showing the full Cruise economic activity growth for British Columbia for year ending 2013.

The 2013 cruise season saw a considerable increase of 11% in passengers over the previous season.  More than 1.3 million passengers visited the BC communities of Nanaimo, Prince Rupert, Vancouver and Victoria on a total of 455 calls in 2013. This cruise activity generated an estimated total economic impact of $1.6 billion to the BC economy.


Victoria will welcome 214 cruise ships and 462,000 passengers in 2014.  / estimated/ A new water shuttle will be used to transport passengers from Ogden Point to downtown, providing a new and exciting experience for passengers.