Arcadia 2000
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Itinerary Show Map = ports at anchor
28th March
- Fly to Bridgetown, Barbados
& embark Arcadia
Wednesday-Castries, St Lucia
Thursday-Roseau, Dominica
Friday-Basseterre, St Kitts
Saturday-at sea
Sunday-at sea
Monday-at sea
Tuesday-at sea
Wednesday-Ponta Delgada, Azores
Thursday-at sea
Friday-at sea
Saturday-at sea
Sunday 9th April-Southampton, UK

(left) Arcadia at anchor off Basseterre, St Kitts
Full Ship Report at Arcadia Ship Gallery & Report >>

This was the second trip on Arcadia and Anny's second cruise. We also had arranged to meet-up with our new friend, Joyce, who we had met last time on Arcadia. However, John wasn't with us last time and so he would meet Joyce for the first time on this trip.
(right) Joyce, John, Anny, Andrew and Me
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Show Full Picture With so many days at sea, there was quite a lot of dancing on this trip. Our meeting Joyce last time had inspired Andrew & I to start dancing lessons last Autumn, so this was to be the first time we would venture onto the floor "in public" as it were - something of a traumatic experience but one from which there would be no looking back. Even John had a go at line-dancing with Joyce and his improvised session with Anny on Carnival Night has to be seen on video! Here! >>
(left) The Dancing Cruise! Joyce & Me doing Rhumba...

Tuesday 28th March
Flight to Bridgetown, Barbados

Our previous experience with Monarch Airlines had not been pleasant but this time we had upgraded our seats to Premium, with just a bit more width and legroom. We were also fortunate that our travel agent, Page & Moy, had given us use of the Serviceair Executive Lounge at Gatwick's South Terminal because our flight was delayed by more than 3 hours!

Flying to Barbados for the first time since Mum's death there in 1990, I was in trepidation as to how I would feel returning. We landed just after 5pm local time and during the drive from the airport to the ship, I recalled scenes from my last day in Bridgetown 10 years ago, when I left Dad there with Mum sitting-up in bed in hospital, complaining that they wouldn't let her have a cigarette!

However, by 6pm we were embarking the ship and reunited with Joyce, who had flown from Manchester. Here she met John for the first time. And by 11pm, the ship was already departing Barbados for our first port-of-call....

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Wednesday 29th March
Castries, St Lucia
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Early rising; a bit of a zombie! Temperature already 78°F. Docked alongside the main town, while Dawn Princess followed us from Barbados and docked on the other side of the bay at the Pointe Seraphine Cruise Terminal.

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Dawn Princess at Pointe Seraphine Cruise Terminal
(1997: 77,441grt 1,998pax)
Departing Castries on our all-day Catamaran Cruise
(Arcadia 1997: 63,500grt 1,400pax ex-Star Princess 89-97,
ex-FairMajesty 1988)

John decided to go to the beach but the rest of us took the all-day Catamaran Cruise to Soufrière, the original capital of St Lucia. We enjoyed a fantastic morning's sailing down the coast, with great views of the iconic Pitons, for which St Lucia is famous.

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St Lucia's iconic Pitons
Petit Piton (nearest): 2,425ft (739m);
Gros Piton (distance): 2,619ft (798m)
Sulphur Springs
Soufrière Volcano
The 2-masted square-rigged Brig "Unicorn"
Built in the 1940's, it featured in various films including
"Pirates of the Caribbean" but sank in 2006.

In Soufrière, we visited the hot volcanic Sulphur Springs, the (crowded) Botanical Gardens and the famous Diamond Falls, encrusted with mineral deposits.

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Diamond Falls
Lunch departing Soufrière
Anny & Chris
a deck-hand!

Departing Soufrière, we were given a light buffet lunch on board as we sailed the short distance to Anse Cochon Beach, where the boat dropped anchor for people to go swimming or snorkelling near the rocks. The others didn't go in but I had a "whale" of a time!

Meanwhile, Anny spent much of the afternoon 'poodle-facing' with Chris, one of the deck-hands she had taken a fancy to!

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Marigot Bay Beach Club
Brig Unicorn
(sank in 2006)
On the Nets!
Catamaran Sailing, St Lucia

There was more sailing back up the coast, including a visit to picturesque Marigot Bay. I also ventured out onto the nets at the front of the catamaran; a bit scary at first but quite exhilarating, once I got confident that I wasn't going to fall in the sea!

Show Full Picture Back on board and Arcadia sailed at 6pm. Tonight was the Captain's Party & Welcome Dinner; see Welcome Dinner Menu >> ; an excellent dinner but was very tired after such a long day out and so went to bed at 11.15.
(left) Dawn Princess & Arcadia in Castries & Welcome Dinner Menu Cover (right)
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John, "The Man"
Today John had been to the beach and had been talking with the locals. The local gossip was that there had been a murder today - one of a number to do with drugs and because of all his body tattoos, they thought John was a dealer! His taxi-driver also told him he wanted to marry an English girl, so he could get a British passport!

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Thursday 30th March
Roseau, Dominica
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Hot & humid but another good weather day, considering Dominica's reputation as the wettest island in the Caribbean. And while today we chose a half-day tour, it was packed - so packed in fact that it was too rushed!

The first photo-stop on our tour was at Morne Bruce overlooking Roseau, the capital of the island and I couldn't see our ship. In fact, we had docked at the Deepwater Commercial harbour on the outskirts of town (off-picture) because another cruise ship had taken the only berth at the main pier. The ship was the little Princess Danae (1955: 9,783grt 670pax) Built in 1955 as the cargo-liner Port Melbourne, she was converted to cruising in 1975.

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View of Roseau from Morne Bruce
Princess Danae at the cruise pier.
Built in 1955 as the Port Melbourne
A 'jungle trek' to the Trafalgar Falls (125ft & 75ft repectively)
Morne Trois Pitons National Park

Next stop was for a 10-minute 'jungle-trek' to the Trafalgar Falls; impressive enough, I guess but the view into the sun wasn't great and was partially obscured by overgrowth. And there wasn't enough time to get closer to the falls, which made it a bit disappointing.

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Springfield Plantation Guesthouse
Refreshment stop & (left) Andrew merging into the background!
The Emerald Pool

At the Emerald Pool however, it was easier to get up close, even behind, the 40ft waterfall. Quite pretty but not particularly 'spectacular'; more 'twee' actually; and not exactly 'emerald' either!

The verdict - quite nice but a bit of an anti-climax after yesterday! Nevertheless, we were all exhausted (John included, who had done his own thing again today and gone to the beach) so we all zonked-out on loungers for the rest of the afternoon until sailing at 6pm.

After dinner, went to the cinema and thoroughly enjoyed the film "The Mummy" (1999). It was nice to see a 'real film' in a 'real cinema', instead of on video!

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Friday 31st March
Basseterre, St. Kitts
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Up at 6.30am and Arcadia dropped anchor and began preparing the boats for tendering passengers ashore. Named in 1493 by Columbus as "San Cristóbal" after Saint Christopher, his patron saint, "Saint Kitts" (as it is more commonly known) together with the neighbouring island of Nevis, achieved full independence in 1983 and since then, has been cautious in welcoming the growth of tourism and cruising.

Today, while John went to the beach again and Andrew, Anny & Joyce chose to go on a "rain forest safari", I chose a different tour to see Brimstone Hill Fortress, although as it turned out, both tours first visited the Gardens of Romney Manor, which how I came to meet the others again!

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Romney Gardens (the Plantation House was destroyed by fire in 1995)
& "The Half-Way Tree", a 350 year-old Tamarind Tree
Andrew, Anny & Joyce
at Romney Gardens

In 1834, the Earl of Romney, the owner of Romney Manor and the adjacent Wingfield Estate declared its slaves "free men", the first sugar plantation on St Kitts to do so. Sadly, the modest plantation house was destroyed by fire in 1995 but the gardens survived and today, the estate specialises in Caribbean Batik. In the grounds is a 350 year-old Tamarind Tree called "The Half-Way Tree" because it marks the old boundary between the French & British controlled parts of the island.

Begun in 1690 by the French and completed a hundred years later by the British using slave labour, Brimstone Hill Fortress is one of the largest and most complete in the Caribbean.

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The Citadel - Brimstone Hill Fortress
& the Dutch island of Sint Eustatius (about 12 miles away) from 800ft above the Caribbean
Anglican Church

Holding a commanding position on an 800 foot high volcanic outcrop, the fortress was known in its heyday as "The Gibraltar of the West Indies". Finally abandoned in 1851, it's now a restored museum and a United Nations World Heritage Site. There is a spectacular view from the ramparts to and beyond the Dutch islands of Sint Eustatius and Saba to the north-west.

My all-too brief impression of the capital Basseterre was that it was more 'tumbledown' and less developed than I expected; it would be another 18 years before we returned, by which time things would be a bit different. see 2018 Britannia >>

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Memorial Clock
Brimstone Hill Fortress
From the sea, departing the Caribbean.
Ice Sculpture

We sailed at 2pm. Passing northward and around the island, there was another good view of Brimstone Hill Fortress, clearly visible on its 800ft volcanic outcrop near the sea, before we finally said goodbye to the Caribbean.

Arcadia then set course to the north-east across the Atlantic and the weather immediately turned quite cool and windy. It was nice to be looking forward to 4 days at sea, relaxing.
It was 'Carnival Night' tonight and while the show was quite colourful, it was a bit down-beat and disappointing, although the improvised dancing session between John and Annie was a pleasant surprise! Show YouTube video-clip
See Video>>

(right) "Carnival Rio" Dinner Menu Cover see tonight's Caribbean-themed Dinner Menu >>
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Saturday 1st - Tuesday 4th April
4 Days at Sea, crossing the Atlantic
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Day 1 - Saturday 1st April
The clocks went forward 1hr last night and I slept until 7.30, feeling much better for it. A relaxing morning watching Joyce & John doing the line-dancing class, then after lunch, joined Joyce in the ballroom dancing class - social foxtrot and merengue; something of a breakthrough!

The rest of the afternoon was spent on the sheltered afterdeck, where it was very warm.

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"Black & White"
see Dinner Menu >>

The evening was the second of our three formal nights of the cruise; Andrew won £40 in the casino and it was the 'Black & White Ball', so Andrew & I tried to put our dancing into practice; Joyce was thrilled but we were both petrified! But it was a major achievement and (amazingly) enjoyable. Stayed up way past midnight, I was so 'high'!

Day 2 - Sunday 2nd April
Clocks forward again and another hour lost! Weather sunny with broken cloud but quite windy. Andrew & Anny both overdid the sunbathing yesterday and stayed in all day, Andrew showing the strain of sharing with Anny. He was not sleeping well and her persistent cough was getting to him.

Another dance class with Joyce - Tango this time and more progress. Joyce was thrilled and I was enjoying it immensely. Celebrated with a bottle of Champagne at dinner. Then the production show; 'Oh Boy!', a 60's theme and really very good.

Show Full Picture Had a late coffee in Tiffany's with Joyce having a 'heart-to-heart'. It was Mothers' Day today and the 7th anniversary of her husband's death while on holiday in Hawaii. Having lost my Mother in similar circumstances 10 years ago and with Joyce also being from Manchester, we shared a connection.
(left) Tiffanys Night Club Lounge (aft)

Day 3 - Monday 3rd April
Clocks forward again and up late at 8am. Andrew & Anny both up but a bit 'downbeat'. Anny was 'man-hungry' and frustrated, while Andrew was not enjoying sharing a cabin with her, even though she was one of his best friends.

Had been betting on the traditional daily mileage tote and tried again today, only to miss the figure by 3 miles!

Another dance class in the afternoon with Joyce; Salsa today and didn't like it at all! Then got 14/21 in the Quiz - my best so far but still didn't win!

Tonight was 'Pub Night' in the Oval Pub but I didn't fancy that. Meanwhile, the show featured singer/songwriter Gerard Kenny but I didn't fancy that either, so instead I left the others and went to a 'real' film in the cinema, The Tichborne Claimant (1998); quite a strange (true) story but intriguing.
(right) The Oval Pub includes memorabilia from the Cricketers' Tavern on board Canberra
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Day 4 - Tuesday 4th April
Clocks forward yet again! The weather now broken overcast and cooler, with a slight sea-swell. Quite nice. Today's dance class was Jive; I didn't expect to enjoy it but I did and felt better than yesterday. Andrew also in better mood today, having slept better.

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Dinner Menu
see Dinner Menu >>
Group Photo
Me & Joyce
Me & Joyce
Doing Rhumba!

This evening was our third formal night, so we had another group photo. After dinner, there was the Ladies Night Ball in the Horizon Lounge and though it was rather crowded and slightly nerve-racking, it was fun and Joyce was so encouraging and supportive.

As well as the usual headliner shows for first and second sitting diners, tonight there was also another production show on at 11pm; 'Queen - By Appointment'. Singer Bradley was nice and both looked and sounded the part. Overall, quite good but a shame that the two most beautiful ballads were sung by "that woman"; no heart, no voice and no good!

A Silly Dream of Soap-Suds!
I dreamt I was on the deck of a ship (Sagafjord or Vistafjord) coming into port. A train platform is alongside with tracks close to the water. The ship turns quickly, like Arcadia did the other day, then reverses rather too fast. The ship's wash goes all over the tracks, nearly flooding the platform where people are standing. Then an Express train comes through, soaking everyone! Inside the carriages, people are reading newspapers, covered in soap-suds! I awoke laughing.....
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Wednesday 5th April
Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, Açores
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Having made good progress as a result of the generally fine weather, we arrived earlier than originally scheduled off Isla São Miguel, embarking the pilot at 10am and coming alongside at 11am.

Took a brief walk ashore with Anny as far as the historic City Gates & Main Square. Got caught in a downpour; then the sun came out again!

All 5 of us then took the afternoon excursion to Sete Citades Crater Lakes. Set within the vast volcanic crater that forms the western end of the island of São Miguel, its name derives from the "seven cities" that it is claimed are beneath the lakes.

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Sete Citades Crater Lakes
One Blue; One Green - can you see?
Botanical Gardens
City Gates (1783)
Church of São Sebastião (1531-47)
& Statue of Gonçalo Velho Cabral

According to legend, the lakes were formed from the tears of a shepherd and a princess who shared a forbidden love. One lake is said to be blue (reflecting the sky) while the other is green (reflecting the surrounding vegetation). However, as the weather turned grey and overcast, you could hardly see the difference and no-one seemed very impressed.

Returning to Ponta Delgada, we visited the Antonio Borges Garden, a 6 acre (2.5ha) Botanical Garden created in the 19th century and today a city park.

Returning to the ship, Anny & I joined a small private group invited to the Bridge for the ship sailing at 6pm. In fact, Andrew & Anny were invited by Anthony, the Entertainments Officer, but Andrew gave up his place for me to go instead. In the event, there was a technical hitch and the ship didn't sail until 7.30pm but the visit was still interesting!
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Arcadia and a Visit to the Bridge at Sailing-Time
Except that, owing to a technical hitch, the sailing didn't take place until we'd all gone!
Anthony & the
Officer of the Watch

Show Menu Cover Full Size It was Country & Western Night tonight, so Joyce did her thing in the line-dancing. The show, Cotton-Eyed Joes was quite good, although the dancing was better than the vocals in my view! Then while Andrew & Anny went to the Night Fever disco, I enjoyed a late waltz with Joyce in the Atrium and John & I shared a coffee with her before bed-time. The weather was now getting windy and rough; they were putting cling-film around all the glasses to stop them falling off the shelves!
(left) Western Night Dinner Menu see Dinner Menu >>

Thursday 6th - Saturday 8th April
3 More Days at Sea
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Day 1 - Thursday 6th April
It was quite bouncy and creaky in the night, although there was only a mild swell. Annie (not an early riser) eventually emerged, convinced she was going to be ill.

Bought a lovely Rennie Mackintosh watch in the shop for £99.99 and sat on deck in the cool breeze, with the sun and a gentle swell - lovely! Another dance class with Joyce (Waltz & Tango) and put them both to good use in the evening in the Horizon Lounge, in spite of the building seas and wobbly floor!
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Also had a head and shoulder massage in the spa (£45 + tip) to deal with a shoulder muscle; not so much from dancing but from carrying a camera-bag around so much!

Show Menu Cover Full Size Day 2 - Friday 7th April
Weather quite rough and cold but sunny; Force 7 winds and seas 10-15ft. Very bumpy upstairs and lots of spray. Annie rose in time for lunch!

Still went dancing with Joyce - Rhumba, which is her favourite dance. Nearly fell over! Bought an Art Deco figure for the house (£29.95) and a miniature globe as a present for Dad back home.

Tonight's production show in the Theatre was "The Oscars" - actually very good. Finished with The Full Monty, which went down well with the audience!

Day 3 - Saturday 8th April
The clocks went forward last night and Annie rose in time for lunch, thinking it was only 10.30!

The weather had calmed; still cold but remaining bright and sunny. Enjoyed a lecture on Art Deco and then sat in the sun (and wind!). Dancing in the afternoon (recap) and then a Tea Dance with Joyce doing all ther dances we had learned. Andrew watched. My white dance shoes were by now completely worn out!

Did my packing for disembarkation tomorrow, then did the Individual Quiz - and won by a tie-breaker! My prize was a P&O folding travel back-pack!

Everyone was quite miserable and fed-up, trying not to be. More dancing after dinner; Joyce was particularly sad to be going home, even though she was due on Dawn Princess in another 2 weeks!

Sunday 9th April
Southampton, UK
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As throughout the whole this holiday, I slept like a log and found it hard to get up at 6.50am, by which time Arcadia was already tied-up in Southampton. On disembarkation, took the ship's coach transfer, 2.5hrs back to Gatwick Airport where the car was parked!

See Detailed Mileage Log for this cruise >>

Cruise Mileage: 4,021 nautical miles
Total Mileage to date: 75,258 n miles

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