Holiday over – back home to Scotland

So our long awaited holiday is now over and we are back home in Scotland ( back to work and still slightly jet lagged ). I wanted to make one final post for now! This was a very happy holiday ( as usual ) and we were able to do so many fun things and to be honest packed so many happy times into the the two weeks it was really amazing! Below are a few of my favourite photos and some comments to sum things up 😉

First we have the ship in Mary’s hand! This is significant because I cannot imagine going to all these special places without my most favourite travelling partner and wife, Mary. None of this would mean so much if I did not have you Mary to share it with – XXXXX

The ship was amazing – I certainly think that it is the best we have cruised on and this is our forth one! Of course all of the other ships were fantastic but I did feel that this one certainly raised the bar in terms of comfort and standard of service 😉 Of course a ship is nothing with out the people who crew it so I include them and acknowledge their contribution to our week at sea 😉

I cannot remember how many photos I too at the Aquarium in Boston. Most of them landed in the Trash Can!!! But the following one survived and I like it very much! It was taken through the glass tank without flash and still remains fairly clear and sharp!

The weather is always an important part of any holiday and we were certainly blessed with good weather bearing in mind the time of year ( I even managed to wear my shorts for one day 😉 ) and we did have some lovely sunsets. The scene below was photographed Rockland whilst tendering back to the ship after a lovely day! Once again this was one survivor of many tens of photos that landed in the Trash Can. There is something about the colours that are associated with a sunset like this! To be honest the colours are never as vivid in the photo as they look through the naked eye in real time! But this is the best imitation I can offer!

Lastly I want to pay tribute to our friends who also came along! We are three couples and all very good friends of each other. I count it a real privileged to be blessed with such special people! Of course if it was not for the fact that we do this as a happy group of six I am sure that the experience would be very different 😉 So I say thanks to “The Jewels of 2010” who have shared a lovely holiday first in Boston, Cape Cod and on The Jewel of the Seas.

The next time we do this cannot come soon enough if my view so thanks to you all!

Last day on the ship

Last day of the cruise was at sea and it was fairly choppy!!!! This gave us the opportunity to feel the benefit of the motion stabilisers which are fitted to the ship and in my opinion they certainly made some difference – this was was impressive.

This was placed in our cabin – yes it is a towel!!! but folded to be like a monkey 😉 it is impressive what the cabin staff can do with a mere towel 😉

Each evening we had some very nice flowers set on our table. It seems that virtually nothing is too much trouble trouble there is attention to even the smallest of details!!!

Below is our Waiter and Assistant Waiter who served us a dinner time. The two chaps were extremely good company and friendly whilst also providing the best of table car. We wanted to leave them with a memento of our week with them so we were able to obtain two “See you Jimmy” hats which you can see them wearing below 😉 Great sports for sure !

Halifax Nova Scotia

Our day in Halifax was again based on using the hop on hop off bus but this time the buses were painted red! I should mention that these buses are all former Red London buses and are consequently right hand drive. This also means that the bus exit platform is generally at the wrong side of the bus being nearer the centre of the road than the kerb side 😉 Some have been modified to have a door at the centre of the right side which makes getting on and of much safer for the passengers. After a short trip we were able to visit the gardens which are featured in the photos below.

Apart from the tree colours it seems that all of the flower beds here are set to a theme of curves. There is also band stand placed right in the middle!

Some water features are also included which are very will designed.

Whilst we were here the gardners were in the process of planting new flowers! The flower bed below interested me – although it was only partially planted you can what I thought was an interesting feature! Spot the green plants – can you tell what variety of plant they are?

We stopped for a coffee in the city centre and spotted some of the shops! On our walk to the next bus stop we spotted this statue of a famous character supporting an equally famous pose!

This statue was positioned on the fore court of the Municipal library building which is featured below.

Saint John – Canada

We stopped of in Saint John, New Brunswick and chose to buy a ticket for the Pink Bus which is a “hop on hop off” service with three routes in and around Saint John city.

Our first stopping place was the Reversing Falls which is famous beause the tide is so strong here that the when the tide is going out ( the ebb tide ) the current on the rapids will flow downstream but when the tide is incoming ( the flowing tide ) the current in the rapids will flow up stream. This is not unique in the world but it is pretty spectacular.

See the bridge below which is located right over the site of the rapids – you can see them below during the flowing tide.

It is possible to take a boat tour and sail through the rapids. We did not have enough time to do this but I was able to photograph the boat from the viewing point which is next to the bridge.

We also travelled the other two routes which take you around the city. We stopped of at the following garden which is a beautiful setting and has many beautiful trees and plants.

We eventually set sail again to the backdrop of another beautiful sunset. The next day will be a full day at sea followed by our final port of call – Halifax Nova Scotia.

About the Jewel of the Seas

It may or not be clear from my recent posts that we have been cruising on the Royal Caribbean vessel “The Jewel of the Seas”. This is the fourth fly/cruise holiday we have be able to take. All of the prior ones have been both excellent value for money and extremely enjoyable.

The Jewel of the Seas experience has definitely topped our experience to date. She is approx 6 years old and cost about $500M to build and she is equipped with the latest of technologies for sure. Approximately $30M paid for the basic steel needed to construct her. She has also achieved a 100% score when inspected by the US public health authorities on the last three occasions. This is unusual for sure but reassuring to know – I am sure that stories about health scares on ships are well known.

She has been designed to be the largest vessel that can actually pass through the Panama Canal both in terms of length and width.

You can find out more about this ship and its facilities by following the next link.

Click here

She is powered by two propulsion pods which are more like airplane propellors in that the screws actually face forward and the pods can be turned from side to side to steer the ship. These pods are actually powered by electricity which is generated by gas turbines. This makes the ship very smooth and vibration free – the contrast with other ships we have sailed in was remarkable in this respect. She is also equipped with stabilisers which can be deployed when needed. We had one day with rough seas and it was clear to feel the difference the stabilisers made.

One amazing feature was the two full size snooker tables which were self-levelling and I can assert that even when the ship did roll it was possible to play a game. The self -levelling surfaces are able to react to ship movements at the speed of light so that the balls actually remain still unless brought into play by the players.

Of course all this technical wizardry does not alone make for a good holiday experience – it was evident to me that the crew was very well motivated to provide the highest possible quality experience for the passengers. This was evident to me at all levels that I experienced. So I raise my hat to every one of the 800+ crew who collectively contributed to what for us was a very enjoyable week on-board.

Even the Captain was very visible around the ship – I don’t recall seeing the senior staff with such regularity during our other cruses so I think this is testimony to their priorities and regard for the passengers.