On deck Monday 8th January 2018

18th April 2018

My days aboard Black Watch are quickly running out and I don’t like it. Even if I was at sea for a year it still wouldn’t be long enough. But all good things must come to an end.

We’ve visited Civitavecchia and Livorno since my last update.

I’ve been to both more times than I can count, so I didn’t really do much in either port. I just walked around and stretched my legs, although in Livorno I did explore an area that I’d never been to before and it was lovely.

A bit like the main street but not as many tourists. I found a quiet bar there and enjoyed a few drinks and a fresh pastry before heading back to the ship.

We’re on course for Malaga now, our final port. We have 608 nautical miles to go and I’m hoping it will be warm and sunny when we get there. We’ve been very lucky so far since entering the Mediterranean.

We also have some new guests onboard, not sure what type of bird they are but they’re flying around at the speed of sound. Crazy, but fun, to watch.

14th April 2018

Since our call to Egypt, we’ve also visited Kusadasi in Turkey and Piraeus in Greece. I spent my time in Kusadasi walking around the maze of shops. I bought a few things but didn’t go too wild. I know, hard to believe! I also stopped at a restaurant for lunch named Gayret. The food was very good but I ended up having to share mine with a local cat. I gave in once she started putting her little paws on my leg. She was very patient. I like Kusadasi but the shop owners can be a little in your face. I had to tell one man selling ‘genuine’ perfume to go away four times.

I stayed onboard during our call to Piraeus. I needed to get my washing sorted out and port days are the best days for doing it – no waiting for a machine to become free. Once that was finished, I enjoyed having the ship virtually to myself. It was perfect. I sat on deck in the sun and then I began that awful task of packing.

We’re at sea today and tomorrow, and on Monday we will call at Civitavecchia.

11th April 2018

I finally made it to Cairo! Black Watch was docked in Alexandria yesterday and I’d booked ‘The Wonders of Cairo’ tour. The drive took a little over two hours and I can’t describe the feeling I had when I first spotted one of the pyramids. It didn’t feel real. I’ve been intrigued by Ancient Egypt for as long as I can remember, so yesterday was a big day for me.

We stopped at the Pyramids first and then the Sphinx. It wasn’t as busy as I’d expected, which was nice as it allowed for some great pictures. When we stopped at the third and smallest pyramid we were given the opportunity to go inside. It was incredibly cramped and you had to walk up and down with bent knees. How people could work in there is beyond me. Getting in and out was hard enough.

The Egyptian Museum was next on the list and it was fascinating! We really didn’t have enough time there but I did get the chance to see King Tutankhamun’s treasure, mask and sarcophagus. They were stunning. I loved our time in Egypt. I hope I get the chance to visit again.

We’ll be in Kusadasi tomorrow, but right now, we’re at sea.

9th April 2018

Black Watch has spent today sailing the Suez Canal. It’s very different to the Panama Canal but just as exciting.

The Suez Canal is a 120 mile-long artificial sea-level waterway that connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea.

It was constructed between 1859 and 1869, to offer a shorter journey between the North Atlantic and northern Indian oceans by avoiding the South Atlantic and southern Indian oceans.

Essentially, the canal reduces the journey by approximately 4,300 miles and extends from Port Said to Port Tewfik.

We’ll exit the canal in around 30 minutes and continue with our journey to Alexandria.

8th April 2018

Our destination yesterday was Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt and what a bustling place it is!

I spent most of the day in the Old Market and I loved it. I spent hours walking around the streets, admiring the beautiful mosque and then petting a rather large and content camel, his name was Casanova. The man that owned him was called Saeed and he was a very pleasant person. I bumped into him three times and each time we chatted about something different. He also let me photograph Casanova and offered me a free ride around the square, which I politely declined. I’d shopped quite a bit and didn’t want the camel to have to carry me and my bags!

I also met a lovely man named Khaled. His shop was like Aladdin’s cave, I couldn’t leave! I eventually bought another wooden mask to add to my growing collection.

We’re at sea now, heading for Alexandria (for tours to Cairo), but first we will transit the Suez Canal. We should enter at around 4am tomorrow morning and the transit will take between 8 and 9 hours. It’s very windy today and our Captain had to change our course slightly to straighten the ship up, we had quite a sharp list for a while – that was fun! The sea has been so calm, I was happy to have some movement again.

6th April 2018

We’ve been in Jordan today for tours to Petra. It was a two hour coach journey from Aqaba but we did make one comfort stop for coffee and shopping.

Once at the site, it was a 3km walk to get to the lost city, but it was absolutely worth it. You could have taken a horse or horse and cart to make it easier. The walk there wasn’t too bad, but the walk back is on a slight incline – that wasn’t fun.

Glad I can say I have been!

5th April 2018

We’re on our last sea day out of seven now and nearing Jordan. The days have flown over. Scary really, as although we still have ports to visit in Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Spain, I think we’ll be back in Southampton before we blink.

At the moment, we’re still in the Red Sea and on time for arrival tomorrow morning in Aqaba. We have Saudi Arabia 50 nautical miles away on our port side and Egypt 60 nautical miles away on our starboard side. We will enter the Gulf of Aqaba later this evening. I’m going on tour to Petra and I’m very much looking forward to it. It’s always been somewhere I wanted to visit but never thought I would.

I started my day today in the best possible way. I spotted a huge pod of dolphins on our port side, no photos, sadly, but what a sight. It beats being at home and seeing pigeons in the garden, that’s for sure.

Lunch is calling, but first I need to visit the place that no one ever wants to go, the laundrette. Cruising the world isn’t always glitz and glamour!

3rd April 2018

Black Watch has now left the high risk area and she’s cruising slowly through the Red Sea. As we’re now back in the safe zone there is no more pirate watch, or parrot watch as we have been calling it, so usual cruising has resumed. I quite liked sitting outside in the dark of an evening. I’ll miss that.

We have Yemen approx 60 nautical miles away on our starboard side and Eritra 100 nautical miles away on our port side.

We’ve sailed 1,976 nautical miles since leaving Mumbai and have another 939 to go to reach Aqaba.

2nd April 2018

We’re sailing through the Gulf of Aden at the minute, between Yemen and Somalia.

We have an Italian Navy ship sticking by our starboard side with a crew of over 100 and we also have a British war ship ahead of us. It’s busy out there! This is probably the safest place in the world right now!

We have 1,354 nautical miles to go before we reach Jordan and we’ve sailed 1,561 nautical miles since leaving Mumbai.

31st March 2018

We’re on sea day number two now and in full pirate mode. Last night all the exterior lights were turned off once the sun went down and it was great fun sitting on deck in the dark! This is all new for me and I’m enjoying the experience.

Callao is also having a great time and she’s on pirate watch today, so everyone can relax! The alpaca has us covered.

We are sailing at 18 knots in the Arabian Sea and we have approx 2,200 nautical miles to go before we reach Jordan.

30th March 2018

Our final port in India was Mumbai and we spent the day there yesterday.

I’d booked a tour with a local company before leaving on the cruise. The afternoon part was mainly sightseeing, but it was the morning that really grabbed my attention and why I’d booked the tour.

We started with a stop at Dhobi Ghat, a massive open air laundromat that’s like nothing I’ve seen before. The workers there actually hold the Guinness World Record for most people hand-washing clothes at a single location.

It was built during the British Raj in 1890 and every day, over 7,000 workers scrub, bleach and dry thousands of items of clothing and other linens.

From Dhobi Ghat we drove to Dharavi, the biggest slum in India and the third largest in Asia. It was a massive slap in the face from the backhand of reality. There are one million people living and working in a space that is about half the size of Central Park.

We walked through the slum, visiting a few businesses and then the residential areas. Some of the spaces between buildings were less than two feet wide, they were wet, covered in rubbish and we had to step over the odd stray dog. It was a maze, I don’t know how they navigate it with such ease.

In the afternoon we visited a few temples, markets, the cow sanctuary and Chowpatty Beach. We also stopped for lunch and had the most amazing Indian Thali at a cost of just 500 rupees each. Real Indian food is nothing like we have become used to at home.

We had a good sailaway party last night and Bollywood dance lessons which I really enjoyed! I struggled to keep up, but it was great fun. The pool deck was beautifully decorated.

We’re at sea now and have another six days ahead of us before we reach Aqaba in Jordan.

28th March 2018

We were docked in Cochin yesterday, in the Kerala region in India. It was my first experience of India and I loved it, although it did take almost two hours to get there.

We went on a house boat tour along the Alappuzha backwaters and it was a real glimpse into the Indian way of life away from a big city.

We watched numerous women washing their clothes, hair and cleaning fish. Some people were also bathing and fishing in the river. We spent two hours on the house boat and then made the journey to a local resort for lunch.

It was an Indian buffet and it was delicious. The popadoms were so light and airy, I easily could have eaten an entire plate of them. I also had Kerala rice, dhal and some lightly spiced squid.

Before I left on the cruise, a lot of people had told me that seeing the Chinese Fishing Nets was a must. Sadly our tour didn’t include them, but as we left port I spotted them on our starboard side, so in the end I did get to see them. That was an added bonus. They’re very impressive!

We’re now getting ready for the next leg of our journey through the Red Sea. The razor wire is now all along the Promenade Deck and we have our ‘Safe Haven’ drill the morning after we leave Mumbai. This is all very exciting, in a odd kind of way.

25th March 2018

We’re just off the coast of Sri Lanka at the moment, almost out of the Bay of Bengal and into the Laccadive Sea. We have another 438 nautical miles to go before we reach Cochin and it’s still incredibly hot outside and getting hotter. It could be as high as 40°C in Cochin and Mumbai. I am not looking forward to that.

At 7pm tonight we will make a short stop to pick up a security team that will accompany us as we make our way through the Arabian Sea towards Jordan and Egypt. We’re getting into pirate waters now and will pass the coast of Somalia as we transit the Suez Canal – that’s on April 9th.

I don’t know what happened to my phone overnight, but it jumped one hour ahead, so I’ve been out on the decks since the crack of dawn. An afternoon nap is creeping up on me.

23rd March 2018

It’s lunchtime here, so I’m back at the Poolside Grill. I still can’t get enough of the chicken kebab and I like to watch them make it. After lunch, I’m going to catch one of the port talks in my cabin. It gives me a break from the sun for an hour.

We’re heading for India now and have 933 nautical miles to go before we reach Cochin, after that we sail for Mumbai.

Our ETA is Tuesday morning at 5am – early start for immigration. Black Watch is sailing at 13.5 knots and we have smooth sea conditions with a force 3 northerly wind. The air temp is 32°C – hotter than we’d expected – and the sea temp is 27°C, but I’m not going to jump in and check!

22nd March 2018

Black Watch has been docked in Thilawa, Myanmar (Burma) for the last two days for tours to Yangon and beyond!

It has been incredible, so much to see and do.

Yesterday, I opted for a private tour to the Botataung Pagoda, Scott Market, Chaukhtatgyi Paya Reclining Buddha and the Shwedagon Pagoda.

We also stopped for lunch at a local restaurant and it was delicious. I ordered tempura soft shell crab and then stir-fried green beans with shrimp and coconut rice. The culture here is amazing and the people are so friendly.

Although there are impressive pagodas and temples at almost every turn, the Shwedagon Pagoda is something else. I was absolutely gobsmacked. The Shwedagon Pagoda materialised in Buddhist history over 2,600 years ago. The Hti, Hngetmana and Seinbu are decorated with 3,154 gold bells and 79,569 diamonds and other precious stones.

Today we explored the local area of Thanylin. I had thought about the trip to Bago, but I wanted to see the way people live on a day to day basis in Myanmar, so that was my decision made.

We started with a visit to a Buddhist Monastery (Bone Payan) and then went on a tri-shaw to the local market. That was fun – but very hot!

We ended the day with a stop at another temple, home to a huge sitting buddha, which was stunning.

What a place this is! You MUST add it to your bucket list!

20th March 2018

We’ve had a change of plan today. Because of tidal restrictions, we can’t arrive early, so we’re back to the original 18:00 arrival time. We’re not far away, only 20 nautical miles from the pilot station and the pilot should be onboard in the next hour.

We’ve passed hundreds of fishing platforms. They’re quite impressive and lined up in one row for as far as the eye can see.

The colour of the water is quite disgusting – the lovely ocean blue has gone – and there has been an eerie haze hanging around all morning. I’m half in the shade and half in the sun, it’s too hot for me today to sit in it directly. I’m going to have lunch and hide inside where it’s cool.

19th March 2018

We’ve had another gorgeous day at sea; heat with a swift breeze.

The ship is very quiet now, a lot of people disembarked in Port Klang and only a few new people embarked. There are only 475 passengers onboard.

We’re now 6.5 hours ahead of the UK, which is nice as keeping in touch with family is easier, but it does mean we’re getting closer to Southampton and five weeks tomorrow we’ll be back where we started. I’m trying not think about it, but I had a dream last night that today was disembarkation day and I woke up with a heavy heart. Thankfully, it was just a dream.

We’re now going to arrive in Myanmar tomorrow morning as a passenger has taken ill and needs to get to a hospital. We’re sailing at full speed.

Anyway, enough of the doom and gloom, look at the beautiful sunset we had last night! The sky was pink for several hours.

18th March 2018

Our destination yesterday was Port Klang for tours to Kuala Lumpur. It was probably one of the hottest days of the cruise so far and I was glad we had a comfortable and air conditioned car!

I visited the Batu Caves first and what a sight that was! It was much closer to the city than I’d expected (in the Gombak district north of Kuala Lumpur) and it was very busy. There are 272 steps up to the main cave but in that heat and humidity, there was no way I was walking up them. Instead I went inside the Ramayana Cave which is flat and thanks to the running water, very cool. On my way out I spotted a few monkeys, one with a baby that was no more than a few days old! So sweet.

Batu Caves is a limestone hill home to three major caves and several smaller ones. The 100-year-old temple features many statues within the caves and limestone formations that are thought to be around 400 million years old. The temple is a very important landmark for Hindus. Cathedral Cave is the largest and most popular, but there’s also the Art Gallery Cave and the Museum Cave.

I also stopped at the King’s Palace, old railway station, National Monument, Petronas Towers, Chinatown and the Central Market. I just got to the market when it started to thunder, so that was perfect timing. All in all, it was a great day. I would love to go back to Malaysia and explore more as there’s only so much you can see and do in one day – and in that heat! Humidity was about 94% and the air temp around 34˚C, but it felt like 41˚C.

We’re now at sea, heading for Myanmar. We’re due alongside by 6pm on Tuesday evening and will have two days to explore. Until then, I’m relaxing and enjoying everything Black Watch has to offer.

16th March 2018

I’m in Singapore today and it’s been a lot of fun, although our call time wasn’t quite long enough to do everything I’d wanted to do.

I did, however, get to the two temples that I’d wanted to see: The Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple in Chinatown and the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Little India.

Both were stunning and I managed to go inside the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. I’d highly recommend both if you want to do something a bit different during your visit.

I also went to Marina Bay and explored the area there. I loved the lily pads in the water feature outside the Arts Science Museum. They were gorgeous.

We’re sailing soon for Malaysia and should arrive early tomorrow morning. It’s going to be another exciting but very hot and humid day.

15th March 2018

We’re having more fun in the sun today with another Equator Crossing Ceremony.

Slightly different this time, there was more bashing of crew involved. Brilliant!

We’re getting ever closer to Singapore and I’m getting more excited. It’s another new port for me and I’m looking forward to exploring. I’ve got a plan, but whether it works out or not remains to be seen.

I just hope immigration is quick as we don’t really have that long there.

14th March 2018

It’s another hot one out there today and some of the crew are doing a marathon around the decks to raise money for orphanages in Thailand and the Philippines. I don’t know how they can do it in this heat. They will run for three hours and collectively do 700 laps of the deck. On Black Watch, five laps is 1 mile, so that’s a lot of laps to run!

We’re 86 nautical miles south west of Borneo at the minute. I wish we were stopping there, another place I’d love to visit! We have 558 nautical miles to go to Singapore.

It was nice last night sitting on the open decks watching all the squid boats. The fishermen use bright lights to bring the squid closer to the surface of the water and when I say bright, I mean bright. They were blinding.

13th March 2018

I was so excited yesterday and spent all evening talking about my day that I forgot to update you all, so here it is.

Yesterday we were at anchor for tours on Komodo Island and it was one of the best ports of the cruise so far. It started with a trek into the jungle to find Komodo Dragons and we managed to find six of them! We spotted a baby first, around 2 years old and it was big but not as big as what was to come. We came across two males and one female and they were huge! They were resting near a watering hole, so they were quite relaxed and we could get some great pictures. There are approx. 2,500 of them on Komodo, but they can be found on four other islands.

Our next stop was the Pink Beach and it was actually pink! I knew they said we could snorkel, but when I got in the water I wasn’t prepared for what I could see. Just 20 feet from the shoreline the water got much darker and that’s because it was home to some stunning coral. I’ve never seen anything like it. My eyes almost popped out of my head! There were hundreds of fish, some small, some big and they were beautiful colours! I spent two hours floating and admiring. I never knew you could see such incredible marine life that close to shore.

We’re at sea today, our first of three before we reach Singapore. It’s a little cooler, which is nice, but I’m staying away from the sun as I managed to burn yesterday because of the glare from the water. I’m going to attempt to do laundry and tidy the cabin a bit as it’s starting to look like a zoo – I bought a rather large Komodo Dragon to add to my collection yesterday. Whoops!

11th March 2018

There was a crew show in the Lido Lounge last night and it was a lot of fun. Mostly the bar staff and they were singing and dancing. It was brilliant and packed with passengers. Crew shows always get a great response and the best ones I’ve seen have always been on Fred. Olsen ships.

We’re sailing between various Indonesian islands today, heading for Komodo. There’s a nice breeze across the open decks and not a lot of sun, which I’m quite happy about. It’s been so hot and sunny, we needed a ‘day off’.

We have 186 nautical miles to go before arriving at the anchorage point in Komodo. My tour starts at 08:15am, so it will be an early bed for me tonight. I’m going to see the Komodo Dragons and then the Pink Beach where I’m hoping I can swim and look for shells.

10th March 2018

We’re back at sea now heading for Komodo Island.

It’s another beautiful day and the crew have been trying to get passengers to join in with various games, including a sack race and an egg and spoon race. A few people played, but I just watched. It’s too hot to run around the decks.

We’ve sailed 245 nautical miles since leaving Darwin and have another 506 miles to go. We put our clocks back by 30 minutes last night and they go back another hour tonight. I loved that about this cruise, no hours lost, only gained. We’re currently sailing at 13.5 knots and have 31 metres below the keel.

It’s lunchtime here and I’m back at the Poolside Grill eating my favourite meal. Grilled chicken with pita bread, hummus and lemon yoghurt. It’s delicious. I deviate from the menu slightly, however, as I don’t like chilli. I hate food that’s hot with spice, so I skip that and get extra hummus.

9th March 2018

Today was brilliant! I went to see the crocodiles on the Adelaide River with ‘Spectacular Crocodile Jumping’.

I booked through the ship as it takes around one hour to get there and it was absolutely worth it. We spent the morning with several crocs, including Stumpy and his girlfriend Candy, Trevor and Beyonce.

Stumpy gets his name because he’s missing a few legs. He and Trevor fought over Candy and poor Stumpy has the scars to prove it.

I’d highly recommend this tour if you’re ever in Darwin. Our driver/guide was fantastic and the crocs were jumping up for food within minutes. We were even followed back to the pontoon by a group of Kites!

We’re now sailing for Komodo Island in Indonesia.

8th March 2018

We’ve had the most incredible lightning every night since we left Hamilton Island.

No rain or thunder, just flash after flash, it’s incredible and lasts all night.

I recorded this last night when it was most active.

7th March 2018

The sun has made an appearance and the outside decks are roasting! The sun also means that we’re having our deck BBQ for lunch… bonus!

There are hot dogs, burgers, corn bread, chicken and salad on offer, among other things. It all looks so tasty but the hot dogs and fried onions are calling my name, I’ve not had one for weeks. I might grab some corn, too.

We’ve sailed 942 nautical miles since leaving Hamilton Island and we have another 549 miles to go before we reach Darwin. The air temperature is 30˚C and the humidity is through the roof.

6th March 2018

It has been another hot and humid day today but no sun, which was quite nice to be honest. We’re still hugging the coast and enjoying some beautiful scenery. The clocks go back 30 minutes tonight, that’s new to me, it’s usually an hour.

I was going to share some pictures with you from our deck BBQ and party, but sadly Mother Nature came calling and she has rained down on us all afternoon.

This was the view from our bridge came earlier and now you can barely see the sea. I guess it’s the Brigadoon Cafe for dinner tonight now.

5th March 2018

We’re on sea day one of four before we reach Darwin and we’re cruising along the Great Barrier Reef, not that we can see anything. There’s a lot of land and we’re hugging the coast just off Cairns. It’s quite pleasant. I love sea days when there’s land close by, I could spend all day just looking out and admiring the view.

We left Hamilton Island 18 hours ago and have 1,199 nautical miles to go before arriving in Darwin, where I’m going to see the jumping crocodiles!

Until then, I’m going to enjoy our time at sea and use it to catch up on writing and laundry – so glam!

It’s still very hot outside (30˚C today) and you can’t sit in the sun for long, but that’s what we wanted so I’m not complaining.

I wanted to also share this image with you of the moon that I took last night. It was incredible! Bright orange as it was rising and then it slowly turned to white.

4th March 2018

Hamilton Island today was wonderful but very, very hot!

I had planned to visit Whitehaven Beach but times didn’t fit, so I went to Catseye Beach instead and it was beautiful! I spent a few hours there before heading back to the marina for lunch and exploring. I popped in a few shops here and there just to cool off, it has been incredibly hot here today!

We’re now sailing and have a deck party going on as the sun sets. Perfect! Next stop is Darwin but first we cruise the Great Barrier Reef. That should be exciting!

3rd March 2018

Hamilton Island is on the agenda for tomorrow, but today we’re at sea and it is another hot and humid day, 32˚C to be exact.

There are a few people sunbathing, but not as many as usual, it’s just too hot.

I’m trying to stay hydrated and cool with endless ice-filled Shirley Temple’s.

We have 279 nautical miles to go before we reach Hamilton Island and as we missed Bora Bora and Rarotonga, I’m very excited to get there!

I’ve spent so much time ashore walking and exploring that I’m now craving a day at the beach. A day where I can go ashore and do nothing but swim and relax.

2nd March 2018

We’re docked in Brisbane today and where did I go? Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, of course!

I’ve always wanted to see a koala and today I got to see hundreds of them and hold one. I am so happy – another bucket list item ticked off my list.

I also got to feed kangaroos, spotted a lady taking a wombat for a walk (harness and lead) and jumped over a few lizards.

I didn’t see much of the city, but that’s OK, it’s not what I came here for.

Lone Pine was established in 1927 and has over 130 koalas. Because of their low energy diet, they need up to 20 hours of rest every day!

Most of them were asleep in their trees – I even spotted a mother cuddling her baby.

You must visit if you’re ever in Brisbane!

1st March 2018

We’re at sea today and it’s absolutely perfect! Sun, calm seas, a gentle breeze and the Australian coastline on our port side. This really is the life and I’m loving every second of it.

We’re heading for Brisbane, we have 216 nautical miles to go before we get there and I’ve already got my shuttle bus tickets for 08:30 tomorrow morning.

I’m really looking forward to this port because I’m going to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. I’ve always wanted to see a koala! I’ll overload you with pictures tomorrow.

Until then, I’m soaking up the sun and atmosphere onboard. The waiters are walking around with cocktails, they’ve just had the quiz in the Lido Lounge and I’m shortly going to devour a chicken kebab from the Poolside Grill.

What could be better?

28th February 2018

We’ve been docked in Sydney for the last day and a half and it has been amazing!

I got to see the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Rocks, Darling Harbour and so much more.

My favourite and most unique find was Bird Cage Alley on Angel Street. There are dozens of bird cages (empty) suspended in the air – it’s a unique piece of art.

I also went to the famous Bondi Beach, which was smaller than I expected, but well worth visiting. There’s so much to see and do here, you couldn’t possibly do it all in two days.

We sail soon for Brisbane but we have a day at sea before we get there.

26th February 2018

It’s wild out there today! Force 9 with rough seas. I went to sleep on a ship and woke up in a washing machine in the Tasman Sea. I love rough seas so for me this is a lot of fun! I’m sure a few others would disagree. It never feels quite as bad until you try walking around… then your sea legs kick in.

We’re 230 nautical miles from Sydney, expecting to be alongside by 06:30 tomorrow morning.

Once we’ve cleared immigration I’m going to explore everything!

25th February 2018

We’re on sea day number two now and it’s a bit choppy out there!

We’ve force 7 winds and moderate seas, and because of it, the pool has a mind of its own!

It’s so relaxing to watch!

24th February 2018

We’re back at sea today, heading for Sydney.

I am so excited to put my feet on Australian soil! I’ve never been before and never thought I would ever go but here I am, only two days away! I’m going to see and do as much as possible.

We’ve sailed 294 nautical miles since leaving Bay of Islands and have another 870 nautical miles to go before we arrive at the White Bay terminal in Sydney.

23rd February 2018

Black Watch was at anchor yesterday in Bay of Islands and it was a beautiful day!

We were greeted by what seemed like a million dolphins – a great way to start the day.

The tender service was very smooth and we were ashore in 20 minutes.

We stopped at the local arts and craft market, found a lovely shop filled to the brim with beautiful clothes, had lunch and picked shells from the beach.

It was a perfect day and after the hustle and bustle of Auckland, a nice way to just take a slower pace and relax.

20th February 2018

We’re docked in Auckland today and will be here until late tomorrow evening (Thursday).

I got soaked this morning but the rain soon cleared and it’s been warm and sunny all afternoon.

I walked around and did a bit of shopping, stopped for a quick lunch and then took myself off to the Sky Tower. I’m terrified of heights, so to do it took a lot of effort. It was worth it though. The views are fantastic!

Here are some quick facts:
– It took two years and nine months to build, at a cost of NZ$85 million.
– It’s 328 metres high
– Has 1,267 stairs from the base to the Sky Deck
– I went to two levels: Sky Deck at 722 feet and the Main Observation Level at 610 feet. The entrance cost is NZ$29pp which is approx £15.

19th February 2018

More sun and heat at sea today, it’s perfect! Even the sea temperature is 23°C.

We’re due in Auckland at 10am tomorrow morning and I can’t wait to explore and do some shopping. We have 247 nautical miles to go.

I bought an Alpaca in Callao, Peru and she’s beautiful, but I felt like she was missing something, so a lovely lady named Yvonne onboard made her some leg warmers. Doesn’t she look great!? I’m going to try and find some bells for her at some point.

18th February 2018

We’re now 26 miles east of the International Date Line– so it’s Sunday in the UK but Monday for us on Black Watch.

We’re now going to arrive in Auckland at 08:30 on Wednesday morning (Tuesday for you) and we’ll be there for two days. Everyone is happy about the new arrival time and longer call.

17th February 2018

We’ve sailed 1,108 nautical miles since leaving Tahiti and we have 1,064 nautical miles to go to Auckland.

We’re currently 570 miles south east of Tonga.

We’ve sailed 12,821 nautical miles since leaving Southampton on 5th January and our half way point of the cruise is 26th February. It’s Saturday today but when we wake up tomorrow it will be Monday, 19th February.

16th February 2018

We’ve got beautiful sunshine today, finally, but I’m still yet to spot a dolphin! Our ETA is late Wednesday evening into Auckland – it was originally Tuesday morning, so another unexpected overnight in port.

We will also cross the International Date Line in the coming days, meaning we lose an entire day and go from being 11 hours behind the UK to several hours and a day ahead.

One of the things I love most about cruising is meeting new people from all over the world. On the ship, there are people from England, America, Greece, Philippines, Spain, Indonesia, Belgium, Poland, Croatia, Serbia, Chile, India, Wales, Scotland, Thailand, Holland, South Africa, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden – and I’ve probably still missed a few off that list.

The more you travel, the more you learn and the world becomes a better place. I wish everyone could travel.

15th February 2018

We’ve sailed 303 nautical miles at 16.8 knots since leaving Tahiti and we have over 8,000 nautical miles to go before we reach Auckland.

We have rough seas and a very grey and damp sky, but it’s still incredibly humid outside.

The category 4 cyclone (Gita) that has disrupted our itinerary is currently over open water, but is expected to arrive in New Zealand as early as Monday night. The Captain is monitoring the storms movement, so we will see what happens.

It’s curry today for lunch – I do like a good curry! There’s butter chicken, beef madras, curried fish, onion bhajis, vegetable samosas and much more. Delicious!

14th February 2018

We arrived in Papeete a day earlier than planned to avoid bad weather and we’re still here. We sail at 5:30PM but unfortunately we won’t be going to Bora Bora or Rarotonga. Both ports were cancelled because of bad weather.

We’ll instead spend six days at sea and head straight for Auckland. The weather here has been grim, but the local market is amazing! Very expensive but a nice place.

13th February 2018

The weather outside is still grim, but we’re nearing the shores of Tahiti. We have 127 nautical miles to go and we will arrive into Papeete at approx 9pm. It should have been earlier but we’ve had to slow down because of the sea conditions.

I have a jeep tour booked for tomorrow morning, so I’m hoping the weather improves a little bit otherwise it’s going to be a soggy day in Tahiti.

We’ve just passed a volcanic island called Mehetia, it’s a very young active stratovolcano and in 1981, the island was the centre of earthquakes. Its last eruption is unknown.

11th February 2018

We have 484 nautical miles to go to Papeete. We’re having quite rough weather at the minute, so we’re going to arrive in Papeete on Monday evening instead of Tuesday morning, to shelter from the weather.

There’s a category 2 storm over Fiji and Tonga at the moment, a cyclone named Gita, so our Captain has said he is monitoring the storm but it hopefully shouldn’t affect us. We will see what the following days bring.

10th February 2018

We have another glorious sea day today.

The sun is hot (it’s 28˚C but feels more like 35), there’s zero breeze and the sea is very calm, almost pond like.

We’ve sailed 12,342 nautical miles now since leaving Easter Island we have 1,000 nautical miles to go before we reach Tahiti. It’s raining there at the moment, so I’m keeping fingers and toes crossed that it stops before we get there!

I’ve been on the ship for five weeks now, but it doesn’t feel that long. I’m worried that the days are going to start flying by.

9th February 2018

We’re onto sea day number three as we make our way to Tahiti, but what a treat we’ve had!

We sailed by Pitcairn Island and locals came aboard to sell their arts and crafts – we also got passport stamps for $10.

Pitcairn is the least populous national jurisdiction in the world. I don’t know the exact number, but I’m told less than 55 people live there.

7th February 2018

We’re at sea today – day one of a six day stretch to Tahiti.

We’ve sailed 238 nautical miles since leaving Hanga Roa and we have 2,072 nautical miles to go to reach Papeete.

In a few days, we’ll sail by Pitcairn Island and I’m looking forward to that very much. I watched a documentary about the island before leaving and even though we don’t visit, I’m still excited to see it.

6th February 2018

Easter Island was INCREDIBLE!

I’ve never been to such an interesting place. We visited the Rapa Nui National Park which is actually several separate sites including Orongo, Rano Raraku and Tongariki.

The Moai culture is so interesting. Did you know that the majority of the Moai statues are still buried deep beneath the ground? With the exception of those that have been put on a platform for all to see.

The Chilean people on Easter Island also consider themselves more Polynesian than Chilean, as you’d expect.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Easter Island, go!

5th February 2018

It’s another hot and sunny sea day for us today as we continue our journey to Easter Island. We’re approx. 200 miles away now.

The sea is so incredibly blue, I’ve never seen colour like it – I hope it’s a sign of what’s to come when we reach Papeete and Bora Bora.

I’m having lunch now at the Poolside Grill, it’s my favourite place for lunch snacks and although the fish and chips are always calling me, I’m having a grilled chicken kebab today, minus the chilli.

4th February 2018

And on sea day number four the sun finally came back out. We’re now 560 nautical miles from Hanga Roa and the sea is flat calm.

I’m sitting on Deck 7 enjoying the sun and admiring Jupiter. She watches over the ship and apparently some passengers on a previous cruise tried to dress her in a bikini.

Fred. Olsen Senior is still onboard and is busy rearranging the artwork on Deck 8. I bumped into him an hour ago and he was unwrapping two new pictures.

3rd February 2018

Today is another one at sea and the weather is still pretty grim, but any bad day at sea is still better than a bad day on land. Would you agree?

We’ve now sailed 1,117 nautical miles since leaving Peru and we have another 923 nautical miles to go before we reach Hanga Roa. We’re currently 1,300 nautical miles west of Chile.

I was told that this ship is haunted, so last night I went looking for the mysterious lady that sits in the red sofa on the starboard side, in the Lido Lounge on Deck 7. I didn’t see her, but a few others have, so I’ll keep you posted on that because I’m definitely going to go looking for her again!

My friend brought some of her ghost hunting equipment with her, so we’re getting a group together one night when the ship is quiet and we’re going to go looking for spirits!

(She’s supposed to sit in the red sofa on the right)

2nd February 2018

It’s back to sea for us as we head for Easter Island.

We have five sea days in total and we’ve sailed 710 nautical miles since leaving Paracas. We have another 1,332 nautical miles to go before we reach Hanga Roa. I’m really looking forward to that port!

The weather turned once we left Peru, it’s cloudy, cooler and we even had some rain this morning. I’m not complaining, my skin needed a break from the sun and the heat!

I found another picture onboard that I’ve added to my ‘love it’ collection, Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee. It’s not far from my cabin and it makes me happy to see the bright colours every morning.

31st January 2018

We’re in Paracas today and it’s a very small, but very nice, place.

I took a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands to see the birds, sea lions and penguins. It was amazing. I highly recommend but it’s much cheaper to do it on your own.

The smell is quite strong and you do run the risk of being pooped on by the birds – take a hat!

30th January 2018

Black Watch has been docked in Callao, Peru for the last two days and what an experience it has been!

Yesterday I took a reality tour with Haku Tours, visiting Lima and a shanty town in the mountain. It was a real eye-opening experience. We stopped at a local market to buy fruits and vegetables that we then gave to five families in the town, including an 84 year old lady who is one of the community elders. There’s no running water or electricity for most people up there, but they are happy and make the most of what they have.

Today, I walked around Miraflores, stopped to hydrate on Inca Kola (which I can’t stop drinking) and did a little shopping. Miraflores is a 45 minute shuttle ride from the port in Callao.

28th January 2018

It is another beautiful day at sea for Black Watch, her passengers and crew.

We’re heading for our next port, Callao. We’ve sailed 561 nautical miles since leaving Manta and we have another 218 to go.

I’ve been enjoying the sun on deck this morning, but I missed breakfast, so I’m heading to the restaurant soon to fill up.

When we reach Callao, we’ll be in port for 2 days, so that should be fun!

I have a tour tomorrow that takes in Lima and then the following day I’m heading for Miraflores.

27th January 2018

We crossed the Equator yesterday morning, but our port day meant that the Crossing of The Line Ceremony was delayed until today.

It was a lot of fun and the first time I’ve experienced it.

I’ve never seen so many people in the pool and the fish was kissed many, many times… it also ended up in the pool at one point!

26th January 2018

We crossed the equator and we’re now in Ecuador.

It’s so hot here!!!

25th January 2018

We’re back at sea today, in the Pacific Ocean – a first for me! Black Watch has sailed 18 hours since leaving the Panama Canal and we have 270 nautical miles to go before we reach our next port, Manta. We’re currently 115 nautical miles north west of Colombia.

We will be alongside in Manta just before 6am tomorrow morning and I’ll be using the shuttle bus service into the town. I was going to go to the market but according to the tours desk, it’s not on.

It’s pouring with rain outside, so I’ve spent most of this morning in the laundrette. I thought it would be busy, given the poor weather, but it was empty. Bonus!!

24th January 2018

We’re in the Panama Canal!

We’ve just exited the Gatun Locks and are now making our way through the lagoon to the next set.

We should finish our transit in approx. ten hours.

23rd January 2018

We’re currently 215 nautical miles east of Nicaragua and we’ve sailed 42 hours – 673 nautical miles since leaving Cozumel.

We have another 258 nautical miles to go before we reach the entrance to the Panama Canal. We should pick up our pilot at around 6:30am tomorrow and begin the transit at around 8am.

We have an all day transit – around 11 hours – and should exit the Miraflores locks at 18:20 and enter the Pacific.

It’s very windy today and we’ve got quite rough seas, but the humidity and heat are still quite high.

22nd January 2018

Black Watch is at sea today, we’ve got several sea days ahead, including the Panama Canal, before our next port, Manta.

The crew have been doing drills this morning and I’ve been enjoying the sun and sea breeze – we finally have unbroken sunshine!

We are currently 130 nautical miles northeast of Honduras and we’ve sailed 287 nautical miles since leaving Cozumel – 647 nautical miles to go until we reach the Panama Canal.

We will arrive at the canal on Wednesday morning with our transit starting at 8am. I can’t wait!

21st January 2018

Black Watch spent today in Cozumel and it was hot and humid. The sun didn’t shine all day, but it was nice when it did.

I did some shopping and had lunch ashore and I’m now back onboard.

We sail next for the Panama Canal – exciting!!

20th January 2018

Cuba was amazing! Such an interesting place. It should be on the bucket list of everyone!

We’re at sea now, heading for Cozumel.

18th January 2018

Black Watch is in the straits of Florida right now – we’re 38 nautical miles from Florida. It’s very breezy today on the open decks and quite cold.

We’ve sailed 1,023 nautical miles since leaving Bermuda and have 141 nautical miles to go before we reach Havana. Currently sailing at 10 knots. We should be alongside tomorrow morning by 8am.

Dinner last night in The Black Watch Room was superb! Since Fred. Olsen introduced the steak and seafood specialty restaurant to its fleet, I’ve been lucky enough to try them all and the food last night aboard Black Watch was the best I’ve had.

Charred scallops with snow peas to start, followed by a 10oz 35-day aged filet mignon with lobster tail and prawns. Everything was delicious, my meat cooked exactly to my liking. The additional charge is £20pp and it’s worth every penny.

17th January 2018

The weather is grim today, cold and wet, but we’re still on track for Havana. We’ve been sailing for 44 hours since we left St. George’s in Bermuda, we’ve covered 732 nautical miles at 16.6 knots and have 432 nautical miles to go before we reach Havana.

We’ll pass Florida at around 10pm tonight and if the sky has cleared by then, we may even see land! I’m dining in The Black Watch Room tonight and I can’t wait!

I’ll update you all on that tomorrow as we’re now five hours behind the UK. Right now, it’s time for lunch and this is the offering today.

16th January 2018

We sailed from Bermuda yesterday at 5pm and we’re now back at sea, heading for Cuba. We’ve sailed for 19 hours (310 nautical miles) at an average speed of 16knts since we left St George.

The Captain is sailing Black Watch at a faster speed than we need because tomorrow we’ll reach the straits of Florida, where the strong gulf currents will mean we have to slow down – sailing faster now keeps us on time for arrival in Havana at 8am on Friday morning.

I’m so excited to get there! I’ve got lots planned, as we should be in port overnight. At present, I’m sitting on the deck in the sun. Perfect! We’re now four hours behind the UK – five from tomorrow.

14th January 2018

Beautiful day at sea! I’m enjoying every warm ray that is coming my way.

12th January 2018

Black Watch is currently 938 nautical miles away from Bermuda, our next port of call, and we’re hoping to arrive on Sunday night, instead of Monday, as planned. The weather is slowly getting better, we still have rough seas but the sun is trying very hard to shine through the clouds.

I went along to the cocktail reception for World Cruise guests this morning. There are 365 people onboard that are sailing the entire 108-night voyage. It was nice to meet some of the senior officers and mix and mingle with my fellow “worldies” – we even had entertainment from some of the bar staff!

Everything so far has been very good. I can’t fault anything! The food is delicious, the crew are fantastic and I’m enjoying all the new experiences that come with a World Cruise. I’ll update you all again very soon!

Images from the World Cruise Cocktail Party:

World Cruise Entertainment
World Cruise Entertainment
World Cruise Entertainment

11th January 2018

We’ve been at sea 43 hours since leaving Ponta Delgada and we’re sailing at an average speed of 16 knots. Black Watch has 1310 nautical miles to go before reaching St George in Bermuda. We’re passing the last low pressure front and experiencing gusts of up to 35 knots, so some of the outer decks are closed, but passengers are enjoying the sun in areas that are sheltered.

Today, I’ve been writing and managed a whopping 13 correct questions out of 20 in the morning quiz – only because my team mates know EVERYTHING! If I’d played on my own, I would have scored 4 at the very most!

The food onboard so far has been delicious. I’ve been in scallop and prawn heaven!!

Black Watch onboard food
Black Watch onboard food

10th January 2018

Our call to Horta today was cancelled due to strong winds, so Black Watch is currently 250 nautical miles south of Santa Cruz in the Azores, having sailed 287 nautical miles since leaving Ponta Delgada yesterday, at an average speed of 16.5knts. We have 1996 nautical miles left to go until we reach Bermuda. The outside air temperature is slowly rising, it’s 18 Degrees Celsius today.

9th January 2018

In Ponta Delgada today and visited Furnas. Locals can cook stew in pots underground for 6 hours. The stew contains chicken, pork, beef and vegetables. This is a local restaurant owner taking his pots to then serve in his restaurant.
18:29 – Horta (Azores) tomorrow has been cancelled. We’re heading straight for Bermuda to avoid the worst of the storms.

The natural sulphur springs with boiling water – around 98 Degrees.

Ponta Delgado Furnas
Ponta Delgado Furnas
Ponta Delgado Furnas Information

8th January 2018

13:04 – Black Watch is currently 232 nautical miles north east of San Miguel in Azores. We’ve sailed 1082 nautical miles since leaving Southampton and we should be alongside in Ponta Delgada at 10:30AM tomorrow morning – ahead of schedule. Currently sailing at 12.5knts. More importantly, all pools will be filled tomorrow!
On deck Monday 8th January 2018

7th January 2018

10:03 – At sea today. Surrounded by low pressure.
13:06 – We have sailed 672 nautical miles since leaving southampton. Currently at 16.5knts – half way to ponta Delgarda with 673 nm to go.
Deck Sunday 7th January 2018
On deck Sunday 7th January 2018

6th January 2018

On board Fred.Olsen Cruise Line’s Black Watch.

Steak and seafood specialty restaurant.
Steak and seafood specialty restaurant.
The Black Watch Room
The Black Watch Room
At Sea
At Sea
Afternoon activity schedule
Afternoon activity schedule

11:02 – Our current location. It’s quite choppy today but passengers are enjoying it and getting ready for the morning quiz.

16:13 – Since leaving Southampton until noon today we’ve sailed 242 nautical miles.

Our location

5th January 2018

On board Fred.Olsen Cruise Line’s Black Watch.

On board Fred.Olsen Cruise Line's Black Watch
On board Fred.Olsen Cruise Line's Black Watch

4th of January 2018

You’re going to be hearing a lot from me over the coming months, so I thought I should take a moment to introduce myself.

Hello! I’m Danielle, a cruise blogger better known to my readers as Cruise Miss. I started blogging in 2012 and since then, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time at sea. I’ve visited some fascinating places and spent time aboard some stunning ships, but I’m about to begin a journey that even now, I still can’t quite believe is happening.

Tomorrow morning, I will leave my home in Newcastle and make my way to Southampton, where I’ll be joining Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ ‘Black Watch’ for her 108-night WORLD CRUISE. During the sailing, Black Watch will visit more than 20 countries on six continents and offer destinations that I thought I’d only ever dream of, including Cuba, Bora Bora, Hamilton Island, Singapore, Yangon and India.

As this is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I want to share it with as many people as possible, so I’m going to take you with me, virtually. Throughout the cruise, I’ll be sharing pictures, videos and daily updates on where the ship is, what has been happening onboard, what I have been doing ashore and most importantly, whether I managed to win a quiz! You can follow me via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with World of Cruising and of course, via Cruise Miss.

Danielle Fear - Cruise Miss

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