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Balmoral to Mexifornia

Balmoral to Mexifornia

Postby Gillzajoker » 10 Feb 2019 12:45

Lovely pics., Hazel. Vaya con Dios! :D
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Balmoral to Mexifornia

Postby grannyM » 14 Feb 2019 09:26

Update from Hazel yesterday 13th February

Four days at sea to Mexico
Day one – my talk on San Francisco, one of the highlight ports of the voyage. Full house and even got a compliment from a US citizen about my accuracy so that was a relief.
After lunch, 20 minutes in the sun...too hot to stay any longer so I came inside and worked on my photos from Costa Rica.

Went to the gym rather than the Tea Dance! When we returned to our cabin, the port holes had been closed. This means rough seas ahead.
Evening entertainment was Lorraine Brown and then dancing followed by Karaoke (not me!). Treated myself to a Margarita cocktail and very good it was too.

Day 2 – the sea is rolling a bit but not too bad. This afternoon's deck event has been postponed however because there’s a lot of spray so we’d all get soaked.
Did my Los Angeles talk this morning. Finished with 10 seconds to spare before the Captain's noon announcement.
Day 3...sea is now calm and port holes opened so we can see out again. Did my 3rd USA talk so I have spoken about 12 of our 18 ports. I had to do the US ports early because the Port Agents need numbers for tours by today. Most places need this information 48 hours before we call, so why the U.S. needs 10 days, I have no idea!
As you will guess, there were dozens of questions from guests after the 3 US talks. We will have 3 days in San Francisco and 1 day in each of Los Angeles and San Diego. The challenges are that San Francisco is very hilly (maps look flat!) And Los Angeles is huge. It’s about 40 miles to Hollywood from our berth so the guests who planned to walk there got a shock!
The other thing in LA that is affecting our visit – The Oscars! We are there the day before the event so there are road closures and venue issues affecting our visit. On the plus side, it means that anyone who is anyone in the film industry will be in LA with us.....So that man who looks like George Clooney might just be him!!
Formal night tonight and a Crew Show....This is usually done at the end of a cruise, but as we are sailing for 62 days we are having two Crew Shows.

Day 4 of 4. No talks to give for a while now as I’m so far ahead on the itinerary so enjoying coffee in bed today.
Spent the day reading and getting some vitamin D. The delayed deck games took place today...quite a laugh.

At 5 the captain announced that, because of a small technical fault, we would arrive a couple of hours late in Puerto Vallarta...and we would be tendering rather than alongside.

Weds - Arrived in PV bay and dropped anchor at 10.30. We have overslept as our next door neighbour was loudly chatting to another guest entertainer until 4am!! Guest acts tend to be night-people often sleeping until noon. Their ship-neighbours are instructors and lecturers who usually work in a morning so have to be up at 8. We try to be quiet in a morning so as to not wake them. It’s a shame they can’t show us the same courtesy.

Anyway, rant over...on the plus side , I just looked out of the window and saw a whale.

I need to find WiFi today – my data package isn’t valid in Mexico. It worked in most of Central America and will in the USA so it seems odd that Mexico is not included. (Three network FYI)

It’s now 1pm and tendering is delayed because of the swell. At this rate, we will be lucky to get ashore, WiFi remains a dream.

Got ashore at 3pm so not much time here. Lovely place though.
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Balmoral to Mexifornia

Postby Gillzajoker » 14 Feb 2019 10:52

Very interesting and entertaining update, Hazel. Thanks to you and to Marie for posting it! :D
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Postby grannyM » 19 Feb 2019 10:56

Update from Hazel - 18th February

Loved the sail-in to San Diego.....dolphins and seals, military jets, warships and sails-ships. Beautiful, modern buildings making impressive skyline
Sail in San Diego.jpg
San Diego.jpg


Hello from San Diego....we are here unexpectedly early. Read on for the reason why.....(alert, it’s a long read!)

Weds: our technical fault has proved to be more than expected so we will head straight to the USA now. We will have extended time in San Diego so they can effect repairs. Tours will run to LA as we will not call there. Then we have the allotted days in San Fran but not on the dates we thought.

We will miss Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas now and have 4 sea days to San Diego. We will call at Mazatlan on our return journey but not CSL.

In effect it sounds a lot of changes (and the logistics behind the scenes rearranging everything are huge) but have the same time in the U.S. and miss only Cabo San Lucas.

It means we have Valentine's day at sea rather than in Mazatlan. Phil bought me a lovely bangle yesterday so I’m a happy bunny. It has also been changed to a formal night, with a Cupid Ball.

Guest acts and lecturers were due to change over in CSL, so they are staying on until San Diego. We have all been asked what we can give to fill these 4 sea days. I have offered 3 more talks (Grace Kelly, Eva Peron and Fridtjof Nansen). Grace fits the itinerary but the other two less so – however they are all good life stories.

Been thinking a lot about who to write about next. Frida Kahlo is an interesting character. I have included a short piece about her in my Acapulco talk so I will see if people enjoy the taster and consider making her a full 45 minutes.

Thurs: so we have now 4 sea days! The Senior Team are doing a Q&A session this morning.

The Q&A session was well managed and helped to quell many of the rumours flying around. Logistics are still being sorted – time differences between West Coast USA and UK don’t help. I believe staff at Olsen HQ in Ipswich are working late into the night.

Deck party in the sunshine with complimentary rum punch made lots of people happy! Valentine’s Evening was good fun too.

Fri: another glorious day in the Pacific – I can see land on the starboard side. It must be an island off Mexico. We are sailing on one engine so max 10 knots.
Saturday – last night’s show was Rosie Pennie. She is the singer in the band who play in the Lido (The late night venue on here). It was her first ever solo show in the main lounge and wow she was superb. A well deserved standing ovation. She’s only 22 and she needs to be spotted.

Tours team have done a mammoth job in sorting out tours for LA. We arrive in San Diego (weather permitting) later on Monday. Tours to LA will run Tue and we have Weds in San Diego, so much the same as originally planned although tours will be longer because of the distance to travel.
On the plus side, Hollywood will not be in shutdown for the Oscars (as we are there on a different day) and when we do get to San Francisco it will be the Grand Parade for the end of Chinese New Year Celebrations if anyone wants to see that.

Sunday, another hour back last night so I think we are now 8 hours behind the UK. Finished my book so went to the Library to get another. It looked like a plague of locusts had been through – barely a book left! I did manage to find a paperback that someone else had donated, or else I would have had to resort to “Everything you need to know about Bird Flu". It didn’t look as though it had been out for quite some time! I think some people must take a handful of books, and then return them en masse at the end of the cruise. It deprives other people of choice.

We are due to arrive in San Diego around 2pm. Hoping immigration is swift and we can get ashore by 5pm. My data package should work in the U.S. so hope I can post this update before disembarking.

If you read this far – thank you! #Balmoral #ilovemylife #portspeaker

Enjoyed our 4 mile walk around part of San Diego. Legs aching now. We have to be up at 6 tomorrow for our tour to Los Angeles. #Balmoral #HazelgoestoHollywood
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Balmoral to Mexifornia

Postby Gillzajoker » 19 Feb 2019 12:55

Wow, lots of happenings there! Enjoyed being kept up to date with your activities, thanks. :D
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Postby judgegeoff » 19 Feb 2019 14:21

Many thanks Marie for passing on Hazel's reports from her "Balmoral" cruise. :clap:

Whenever we are on a cruise and everything is running like clockwork and as planned it is easy to think that the Captain, his officers and all the crew have a very organised and orderly life. However, when things go wrong (and they will!), it always means really hard work for the whole ship's crew.

Over the years we have experienced disruptions to schedules caused by technical faults, strikes, hurricanes, a tsunami, medical evacuation and even a cargo ship on fire in a port (there were explosives aboard her!). In all cases the response by the crew was amazing and ensured that the effect on the passengers was minimised. Often it involved them in lots of extra work and even the chefs and waiters are not exempt - extra sea days means a lot more extra work for them.

A few years ago Chris and I were on two back to back cruises on the old "Voyager" (sadly shortly afterwards the 'Voyages of Discovery' Line went into liquidation). The first cruise was supposed to end in Piraeus (Athens), where most passengers would leave us and be replaced by new passengers. Unfortunately the Greek Air Traffic Controllers announced that they were going on strike and so there would be no flights in or out of Athens. Therefore the "Voyager" made full speed towards Istanbul where the current passengers would be flown home from and where the new passengers would be flown into. We had an extra sea day and the outgoing passengers would then be discharged in Istanbul for their revised flights home (a day later than planned) and the incoming passengers would arrive in Istanbul on their revised flights, also a day later than planned.

When I was later talking to one of the officers he told me that all the (off duty) officers and Entertainments staff had been up all night applying for Turkish Visas for all the incoming passengers - Greece had not required Visas for the vast majority of passengers, but Turkey did. Fortunately we already had Visas for Turkey as we had visited several Turkish ports, including Istanbul, on our first cruise. Very little if any of this extra work was visible to us passengers. The logistics of having to use a different port from the schedule (and in a different Country) must be horrendous - think of all the food and other items that are taken onboard before the next cruise. However, it didn't stop a few passengers complaining loudly! I thought that the Cruise Line and the ship's crew did an amazing job in very difficult circumstances. I did wonder how much this expensive exercise played in the winding up of the Cruise Line.

Most annoyingly, we later found out that the Greek Controllers had decided to withdraw their strike threat and so there was no need for all the changes, although the withdrawal was too late to stop the new revised schedule.

On a purely selfish note I was not disappointed by the change of itinerary, I would always prefer a day in Istanbul to a day in Athens!!!! :oops:
Geoff

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Balmoral to Mexifornia

Postby grannyM » 19 Feb 2019 20:02

Another update posted on FB in the last few hours - 19th January

In today's episode....Hazel goes to Hollywood.

It's 6.30am so a long day ahead. I'm very excited. Didn't sleep much as I was afraid of over-sleeping and also trying to decide what to wear!

Almost in LA. Just passing Disneyland...this photo is the opposite side of the road - snow on San Bernadino mountains

Almost in LA.jpg
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Balmoral to Mexifornia

Postby grannyM » 20 Feb 2019 10:20

MORE PHOTOS FROM LA & HOLLYWOOD

First stop at Olvera street....and Union Station
LA house.jpg
LA cross.jpg
LA church.jpg
Hollywood museum.jpg
Hollywood Hills.jpg
Hollywood Bown.jpg
Hollywood Star.jpg
Hollywood lookalike.jpg
Hollywood studio.jpg
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Postby Gillzajoker » 20 Feb 2019 11:23

Lovely photos, Hazel :D
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Re: Balmoral to Mexifornia

Postby Peka » 20 Feb 2019 12:27

Just catching up. sounds a fabulous trip of a lifetime, how lucky you are to have the opportunity, I bet your talks are packed out as usual! The questions from some folk canbe pretty out there, I think many people's brains go on holiday too when they are away, I certainly have my moments, though usually a thought I don't share because I then realise how stupid it is. :lol:

Hope the technical faults are all sorted I can only imagine the whole logistics of everything getting sorted behind the scenes, the only lucky(?) thing is it happened near place that it could be fixed. All the best for the rest of your adventure.
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