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Joan's emails from Brilliance of the Seas

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Joan's emails from Brilliance of the Seas

Postby tobysgranny » 12 Sep 2015 11:53

BRILLIANCE OF THE SEAS - HARWICH TO BOSTON 3-09-15

As it is quite a long way from Plymouth to Harwich we decided to break our journey so we booked a DeVere Hotel in Denham near London. We set off around 10.00 am from the hotel and arrived at the port between 11and 12 o'clock. We filled up the car at Morrisons just by the port entrance and as we had a hired car we pulled in and dropped me and the luggage off while Richard took the car to the depot which was just next to the ship. A lovely little man took our luggage and after dropping it in the container then took me across to the terminal building caring my hand luggage and deposited me on a chair to wait for Richard.

Check-in took literally minutes and before we knew it we were on the ship.

We had booked a D1 balcony cabin on Deck 9 which turned out to be halfway between both sets of lifts. We gave sailed on The Brilliance twice before so we knew what to expect. I must admit the cabin was slightly larger than I remember but I had forgotten how small the bathroom was. No nice glass door to the shower but back to the old curtain. Still not the end of the world!

We went straight to the buffet for lunch after which we went down to The Shore Excursions desk to book a tour in LeHavre for the next day to Hornfleur and Deauville as we had been unable to do so online. Whilst we were in the queue we spotted a couple we have cruised with several times before so we arranged to meet up with them later. Lovely surprise! After that we went back to the cabin for a rest before lifeboat drill. This took the ages as usual you have to wait for the inevitable latecomers. When we got back to the cabin our luggage arrived at the same time so we unpacked then had a rest before getting ready for drinkies and dinner.

We had booked Chops online at home and were given a time of 9 PM. When we got down there the place was empty and we were last. We told them about being given that time and the Maître De said don't take any notice and just to turn up when we wanted to and they would fit us in another time.

As usual we had lovely steaks but I was so tired by this time I wasn't really hungry, but I made a valiant attempt at clearing my plate and failed.

As we were going over to Le Havre we had to put our clocks forward an hour thus losing an hour's sleep.

LE HAVRE. Friday 3rd September, 2015. - Day 2

The tour we wanted to do appeared to be fully booked when we tried from home but when we got on the ship we were able to book it. The tour included Hornfleur and Deauville and would take 7 hours. Strangely enough it cost the same as a four hour tour to Hornfleur?

We had a very good tour guide. We went first of all to Hornfleur and did a walking tour with guide which was very good . We had lots of time to take pictures along the way. Afterwards we had two hours to do our own thing giving us plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely meal in a lovely French Restaurant. I had my favourite Moules and Frites. Delicious!

Hornfleur is absolutely charming with lovely buildings set around the harbour and a beautiful 15th century wooden cathedral. It is a must to return to.

After meeting back at the coach we proceeded to Deauville and enjoyed another walking tour with our guide before having some time again to do our own thing.

There was a film festival taking place so the place was buzzing and everyone was waiting around for Kinnau Reeves (I don't know how to spell his name)who was having his name on one of the beach huts. I didn't see him but others did. I probably wouldn't have recognised him if I saw him anyway.

Another beautiful town and another must return to!

As it was quite a long day we had a quick shower and met up with our friends and had dinner in the MDR.

PORTLAND, DORSET. Saturday 5th September, 2015'. Day 3

Never having been to Portland I was not quite sure what to expect. We did not realise the shuttle bus (free) actually took us to Weymouth. We had never been to Weymouth either so we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived to find a Waterfest along the harbour taking place. There was all sorts going on and we watched a gig race and listen to some singers singing sea shanties. We even sat on a bench on the promenade enjoying the sun for half an hour before stopping off at the harbour for fish and chips on the way back to the shuttle. We had a lovely time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

COBH, IRELAND Sunday 6th September, 2015. Day 5

We booked a tour which took us through the very lovely Irish countryside along the river bank to Kinsale, a lovely little place on the coast along from Cobh. Once again the sun was shining and it was a lovely day.

We had a wander around and ended up in the local hotel where we had a lovely sandwich for lunch. I had an Irish coffee and Richard had a pint of the 'black stuff'. The coach driver told him not to have Guinness but have Murphys which is brewed in Cork. It went down a treat!

I couldn't resist a little hand knitted Aran sweater for Harrison.

Once again we had a lovely tour and once again we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

When we got back to the ship we were entertained by a troupe of young Irish dancers. Who were marvellous and very talented. The lady who takes the troupe's Mother was there and she was in her 80's and had started the troupe back in the 50's. She invited members of the audience to go on the stage and dance with the youngsters. It was great fun.

In the evening we had dinner in Giovanni's Table which was excellent.

To be continued...

Sent from Joan's iPad
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Joan's emails from Brilliance of the Seas

Postby Dave » 12 Sep 2015 12:00

Thanks for that Joan. Honfleur was the first port of call on our very first cruise, and we went to Deauville too. We also visited Le Havre this year and were very impressed. It's a lovely area and we're going there next summer to see more.

I look forward to your next instalment. :D
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Joan's emails from Brilliance of the Seas

Postby judgegeoff » 12 Sep 2015 12:34

Thanks for sharing your cruise experience with us Joan, it sounds like you are having a wonderful time. :D
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Postby grannyM » 12 Sep 2015 12:35

Thank you Joan. I enjoyed reading about the first few days of your cruise. :D
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Postby Gillzajoker » 12 Sep 2015 14:30

Thanks, Joan - good start to what I hope are many more.
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Re: Joan's emails from Brilliance of the Seas

Postby Hannah » 12 Sep 2015 14:36

Pleased to hear all is going well. We to enjoyed Honfleur, I assume the old church was the same we saw with loads of church bells. Enjoy the rest of your trip.
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Joan's emails from Brilliance of the Seas

Postby octocruiser » 12 Sep 2015 21:22

Enjoying the account Joan.

We have missed getting to Honfleur but hope to get to there soon as it should be available from each of our next two cruises. The only time we actually berthed in Honfleur we went to Monet's Garden which was a full day and we really did not even get a glimpse of Honfleur itself which was disappointing.

Cheers Kath
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Postby Mungo » 13 Sep 2015 10:44

Honfleur is lovely. :D

Thanks for the emails!
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Joan's emails from Brilliance of the Seas

Postby tobysgranny » 13 Sep 2015 13:18

BRILLIANCE OF THE SEAS Monday 7th September, 2015

Today was our first sea day so we spent the day relaxing mostly and reading. Once again there is a Choir on board and today we had our first rehearsal. The choir was taken by some of the singers on the ship. There are some beautiful singers and we completed our first piece of music a Canon Doña Nobis Pacem. Which sounded wonderful.

Spent the rest of the day relaxing before dinner again in the MDR with our friends.

Tuesday 11th September.

This morning we arrived in Klaksvik in the Faroe aisles. We have been here before so we didn't do a tour. We took the shuttle (free) which dropped us on the edge of town. It is not a very big town with very few shops. We had a look in the shops selling hand knitted jumpers etc., but they were very, very expensive.

We then made our way around to the other side of the harbour and found the church. It was very simple and beautiful inside made all the more special by a very large canvas mural behind the alter and a boat in the roof. The boat had been used by the very first minister to visit the various island which were included in his parish. Beautiful! The church was Lutheran which is the religion followed by most if the Islanders. There was a man there who explained the history of the church which we all found very interesting. He told us to go downstairs before we left as there were these 10 large handmade and painted plaques depicting the life of Jesus. They had been made by using small blocks of wood built on top of one another and painted. They were quite crude up close but beautiful when looked at from across the room. I'm so glad we didn't miss this. Hopefully I will have some pictures later

Another sea day tomorrow before arriving in Reykjavik on Thursday.

We spent Wednesday relaxing and once again had another choir practice. Today we rehearsed The Sound of Music. It was fairly complex and I found it quite difficult. This choir is definitely a notch up on anything I've ever done before, but it sounds good I think.

Thursday 10th September.

We arrived in Reykjavik around lunch time and as we have been here before we decided not to do a tour but opted to do the HOHO bus as we didn't get a chance to see the town on our previous visit.

Our friends joined us and we did the whole tour around with intention of getting off in the town on the second circuit. This we did and had a lovely walk up the Main Street stopping to look in the various shops selling all sorts of interesting things. We stopped for a lovely coffee and a piece of cake before making our way back to the bus to go back around which is just as well as I had fallen asleep first time around and missed most of it.

The bus dropped us back at the ship and were surprised to see Aida Diva had just docked behind us.

Another enjoyable evening with our friends having dinner in the MDR and finishing off once again in the pub listening the man with his guitar. This becoming a regular thing. I'm sure he thinks when he sees us, "Oh no they're here again".

Friday 11th September.

As we didn't get off at the Church on the Hill the day before Richard and decided to do this. Our HOHO bus tickets lasted for 24 hours.

On the way to the Church our driver went over a speed bump and came down with a terrific crash so we crawled all the way up to the top of the hill when she decided she couldn't go any further do as the undercarriage was rubbing against the wheel so she had to call for another bus.

We met our friends who were getting on the bus we got off and they told us if we wanted to see the church we had better hurry as it was closing at 11.30 am for a funeral. We had enough time to have a look around and were treated to a beautiful singer rehearsing for the funeral. It felt so bit strange as the coffin was already in there. Once again this was a Lutheran church and was fairly stark inside but had the most incredible organ that has over 5,000 pipes. The money for the organ was raised by people sponsoring the pipes. We didn't hear it as the singer was accompanied by a pianist.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the church and afterwards decided to walk back down the hill into town, once again stopping for a lovely cup of coffee in a book shop. (A bit like Costa in Waterstones.)

At the bottom of town we decided to wait for the bus again to get back to the ship as the shuttle was £8 return and we didn't have a ticket. This was a shuttle laid on by the town and not Royal Caribbean. So, once again we went round the circuit for the third time, but noticing things we had missed before.

We had been incredibly lucky with the weather during our port visits as it was mostly sunny and dry. When we arrived in Reykjavik the weather was horrendous with horizontal rain with a very cold wind but fortunately it stopped by the time we had lunch and stayed fine for the rest of the time while we were out, even if it was a little cold in the wind.

Once again we spent a pleasant evening with drinkies in the Concierge Lounge followed by dinner in the MDR and a nightcap in the pub. This time the singer sang my favourite Jimmy Buffet song as soon as we walked in which I thought was lovely. All the others just groaned! The singer thinks it strange that someone from Scotland should like Jimmy Buffet and has nicknamed him Jimmy MacBuffet.

To be continued!

Sent from Joan's iPad
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Joan's emails from Brilliance of the Seas

Postby tobysgranny » 13 Sep 2015 17:12

Our new friends in Iceland:

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(There was a problem with the photo so I - Dave - fixed it - and moved it to this topic! ;) )
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