Cruising the Luzon Strait

Cruising the Luzon Strait

No, I hadn’t heard of it either.


We woke to bright sunshine and immediately opened out balcony door to let in the warm, fresh sea air.  That sent all the papers flying!  The two yellow health forms we need to complete for the Philippines Immigration people later today and the other bits and pieces which had accumulated on the table.


Breakfast time in our favourite spot.  The ship was still quiet as many decided to take the opportunity to have a lie in.


The pool deck was empty apart from a couple of die hard sun bathers.


We went to the library to collect today’s quiz sheet.


Then we went into Horizons Lounge to take a few photos of the new decor.


Some people didn’t have the chance for a lie in – on a ship like this there is always someone painting something somewhere and today was no exception.


By now, our housekeeper Derlen had completed her work and we returned to our suite, where we had things to do this morning.


I had a journal awaiting a catchup and my hero had some songs to learn.


But at 11 o’clock I had a note in my diary: a martini demonstration to go and watch.


Polina, the bartender, offered expert advice on mixing and serving martinis, though half way through the demonstration, I was called away to complete the health check.  One by one, everyone on the ship had to present themselves in the theatre and have their temperature checked as they completed the yellow forms.  Actually, all that happened is that the Filipino Health officials had a heat scanning camera which was focused on the door to the theatre, so there was no need to stop walking – just put the form into someone’s hand and all was done.  So, I was able to return to the Martini demonstration just in time for the tasting!


11 o’clock in the morning isn’t the best time to be drinking martinis and for some reason, Polina didn’t seem to understand “very small”, “a teaspoonful, just to taste£ or “enough”.  I didn’t try “just an elegant sufficiency”!   The chocolate martini was very good and the margarita martini fresh and rather too drinkable.  I imagine it would be far too easy to down a few of those, but would rather not think of the headache later!


Lunchtime then, and a table for two in the same location as we’d enjoyed breakfast.  We are utterly spoiled here by the most delightful staff who seem to be able to know exactly what we’d like before we know it ourselves.  It is a very special ship indeed and we love it.


Looking up, it seemed as though someone had been writing in the sky.


By now, the heat of the day, most had escaped into the shade for it was really hot out there.


We too came indoors until tea time, when there was a few (!) cupcakes on offer with tea and scones and clotted cream for those who were still hungry.


We were there for Trivia, of course, though today wasn’t our day and we didn’t match our previous performance.  Never mind, the tea was good and we had a fun time with our friends.


After a quick shower and change, we grabbed a glass each and, still wearing slippers, we went out into the corridor for the block party.  This is a great idea – the bell is rung to signal it’s time to open the suite door and head out, to where butlers and housekeepers are there with wine, canapes and friendly smiles.  Having introduced one another to the neighbours and anyone else standing there, the Captain and other senior officers come through the ship at breakneck speed shaking hands with every one.  The chatter went on for an hour or so by which time we were all feeling ready for dinner.  As always, we met some really charming people and plan to get together for lunch or dinner soon.

Winking smile

After an aperitif (another one   ) we headed for dinner in the restaurant, choosing to sit with our favourite team of waiters with whom we know we will have some fun.


The playful mood continues when Jane is asked what she’d like for dessert.  Her wish is fulfilled when a plate arrives, beautifully presented with a giggle by Maurice.  These gentlemen are so delightful and really do go the extra mile.


We are so full by the time the petits fours arrive that only one is eaten.  I’m not saying by whom!


Just in time for the show, then, and a nightcap in the theatre.


Another great performance all round, which we all enjoy, but we have an early start tomorrow and rather than sit chatting any longer, we call it a day and head upstairs to bed.


Chocolates, a newspaper, tomorrow’s Passages newsheet and some tickets for later in our cruise have been carefully placed on our bed by Derlen when she came in to close the curtains and turn the bed down.

It’s been a lovely day with just the right mix of peace and quiet, light hearted chatter and interesting conversation and of course, first class food and drink.  What’s even better is that tomorrow morning, we’ll wake up in a new city and will be able to get out there and explore it.

I think there will be a few excited people around here tomorrow, as many of the crew are Filipino and will be seeing their families for the first time in several months, too.

For now, then, goodnight from somewhere in the Luzon Strait!

Manila, old and new

Manila, old and new

A glimpse of Kaohsiung

A glimpse of Kaohsiung