After dinner, we all gathered in the Tiree Lounge for after dinner drinks and announcements by the captain. Our captain for this trip was the ever charming and frequently hilarious Trevor Bailey. This was the first time Bill and I had Captain Bailey at the helm and, I must admit, he made quite an impression. The first thing he did was tell us that thanks to Hurricane Irma, which by that time I thought had become history, was going to affect our itinerary. Yes, you read that right... a hurricane that hit Florida had ripple effects up in the British Isles.
Originally, we were supposed to visit Islay, a beautiful island in Scotland, on the way to Northern Ireland. However, because of the waves expected to be caused by Irma, Captain Bailey decided we would go straight to Northern Ireland. Although it's hard to imagine a hurricane that struck my homeland was going to affect us in Scotland, I trust the captain's judgment, especially since I do have a tendency to hurl on cruise ships when things get too rough. We went straight to Larne, Northern Ireland, but not before we hung out in the bar and got to know the staff on duty... notably Sergei and Toby, who made sure we had plenty of tipples to sustain us.
That first night I also happened to get the results of the genetic test Bill and I did with 23 and Me. I got mine, that is. Bill's has to be redone because apparently they didn't have enough genetic material from his sample. Anyway, my results were not too surprising. I'm pretty much 100% white.
And yes, I am very British.
In a way, it was pretty cool to be reading my results on Hebridean Princess. In another way, I really wished I could be at home looking at them on my iMac, since there's so much information included and the ship's Internet isn't always reliable... although I will say that on this cruise, we had almost zero Internet issues whatsoever! I was even able to surf in the Internet in my cabin at the bottom of the ship, which has NEVER happened before. So I don't know if work has been done to improve the Internet or if our proximity to Northern Ireland made it better for us. In any case, it was a mixed blessing. I spend too much time online, but then, I practically live online.
Here is a shot of our stateroom, named "Loch Harport". It was on the opposite side of the ship our other cabins have been on. This is one of the "cheap" rooms, priced low because they are at the bottom of the ship and have no windows or portholes. They also only have a shower, while some of the posher rooms have bathtubs, although all bathrooms are outfitted with Molton Brown toiletries. Having been in all three "cheap" rooms, I have to say I think I like Loch Torridon the best... but next time we sail, I think we'll move up a deck or two.
This time, I believe our cabin steward was a guy. He was very good at figuring out when we were not in the room and always had it tidy for us. He also left our decanter of whisky in the room and kept it topped up, which was much appreciated. Yes... every room gets a small decanter of whisky, at least on the first night. ;-)
Anyway, it took all night to get to Larne. We woke to sunny skies and I got a few nice pictures.
Lovely rising sun...
Northern Irish coastline...
A memorial off the coast of Larne. Looks pretty phallic.
Pretty berries at breakfast our first morning. We had these every morning and they were so beautiful!
Once we were in Larne, we had a brief break to get out and walk to the town, such as it is. We had to be driven across the port in a car and I was immediately impressed by how very nice and friendly the folks at the port were. They gave us a very warm welcome to Northern Ireland and were kind enough to point out how to walk to the town closest to the port.
The cruise terminal.
I can't say I was overly impressed by Larne itself, although the people were very nice. Here are a few pictures of the place.
Just a few feet away from this sign, I found a used condom...
Sorry, but I believe in truth in advertising. At least the guy was practicing safe sex, right?
Typical Northern Irish staples at the Tesco!
This sign made me smile.
For some reason, those flowers smelled rather "assy".
That being said, Larne gave us access to a couple of attractions. We stayed docked at Larne for a couple of days, mainly so we could avoid very rough seas caused by Irma. After an incredible seafood buffet on Wednesday, we were off to Giant's Causeway, which I understand is "Game of Thrones" territory. I am not a "Game of Thrones" fan, but Giant's Causeway is a beautiful place. I will include pictures and a write up of our visit in my next post. For now, here are some pictures of the awesome cold seafood buffet, probably my favorite of all the lunches.
Every time I board the ship, the salmon is decorated in a different way.
David Indge, the fabulous purser doing what he does best!
Smoked salmon, shrimp, oysters, and smoked trout...
Salad and cold cuts...
I started with a little ham and split pea soup. I only ate half because I was so eager to get some of that fresh fish. I love seafood and miss it here in Germany.
Bill had a Spanish tortilla, which he really enjoyed.
This was a custard made with white wine... it was creamy and sinful.
And here is a stewed plum dessert for Bill. It was also delicious!
Stay tuned for part eight!
(Just noticed, this is my 900th post on this blog!)
(Just noticed, this is my 900th post on this blog!)