E301 - the first bit of the rest

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HK phooey
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E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by HK phooey » 13 Feb 2013, 12:07

After Madeira we had 5 sea days to enjoy before Antigua so we had a good chance to really explore the ships and see what was on offer. We discovered early on that the bunfight in the Plaza in the mornings was not for us so most mornings were to be found in the Adriatic being waited on and taking our time. I'm afraid that my resolution to have fresh fruit for breakfast every morning disappeared by day 2 and it was full English or the day's special after that. I must say that the kedgeree (Wednesday's I think) was not what I expected at all, it was more lumps of fish drowned in a curry sauce :sick: Our little chap discovered the burgers at the Horizon grill the day we embarked and had one for lunch almost every day after that (they are very good) so I can finally understand how Romig managed to scoff 38 of them on a 14 day cruise.
I think Oceana is a lovely ship but Oriana is still number 1 for me. The Crow's Nest on Oriana was one of my favourite places and there is no equivalent on Oceana sadly. Also, the Yacht and Compass just doesn't have that pubby feel that the Sportsman does and watching the footie in Winner's bar has all the atmosphere of a knitting circle at the WI. That said I did like Oceana a lot and the atrium is stunning with plenty of room for all the tat stalls. The gym looked good too but unfortunately after checking it out on day one I was unable to find it again.
As there were so many sea days on this cruise I decided to join in with some of the deck games. I had a go at the cricket but after a near miss decided to take up something where I'd have a better chance of keeping my front teeth and so joined in the deck quoits. From the first day the old quoiters were a lovely, welcoming bunch and I was actually quite good at it oo so started going twice a day.It was a lot of fun, firstly because there was a lot of banter with the other players and secondly because of 'the walkers'. Now, on Oceana there is no dedicated deck for the quoits and shuffleboard courts and they are located on the promenade deck. Despite a daily announcement in the Horizoon stating the times of these games, along with a request to keep the decks clear there was a hardcore of sternfaced 'I know my rights' types who insisted on marching round and round like bl**dy clockwork soldiers at the exact times the matches were being played so they could have a good old moan. I apologise profusely to anyone who had a toe accidently trodden on during their march but frankly, you were a pain in the a*se :crazy:
We also enjoyed the individual quiz held at 5.30 in the Yacht and Compass (especially if Matt was reading out the questions). I've heard a lot about the ENTS on this cruise and the cruise director in particular ( I think I saw him once or twice but it could have been a hologram) but the rest of his team were great. Kerry was a star and it's a shame for future cruisers that she has left to concentrate on her music. The two Donna's were full of fun too and as for Matt, well what a splendid young man. He threw himself wholeheartedly into any task he was given and made a lot of people smile - he's a bit gorgeous too.
By the time Sunday 12th Jan came round we were ready to get off and have a good look at Antigua. We were very much looking forward to visiting Nelson's Dockyard and Shirley Heights and, as usual, decided to DIY. This time we chose badly from the horde of drivers hawking their trips and tours. We explained exactly what we wnated, a leisurely walk around the dockyard, a trip up to Shirley Heights and then a couple of hours at a beach. Price and itinerary agreed we boarded the minibus along with a couple from the ship that wanted to do exactly the same as us. Well, after a lot of stops at tat stalls and 'viewing areas' we did arrive at Nelson's Dockyard. The driver then announced that we had 30 minutes to look around and disappeared. The Dockyard and Harbour are wonderful. It is the sort of place that you need to explore slowly and then sit down and drink in the sights and sounds. We reluctantly returned to the bus after 40 minutes to find the driver and the 3 American tourists with faces like smacked backsides because we'd kept them waiting. Shirley Heights - 5 minutes. The other 2 and a half hours of this unwanted tour were spent driving past shack after shack with the driver pretending he couldn't hear us asking when we would get to the beach. He finally announced that he was dropping the other passengers back at the port, picking up some more fares and then would drop us at a beach of his choice. We got off, 100 dollars poorer and with sore backs from bouncing over potholes for hours. A word of warning - do not use St John's tours. They are the biggest presence at the port which is why I persuaded Paul to pay what we had agreed as there was no way we'd have got past all his mates if we hadn't. It was very disappointing and Paul threw his new Antigua suncap away in protest :(

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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by Dancing Queen » 13 Feb 2013, 13:05

That's a real shame about Antigua HK but I do agree the taxi drivers directly outside as you exit the pier are very pushy and a law unto themselves, years ago we came across a very nice lady taxi driver ( I think she and her husband are independent as they are always much further along ) she is brilliant and whenever we are there we seek her out because we know we will always get what we ask for :D
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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by HK phooey » 13 Feb 2013, 13:06

Now you tell me! :roll:

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Debbie W
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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by Debbie W » 13 Feb 2013, 13:07

I really liked Nelson's dockyard when we were there too. Although we took a P&O tour and had the misfortune to be stuck with the most miserable, hatchet faced, child hating individuals we've ever come across, so we didn't have the best day in Anitgua either :(

Oh and the tour took us to the worst beach out of the 365 on the island. I'm desperate to visit Antigua again so that we can better experience what the island has to offer.

I completely agree with you about the Ents Team, we had the best Christmas Day with them in the Yacht & Compass :D !

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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by Dancing Queen » 13 Feb 2013, 13:12

HK phooey wrote:Now you tell me! :roll:
Sorry, I'll remind you next time when I might have remembered her name as well :roll:
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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by HK phooey » 13 Feb 2013, 13:15

Next time I go to the caribbean I'll be wearing a big hat that says 'NO, I DON'T WANT A SPECIAL PRICED TOUR, ANY OF YOUR TAT JEWELLERY, DRUGS OR MY HAIR BRAIDED SO PLEASE SOD OFF' :D

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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by Debbie W » 13 Feb 2013, 13:20

You forgot to mention the palm leaves weaved into some kind of animal for a ridiculous amount of $$, unless you didn't go to St Lucia?

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HK phooey
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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by HK phooey » 13 Feb 2013, 13:21

Bought the birds carved out of a coconut in St Lucia :oops:

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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by Romig1 » 13 Feb 2013, 13:22

HK phooey wrote:Bought the birds carved out of a coconut in St Lucia :oops:
I always wondered who (apart from Americans of course) were soft enough to but that tat! :D

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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by Debbie W » 13 Feb 2013, 13:25

HK phooey wrote:Bought the birds carved out of a coconut in St Lucia :oops:
We ended up buying an angel fish made out of palm leaves! Although to be fair, no actually scratch that, there is no excuse! :oops:

Shortly after this incident, I cut my leg open on some rocks beneath the shore line and Mark fished 2 old fools out of the sea who were drowning! A fun time was had by all! :lol:

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HK phooey
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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by HK phooey » 13 Feb 2013, 13:28

Brilliant Debs. Can we go on a cruise together? We'd best get a wheelchair accessible cabin though :D

R, my lovely daughter really wanted it and I couldn't say no :oops:

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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by Debbie W » 13 Feb 2013, 13:31

HK phooey wrote:Brilliant Debs. Can we go on a cruise together? We'd best get a wheelchair accessible cabin though :D

R, my lovely daughter really wanted it and I couldn't say no :oops:
We'd have to take Dot with us too. Can you imagine? The ship's Doc would be able to retire after that cruise! :lol:

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HK phooey
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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by HK phooey » 13 Feb 2013, 13:33

Only if she kept her feet covered :mrgreen:

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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by Debbie W » 13 Feb 2013, 13:34

Oh yeah I don''t deal too well with either vomit or puss..... :sick:

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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by Romig1 » 13 Feb 2013, 13:36

Debbie W wrote:Oh yeah I don''t deal too well with either vomit or puss..... :sick:
FGS, don't go with HK then!

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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by arrbee » 13 Feb 2013, 13:37

HK Phooey,
We're probably one of the" "pain in the a*ses" you refer to in your report as on a few occasions we found ourselves walking round the Promenade deck at the same time as deck games were taking place. I assure you we didn't do this deliberately but the games seemed to be scheduled mid-morning (after our late breakfast) and mid-afternoon (after our late lunch) and for us this was always an ideal time to walk.

I'm also very sorry but I think we may have to agree to disagree about one of the points you made - about the reminder published in the Horizon. We didn't think it said walking was banned, nor that the whole deck had to be kept clear when the games were taking place, but we thought were asked to keep the actual 'courts' clear of deck-chairs etc. There were notices on the wall by the courts saying somethin alon those lines. We always did this and kept away from the markings for the respective games but then a few players stood across the whole, admittedly narrow, deck to block the way. At the same time the quoits area on deck 14 was almost always empty. Of course the issue really is that games and promenading don't fit on the same deck and maybe P&O should give thi some attention. There were a lot of disagreemnts about it last year too and there's no easy answer.

On a different subject, we also DIYed in Antigua and used the local bus to Nelson's Dockyard and it was great and I'd be happy to give you further details, if you're interested, for future reference. I'd highly recommend this way of getting there and it was great to meet local people too.

Rhona

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HK phooey
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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by HK phooey » 13 Feb 2013, 14:28

Rhona,
I'm sure you weren't one of the 'pains in the a*se' unless you were tutting and muttering about us being 'bl**dy anti social' :lol: I didn't even know that there was a place to play quoits on deck 14 - if that's the case then the ENTS should just move the games up there surely! Of course Horizon didn't say walking was banned, but it did say please keep areas clear during these times. Getting people to move their deck chairs off the courts was another twice daily joy :shock:

I wish I'd known about the bus as we could have had a very different day! Oh well, next time. It would be great if you could put the details on the caribbean advice bit of the site for those still to go though :)

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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by qbman1 » 13 Feb 2013, 16:23

HK phooey wrote:Bought the birds carved out of a coconut in St Lucia :oops:
Bet they look lovely displayed alongside the Buddha keyrings !

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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by Manoverboard » 13 Feb 2013, 16:34

Still no mention about Tee Shirts ... most impressive :o

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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by qbman1 » 13 Feb 2013, 16:43

Maybe that will come in Episode 17 of this epistle !

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Re: E301 - the first bit of the rest

Post by arrbee » 13 Feb 2013, 18:01

HK phooey wrote:Rhona,
I'm sure you weren't one of the 'pains in the a*se' unless you were tutting and muttering about us being 'bl**dy anti social' :lol:
Certainly no tutting or muttering from us - ive and let live we say! Anyway we were too busy enjoying ourselves to join the moaners.

I've posted our transport arrangements in Antigua on the destinations board and will add to it with our other adventures!

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