35 minute video of my visit to the Rock of Gibraltar.
11 minute video of the Sea Princess sailing away from Gibraltar.
32 minute video of the International Crew Show on the Sea Princess.
We arrived in Gibraltar, our last port in the Mediterranean, at 12:30 this afternoon. We had a nice scenic arrival as we sailed around both sides of the rock making our way to the dock. It was interesting watching the captain maneuver the ship through the many cargo ships which are anchored in the harbor.
We had five hours to spend in Gibraltar. This country of less than three square miles has a population of 28,000 people. The first thing we did was ride the cable car to the top of the rock.
Once on top there was a fantastic view of the rock and the Mediterranean. Unfortunately it was a hazy sunshine today and you could not see the coast of Africa which is 13 kilometers across the strait.
Our tour guide was very interesting. By far the best of the trip. She took us to all the scenic vistas around the rock, through the cave and through the tunnels built during various wars.
We walked all around the rock which is inhabited by hundreds of wild monkeys, Barbary Macaque. They sit on the stairs, they jump all over the tops of the taxi cabs, they wander everywhere. They warned us not to touch them because they do bite. But some people had them sitting of their shoulders feeding them.
This monkey is enjoying the view.
The airport is very interesting. The only runway in the world that has the sea at both ends of it. The road connecting Gibraltar with Spain crosses the runway and they have to close the road when a plane lands or takes off.
Below is a picture of the rock as we were sailing away.
After we got back to the ship we had a great British sail away. Since Gibraltar is part of the UK and since we are now sailing back to Southampton, where most people will end their cruise (not me). And since 95% of the people on this ship are British. We sailed away with patriotic British music and the Lido deck decorated with flags and such. And they were nice enough to let the few of us that weren't British join the party.
Tonight's show in the Princess Theater was different as well. It was a crew show where the members of the crew performed instead of the professional entertainers. The picture below was taken during the show. It is a cruise director Martyn Moss and a member of the crew.
We are now back in the Atlantic sailing around Spain and Portugal. This will take two days and then we will be back at Southampton on Saturday morning. This will be the end of the cruise for most of the folks, but I will be continuing on for another 14 days. I was hoping they would offer us folks staying on for the next cruise something to do in Southampton, but it doesn't look like they are. It was a very fun day.
10 minute video of the Captain's Farewell Reception and Champagne Waterfall.
11 minute video of my second sail away from Southampton, England on the Sea Princess.
9 minute video of the Captain's Welcome Reception on board the Sea Princess.
Had left Gibraltar on Wednesday last time we talked. Thursday was the first of two sea days making our way back to England. It was a sunny and warm day and I was able to enjoy a lot of time relaxing on the open decks. Probably my last chance to do so since we are heading north. In the evening was our third formal night and the Captain's farewell cocktail party complete with champaign waterfall.
As expected Friday was cool and windy so I entertained myself with activities inside the ship.
We arrived back in Southampton at 7:15 Saturday morning. I tried not to laugh at all those poor folks that had to leave the ship as their vacation was over. As for myself, this is the halfway point. For about an hour I pretty much had the whole ship to myself before the newbies started coming on board.
It was a nice sunny day in Southampton after the morning fog cleared. I took a cab to town after the morning exodus of passengers was complete. I didn't have any plans so I had the driver drop me at the shopping mall in the center of town. It was Saturday morning and this place was packed. It was nice being out and about without having to carry around cameras or follow after a tour guide. I walked around a while, got in my morning exercise. Then I went to see a movie. There was not a very good selection for my time frame. I saw The Mummy. They showed twenty minutes of short 30 second commercials at the films starting time. I paid 8 pounds (about $16 US) to sit through this? Then of course previews after that. I figure with popcorn and the lousy exchange rate this so-so movie cost me over $30.
I did a little shopping after the flick and then headed back to the ship. It was an interesting sail away at 5:00. There were three Princess ships all leaving at the same time. So this company decided it would be a good time to take some publicity shots. So we had a parade out of port, all three ships sounding their whistles as the passengers waved at the passengers on the other ships. The picture below is the Grand Princess as she passed us.
A very dramatic change of demographics for this cruise compared to the last. Last cruise we had over 250 kids, this cruise we have 3. Last cruise was 95% Brits, this cruise about 75% American and 20% Canadian. And the age of this new group is much older than the last. Very few people younger than me and most much older. They have even changed the show times on this cruise. They moved them up. I guess they figure the old crowd can't stay up too late.
Today was another sea day. We spent the day heading north through the North Sea. It was a nice day, sunny and temps in the 60s. The ship is much quieter with this old group. Went to the Captain's welcome cocktail party tonight. This was packed with people last cruise. Very few from this group came.
First port of the second half tomorrow and that will be my next email.
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