As promised in my last blog of 22 june, here we go with a daily blog of the captain not on the bridge, but in the bar.
A number of years ago, my wife Lesley started working, summertime/part time, for a British Travel Company called Page and Moy. She did so, as with me doing Alaska in the summers, it was not much fun to be onboard. During the Alaska season, for a Captain it is either working or being in bed. The working hours are continuously broken up with Standbyâ€™s on the bridge, or extended hours on the bridge during fog. As you then as well have to run the ship, there is not much free time left and you try to catch as much sleep as you can, every moment that you can. So Lesley, who has been working on the cruise ships for over 30 years, decided to find herself a job, on a ship of course. As Holland America had discontinued the hostess job, which she used to do for the company a number of years ago, there was nothing in the company available that she liked, hence Page and Moy.
This company had started 17 years ago organising tours to motor crosses and the Grand Prixâ€™s for the British Public. They had slowly expanded into other fields including Ocean cruising, chartering Greek cruise ships for the summer season. The ship they currently use is the Ocean Majesty (see separate page for ships bio)and Lesley has worked on board as tour escort in the last few years and this year as future cruise executive. I do not mind this at all, on the contrary, I like it, as it gives me the chance to join her as a spouse, and to get ashore to see the sights in the ports that I visit with my own ship but not having the chance to step off the gangway. This is my 3rd cruise. First year was the Baltic where I finally saw the Hermitage and last year it was Norway, with full day tours into the interior, up and over the glaciers. This year it is Iceland and Greenland.
The funny thing is, is that the Veendam is doing partly the same cruise on its way back from Europe to Montreal. So I am going the same route as my ship is doing, I am just doing it from a different perspective.
Today I flew from Gatwick-London airport with a Page and Moy charter plane to Kevjlavik which is the airport for Reykjavik. Coming from the green pastures of England and Holland, where cows nearly graze on the tarmac of the runway, it was very different to see the area around the airport. It more or less resembled a lunar or marsian landscape. The ship was waiting in the cargo port of Reykjavik as the downtown berth was taken up with other cruise ships. The Ocean Majesty was parked under the bow of the AidaVita, one of the ships of Aida cruises, which are easily recognizable due to the eyes and the hot-reds lips painted on the bow. It must have been a bit disconcerting for those on the bridge of the Ocean Majesty to look all day at those lips, as with the AidaVita being so much bigger then the OM, the red lips where at bridge level. The Ocean Majesty is staying overnight in port and tomorrow the tours start to explore Iceland.