Before we took the grandchildren to Lalandia, Mr Curmudgeon had in his words ‘found an expedition for us to go on’, as you are aware I am always worried when Mr Curmudgeon says something like that.
‘Okay’ I say, ‘what is it then’?
‘It is a cruise’ he piped up. I looked at him because we had always said we would never cruise again after our last P and O cruise where we did not really enjoy our life on the ocean wave. Having saw my expression he continued, ‘It is not like the last one, this one is more of an adventure into the Arctic Circle’, he proclaimed. ‘It is for 17 days, and it goes to northern Norway and northern Russia, it will be fantastic’ he says gleefully.
Having given me the details he looked expectantly for my nod, so he could book it, ‘it is really good value’ he says, to make me decide in its favour. Having agreed, we booked the holiday it is with Cruise and Maritime Voyages on their ship, the Marco Polo.
Arriving back from Lalandia on Friday, we give the grandchildren back and we have Saturday to prepare for our cruise! Sunday dawns bright and clear, and we start packing, luckily, we are taking different clothing on the cruise as I suspect it will be quite cool in the Arctic Circle and we will need our thermals.
Having packed and cleaned up, I do so hate coming back to an untidy house, we are now travelling to Tilbury docks. We take the DLR to Limehouse and catch the C2C train direct to Tilbury Town. It is quite a pleasant journey passing Lakeside shopping centre, going through Grays and finally reaching Tilbury, it doesn’t look to salubrious, no taxi rank so I phone for a taxi and we wait for it to arrive to take us to the London International Cruise Terminal.
When we arrive at the Cruise Terminal, our cases are taken from the taxi by a nice young man who then points us in the direction of where we need to go. Luckily for us, there are not many people waiting about, so having completed our medical questionnaire, we proceed to check in. Getting our shore passes, and then registering our passports we proceed on to the ship. I have got to say that the checking in process was excellent, and although the terminal building looked a bit run down on the outside, inside it was quite pleasant.
Having checked in, embarked (that is the correct word) and located our cabin, I was most surprised to find that our suitcases, were already there. This was quite unexpected as I thought it would be like P and O where we had to wait about 2 hours for our cases to arrive. Jose our cabin steward introduced himself and we all shook hands. Jose is from Goa and was very friendly and helpful explaining the way the cabin stewards worked. I cannot say I was too impressed with the cabin, it was small and had port holes rather than a window, but on the plus side it had good storage and we were able to stow away all our clothing successfully.
Jose had told us that lunch was being served in the Marco Polo restaurant, so we went aloft to find the way and eat a little before our dinner tonight in the Wardolf restaurant. After a spot of lunch, we wandered around the ship or is it boat, I always get confused, to locate everything.
The Marco Polo was built in the 1960’s so it is not one of the blocks of flats on sea type of cruise ship, it has more character and is all the better for it. Quite small in comparison with the P and O liner we went on, I immediately thought this will be okay, even at first glance the passengers seemed less precious and looked like a more diverse mix of people.
Eventually the ropes are released and the Marco Polo glides into the Thames Estuary and we are off on our great ‘expedition’.
Old Fogies Travels are the adventures of two elderly Londoners (The Old Fogies) as they explore their home town and travel around the world looking out for the strange, unusual and absurd.
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