Thursday, 9 February 2017

Dinner and Dublin

The ship is not full. After this mini-cruise, Boudicca will travel for a long journey around South America, and most of the passengers are staying on. The remaining travellers for South America will embark in Southampton. This means that there is only one sitting for dinner on our mini-cruise. We are sat with  table companions who are all staying on for the long cruise. They are exceedingly friendly and delightful people, and Chris and I are rather sorry that we have to leave the ship in Southampton and cannot join them in South America. Like many of the passengers, they have sailed with Fred many times.
For some unknown reason, I have taken no photos of the dining room...or our food. So you will just have to take my word for it. The tables are beautifully laid, and the food quality is very good, better I would say than on P&O, though there is not, of course, so much choice of eating venues. The menu selection is very varied, with additional regular healthy and traditional options and sugar free desserts.
The only 'eating' photo I have is of the buffet. You can have breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner there, and once you get used to where everything is, it is a pleasant alternative. The tables are set out well, and it feels more like a restaurant than a café...another thing which is better than P&O. You are not allowed to bring alcohol on board to drink in your cabin (some cruise lines do allow this), but the alcohol is reasonably priced. The all-inclusive option on a mini-cruise is expensive, but I think we would choose it for a longer cruise. Here is Chris in the buffet.

If you notice the little pipe from his shirt pocket, it is part of the insulin pump, which keeps him alive. He is not allowed through x-ray when we enter the ship, as the x ray wipes the memory on the pump. Security have rarely heard of an insulin pump, so he just says 'pace maker' and they let him go round!

We don't get to see the live music shows onboard.....they seem very popular, but we do enjoy the comedian and the regular quizzes.

Fortunately, the Irish Sea is kind to us, and, despite being on an upper deck, we have a reasonably calm crossing. Like many big cities our entry into Dublin could not be described as picturesque.

It is raining, but after a leisurely breakfast we catch the shuttle bus in to the centre of town. There we find a choice of three hop on hop off tourist buses, all reasonably priced with similar routes. We choose the green one, because it has a live commentary. The guide in green leads us past the red bus to our chosen vehicle.

The whole tour lasts over an hour and is well worth the six euros each discount price which we are offered. You can hop on and off as often as you want. Those passengers who did the Guiness Tour say it was very good, but we content ourselves with looking through the rain at the outside of the massive Guiness complex from the top floor of the bus.
 We stop off en route at the very attractive St Stephen's indoor shopping centre to use the toilets and buy a coffee.

And we finally return to our pick up point to catch the shuttle back to the ship. Fred Olsen can't be blamed for the ghastly weather, but we are disappointed by the frequency of the shuttle buses. We have to wait almost an hour in the pouring rain for a bus to arrive. This is the only time on the cruise that I hear the passengers moaning. Once finally on the bus, we have a good view of the harbour on our return.

We are too late for lunch, but we order a sandwich and coffee from room service. It is prompt and of good quality. So that's Dublin done! Our final day onboard will be a sea tomorrow's blog about Boudicca  will include a lot of photos of the ship.

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