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Transatlantic Cruise

This is my third transatlantic cruise and the second going from the US back to Europe.

I flew into Fort Lauderdale the day before, and the following morning I headed for the port early to see if I could get on the ship rather sharpish. Being a 4 star mariner, I was able to use the fast track lane which turned out to be the fast track to a holding pen where I sat with other bewildered 4 and 5 star mariners.

Luckily our captivity didn’t last too long. It did give me the chance to meet some eager cruisers. Holland America certainly attracts an older crowd. I spoke with Dale from Tampa. He later told me a sad story which I will impart in due course.

I was looking forward to this cruise as the itinerary allows me to cross off a few more places on le bucket list. The ship is the Nieuw Statendam and it goes all the way to Rotterdam, however I’m jumping ship the day before in Dover. They’ve already told me that I can’t get off, but I’ve also been told that I’m “not a prisoner” and if I want to get off with my bags, I can. I just need to tell someone. I haven’t decided who I’m going to tell yet. Maybe 94 year old Elsie.

Ukrainian Anastasia persuaded me to sign up for some “stuff” in the spa. I figure I needed to de stress. The gym is excellent, and I’m determined to lose a few pounds. I’ve resisted the lure of the cookies, all bread products, and the desserts, which generally look better than they taste.

We had two sea days before arriving in Bermuda, and on the first day we were treated to a partial eclipse.

I’m spending my time walking, gym-ming, eating healthy food at the buffet (not been to the main restaurant once), in the thermal suite, and of course, in the casino.

I was dismayed to learn that they have no magnets of the ship. I have a collection of all the ships I’ve sailed on and this is a new ship for me. I was told that they do have keychains, and I kindly informed Esmerelda that keychains don’t stick to my fridge.


I hadn’t been here for about 20 years and it was nice to revisit one of the loveliest islands I’ve ever been to. A stunning coastline, a rich history, and little in the way of squalor. Having said that, there were more homeless people than I was expecting, as well as people talking to themselves. And some that were being/doung both. Bermuda is only 21 mi.² and has the third highest per capita income in the world. It’s also the world’s centre for reinsurance.

I was one of the first off the boat and I purchased a one day travel pass, good for buses and ferries. I took a 20 minute ferry to Hamilton, which is the capital, and then taxied to Crystal Caves. The caves were discovered in 1907 by two thirteen year old boys trying to retrieve a lost cricket ball. They never found the ball, but they did find a sinkhole and returned a few days later with a long rope and lowered themselves 150ft into the cave until they reached the cool water below. It was a relatively small cave, but highly acceptable.

I bussed back to Hamilton and visited the “Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity”. Most, I thought. Holy wasn’t enough in the competitive world of religion.

The bus system in Bermuda is excellent, and all roads lead to and from Hamilton. Bus stops are marked with metal poles – pink poles go towards Hamilton; blue poles away from Hamilton. And every seat had a USB charging point. I took the number 7 bus to Warwick Long Bay which I recalled being spectacular – beautiful sand, aqua blue water and some rather impressive rock formations. After a few hours there I headed back to the ship as we had a relatively early departure. We could have had more time in Bermuda. Especially as we now have six days at sea until we reach Cobh in Ireland.

Bermuda was discovered in 1505 by Juan Bermudez, but it wasn’t inhabited by Europeans until the British arrived in 1609, and it officially became part of the Colony of Virginia in 1612. Bermuda has the title of shipwreck capital of the world due to the shallow reefs surrounding the islands. The “Sea Venture” was one such wreck in 1609. It was heading to Jamestown, Virginia as part of the Third Supply mission to the colony. The wreck of the Sea Venture is thought to have been the inspiration for Shakespeare’s, “The Tempest” written in 1611. One of the passengers was John Rolfe who went on to become a successful tobacco exporter, and also married Pocahontas.

Next stop Cobh, Ireland.

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