Surprise Before Mum’s Birthday

Shortly before my mother’s 92nd birthday, I received an email in Germany asking if I could possibly fill in a few days earlier for the planned ship’s doctor assignment at the end of October. When I agreed, I was told that I would receive the travel documents the next day. I assumed that “a few days” would mean something between three and six days and that I could fly home first after my mum’s birthday as planned. I actually wanted to spend a few more weeks on my island. However, this didn’t work out because, to my surprise, the flight ticket was for the day after my mum’s birthday. That was a month earlier than planned and so my holiday at home fell through. In a hurry, I had to buy a few things for a four-month trip through hot and humid tropical climate zones and later also for Antarctica, buy a second suitcase and complete my vaccinations, especially against influenza and the latest COVID-19 Omikron variant. So on 28 September, I flew from Düsseldorf via Madrid to Vigo in Galicia to my hotel near the port. The next morning, I saw the brand-new Scenic Eclipse II for the first time at breakfast.

Apart from a few detail improvements, the Scenic Eclipse II is designed and equipped in exactly the same way as the Scenic Eclipse. The procedures are also almost identical. The handover by the previous ship’s doctor therefore took very little time. He was then able to leave on the same day for the flight to Barcelona, where he had to take over from the ship’s doctor on the Scenic Eclipse.

In the evening we set off and reached Lisbon on 1 October in glorious weather.

Three days at sea followed in the direction of the Azores. The first stop was Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores on the largest island of São Miguel. We were just a 20-minute flight away from my home.

On 5 October, we made one last stop in Praia da Vitória on the Azores island of Terceira before setting off on our transatlantic voyage. I took the opportunity to go for a walk and do some last-minute shopping, especially as I’d never been to Terceira before.

Seven days at sea and a stormy North Atlantic lay ahead of us. We spent the days training and further education. Of course, we also had to look after some seasick people. Above all, we prepared for the inspections by the US Coast Guard and the US Public Health authorities, which were due to take place in Boston on 12 October, as expected.

From there, we travelled to Portland in the state of Maine. Our berth was right downtown, so it took us barely five minutes to walk from the ship into the city. The beautiful weather was perfect for a long walk.

We then left the USA temporarily for a trip to Bermuda. We were also able to dock in Hamilton, the capital there, with direct access to the city centre. The subtropical/tropical weather was very pleasant when one was not standing in the blazing sun.

We left late in the evening to sail to St George’s at the other end of Bermuda. The crew spent most of the next day on excursions to the beach. Tobacco Bay was a great place for music, cocktails and snacks. In the evening, it was time for dinner at the Whitehorse Restaurant. We set off again that night.

After four days at sea, we visited the USA again and docked in Miami for the first time. Miami is a global centre for the cruise industry. Every major cruise line has a representative office there, or even its headquarters. A special spectacle by the harbour fire brigade awaited us as we said goodbye.

This cruise ended on 23 October in Nassau, Bahamas, which means that previous guests are leaving, new guests are arriving and the crew is being partially replaced. Originally, I was supposed to join the ship there first. However, due to the need to jump in earlier, I had almost a month already behind me.

My insta journey so far...

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