|Breathtaking Scottish Coastline near Durness|
|Current location of the Ocean Princess|
As mentioned before, sadly there aren't any enrichment lectures on this short voyage so we need to find other ways to amuse ourselves. There is a Dublin port talk that we will attend as the ship will arrive there tomorrow. Neither of us have been to Dublin before and we are looking forward it. I did minimal research on this port and mostly relied on Tripadvisor.
I took a few more photos from the balcony before heading down to the Lido for breakfast.
|Scotland further down the coast|
We walked up the two sets of stairs to the Lido for our morning sustenance. Although I am not a fan of breakfast I am enjoying it on the Ocean Princess. It has more of a European sensibility with a variety of cheeses, some cured meats and succulent smoked salmon.
|Yummy bagel, cheese, ham, pear, white fish, raspberry jam and prunes|
|Cafe au Lait|
|Overcast skies in Scotland|
|Nationality of Passengers aboard Ocean Princess August 22 - 30, 2013|
Before departing the reception area I took a look at the monitor to see the ship's progress. We are a just a bit further along than we were when we woke up.
|Ship position near Scottish coastline|
I picked up the following postcard showing a map of Scotland when we were in Stirling.
|Postcard of Map of Scotland|
To take up more time we made another loop around the ship visiting Deck 5 again. I love this vantage point of seeing Decks 4 and 5 together from here. Ocean Princess is a very pretty ship. It is also great that it only takes a few minutes to get where you want to go in any direction.
|On Deck 5 looking down to Deck 4|
It was finally time to head to the Cabaret Lounge for the Dublin presentation. The same lovely speaker we had for Edinburgh was doing this one too. She went over some logistics and provided info on the price of a taxi from and to the port in case the shuttle wasn't an option. The shuttle is not free so the taxi might actually be better if only going in one direction. She also explained the different sightseeing buses, routes and cost (18 euros).
|Dublin City Sightseeing Bus Routes|
We departed the talk and stopped at the Internet room to check email. Being a sea day I was surprised how empty this room was. We both had no problem logging on and I used up about 20 more of my Internet minutes checking in at work and also looking at my own personal email.
|Nicely appointed Internet room|
After walking by the Card Room, also empty, we decided to take another look outside to see if the weather had improved.
|No sun today|
How time flies! It was now lunch time and we went to the Lido at around 1:00 pm. It was so busy! There were hardly any open tables available. We asked a couple if we could sit with them and they happily agreed. We went up to get our food and they had a very nice selection today. I got a little saran wrapped sandwich, a couple of hot items and some salad. I didn't take any photos as we were with present company.
The couple we joined, Pat and Ash are from Ontario, Canada. They turned out to be very nice. Mother insisted that I tell them about our marathon visit in Edinburgh and how much walking she had to do. It probably took 10 minutes to finish the entire list of venues we saw. Pat and Ash were amazed with Pat saying she wouldn't enjoy moving around that much. Ash was moot on the subject.
We asked Ash about his profession and then had a really fascinating discussion about the aviation industry. Ash works for Emirates and as specializes in running their flight simulators. He makes several trips per month to Dubai and other exotic destinations. He didn't know he was a sitting duck as I inquired about the problems with 787 Dreamliner and asked for his thoughts. He said it is a good plane and that they will get it right eventually. We did talk about the flight simulators a bit more which was very interesting. It was nice meeting some fellow passengers and we really enjoyed our lunch. I feel like we did something educational too.
Afterward mother went back to the room and I followed a short time later. I did some laps around the ship both inside and outside. This would have been a great day to use the use the gym but I didn't bring my running shoes or exercise clothes as I thought we would be getting plenty of exercise on shore. I contemplated for a few moments using my regular walking shoes in the gym but that just didn't seem right.
Instead I went to the Tahitian Lounge (also empty!) to sit down and take some notes on the trip and to reflect on our time in Edinburgh and its environs.
|Deserted Tahitian Lounge|
There are numerous port possibilities in Edinburgh so I thought I would provide some suggestions.
Edinburgh Excursion Possibilities
Walking and getting around the city is very easy and because they speak English it is joy to explore on your own. It really is not that hilly on the Royal Mile. We walked it in both directions with little difficulty. Even with an entire day exploring we only touched the surface in Edinburgh and there are many more places we did not have time to see. Some of the Closes (alleys) would have been fun and I wish we would of had time for the Botanical Garden which has excellent reviews. Further a field, you can take the train west to Stirling to see the castle or even easier it is just 45 minutes by train to Glasgow. We enjoyed seeing the city of Glasgow prior to the cruise. There is a lot to see and do there and it provided a nice contrast to Edinburgh which we found a bit too touristy. If you go north it is just a short trip to Glamis Castle, the ancestral home of the Queen Mother. Also traveling north you can visit Blair Castle in the Scottish Highlands or St. Andrews which is along the seashore. If you go south you can see Melrose Abbey and Berwick. There are tons of options!
That being said, I loved our trip yesterday to Perth and Gleneagles. However, if we did not see the Military Tattoo, I would have taken the train to Blair Castle in Athol late on Saturday afternoon and spent the night there. They were holding an equestrian event over the weekend with the added bonus of an annual high-end craft fair. Since the travel time there is 4 hours roundtrip I had to rule this one out immediately since we could not do it in just one day. Due to the train schedule, even if we only spent 90 minutes there we would not have arrived back to the ship in time for our 4:00 pm departure.
I know some people enjoy seeing the Royal Yacht Britannia. However, this didn't hold any interest for me or mother. When mother was living in the Caribbean she had the opportunity to see Britannia not just once, but twice by invitation from HRH Prince Philip. He was sailing around the British West Indies and invited the expatriates on board during his various stops. She first declined the invitation to visit in Nevis and then about a week later when she returned to Turks & Caicos she declined a second time when the yacht was parked outside her window. Let's just say while mother has high admiration for the Queen, she is not a fan of the Royals. For her, the Royal Family is akin to the Hope Diamond. It is nice to look at but it is really not necessary. Now that I have offended the entire British Commonwealth I apologize!
Okay, moving on now, I decided to go back to the room to rest for a bit before dinner. I feel like I have not done much today but it certainly was relaxing. When I arrived Mother was snug in her bed watching TV. She had already showered and had her curlers in her hair.
I had plenty of time to get ready for our dinner in the Sterling Steakhouse. I don't eat steak that often, maybe once or twice a year but my mother is true carnivore and loves meat! I didn't feel like dressing up too much so just put on my velvet pants and a silk top.
We went upstairs to the restaurant but the service seemed a bit off. We had to wait 5 minutes for someone to come to the podium and take our room number. It was early but there were only about 5 other tables seated. Like last night, we again have a table for 4 but only set for 2. We are facing the opposite side tonight and the sun isn't visible.
I was slightly horrified that they insist on bringing over a cart of the meat selection to explain each cut. While this may be welcomed by most people, I was completely turned off. I couldn't stand the sight of it. I looked at the menu and contemplated just ordering vegetables.
|The easiest way to lose one's appetite!|
For my starter I had the Gruyere and Blue Cheese Onion Soup. I had this before on the Ruby Princess too. It was just "Meh". The cheese need to be crisper. It was just a bit of soggy mess I'm afraid. Taste was fine though.
The main dishes came out fairly quickly. At first I just sort of starred at the steak wishing I had not succumbed to the temptation of dousing it in Bearnaise. There was nothing wrong with it but it just did not appeal to me. All the veggies and the baked potato around it on the plate looked yummy though.
|Filet Sterling Steakhouse|
We both had dessert which seemed to be way to rescue the evening. I ordered the Berry Cobbler but the crust was too thick. I just scooped out the berries inside.
We passed on the show again and went back to room. I know we are so boring!
Ocean Princess is due to arrive in Dublin at 7:00 am tomorrow. Our Princess tour will depart at 8:30 am so we will be getting early start.
The moon looks quite beautiful tonight as we approach the Irish Sea.
|Moon from our window|