Caribbean Cruise Day 7 – The Grand Old Duke of Turk

Day 7 and you’d think we’d have the lay of the land, or ship, by now. We do not. Navigation is a source of constant arguing and bickering. Mostly about the colours of the carpets; are they blue or green. The guide says that the carpet on the stairs near our cabin is green. Bith my wife and sister say it’s blue. They also tell me that the green jumper I bought, because I wanted a green jumper, is also blue. It’s a greenish blue or a bluish green, perhaps. I also realised that ALL the carpets are the same bluish green. The map is a lie! No wonder we get lost. Turns out the ship had a refit a few years ago and they just haven’t updated the pocket maps they give you on arrival.

We saw the Manchester crew that we met on our first day and they informed us that there was a great beach here, here being Grand Turk, and you can swim up and touch the side of the ship if you want. That is not something I want. That sounds like filler action needed to bulk out an episode of Baywatch. Feeling the dread mounting as a hapless beach reveller swims far too close to something that is clearly going to result in some sort of slow motion running rescue scenario.

The Azura from the shallows – Photo by Technicalbob

Again, a purpose built cruise resort waited for us but this time there was a large covered bar area that was hideously over priced, a smaller swimming pool and a pretty big beach. It goes without saying that duty free was available along with all the various nic nacs.

We arrived early before the majority of the horde made their way out from the buffet. We got some good, free sun loungers next to a tree, close to the beach, the bar and the pool. Triple threat. This was my chance to have a play with my new toy. I bought a GoPro for filming the watery parts of our adventures but I now have a dome to sit it in so you can get those half in water, half out shots. Arty. I loaded it up, donned my snorkel and was one of the few people to brave the water so early on. There was plenty of fish to chase but it turns out, thankfully, you can’t swim up to the ship, courtesy of a large net. Swimming with my mask on I could see that, as you approach the divide the sea floor has a very sudden drop off and gets much deeper. The dome works pretty well but my camera decided to die on me, lost all power for some reason so I stupidly tried to take it out of the dome whilst I was still in the water and of course , the dome filled with water. My second attempts with it, combined with the fact that it’s really hard to see the screen, were not so impressive as it just fogged over. Nice.

As with yesterday, another ship full of Americans docked beside us. Once again, it was full of a much younger crowd than our ship and also a bunch of really nice people. Apparently it’s just British cruises that are favoured by older folks. There are plenty of young people on board but I have to say we are not the majority. The entertainment on board the gay cruise ship had sounded as amazing as the entertainment on our ship was supposed to be. Big parties and risque cabaret shows. The entertainment on this new ship was an instant improvement on ours too as on the top deck we could clearly see a mini golf course and not one but 3 water slides! Jealous.

We spent most of the day in the sun, H set up camp on the sun loungers whilst I coaxed my sister into the sea despite it being a tad nippy. It’s a little cold when you first get in but it’s lovely after a few moments when you’re acclimatised. We headed further down the beach in pursuit of our elders that strolled past, totally unaware of us, earlier. I had plenty of lotion on and was trying to catch the intense sun on my back without burning. My Uncle, the Father of the Bride/unburnt one of the two, was out without lotion and just popped on his UV t-shirt from time to time. Risky, but it seems to work for him. The younger folk, although we are now all in our thirties, were in and out of the sea to cool off instead. No sign of the hetero life mates anywhere. I say we are all in our thirties, my cousins also invited their cousins from my Aunts side of the family, one of whom was significantly younger than the rest of us. She was pretty cool though and we got to talking about Anime films, and mine and H’s adventures in Japan. It’s nice to meet the extended family.

An unexpected treat here was the Splashdown Grand Turk exhibit. It turns out that this is where John Glenn’s Friendship 7 capsule splashed down in 1962. He was the first man to orbit the Earth, showing the Russians that the USA were in the space race to win it.

The highlight of the day was… well we did take our service charge off our room bill. We were finding the service was not all good all the time. The people on reception were often less than helpful, we had no end of grief with the excursions desk telling us that our submarine tickets had been cancelled as they don’t book that far in advance and nearly every waiter we gave our drinks order to had no idea what drinks were available other than wine. Even pointing to drinks on the menu was not foolproof. I asked for a Strongbow dark fruits and got asked ‘a strawberry what?’. I often had to order Aspells cider as for some reason they recognised that name more. It has also become apparent that even though people wear P&O uniforms and have P&O printed on their lanyards, almost no one on the ship will admit to working for P&O. When we were complaining about our submarine trip, the chap told us we had to take up the issue with P&O. He had those very letters written on his clothes several times, was there to book you on their excursions whilst sat at an official desk on a P&O ship but was adamant that he was nothing to do with them. The photographers I can understand being outside contractors and maybe the catering staff but everyone on board? We decided that the only member of the crew that we were tended to on any regular basis was our cabin steward so we opted to just give her some cash at the end of our journey.

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