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Stories from the sea


Guests Brian and Angela Marshall offer us a peek inside their personal travel diary

View from inside a cave out to the sea at Horseshoe Bay in Bermuda

Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda

When they’re cruising around the world on unforgettable adventures, Brian and Angela Marshall, from Bodelwyddan St Asaph in north Wales, like to keep in touch with their family back home by sending full diary logs via email.


Here they share with us an extract from their trip to the Caribbean and the Americas on Oriana last year, complete with the weather conditions, speed, and latitude and longitude as they wrote each entry at sea, reflecting on what they’ve seen and done on their travels.


Ship: MV Oriana, P&O Cruises



Day 6: Good times in Tenerife

At sea: latitude 27-27, 88N; longitude 022 5.8W

Temperature: 20 degrees Centigrade

Sea state: moderate

Speed knots: 19.8


Hola, buenos días from Tenerife! After collecting some provisions, we took a tram to La Laguna, a pretty village up in the mountains. Eating out is always a great occasion in Spain: we opted for seafood paella, accompanied by a nice bottle of local white vino ­– Spain on a plate. All too soon we were back on board for the Sail Away party, which obviously concluded with everyone singing ‘Woah, I'm going to Barbados…’



Day 16: Caribbean island hopping

At sea: latitude 12-43.1N; longitude 065 50.7W

Temperature: 28 degrees Centigrade

Sea state: slight

Speed knots: 14


We’ve called at four ports in the past four days, the first of which was Barbados. There, we started the day watching the Liverpool v Man United match at the Jolly Roger pub in the harbour. Luckily the quality of the rum punches made the result a bit more palatable. We ate in a restaurant next to the Screw Dock, which was constructed in the 1800s to lift the sailing boats out of the water for repairs – fascinating engineering. In the evening, we took a catamaran sunset sail along the shores.


Guadeloupe was next, and here we opted for a shore excursion tour to the Parc des Mamelles, which includes a 50ft-high aerial walkway in the tree canopy. Watching Angela swaying from side to side as she negotiated the narrow boards looked like a challenge from I’m a Celebrity…! But she enjoyed it and we got to see lots of the local animals, birds and plants.


Antigua was next, followed by St Lucia, where we took a private motor-boat tour packed full of stops including swimming in thermal sulphur streams, a mud treatment showered off under gushing waterfalls (very invigorating), and some local creole chicken curry, rice and veg washed down with local rum.

When they’re cruising around the world on unforgettable adventures, Brian and Angela Marshall, from Bodelwyddan St Asaph in north Wales, like to keep in touch with their family back home by sending full diary logs via email.   Here they share with us an e

Angela in Madeira, a stop on the Marshalls’ Oriana cruise

Day 23: Cartagena and Costa Rica: worlds apart

At sea: latitude 16-7.2N; longitude 082 4-1W

Temperature: 27 degrees Centigrade

Sea state: moderate

Speed knots: 17


Given their proximity, the past two ports of call were totally different experiences. An extended stay in Cartagena, Colombia, gave us the opportunity to catch a catamaran into the old town and enjoy a walking tour of this very Spanish and vibrant city. The port, set in part of the jungle, was alive with wild parrots, monkeys, red squirrels and lots of colourful birds. In the evening, we explored the city on a chiva, an old colourful, wooden bus with a local band playing on board.


Our next port was Limón, Costa Rica (Rich Coast). Again Spanish-speaking, but much more relaxed. Here we ventured into the middle of the country to experience an aerial tram ride in the dense rainforest canopy. We saw two sloths, toucans, poison dart frogs and lots of butterflies and insects.



Day 32: Colour and culture in the Big Easy

At sea: latitude 25- 27.2N; longitude 084- 58.0W

Temperature: 19 degrees Centigrade

Sea state: moderate

Speed knots: 14.3


New Orleans is certainly a place that needs no introduction and our two days here were, as the locals say, AWESOME! Arriving in the middle of Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) was fantastic. The jazz bands playing on vibrant streets full of restaurants bursting with people dressed in every costume conceivable was certainly an experience never to be forgotten. Our mooring 106 nautical miles up the Mississippi River was just at the beginning of the French Quarter, and for US$3 you could get a 24-hour ticket to ride the streetcars.


We went on a shore excursion to the Louisiana Swamps, where we got to see some gators, turtles and swamp-type dwellings. In the evening, we went to the famous Palm Court Jazz Café, which was another truly unforgettable experience – local gumbo, followed by creole-style beef and finished with pecan pie, all washed down with the fantastic sights and sounds of New Orleans jazz bands.


Sailing back down the Mississippi and into the Gulf of Mexico, we passed all the oil rigs at night, with their glowing balls of orange flames spouting out the tops like angry dragons.



Day 41: Bermuda ­– and a milestone birthday 

At sea: latitude 33-34.2N; longitude 055-27.0W

Temperature: 18 degrees Centigrade

Sea State: moderate

Speed knots: 18


Well, Bermuda was certainly a great place to celebrate the Big 6-0. With a limited stay because the ship can only pass through the reef in daylight, we took the ferry into Hamilton to explore the town, then a taxi back to the ship, stopping at the beautiful Horseshoe Bay, where we lunched on chowder and dough bread looking out over turquoise seas rolling up onto soft white sands. Back on board, 20 of us had a Sail Away cocktail and canapé party in the captain’s quarters. This included access to his balcony across the front of the ship, giving us great views and a pretty spectacular start to our 4,000-mile journey back across the Atlantic.


By the end of their trip, Brian and Angela had visited 19 destinations in 15 countries, sailing more than 13,000 miles in total.