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9th June, 2017


At 1830 last night we slowed down to minimum ahead with one engine (5kts) awaiting the Caribbean Princess to clear the port approaches. As we passed port to port we exchanged courtesies with a vociferous sounding of the whistle - apparently our Guests enjoyed my announcement over the open decks “who would want to be on a block of flats like that!!”

With the pilot on board by 1845 we weaved our way the 8M up river towards our berth. With the tide ebbing at about 2 knots we proceeded past our berth then swung bow to stb’d with the aid of a tug before gently manoeuvring alongside two large floating pontoons. This is a great arrangement as even with a large tidal range our gangway remains at the same deck level, as the pontoons move up and down on the tide with the ship. By 2000 hrs we were all fast alongside and our guests were free to proceed ashore.

I decided to go and explore the delights of Cobh with the Ship’s Doctor Milija and got as far as Kelly’s Bar only to be greeted by a number of the Ship’s Company – needless to say we had to stop for a small glass of Murphy’s – they drink this as opposed to Guinness in Dublin. We then tried to find a nice pub with food but it seemed that they all concentrated on “liquid food!!” We had to settle for fish and chips from the local fast food restaurant – mind you it was actually really good.

We then headed back to Kelly’s and by now a duo was in full swing and singing traditional Irish songs – everyone in the pub was in great spirits. Jo Boase, our Cruise Director, approached the couple about playing on the ship and this was then arranged swiftly for the following day’s afternoon tea!!

The Port of Cobh (pronounced Cove) is the gateway to the South west of Ireland. It is also the port where thousands embarked on voyages across the Atlantic during the turbulent years of the mid-18th Century.

A beautiful morning had awoken us and I had a great day mapped out. After looking at some close coasting routes for later on in the cruise and conducting the weekly inspection of the crew accommodation it was time to give the golf clubs some fresh air, mind you it would be my first game on board since taking Command on 1st December. Now I always bring a set of clubs from home and normally this is my first piece of luggage.

With Steve the CENG and Stuart the resident pianist we set off from the pier in a local taxi. Our driver never stopped telling yarns and jokes for the entire 15 minutes – I did wonder when he’d come up for air?? As we passed through the huge pillars guided by stone tigers I knew that Fota Island Golf Club and Spa was going to be something special – it certainly did not disappoint. The course was immaculate and I was very pleased with my round starting with a birdie, finishing with an 83 and 4 birdies – happy days. With the ship sailing 90 minutes after finishing the round there was no 19th hole!! (Attached are a couple of pictures of our day.)

With everyone on board by 1730, we shortly thereafter slipped all lines except the fwd spring, allowing the ebb tide to “squeeze” between the pontoon and ship and therefore ease the stern out. 10 minutes later we were clear of the berth and moving ahead to retrace our tracks from the previous evening. Once out to sea we set course for Dublin.

Captain Julian Burgess

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