This is really a take 2. I did think I had written a perfectly good post last night and uploaded it up here but I didn’t check it after I had done that and it all was messed up so here goes my second attempt.

It is really high time I wrote on here and let you know whats been happening over the past while. In particular my adventure on the cruise which I blogged about just before I set off on my travels.

Well, it all began later in the early hours of the morning of the 12th of Feburary when my brother in law drove myself and my parents who were accompanying me on the cruise to a local bus stop where we would take a bus to Dublin Airport. I hate all the rushing around and stuff wondering if I had packed everything or was I leaving something behind but thankfully I didn’t leave anything of any great importance behind that I needed. Shur as someone later said to me, once you have the passport and the money and tickets with you nothing else matters and well, that is sort of true for the most part.

Having left Carlow at half 2 in the morning we got to the airport sometime around 10 past 4. For that time in the morning the place was busy enough. From conversations going on around me I think that a lot of people were heading off on skiing holidays. One or two friends have tried to persuade me to go on a skiing holiday before but I am not entirely sure if I would really like it or not. We had to kill some time waiting around for the ckeck-in desks to open at 6:00 so some tea was consumed and we just sat around waiting for the rest of the time. I was also hoping to meet Jennifer as she was going on her travels that morning also to Thailand with her family and she would be returning back to Ireland two days after me. It was just coincidental that our flights were leaving at roughly the same time so we had arranged it so that we would meet for a while at the airport. We checked in and went to get breakfast and I had a little chat with Jennifer and her dad. To read all about her holiday in Thailand why not visit her blog where she has written an account of some of the things that she got up to while she was there.

After two different flights we arrived in Fort Lauderdale in Florida around midnight Irish time Friday night. It was a long days travelling but I was sort of getting a second boost of energy at that stage and so when we got to our hotel and got rid of our cases we went down the road to find somewhere to eat as the buffet in the hotel wasn’t up to much. I was all over the place and didn’t really want anything big to eat but at the same time I was sick of just eating silly things like plane food so I had a burger and a few beers. The beers helped me get a nice sleep afterwards.

Having spent the day just going round the local area on the Saturday and visiting a local shopping centre and managing to buy a pair of headphones and then losing them before I could even get to open them from their packet we eventually boarded the ship on Sunday afternoon. The weather had been mixed since we had arrived in Florida. It was more overcast than we would usually be use too. By Saturday evening it had cooled right down and on Sunday morning we were waring jackets. Luckily for us this was short lived as by the time we got out to sea it started to gradually heat up again.

We set sail on the Sunday evening. We had 2200 passengers on the cruise this year and we have travelled on this ship before. For the first day or two it was a slight bit rocky and not at all what we would be use to in Caribbean waters. Both myself and other artists that were on the ship would have different timetabled gigs to play during the week in the various bars/lounges situated on different decks on the ship. There was also a theatre where some of the more high profile artists would perform each evening. This year we were joined by Daniel O’donnell. I had never met Daniel before and I must say that it was a pleasure to meet him. I found him to be very nice and relaxed and a complete gentleman. It was very nice of him to take some time to spend a few minutes with me for a chat and he certainly taught me a thing or too also when I met him.

We arrived at our first Island stop on Tuesday morning. We were sailing in the Eastern Caribbean and the Island we first called at was Grand Turk Island. It was a nice small friendly Island and we got off and had a nice walk around. My only purchase on there was a hat to keep the sun shaded from me. I tend to burn quite easily so applying a suitable amount of sun cream was also very necessary. Unfortunately for me by the Tuesday afternoon I was coming down with a bad cough and my throat was becoming very uncomfortable. I had to do a long gig that night as another artist had unfortunately taken sick and could not perform. Thankfully he was ok later in the week but I couldn’t back out of this gig at this stage and just didn’t know how I might manage it but with the help of the two lads on guitar and keyboards who were playing with me I managed to get through it.

On Wednesday we arrived at the Island of St. Thomas. I have been to this island probably twice before and was looking forward to it cause I do know that it is a good place for shopping. Ok, if you know anything about the place at all you will know that it can be expensive but you will find some things like perfume at reasonable prices. And, perfume was what I was after. It was going to be Jennifer’s birthday on the Saturday so I had decided to purchase a nice gift set for her there. I was hoping she would like the one I choose for her and well, I am happy to report that after giving it to her last weekend it did meet with her approval. :)

Thursday we stopped at St. Martin. This is an interesting place. The people are very friendly and it was nice walking around the town of Philipsburg and making a few small purchases. You could bargain here in a lot of the shops also and, they would also except euros if you wanted to use them.

Friday, like Monday was a day at sea. Sea days are not so bad really. People might think that you would get a little closterphobic but there is lots to do on the ship. Music is the theme of the cruise and its all mostly Irish. In the afternoons at sea a band would perform on deck and you could relax on a sun chair or have a beer or swim in the pool while you listened to all kinds of everything Irish being played for your enjoyment. I did three gigs while I was there. I played on Sunday night and Tuesday night. Thankfully by Friday afternoon I had sufficiently recovered my voice to do another spot in a gig on deck with a band which was put together for the occasion. We had great crack just doing some off-the-cuff numbers and I must say that the audiences all during the week were fabulus.

Saturday was our last stop at a private Island owned by the cruise line company called Half Moon Quay. I decided to chill onboard with a book and not get off here. Later in the afternoon we had rehearsals for the final theatre show where all artists were getting to perform and say farewell to everyone.

And then it was Sunday and unfortunately another cruise was at an end. I am very grateful to Gertrude Byrne Promotions for having me on yet another All Star Irish American Cruise and while i am not cruising again next year I do hope to be back again in the future. Do pop over and visit Gertrude Byrne Promotions for information on the 2013 cruise.