Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Friday, 28 January 2011

What will be the impact of UK digital TV on the boat?

For anybody who doesn't yet know, the analogue TV signal that we have all been using successfully for decades, will be switched off countrywide by 2012, and the frequencies sold off to be used elsewhere. What will the impact of this be to the boater?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

How I solved my own mobile Internet signal problems

In my previous post, I related my own experiences of low signal issues attached to using 3G phone and mobile Internet equipment within the confines of the steel boat.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The ins and outs of mobile communication aboard

Have you noticed, that now we all have these so called "smart" phones that the quality of service is often not as good as that of your old 'phone, when in the boat, or out in the country, and wondered why?

Saturday, 15 January 2011

The long British winter

We visited our mooring today, and found that work had started on the nearby bridge over the canal, which is a couple of hundred yards away.

Monday, 3 January 2011

James Cusick's Blog: Peter's story

After we returned from our first P&O Cruise in December 2010, I wrote an article for the James Cusick Blog that was published on P&O Cruises website at the end of that month. It related the excellent experience we had on that occasion, and ran for a year before the blog was replaced by one with a more corporate identity in November 2011, and has only recently been removed. You can get to the new blog HERE but my contribution from 2010 no longer exists.

However, this is the unedited version I sent them for publication........

At the beginning of 2010 we were lucky enough to be able to take early retirement. All our working lives we have had to watch as other members of our family took time off to visit our relatives in Brisbane, Australia. I was a supermarket manager, Margaret was a secondary school teacher, both in the Manchester area UK. As such we could never afford the time, so when we knew we would be free, I started to plan our own visit. We have never cruised before, so this was all going to be new territory to us, although we share an interest in the British canal system and its heritage and own our own narrowboat. We might get as far as Birmingham during two weeks cruising our own boat. The Oriana World Cruise was to take us much further afield, to many different countries and will be a very "hard act" to follow!

Aboard Oriana approaching St. Lucia
We have never cruised before! That was my first statement when I first enquired about using a P&O cruise as a means of getting to Australia to visit relatives.

Paddling in the Caribbean at Isla Margarita
We had always planned to visit my Australian cousin, although we always intended to follow convention, including a long and tiring flight there, followed by the usual holiday, and a return flight home. Whilst I was researching this trip, it occurred to me that I could use a leg of Oriana's forthcoming World Cruise to get us there relaxed and in style. I decided to proceed with the idea and started to put my package together. My planned trip would start in Southampton, cruise to Brisbane, utilizing all the facilities that this beautiful ship has to offer, then, on arrival, start our "holiday within a holiday", eventually flying home via Abu Dhabi.

Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, visited en-route home
During this process I had no trouble at all putting my own itinerary together. Everybody involved was more than helpful, and I eventually had the holiday of a lifetime to look forward to, which included a cruise to Brisbane, three weeks holiday in Australia, including short breaks in The Whitsundays and The Sunshine Coast, followed by a four day stop over in Abu Dhabi on the way home. As it turned out, everything worked like clockwork, and everything went exactly to plan. As I wanted to include the stay in Abu Dhabi, I decided to book my flight independently of P&O, but I must say I found them extremely helpful co-ordinating the cruise booking with my flight booking. The P&O booking representative stayed on the 'phone until I had confirmed my flight booking on the internet, before confirming our cruise booking. I also pre-booked three excursions which I definitely wanted to include, - afternoon tea at Reids Palace, Madeira, Pearl Harbour and The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb! All we had to do now was wait until September when it was time to embark and sail off into the Southampton sunset.

At the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge during the climb, Oriana in the background
Brisbane River South Bank
Lorikeets at Lone Pine, Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane
When the time came, we hired a car to get us to Southampton the day before embarkation, dropping it off near to the cruise terminal. We then walked across the road where we spent the night in one of the many first class hotels in the vicinity, discovering that there were many other guests there who would be joining us on our cruise. The check in at the cruise terminal was well organized, with different time allocations, and we soon found ourselves aboard, our luggage waiting for us in our cabin, and ready to explore our home for the next six weeks. We found the internal fittings of the ship to be of "jaw dropping" quality. Everything we found was in first class condition and very luxurious. The departure from Southampton was not to be missed, with lots of flag waving, pyrotechnics and tickertape. When all the excitement was over and we were underway, we made our way to dinner, where we found we had been allocated a table sharing with two other couples, both Australian, who were also disembarking in Brisbane. It was obvious that P&O had also paid attention to detail here too, as we would share the table for the whole trip, allowing us to form lasting friendships. Both couples eventually arranged to take us out for days once we were in Australia, their home.

Panama Canal Locks
Crossing the equator party
It would take too long to describe the cruise in detail here, but what other holiday offers you the opportunity to see Pacific sunsets at sea, wake up in different countries, with new places to explore, have dinner in a first class restaurant overlooking Sydney Opera House, be offered world class entertainment nightly, and finally arrive at your destination completely relaxed and ready to start your next "holiday".

Watching the cliff divers in Acapulco
Downtown Honolulu
In Port at Samoa

We may have never have cruised before, but we will certainly be doing it again, and with P&O..............sometime soon!

Not quite related to canal boating, but this is what we did for 3 months of 2010.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

The very last Freeman 24 ever made

In response to questions I have received about our previous boat, the Freeman 24, being the last one built, I will describe why.....