MY HOME IS A CASTLE--the tale of how and why I became a chatelain , four times .This is my present home. If you are visiting for the first time you may care to read the older posts first.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


It is now a year later following Alex's TIA, and we find ourselves totally settled into ' la Vie Française'! There had been no futher major health shocks in the interim, as Alex had finally signed on with a good french Doctor who prescribed a permanent blood thinner and life returned to normal for us.

The second trading season of 1992 had been a good one, however the pound had started to slide against the franc , which was not good for us as we had decided to charge in pounds instead of francs, and we were losing on the exchange. On the other hand it was good for increased bookings, so it balanced out that year.

Our camper holiday destination for that year was decided when our daughterMichaela telephoned us to say that she would be docking at Naples around late September ! Michaela was a petty officer on the Q.E.2.-- Italy was one of our favourite places so we arranged to be at the docks on that particular day. Finding the docks was easy but finding a parking place for the camper was difficult however .....

...............we made it just in time to see the magnificent ship come rolling up to the quay!

The first thing that grabbed me was just how massive this ship was as you can see in the next picture......
It seems bizarre that it actually has to be tied to its post by the ' handlers' the same as any small boat! How tiny the people seem !

Here is our lovely daughter with her Dad. She had got the Captain's permission for us to be aboard the ship for that day, and that we could could ' take a tour ' of the facilities.

On deck there were squash courts, tennis courts , golf practice and putting, and swimming pools, and a jogging track etc. In fact everything for the sporty people.

There were two main restaurants ( one of them above) apart from the many 'eateries', bars and cafes etc.

I was not impressed however with the corridors leading to the cabins and suites etc., I found them quite narrow and claustraphobic. We weren't able to see inside the cabins as they were all occupied, however we saw inside Michaela's cabin and it was really so limited "you couldn't even swing a cat"-- now where on earth did that horrible expression originate I wonder?

Finally here is a picture of Michaela looking down on to the stage and main dance floor. as you can see , the upper balcony houses all the designer shops ( money, money,money) for the rich!!

There turned out to be a special reason for our invitation, Michaela introduced us to Darren, another petty officer , in the engineering department of the ship-- they had become inseparable on board AHHH ' aint luv grand'! He was ( and is ) a lovely boy who is now her husband and father of their three children!!! Happy days!

As you probably already know the beautiful old ship has now been sold to retire gracefully as an Hotel in the upmarket tourist resort of "Palm Jumeirah" in Dubai.

and here she is.... I think she deserves the rest!


  1. My goodness, your story just gets better and better! Has your daughter retired from sailing or is she still in the business?

  2. Delphine
    Thanks for the update in your story. Somehow I missed the last installment and was upset to hear that Alex had become ill.
    You have alovely daughter - it was the 'love boat' for her....
    Happy Days.

  3. To Cottage Girl, yes, truly, it was a floating hotel, but I couldn't have stayed in those cabins- nowadays most large ship cabins have balconies. Todate I have never cuised!

  4. Susan, Michaela did retire from cruising, she is a Mum now and dabbles in the 'Gite' business!

  5. Delwyn,Thanks for your comments, It was the love boat for her, definitely, and they have a happy marriage with their three children!

  6. Thanks Akim, welcome back! That was a particularly happy one!

  7. I cruised on the Pacific Princess ...wayyyyy back.... and the rooms were pretty tiny broom closets. The hallways were narrow, but it was actually a good thing for holding yourself up while lurching around on a bad sea day...(we hit the tail end of a hurricane) They told me I would not be sea sick... special stabilizers and all... we would be a floating hotel, blah, blah, etc.. hah...!! I got sick the moment she left the dock in L.A..... and once sick it doesn't matter what they give you.... you just have to wait it out. Sitting amidships with about 30 or so others...nibbling dry crackers and trying to get your gut and head to co-operate. Take Gravol or whatever before you get on board... just to be on the safe side... don't wait til wastes days of your holiday. I didn't particularly enjoy cruising......but I have friends who go regularly. I did enjoy the days ashore.... in Martinique...St. Thomas... even Cartagena, Columbia... ..although,that port was filthy and kind of scary with guards holding sub machine guns and big dogs straining at leashes....a big drug port. Can't imagine they thought many old farts on a cruise ship would bother...hahahha...there were only 40 of us under 40 on that ship. However, one of the crew did get arrested...smuggling a small amount aboard.

  8. Hi Delphine, Thank you for the fascinating tour of the lovely ship. How wonderful that your beautiful daughter met Darren and they have three children.

  9. oH bUMBLEVEE how awful, now you have put me off; Chris and I were thinking of maybe taking a cruise ( first time or both of us) at the end of the Summer when he is stronger. But I cannot bear the idea of sea sickness! We might re-consider...

  10. thankyou for visiting my blog Diane C.. yes it is a truly romantic tale, they live in France now too, about 4 hours from where we are now, so we get to see them!

  11. Those pictures are beautiful, especially the first one and the last one. I think boats and ships are beautiful but I have a fear of going on a large cruise ship. I enjoy smaller speed boats though. Very nice post..I felt like I went on a little vacation.

  12. I am a little scared too, Brenda, but I am determined to go one day, I would like to go to New York!

  13. Don't let me put you off it...just take some seasickness meds before you go.... and see how you like it Delphine. Cruising is not for everybody....but, I suppose everybody should go at least once eh?

    I spent quite a bit of time over at the Palms sites... what an undertaking that project is !!

  14. Oh really BumbleVee, how interesting, that is one place I would really like to pluck up courage and go in a plane to see it!

  15. I'm catching up on your posts, I got so far behind.

    Your daughter is so pretty, and fine looking in her uniform.

    This reminds me of our son's cruise ship gigs - a different type of job, chief guitarist. :) He is home for now, heading back on the seas in October, to Hawaii this time. I'm glad he'll be home for his sister's wedding in August - he is her man of honor. Phew. I was nervous he wouldn't be able to get away.