Boyzz travel from Barbados to Svalbard April-June 2022

Should you want the DETAILED version of this trip,, heaven forbid!, try


What lay ahead until June 1st - daunting, no? ( and more beyond, from June 1st to June 23rd)

We breathed a sigh of relief as the padres tested negative for Covid upon arriving at Gatwick - how awful to have endured all that packing for nought!! .So, a really quick turn round in Trumbles guest house and off to the Grumpy Mole for a spot of nosh with John & Meryl

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No time for a tidy room when we were due out to eat within seconds!. Enjoyed the conversation . but more than that the food! . but were still ready for some breakfast at Trumbles early next morning
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Wallowed in TUI Premium Economy and hung on to their apt masks . Once at the Yellowbird Hotel in Barbados the madre obtained a free breakfast for us, flying fish and all

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Then it was time to board the Silver Cloud, a quick first stop in Suite 523, then straight into lunch , and our favourite!


Then 8 days sailing the Caribbean



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First stop was Carriacou, where, during our tour of the island, we enjoyed the GR gun at the old Isolation Hospital. Followed by a leisurely catamaran cruise, rum punch and all.


Then on to Dominica, where their sign was awful big

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A fun morning cooking with a local Carribean Mama. Even included tots of her rums, followed by devouring what we had learnt to cook
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She even had some of our forebears in her garden!. Then back to the ship for one of their famous towers ( a rare glimpse of one on our table), the madre awful strict!
Our old friend Alfredo was delighted to see us again.

On to Barbuda, home of a huge frigate bird colony

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The padres were so busy taking photos of birds that they forgot to snap us. But stopped at a martello tower on the way back to the ship and we were allowed out there

On to the British Virgin Islands

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where we boarded our Tiger Taxi for a real Foodie tour; first a street side stall, then a family run farm, then Angels & Mermaids  for a seemingly full lunch with rum tots .
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And, to our amazement, on for yet another lunch, this one in a really smart beach restaurant for a sumptious elegant meal, table linen and all!




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All the time pampered aboard by Kaleish & Jenny in our suite, and by all the staff throughout the ship . The canapes with evening cocktails were to die for!.

After a day at sea, time to head ashore by zodiac yet again- this time to Conception Island and then Andros Island, both having idyllic sandy beaches where the madre could enjoy swimming

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Having endured a wet, choppy, ride to Regatta Beach we had an excellent rum punch, a Mojito, some conch food and  a passion fruit drink, plus a grandstand blaring out Caribbean music and a dancing display

Arriving in Fort Lauderdale, that was the end of the first leg of our cruise. During the changeover we moved suites, from 523 to 712, and were taken to the Everglades to see alligators: we kept a very low profile!

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Map of our actual journey on the second leg of our cruise, missing 3 planned ports of call around Virginia!

So, another day at sea being spoilt aboard the ship, with lots and lots to eat

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Then an interesting day in historic Charleston

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After seeing this sign we kept a low profile until lunch in the Cotton House, where Robin & Alex looked after us


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On board ship we loved to listen to Alfredo singing, or just playing, and also to Heilder on his guitar. Meal times were also looked forward to, although often we just stayed in the suite to be spoilt by Jenny& Kaleish.

. . . .

During the next day ar sea, the padre realised that the ship was sailing very fast in such a direction as to miss Baltimore, Jamestown & Williamsburg . This was confirmed by Lea and the captain at 6.15: we were steaming full speed ahead to New York in order to get ahead of really rough weather around Baltimore. What a disappointment!.We would also miss the Smithsonian in Washington, and us boyzz do like our culture .

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Sailed past the Statue of Liberty. Explored the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, very close to Pier 88. Looked small beside the Space Shuttle. Crawled through the first nuclear submarine, Growler. Then seemed large next to Concorde


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We went up to floor 71 of the Rockerfellow Building where we could see the Empire State Building &, just, the Statue of Liberty. Then to Time Square, St Patricks cathedral and the impressive Grand Central Station


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Back aboard we just had to eat a Big Mac for lunch! Another day we saw the golden Bull outside the Stock Exchange before heading to the  9 11 Memorial.


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A rushed visit to the Met Museum and a leisurely stroll round Central Park, which the madre loved, concluded our enforced 4 day stay in New York . And on to Rhode Island, past that statue of Liberty once more

Ashore by tender at Rhode Island, we had a tour of Blithewold, wuth it's beautiful gardens. had a snack there - a salad, glass of champagne, two delicious scones, a 3 tier plate with quiche, open sandwiches & dulces

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Ashore by tender at Rhode Island, we had a tour of Blithewold, wuth it's beautiful gardens. & had a snack with Joe there - a salad, glass of champagne, two delicious scones, & then a 3 tier plate with quiche, open sandwiches & dulces
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Then a tour and tasting of really mediocre wine at Newport Winery

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We transited the Cape Cod Canal at dusk and arrived in Portland, Maine the following morning


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We went on a Tour of the bay and Fort Scammel trip in a roomy boat. We advanced with trepidation through a dark tunnel to the gun emplacements that  protected  the harbour from any enemy/ Malcl;m thought we were birds for a mo! .

Back to the ship after a ghastly Maine lobster roll in DeMillos, then on to Yarmouth

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Loved the Lobster Boil at Ruggers Restaurant, followed by a long guided walk of the historic town; we were shown some really attractive old houses, mainly built for sea captains. Went in the house of the “famous” brush man, Mr Fuller.
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Then a stop at the Perky Owl Cafe, with its charming interior and yummy cakes. Then we had to have even more photos taken in the Nova Scotia Firefighters museum,

And to the end of the second leg of our cruise in Halifax . Were promised that henceforth it would be a true Expedition cruise,( like us bold adventurers had booked) with the iffy Lea releasing the reins of Expedition Leader to Oscar


The 13 transit guests had a 5 hour tour of Halifax: 1. to an idyllic seascape at Peggy´s Cove; 2. to the City park &


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the cemetery containing ~150 graves of the Titanic victims who had drowned in 1912 some way off Halifax; the quayside historic buildings ; 4. to Fort George on the Citadel


The places where we finally made land on this 3rd leg.

First stop was Louisberg: here we had an hour´s stroll along the coast. Would have been incredibly  beautiful with better visibility!

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Once back in town we explored; found the market & had 2 really nice chats; one with a maker of cuddly toys, the other with Brian, the Blaney Scone company, his father from Belfast.

We spent 5 plus hours in Iles de la Madeleine exploring the archipelago of connected islands by bus. First stop was a lighthouse; then the historic sites of La Grave  with a visit to a gift shop, quite upmarket, called Artesans de Sable.

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Then to a farm outdoor museum created by an ex sea captain/fisherman. Best of all was a stop at le Fumoir d Ántan; we had a delicious skewer of smoked mackerel, salmon and scallop- just up out street! .

Full steam ahead to Woody Point,Newfoundland - its Tablelands here have World Heritage fame.due to the rock peridotite (found on Mars!)

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We were more intersted in its snow!!.Then a walk round a fishing village with horrific winds. A Discovery Centre with some of our relatives, and then walked by ourselves back to Woody Point, what a magnificent landscape .






After another day at sea

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Special marzipan treats sustained us whilst perusing the Daily Chronicle. Dinner with Canadians. The madre had packed 3 evening dresses: no formal nights but she still wore them


, Yes! . . we reached Greenland , land of icebergs . And our madre wrapped us up in our designer sweaters and bomber jackets (thanks for the loan George and Air 2000 Ted)

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Went ashore to the village that Erik the Red had established ~ 985: exploring the ruins and reconstructions. (of his house and 1st church), & the present church. Then climbed to the statue of Erik´s son, Leif. Met Marcel, the Viking
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Not allowed enough time to complete a splendid 8 k walk, so had to stop at a scenic viewpoint . The padres were a tad overdressed


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To view the Qalerallit Glacier we settled ourselves down under blankets, ~ zero degrees, on the back of Deck 8, bouillon and cups of coffee to keep us warm .
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The ship edged up to the Glacier by 11 am. The madre had a swim! Then a wondrous zodiac ride around the icebergs. A crew zodiac plied  us with champagne and mouth watering goodies.
On our last day around Greenland we visited Narsaq, but the heavens opened, so we spared ourselves the drenching that the padres suffered!

And so Farewell to icy Greenland and on for a few choppy days at sea , riding out a storm


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A Britiah Pub Lunch and Sing Along with Alfredo, Raphael and other staff in the Dulce Vita; thoroughly enjoyable - although the chips were terrible!

As conditions at St Kilda were too rough, we went to Stornoway, but were unable too to land there, so steamed on south, waking up off Oban. This was where the padre's grandmother was born in 1880 and hte padres succeeded in finding the Old Manse, see below


The next day the ship returned to a calm St. Kilda, where we spent a really pleasant morning

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They even had an honesty shop with some of our distant cousins. Also a gun to ward off the return of German submarines in WW1. Sue was
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the head National Trust person on the island. .Later we had a zodiac cruise to see more birds. Oscar received a standing ovation for having persevered in getting us ashore there after all


Next day Lunga & Iona


The padre was proud of this photo!. He was just SO excited to get so close to puffins

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An unfriendly cobbley landing and our first sighting of puffins; then an immense colony of guillemots on the rocks, with puffins nesting on the grass, also cormorants & kittiwakes. Returning we were as near as 5 feet to the sunlit puffins
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Hasta luego bonny puffins: we will be back ! Then on to Iona's famous Monastery and Abbe, which reminded us of Oxford Colleges- nostalgia! The padre bought the madre a lovely silver necklace that had been handmade in a local jewellers there

And further south to the Isle of Man

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Aboard their vintage steam train from Port Erin to Castletown: we actually preferred being in the carriage to being on the engine's dashboard, though being in the cab as co drivers was cool! After climbing up to the castle's roof, we needed a rest in a deckchaur

Then our preultimate day of the 3rd leg, Tresco & then Southampton

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Tresco was beautiful on a sunny Spring day: we found plenty of posing places : even an old gun. Then encountered some more distant cousins
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. Back aboard for a posh luncheon in the Dame for the 8 geusts, plus US, who were staying aboard for the next leg. Changeover day & Uncle Dick picked us up for lunch in Twyford, the house beflagged for the Queen's 70th Jubilee.

Time to head up back up north again on the next 2 legs to Svalbard.


First stop the Scillies , first Bryher then Tresco again

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Scott set off at such a pace on the 5 k walk that we soon dropped out; his 'you cannot get lost' was a trifle optimistic, & irresponsible! But we found our way on this beautiful island to the Fish cafe, & a tasty crab sandwich and a drink
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Circling Tresco gardens this time, we walked to the small, picturesque hamlet of New Grimsby, indulging in a choc ice there

Another stop at the Isle of Man

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Went to Craigneash village of traditional Manx cottages, a view of life over a century ago, complete with Manx sheep. Thence to the Sound overlooking the Calf of Man: there we wandered up  the coast  path. and also saw seals .

Lunga and Iona again

Saw the puffins and the guillemots as before, but not quite so striking as before as the sun had not reached the puffins : the padre forgot his camera anyway!

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Bought a puffin in a shop on Iona where the assistant tried to put us, the Boyzz, through the till as well!!. Got to know Puffin on these rocks

Then walked to the north end of the island, through fields with sheep, then down to a sandy beach.

Skye and Canna

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Started on the long, boggy, walk, 8 km, around Loch Scavaig. We went at our own pace, enjoying the scenery, able to stop often. Later walked 7k on the Isle of Canna: seeimg several churches & Canna House .

Back on St Kilda again- usually, due to rough seas, only 1 ship in 4 can land its zoduacs, so weren't we the really lucky teds!

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Trudged up the road to the radar station, very steep! Wondrous views over the island. Continued  on till reaching an old MOD post, then had to shake of Scott's company! Saw an awful lot of birds on Boreray in the afternoon!!

Papa  Stour and Foula

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A zodiac cruise round the fabulous rock formations of Papa Stour.We loved those Shetland ponies on our long walk on Foula

Noss and Lerwick 

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Zodiacs could only go the quiet side of the Noss bird colonies. Then a poor tour of Lerwick, but good cliff scenery

Runde, Norway.

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Saw sea eagles above the gannet & guillemot cliffs of Runde: Had the voice, and the book promotion!, of the expert, Peter Harrison
. .head-waiter



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A visit toa blacksmith ,( in an incredibly scenic location), where Pembroke was incredibly brave: my hero! Then onto a glass blowers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cara was another well travelled Silversea devotee.
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Here the sun came out and we had fantastic waffles,( so the padre got us a second helping!) before stretching our paws at Hoekland beach .

Trollfjiord & Narvik


The ship sailed through the, oh so, narrows of the Trollfjiord: the early morning thick fog having liftied serendipitously

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The afternoon was our sort of fun- a train ride from Sweden ( having arrived there in a coach that roasted us all) back to Narvik through wondrous lakes and snowy mountains. Pity about the awful guide who caught up with us again in the train!

Harstad and Sundsvollsundet

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A visit to tis old stone church & the Trondenses historical centre and medieval farm . Then another birding zodiac ride tp a kittiwake colony : we never knew the padres loved birds so much!!

And the end of our 4th leg of this marathon cruise, Tromso

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Up and straight back down in the cable car- top of it in cloud! Then the polar museum where we came close and personal to our kind of stuffed version- more than the madre did to the real thing!


Later in the day the madre discovered a polar bear and cub on rhe bed : we went up on deck to celebrate these new arrivals

North Cape

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The Viking Marcel showed us more gannets on the rocks.T hen to Skarsvag and a stop by a Sami tent meeting Neil( a dentist for 10 months of the year!) & his mother with one of their reindeers. They were selling reindeer boots just like the padre bought in 1968!

Then to the North Cape itself, playing hard to get, invisible in the low mist!

Bear Island

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Our leader, Oscar, drives our Zodiac round Bear Island: fantastic rock formation, plus a wreck (how dangerous is cruising?) , plus, of course, guillemot colonies!

Finally we reach Svalbard : and we don our thick sweaters and flying jackets again: a tad nippy outside!


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5 Polar Bear guards armed with rifles always precede us ashore. And 3 of the Expedition staff also carry rifles- claimed they had the certificate!?
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Lots of huts to visit , we didn't fancy overnighting in any of them, but appreciated the hot chocolate with rum that was served at the Texas Hut. Pembroke was on his best behaviour and did not put snow down Somerville's jumper
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And like the madre. and so many of the folk aboard, we failed to see those elusive- but officially 3 sightings!!- of polar bears: good job the padre's telephoto captured the moment - see below !!



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Some scenes aboard ship . The madre enjoyed that pool, even on icy days . Florandy got to know our Polar Bears, as did Miriam, Din, and the other spa staff


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The padres received a certificate for enduring 350 days of Silversea cruising- some feat! Polar Bear had to be retrieved from Oscar!


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Warning sign not necessary for our cruise- maybe the 5 Polar Bear Guards that we had on duty were far too effective!

.And finally we disembark- what a disgrace for Silversea!

We had been told the previous day that the ship had no berth, thus disembarkation would be by zodiac ( oh, yes, it was in our contract that this might occur!!). As ordered we clear the suite at 8 and install ourselves in the Library

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. At 9am are told we can stay in suites: zodiac operation has been halted due to inclement/dangerous conditions . 9.30 am told we are disembarking in groups.( the Captain has overriden Oscar's decision !) Our group goes ashore in strong winds & heavy swell about 11: We are battered by icy water- non stop,all enveloping, waves, not sleet- all the way and arrive ashore drenched throughout. Then left in a shore side hangar/hut for over an hour before being driven to the airport. Here there was chaos with large groups from Ponant & National Geographic around . No food- since 8am- until 6 pm on the charter plane to Oslo . Several guest received completely drenched suitcases in Oslo

In the Radisson Blue hotel the next morning, 24/6/2022,. the padre sends an email- to Silverseas Guest Relations- stating how dangerous our disembarkation was: 8+ weeks later, 22/8/2022, he received a reply!! : but at least there was an apology( so we might get to see another afternoon tea 'Tower'!

We then fly back on Norwegian Air to Alicante


What a great 2 months, what a lot of photos taken, but.. . . after that dangerous ending, also a Great Relief to be home, safe and sound !

And 3 days later Covid struck!


Boyzz Life in 2022