By request, some video clips from the ship. Michael W Smith - singing with the ship's choir (passengers!)
2016 saw one of my dreams come true, when I finally got to go on a Michael W Smith cruise! Advertised for a few years now, the dates never matched the school holidays - but this year the dates worked - there was a wedding we hoped to go to - and everything came together to make the cruise a possibility. Held on one of the biggest cruise ships, we sailed in the Caribbean, and had all the normal cruise events with the bonus of additional extra concerts!
These featured Michael W Smith himself (singer/songwriter/worship leader) as well as his friends Mark Lowry (comedian), Laura Story (singer/songwriter) and Pastor Jack (main speaker).
On any cruise there is always live entertainment, and on the Oasis of the Seas, this was to be found everywhere, from Ice-Skating Fairy Tales, to High Diving Water Shows, to theatrical productions, and to Headliner Acts. The photos here capture some of the entertainment - and particularly 'The Edge Effect' - the Headline Acapella Act for the week of our cruise.
The main production on the cruise was CATS, so of course we went! Even got a pic on the stage!
Day 5 was our last ‘docking’ – this time on the island of Haiti, but at a private RCI resort just for the cruise liner. It gave us the chance to try one of the longest ziplines in the world over water, and then a lazy sunbathe. Food was incredible, the local artisan market was interesting, and all said, it was a really nice lazy day on a perfect beach!
Knowing we would have a week after the cruise, we looked at multi-centre holidays in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas area. After much deliberation, we decided that could be too rushed and, copying my nephew, plumped for Las Vegas. Staying in the Trump Tower (who knew he would be elected president?), we used Vegas as a base for multiple full day trips, but also had time to walk up and down the strip and take in some shows. We settled for a single 1 dollar gamble (each) on the 1c machines! I lost almost everything, but Shanhong left $6 in profit – she’s obviously a better gambler than me! The following pics are all in and around Vegas.
Our first day trip was to Los Angeles, stopping at Malibu Beach and in Hollywood before driving through Beverly Hills on the way back. A five hour drive each way – it is hard to say if it was worth it – especially when the van broke down on the way home and we had to wait three hours for a replacement! But, I did get to walk on Hollywood Boulevard, and I did get to play ‘Baywatch’ (anyone still remember that show?)
So, there you have the first of the Vegas reports – hope you enjoyed it! There are a few more photos on the website from the US tour – just head towww.mrhughes.net and choose reports, and then USA 2016 – or have a look at some of the travel and show blogs!
All the best! Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy xxx
Two more daytrips in this report! The first was actually just an evening trip – a sunset ride with barbecue. We were picked up at the hotel and driven out to Red Rock, the edge of the desert, where we mounted up and followed a trek through the scruffland as day turned to night. It ended with perhaps the best food of the whole trip – absolutely scrummy steak, potato and salad with beans etc – and huge portions too – this plate is after Shanhong stole half!. This was probably my favourite trip from Las Vegas. The last photos are from the company website.
The next trip was a very full day with an early pickup and drive out to Hoover Dam where we got in the water – you can see the dam in the background of the first few pics. For those who are interested, Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the border between the states of Nevada and Arizona. Constructed in the 1930s by a six-company conglomerate, it was completed 2 years earlier than scheduled, but at a cost of more than 100 lives. The dam’s generators provide power for the states of Nevada, Arizona and California. It is also a major tourist attraction visited by almost one million people a year. From the dam it was a 7 hour Kayak down the river! I loved it – Shanhong tired early and didn’t enjoy the last few hours at all.
Unfortunately, although we remembered sun cream for face/arms etc – I appear to have missed it on my legs. The result of 7 hours on water in 42 degrees sun was sunburn like I’ve never had it before – shivers, pain, and then the best blisters ever! You get an idea from these two photos. So kids, when mum says put suncream on, do it!!
That’s it for this time – just one more USA report to go – we’re off to the Grand Canyon! Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy
The final trip of USA 2016 was to the Grand Canyon, deliberately left to last, this was the expensive tour that saw us picked up in a stretch limo, and then flying from Vegas to the Canon by helicopter, passing over Hoover Dam where we started our Kayaking trip earlier in the week.
The helicopter landed at the base of the canyon to give us a short boat ride in the river.
I loved the day – the helicopter ride was special, not done that before! However, I must admit I was a bit disappointed by the Canyon itself – just a bunch of rocks! I’ve seen nicer rocks elsewhere!
So, that’s the last of the summer 2016 USA reports. Hope you enjoyed our travels. The next few holidays will be cheapies in UK and China, nothing else planned as yet! All the best, Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy xx
If you’ve been in touch for any length of time, you’ll know I have always fancied a cruise. This summer was my chance to give it a try as Shanhong and I (and Teddy of course) joined the Oceana for a one-week trip to Norway.
The cruise left and returned to Southampton in the UK, and consisted of two ‘sea days’ getting to/from Norway and 4 days where we got off the ship and went to explore. Needless to say – it was every bit as good as I hoped and we will certainly be cruising again in the future. Full details can be found in the reports section of the website under Norway Reports.