Tue 24 Dec ‘13 – day 10 I awoke and pulled back to curtains to be greeted by sight of the coast of Croatia bathed in bright sun light and a flat calm blue sea; to be able to see the outside world is the main reason that I always had an outside cabin.
Oriana was making her way down between the islands that separate the coastline from the Adriatic Sea and the 08:55 hours announcement from the Officer of the Watch (while I was doing more washing and ironing) stated that the Pilot was due to board at about 09:45 hours and that the ship should be alongside and received clearance from the local authorities for the passengers and crew to go ashore by 10:30 hours. While the ship was making its final approach to the berth and we were the only cruise ship in harbour today, the Captain made a broadcast and said that the Pilot had advised him that as because it was Christmas Eve there would be lots going on in the city.
As I had been to Dubrovnik on a number of occasions and seen all that I would want to see, I decide that I would have a lazy day and stay on-board.
As soon as the Deputy Captain announced clearance had been given, people streamed down the two gangways and boarded the numerous coaches heading off on tours, or headed for the shuttle buses that would drop passengers near the Pile Gate, the main entrance to the walled city. The shuttle buses filled up so quickly that a queue formed to wait for them to return after having made their first runs.
Once the throng dispersed I wandered ashore to the shops adjacent to the ship and bought the obligatory postcards that I will be sending home; despite the local currency being the Croatian Kuna, everyone was accepting Euro’s and as the old saying goes ‘Money Talks’.
Many of the crew were in the Internet Café which had Wi-Fi and they were on their I-Phones and computers e-mailing or talking to the relatives at home via Skype. This was usually the only form of contact that they had with their families during their nine month contract on-board.
Having written the postcards and handed them to the staff at Reception for posting, it was time for an afternoon snack which I had up it the Conservatory and had to sit on the shaded side otherwise the sun was far too bright for me to be able to read my magazine.
The Conservatory slowly filled up as the tour coaches arrived back and people came up for a (very) late lunch, or just a drink and a cake or sandwich.
Depending on his many other jobs that Santa had to do on Christmas Eve, it was hoped that he would find time to visit the ship at 17:00 hours, so it was back to cabin where I put on a jumper as the temperature dropped considerably as soon as the sun set and then made my way up to the Sun Deck where I grabbed a seat in an advantageous position and waited for the great man to arrive.
The area in and around the Riviera Pool quickly filled up as the moments tick by, while the Deputy Captain kept us all informed of the inbound radar tracks and communication that they were having with Santa.
He appeared atop the funnel before making his way down to have his photographs taken with many of the passengers. Then it was time for Christmas Carols which are led by the Ships Officers Choir, so time to make the vocal cords do some work.
Tonight for dinner I wore my Santa tie and when I arrive I saw that Steve had his Santa jumper on, so the feeling was that Christmas is almost upon us. During the meal Janet told me that the city was absolutely packed with locals so that she just walked down the main thoroughfare and then back along a side street before coming back to the ship. Sylvia had been planning to walk along the part of the city walls that she didn’t do the last time she was here, but in the end she did the whole trip, a distance of some 1940m.
Once I had finished dinner I had a quick nightcap in the Crow’s Nest Bar and was in bed before the clock struck twelve.