2012 MSC Melody Cruise & Italy & France
Departed St Helena at 7pm on the 25th February 2012
Four full days at sea until we dock at Dakar Senegal
Distance from St Helena to Dakar 1985 Nautical miles.
So this will be the longest stretch at sea. This is when the friendships you have made at the start of the cruise kick in.
We will be crossing the Equator on the 28th February 2012 – been there done that, so sit back and watch the Ceremony from behind the scene, much like the last time.
Was not too sure how I felt about Dakar Senegal, what I had read before the cruise regarding the country and port seemed ok. Well was I in for a surprise, more about my experience later.
All I can say is thanks to Pat & Elaine for keeping my days occupied to the fullest. There was never a dull day, they always found something to do other than what was offered as entertainment.
A normal day at sea would be as follows:
10.00am Good morning with the Entertainment team
10.30am Ping Pong tournament
11.00am Table Soccer tournament
11.30am Quiz time
3.00pm Apertif game
3.30pm Surprise game
3.30pm MSC Melody quiz – 2nd round
4.15pm 2nd Italian Lesson
4.30pm Line dance
7.45pm Salsa dance lesson
10.45pm Beatles game
So there is no excuse that there is nothing to do on a cruise
Days were partly cloudy almost every day so not much lying around in the sun. The day of the “Crossing of the Equator Ceremony” temperature was 35˚ C and overcast. It’s always a festive occasion and I was expecting it to be as great as it was in 2010 but alas it was not to be, maybe it was the kind of passengers on this trip, who knows.
Spent most of the four days at sea with Pat 7 Elaine or reading and just unwinding. This is the time to enjoy and recharge the batteries as once we hit Europe the ports visited are more frequent and then you are on the run. A day in port sounds great but in reality a day is just not long enough, so I try to see as much as I can in the short period of time I have.
We were due to arrive in Dakar on the 1st March 2012 at about 11am.
Pat, Elaine and I decided not to do any of the excursions offered as they were rather expensive and anyway I much prefer to walk the streets, that is when you see the real city.
Dakar is the capital city of Sengal, located on the Cape Verde Peninsula, on the Atlantic coast. It is the largest city in Senegal.
As we near Dakar we will pass the Goree Island, this island is of historical importance, as it from here that the slaves were transported to America.
Once we were docked and the passengers were given the all clear to disembark, Pat, Elaine and I were off, well the 1st thing that hits you when are on land is the heat, dust and dirt.
Walking through the harbour gate and into the city was the most hellish experience ever, everybody jostles for your attention to be your guide and if someone can speak better English than the “Tour Guide” that you have, they are physically pushed aside and now you have a new “Guide”.
We had to hide inside a Pharmacy at one stage to get rid of our “Guide”, he was irritating us somewhat as he wanted to take us deeper into the city to one of the African Markets. He just could not understand that this is not what we wanted to do, so he became a little aggressive.
To be honest I was too scared to take out my camera, so unfortunately I have no pics to show of the dirt in the street, squalor and dilapidated state of the buildings, we could not get back to the ship quick enough.
I reckon we probably spent about two hours walking around and that was too long for my liking. Could not wait to get back to the MSC Melody to have an ice cold beer and lunch.
Pat & I went back out after lunch to a small African Market on the Quay to barter for a few items we were interested in. Now that was an experience in itself, I must have walked away a few times before the seller caved in and accepted what I had to offer.
We departed Dakar at 6pm and were on our way to Las Palmas – due to dock on the 4th March 2012. Two full days at sea.
863 Nautical Miles to go.
Was looking forward to exploring Las Palmas.