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Nikki’s Blog: My 2020 alternative cruise

I saw a ship a-sailing... but alas, I was not onboard!

2020 saw so many of our travel plans cancelled or postponed. From a year that began with a plan to tick several things from my bucket list, to the stark reality of what actually occurred.

To cruise or not to cruise, that was the question...

Whist I have river cruised several times, been on many a ship visit, and have even been fortunate to spend the night on board sampling the delights of Lady Scarlet in the Port of Dover, I have yet to cruise on the sea (apart from along the Kent coastline in my speedboat - which I fear may not quite be the same).

Back in February, I was over the moon to receive a complimentary Virgin Voyages Caribbean cruise for any 2020 sailing. This was obviously hastily booked, and Jonathan and I were very excited and eagerly anticipating our 'Fire and Sunset Soirées' debut cruise in October with some extra time built in to explore Miami and the Florida Keys.

The pandemic sadly struck and instead of our beautiful Caribbean cruise, I was left ashore in Margate watching the cargo ships in the Channel and enjoying an exciting August afternoon tracking Cunard’s Queen Victoria as she made her way around the coast to Botany Bay where she was to spend a few nights.

In October, I finally got to go on my cruise!

I am delighted to advise that on Halloween, I cruised the seas and did manage to tick something off my bucket list. My sea faring highlight of 2020 was a fabulous trip out on a US Navy P22 to see the seals in Sandwich Bay. Whilst I have lived in Margate since 1999 and have owned a speedboat since 2018, I had yet to see the seals.

The P22 is the sole United States Navy gunboat still afloat from a fleet of 23, which patrolled the River Rhine during the Cold War era.

After being decommissioned by the American military, it was handed back to the reformed German Navy to continue Rhine patrol.

After several years, it was decommissioned and bought by a Scottish-based private company where it fell into disrepair and partially sank, only to be saved by a private individual for its posterity and historic value.

It most recently featured in the blockbuster film, Dunkirk, and is now moored in Sandwich, Kent.

The cruise did not disappoint. It was an epic experience to see the seals frolicking and enjoying life - no pandemic for them - as they played in the sea and snuggled together on the land.

Had I have been on my planned Caribbean voyage, I would have missed out on this delight.

Like most 2020 trips, our Caribbean cruise was re-booked for February 2021 and is sadly having to be rescheduled once more.

Being marooned in the UK though has drawn welcome attention to the adventures to be had exploring what is on our own doorstep, from staycations, tours and days out, to castles and coasts, all of which I can also organise and book.

As my dad has always said, “enjoy every tick of the clock” and on that note I shall leave you to enjoy some of my 2020 highlights and self-made adventures!


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