A Travellerspoint blog

A week on MSC Seashore

Western Caribbean

sunny 75 °F

Today was a sea day as we head southwest toward Costa Maya and Cozumel.

The Yacht Club is an excellent experience. I like it better than The Haven on NCL - even The Haven on the Prima class. There is significantly more space dedicated to the ship within a ship.

At 1100 we had a senior officers reception in the bar with the Captain and the other Yacht Club senior officers. At 1600 the ship held a Veterans Reception in one of the main lounges. These Celebrations have become an integral part of the weekly cruises, rather than just a no host gathering, which was the norm in the past.

Late in the day, we got word that Costa Maya was cancelled due to 'weather' and we would be sailing to Cozumel tomorrow arriving at 1900 for the overnight. I looked at the weather in that area and it is fine, so something else is going on with that Mexican community.

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Posted by rpickett 15:46 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

A week on MSC Seashore cruising the Western Caribbean

MSC Seashore

sunny 71 °F

Since I had never cruised MSC before - a peer of Carnival, NCL and Royal Caribbean, I decided to give it a go.

MSC Seashore is an evolution of her Seaside-class sister ships, MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview. The ship features 65 percent of her public spaces completely reimagined to enrich the onboard experience and has been extended and enhanced with new entertainment venues, bars and restaurants, and outdoor areas as well as more staterooms and public space.

The first of two enriched Seaside EVO-class ships, MSC Seashore is equipped with the latest advanced environmental technology to increase energy efficiency. In addition, the innovative MSC for Me technology provides an enhanced onboard experience by using digital technology to connect guests, crew, and venues via interactive touchscreens around the ship, interactive stateroom TVs, and the MSC for Me app.

I booked us into a veranda cabin in the Yacht Club - MSC's ship within a ship concept, similar to The Haven on NCL.

"Step into the MSC Yacht Club, an exclusive private sanctuary. Here, you can discover elegance with luxury suites offering a 24/7 butler service. Enjoy curated menus in a private restaurant, and unwind on the secluded pool deck. An elevated experience awaits you on a vacation that’s a step above."

Our first stop was Nassau, where they have finally opened up the new cruise pavilion.

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The next day we stopped at Ocean Cay.

Ocean Cay is an island that was man-made created originally for the mining of aragonite sand. The total size of the island is 42 hectares and the original owners also had dredged the area to allow for deep vessels to dock for the exportation of the sand. In 2015, the executive chairman of MSC Cruise line, Pierfrancesco Vago, signed a 100-year lease agreement with the Bahamian government to redevelop the island into a new resort for the cruise line. The cruise line spent $200 million for the total project.

"Cruise to Ocean Cay and experience the only private island marine reserve in The Bahamas. Enjoy nature at its best with seven pristine beaches surrounded by protected marine life. Late-night and overnight stays mean more time to dive into turquoise waters, indulge in a seaside spa treatment, or dance on the sand at sunset."

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Posted by rpickett 15:22 Archived in Bahamas Tagged seashore msc Comments (1)

The Northern Half of the Island of Ireland

Photo Album

overcast

I have finished editing my photos

Click Northern Half of the Island of Ireland to view the album

Erin go bragh

Posted by rpickett 21:29 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

The Northern Half of the Island of Ireland

Donegal to Dublin

overcast 62 °F

Today we head back to Dublin to spend the night at the airport in preparation for our flight home tomorrow.

Along the way we stopped at the megalithic sites of Knowth and Newgrange.

Knowth is a prehistoric monument overlooking the River Boyne in County Meath, Ireland. It comprises a large passage tomb surrounded by 17 smaller tombs, built during the Neolithic era around 3200 BC. It contains the largest assemblage of megalithic art in Europe. Knowth is part of the Brú na Bóinne complex, a World Heritage Site that also includes the similar passage tombs of Newgrange and Dowth. After its initial period of use, Knowth gradually became a ruin, although the area continued to be a site of ritual activity in the Bronze Age. During the early Middle Ages, a royal residence was built on top of the great mound, which became the seat of the Kings of Knowth or Northern Brega. Archaeologist George Eogan led an extensive investigation of the site from the 1960s to 1980s, and parts of the monument were reconstructed.

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Newgrange is an exceptionally grand passage tomb built during the Neolithic Period, around 3200 BC, making it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. It is aligned on the winter solstice sunrise. Newgrange consists of a large circular mound with an inner stone passageway and cruciform chamber. Burnt and unburnt human bones, and possible grave goods or votive offerings, were found in this chamber. The mound has a retaining wall at the front, made mostly of white quartz cobblestones, and it is ringed by engraved kerbstones. Many of the larger stones of Newgrange are covered in megalithic art. The mound is also ringed by a stone circle. Some of the material that makes up the monument came from as far as the Mournes and Wicklow Mountains. There is no agreement about its purpose, but it is believed it had religious significance. It is aligned so that the rising sun on the winter solstice shines through a 'roofbox' above the entrance and floods the inner chamber.

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Posted by rpickett 21:05 Archived in Ireland Tagged dublin to donegal Comments (0)

The Northern Half of the Island of Ireland

Donegal

semi-overcast 65 °F

Today dawned foggy and misty, but finished off with wonderful full sunshine. We explored Donegal today.

The first stop was the Abbey Graveyard. Located where the Eske River flows into Donegal Bay, the Old Abbey stood for more than two centuries despite being ransacked, burned and ravaged. It finally faced abandonment during the early years of the 17th century. Built by Hugh O’Donnell in 1474, the abbey now only exists as ruins, but the south transept, various areas of the cloisters, and the choir areas are still visible. The nearby graveyard bears evidence of burials occurring for more than a century after the abbey was abandoned. Annals of the Four Masters
This abbey is distinguished as the place where the Irish Annals were to be written by the Four Masters during a time when it seemed the Celtic culture and traditions of Ireland were in danger of being eradicated by the English. The Annals were written as a way to preserve records and history, as well as the traditional mythologies of Ireland from its earliest times all the way up to 1618. The Four Masters, who were monks, carried out work on the project for four years, from 1632 through 1636. The Annals are still extremely important today, as Irish genealogists and historians use them. The original documents are kept safely preserved, but copies are displayed in the National Library in Dublin. The Annals of the Four Masters remains one of the most important documents for Irish historians and genealogists alike. Although the original works of the monks are kept locked away safely, people can examine the copies on display at the National Library in Dublin.

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A short walk from the Abbey is the wonderful Donegal Castle. The castle was the stronghold of the O'Donnell clan, Lords of Tír Conaill and one of the most powerful Gaelic families in Ireland from the 5th to the 16th centuries. For most of the last two centuries, the majority of the buildings lay in ruins but the castle was almost fully restored in the early 1990s. The castle consists of a 15th-century rectangular keep with a later Jacobean style wing. There is a small gatehouse at its entrance mirroring the design of the keep. The complex is sited on a bend in the River Eske, near the mouth of Donegal Bay, and is surrounded by a 17th-century boundary wall. Most of the stonework was constructed from locally sourced limestone with some sandstone.

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After a little shopping and a sandwich, we returned to the Lough Eske Castle Hotel - a wonderful five star property near Lough Eske.

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Posted by rpickett 15:55 Archived in Ireland Tagged donegal Comments (1)

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