Complete change of scene for me tomorrow. After spending time on board two brand new ships in America in the past couple of weeks, I’m flying to Aqaba tomorrow to join Spirit of Adventure, the lovely little ship operated by Saga Cruises.
We’re going on a Red Sea adventure, and the itinerary has already had to be tweaked because of those pesky pirates in the Gulf of Aden.
After a long day in Egypt on Wednesday, when I expect to take a trip to the Valley of the Kings, we shall be calling at a couple of ports which are off the beaten track these days – Suakin, in Sudan, and Massawa, in Eritrea. But a planned five-hour visit to Djibouti next Tuesday has had to be cancelled.
Not because there’s any danger in Djibouti itself, but in order that the ship reaches the protection of the EU naval vessels in the Gulf of Aden on time, to reduce the risk of attack by pirates from neighbouring Somalia.
Which is a shame, because I had been looking forward to seeing Djibouti, which is even further off the well-trodden tourist trail. There’s some consolation in that I’ll get to spend a few extra hours in Oman when I leave the ship, which will continue across the Indian Ocean to Mumbai.
My friends at the head office assure me that apart from this slight amendment, the rest of the cruise is unchanged, and that – so far at least – plans for Spirit of Adventure to call at Djibouti in March remain unchanged.
Spirit of Adventure is a world away from Carnival Dream and Oasis of the Seas – my last two ships – in every possible sense. Just one of the lifeboats on Oasis could accommodate every one of the passengers from Spirit, and the ship itself could probably be slotted into the Royal Promenade on Oasis without touching the sides.
Internet connections permitting, I’ll be reporting here as we make our way from Aqaba to Salalah, and there should be some fascinating pictures eventually. Keep your fingers crossed.