It’s a first for Captain Roy

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After 23 years as a captain on cruise ships, Roy Dearman thought he had seen everything. From his first command, MV Astor, through the launch of easyCruise, and now on to Thomson Cruises, there has been little he could not cope with, partly thanks to his early maritime training at HMS Conway, in Anglesey.
But this week’s gala dinner on board Thomson Celebration in the Red Sea brought a first. As he stood at the entrance to the ship’s Broadway show lounge, his right arm feeling weak after more than a thousand handshakes, and his eyes burning from just as many camera flashes, he felt a hand sneak round and pinch him on the bum.
“It wasn’t a female passenger, that happens all the time. This was a man,” said the Captain afterwards. “I don’t know who he was. He didn’t say anything, and neither did I. I was shocked, it’s never happened before.”
Fortunately, he recovered sufficiently to host a table at the dinner, and to be on the bridge a few hours later to guide the ship into Port Sokhna in Egypt, from where next morning more than 750 passengers set off by coach to visit Cairo and the Pyramids.
While excursions like this are the only chance many people get to experience the last surviving wonder of the ancient world, they can be frustratingly short and hurried and the tours, whether of the Pyramids and the Sphinx, or the spectacular Cairo Museum, can become an endurance test.
There are the thousands of other tourists, from Europe and Japan mostly, who conspire to get in the way of every camera shot, and there are hundreds of aggressive street vendors pushing their headscarves, statuettes and postcards. They all want to be your friend. They all want to give you a present. And they all want money. I’ve encountered traders like these all over the world and without doubt, the Egyptians are the most persistent
As we drove between the sights, we saw glimpses of modern-day Cairo. The teeming city is a huge building site where millions live in half-built apartment blocks which are little more than vertical shanty-towns, and which are no doubt destined to become the slums of tomorrow.
For the party I joined, lunch on board a Nile riverboat was a relaxing treat, with the added bonus of a pneumatic belly-dancer and a dizzying skirt dancer who whirled like a dervish – never losing his smile or his balance.
Sated by the sights, we returned exhausted to the mother-ship, greeted once again at the gangway by the crew band – who were back on stage for their own show later in the night.
Then it was on to Safaga, not exactly the jewel of the Red Sea Riviera by any stretch of the imagination, but for cruise passengers the gateway to Luxor and excursions to ancient temples, the Valley of the Kings and the tomb of Tutankhamum.
Not for me though. I made that four-hour drive through the desert only a few weeks ago, while I was sailing on Spirit of Adventure. So tomorrow I shall take a really good look around the ship and tell you all about it in my next blog.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:33+00:00 26 January 2010|Cruise destinations, Cruise people|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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