“Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go,” and while Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs needed a shovel and a pick to help in their labours, I am rather more fortunate. Not sure “a camera, a laptop, and a boarding pass” would fit the rhyme, but that’s more or less what I take everywhere.
And so it was that within 24 hours of arriving home on Friday from the final pre-inaugural cruise of Disney Fantasy, I was heading back to Gatwick, this time to fly to Italy to join the newly-refurbished Minerva of Swan Hellenic.
There wasn’t a moment to lose on landing at Naples airport – within 90 minutes my ship was due to cast off from the quay at Stazione Marittima to sail just 13 nautical miles and drop anchor off Sorrento.
Despite the typical Italian Saturday afternoon shortage of immigration officials to check the incoming passports, and a crowded baggage hall where the carousels had to accommodate suitcases from up to three flights at a time, I made it.
The alternative would not have left me stranded in Naples; I would simply have had a slightly longer taxi ride around the bay, and one of Minerva’s brand new tenders would have been called into action to carry me to the mother ship.
As it was, they received their baptism on Palm Sunday, and I was among the first passengers aboard to be carried across to a catamaran ferry which whisked our tour group across to the Isle of Capri for a whistle-stop morning tour.
More on that, more from Disney Fantasy, and more on the revived and revitalised Minerva later in the week. At least I have been spared the worst of April Fool’s Day; I have seen one report claiming that Royal Caribbean has bought Crystal Cruises, another which said US Federal Marshals had arrested a Carnival ship in a legal tussle involving Costa Concordia, and an alarming forecast that all-inclusive meals were to disappear completely from one line’s cruises.
Best of all though, it currently contains two ice buckets, each chilling a bottle of one of my favourite wines, Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. One of them is a welcome aboard gift from Malcolm Cullen, who was hotel director on MV Discovery which I sailed on last October, the other was from Roger Allard, whose All Leisure company owns both Voyages of Discovery and Swan Hellenic.
Cheers to both of them. And if my next dishpatch appears a little shlurred, you’ll know why. “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go . . . ”