We continued sailing northwards for four more days, crossed back over the Equator, were visited by Father Neptune again with all the usual ceremonies, and on the fifth day docked in Bridgetown, Barbados.

As was our wont We eschewed the taxis and took the local bus to get a flavour of real life. The bus was crowded with the locals. They were a noisy, happy and cheerful crowd accompanied by large market baskets, crates of hens, and odd animals. They took a friendly interest in us as I don’t think they saw many tourists using  those buses.

We travelled through various neighbourhoods, some small single story houses with little gardens, in front of some of these goods were laid out for sale –strange exotic fruit and vegetables, unusual fish and colourful clothes. They were just laid out on the grass verge, no stalls! In other parts were larger more affluent looking with houses betraying their British colonial history and then there were the very rich looking  plantation houses standing in spacious gardens.

The scenery was very varied, fields of waving sugar cane, brilliant tropical blooms, exotic palms and fragrant frangipani, a different vista round every corner.

In the centre of Bridgetown it was strange to see signposts pointing to The Oval and Trafalgar Square and other well known London landmarks. We took pictures of Nelson’s statue and the  harbour policemen in their picturesque unforms (unchanged from Lord Nelson’s day!)

After our sightseeing tour we went to the beach, beautiful clean silver sand and clear blue water. We sunbathed, swam, and sat under umbrellas sipping  Planters Punch to the sound of steel drums played by smiling men in colourful shirts.

We were quite reluctant to leave and go back on duty, but we knew that we would be returning soon as there were two short Caribbean cruise scheduled before we returned to Norway.

The next four days, as we neared New York, there was a flurry of packing and the huge wardrobe trunks appeared in all the gangways. We had become very close to some of the passengers and it was sad to say goodbye to them. We received gifts and pressing invitations to visit them. If we had been free and had had the money to travel S. and B. and I could have  spent the next few months travelling around the USA taking up the invitations! 

Seventy- seven days and 26,282miles after we left, we sailed past the iconic Statue of Liberty into a much warmer New York than the one we had left.

After the passengers had departed to many of the States, the ship was thoroughly cleaned and made ready for the next cruise.

In the evening we went “on the town”. We had become friendly with the entertainment staff, most of whom were based in New York and one of the dancers had called in a few favours and obtained tickets for us to go to see “Sweet Charity”.

After the show we went to Hawaii Kai and had drinks with amazing names, served in unusual containers such as fresh pineapples and coconuts. We spent a very pleasant evening reminiscing about the cruise, full of “do you remembers?”

Two days later we were welcoming the passengers for the three week cruise to the Caribbean.