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What a difference a few hours makes, at sea. It’s now just after 7pm, so it’s only twelve hours since we were crashing through heavy seas and strong winds. Right now however we are sailing through a flat calm with little wind except that caused by our own passage. At about 5 o’clock this afternoon the captain announced that, all being well, we should make our expected arrival at Gibraltar after all, so our excursion – ‘Secrets of the Rock’ – should be safe.

Earlier today we had a chat with the excursions desk about the embarrassing moments at the gold wholesalers in Florence. The more we think back to it, the stranger it seems; it’s obvious that the tour guide, or the tour company, must have had a arrangement with the wholesalers. It reminded me very much of ‘carpet demonstrations’ during calls at Kusadasi on eastern Med cruises with Celebrity. We didn’t enjoy it, and for us it spoiled the excursion a bit. (Val has just pointed out that the carpet demonstrations were mentioned in the excursion blurb whereas what happened in Florence was a surprise. But maybe we’re fragile flowers….)

One other thing I ought to mention, and that’s the internet connection speed. I took my MacBook Pro laptop and bought the 250 minute package, on the first day, and got an extra 20 minutes added. (This cost £62.50, plus an additional £2.50 set up charge.) Because we bought the full package we were given an ethernet cable so mostly I’ve been connecting through the ethernet socket behind the TV in the cabin. However, in the spirit of research I’ve also used the wi-fi connection down in the atrium, and I’m pleased to report that both connections have been very fast and robust. Of course, I’ve been preparing blog posts off-line and just connecting to post them, but it looks as if I shall have quite a bit of time left to use up on the last couple of sea days as we turn north into the Atlantic.

(Postscript – having written the above I was then unable to post the update because the internet connection dropped! Further attempts to connect, both later in the evening and early on Wednesday morning, suggest that the problem lies with their login server; it’s not bringing up the login page for connection to the internet.)

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