Today is taken up packing and turning up at the meeting point with the Scenic Tours Nice Representative. We have a 4-hour coach transfer to the ship, which is docked at Tarascon. The weather is overcast with a little drizzle now and then. About 10km out from the town of Tarascon, we travel a country road with plain trees lining the road on both sides all the way into town. If you go off the road, you are bound to hit a tree. As this is the first ever departure for Scenic from this port, the driver does a couple of ‘U-turns” before getting us to ship-side, but we are able to have a ‘free-tour’ in the mean time.
We were on the “Scenic Emerald” in 2010 from Amsterdam to Budapest and it is a bit like returning home. The cabin decor has been refurbished and the public areas modified a little, but generally, things happen the same. All passengers have a butler now. Drinks are included and the room mini-bar is restocked each day for free. One of the dining room staff remembered us from the previous cruise. After a short interview with the Dining room supervisor, the crew in the kitchen and dining room are ready for my ‘low salt’ diet so should be fine in the meals area.
The Meniere’s is a problem but it doesn’t stop me from doing what I want to do, usually. I don’t have any hesitation to let others know the ‘silent fear’ we all go through 24/7, not looking for sympathy but to educate others about this ‘silent sickness’ that for many is debilitating and life changing. I recognize that I have been one of the lucky ones when I read stories of others’ plights and adjusted lifestyles.
After the normal registration procedures, we have a buffet dinner, followed by the emergency briefing and procedures. The make up of the passengers is not just Australian this time. There are Scottish, Canadians, New Zealanders, English, Americans – Scenic must have been marketing in many countries lately. Some of them don’t know to be quiet when announcements are being made so ‘Meniere’s me’ has been missing some of those important announcements. On our return to the cabin, our baggage is waiting to be unpacked. Lyn is ‘not happy Lyn’, as a hair ‘tonic’ bottle has leaked in her new suitcase. Tut tut!!
Scenic Tours now have a technology edge over its competitors. Each of us has been given a new device called the Scenic Tailormade. The device is so new; the developer is on board to help us if some gremlin shows up in the operation of it in real life testing. This is GPS technology and the limit of use is boundless. The device enables us to hear commentary along the waterways about ‘anything’ that we pass by. If we are having ‘free-time’ somewhere in a town, it will direct us back to the ship. There are guided tours which we can use the device for in any town. No doubt, the ship can send the passenger a message to say ‘return to the ship – or we will leave without you”.
We are looking forward to this river cruise in the south of France – the only trouble is it is only seven nights. Enjoy the daily posts that we plan to make each day.