Once a month I usually publish a “Site and Social Updates” blog post just to keep the blog-specific RSS feed and the front page refreshed for that all-important search engine interest but as regular visitors to this site (yeah, I know there’s no such thing either but what can you do about it?) will already know… there haven’t been any site updates in a while. Technically, no update is a kind of update but I still felt that the post deserved a different title so Recent Events will have to suffice.

And the recent events are that we have been to Asia on a cruise aboard Diamond Princess. It was utterly fabulous. So much had changed since the last time we cruised on that ship and in that area of the world – not least of which being us – but the experience of a Japanese-built ship with half the passengers Japanese, starting and ending in Japan, all the announcements in English and Japanese, plenty of Japanese activities and ship features aboard, and formal nights featuring people looking so elegant in their formal kimonos all added so much extra value to being on the ship that it raised the main point of the cruise itself – the destinations – to a new level. There will, of course, be reviews of the ship, the cruise as a whole, and all the things we got up to in Japan, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Hong Kong in due course but for some reason somebody went a little crazy with taking photographs and videos and at this point, nearly three weeks after returning, I’m about halfway through the pictures and haven’t even looked at the videos properly.

One thing that did happen on the ship was that there was a problem with the ventilation in a few areas at the start of the cruise. We talked to one person who’d heard from other people that they were having trouble sleeping as a sharp smell was coming into their rooms but I can state that we had no such problem. Nevertheless, as the problem was in the same general area as our room we were rather pleased to find we’d been given $250 onboard credit each as well as 10% off any cruise booked before the end of next year (including any that had not yet been paid for). That onboard credit was immediately splurged at the jewellery store on the ship (free diamonds!) while we checked and saw that our next cruise had been discounted by several hundred quid as well. While we’re sorry that some people had a bad experience on the ship we’re clearly not that sorry it happened as a result.

Giddy with the joy of a reduced price cruise (and tipsy with alcohol; a winning combination) as we finalised excursions for next year’s South and Central American cruise recently we then spotted an advert on the Princess website for free flights and transfers for any European fly-cruise vacations booked by the middle of December. Needless to say but we used up 5 of our remaining 11 vacation days for 2019 and will be cruising from Barcelona to Rome next year too on the Emerald Princess.

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These posts usually include a social element (what I’ve been reading online, what I’ve been watching, etc.) but in truth the social side has seemed a little stale in the last month. I don’t know if everyone else is fatigued or if it’s me or not but interactions seem way down and fire-and-forget posts from the people I follow seem to be high. It’s all the usual posts and activity as well: the moans about people unfollowing; the people who ask a question then don’t acknowledge your answer; the people who ignore your question but will answer other people’s; the people who follow you but you can tell instantly it’s because Twitter or Instagram has suggested you and they’re not interested in what you’re writing or posting; the people posting absurdly positive posts on a single subject as part of a coordinated PR blitz rather than from a genuine place. I’m less and less interested in a lot of these people. I’ve more-or-less stopped even looking at recent followers with an eye on following back unless there’s some other interaction too now, I’ve also started deliberately ignoring people who seem to be cliquey with their likes and commenting, and I’m giving serious thought to culling followers/following on my travel-based Twitter account as a lot of them who were originally in it for the love of the subject are shifting more and more towards pure advertising for the industry.

I am, of course, still in that period following a fantastic cruise so I know that a lot of this is possibly just post-cruise blues and I’ll bounce back to my normal *checks notes* grumpy self soon enough.

Anyway, off to Iceland for the weekend in a fortnight. Crossing fingers for clear skies and high aurora activity. Regardless, it’ll be good to see the country again and throw ridiculous amounts of money at the bars and restaurants for sustenance.

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Featured image shows a detail above an archway at Hué Imperial City, Vietnam, just one of the incredible places we visited last month.

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