After 6 of the most amazing years of my career at sea I have left Seabourn Odyssey in the capable hands of Captain Stig Betten. When I first joined Seabourn Stig was a Staff Captain on the Seabourn Pride. It was with a sense of some satisfaction that I handed command over to him.
I first took command of Seabourn Odyssey in this very port of Istanbul, on this very same berth in July of 2009. To walk down the gangway and take a peek at her over my shoulder as I left in a taxi for the hotel was quite something I can tell you.
In no particular order here are some of my most memorable moments:
1. The World Cruise of 2010 surely must be one of the most memorable not only for me but for all the guests that did the entire 108 days start to finish. What a World Cruise. We chased 2 cyclones and saw one of the most vivid sunsets as we left Tahiti that I have ever seen. So much so that I interrupted dinner service with a PA announcement that all guests must come and see it. Chef was not happy. The leg from Long Beach to Hawaii was very up and down with a long swell rolling down from the North. Chef had apoplexy when his soufflés kept sinking as they came out of the oven. We altered course 30 degrees to calm the ship until the soufflés had all been served. I was the chefs best friend.
2. I took the ship on her maiden world cruise into my home port of Christchurch with my wife and 2 sons on the bridge with me. I had never ever had the chance to take any ship into a home port before. The pilot came onto the bridge and said welcome home Captain. That was emotional. I made the front page of the local paper.
3. We went into Hong Kong harbour. The previous day I told the guests to get up early as this was a truly iconic sail in. They all got up. There was thick fog from the sea all the way to the berth. We saw nothing! I was mortified. But we laughed when one of the guests later in the day gave me some photos from a previous visit to show me what we would have seen.
4. We rescued three fishermen given up for dead in the Pacific.
5. I was asked by a guest about motorcycles and cars as he saw from my biography that I was a bit of a petrol head. I said the worst car I had was a Ford Escort and the best was my VW or BMW. Turns out he was the owner of the Ford motor company. I nearly died when he told me.
6.I renewed the marriage vows of 14 couples. I said farewell to a guest who was seriously ill and was on her last cruise before going home for her final days with her family. That really humbled me. Sometimes it is easy to forget the reasons people come cruising and that some people save for a lifetime to do it.
7. One lady told me I spoke perfect English for a Norwegian. I kept a dead pan face and was proud of myself for holding my tongue.
8. I have met young people among the Officers and crew from all corners of the globe. I have watched them grow and move up the promotion ladder and gained a great deal of satisfaction from seeing that and being a small part of it.
9. My family have accompanied me to parts of the world that most people only ever read about or see on the TV. For that I count my blessings.
10. Finally I sit here in Istanbul airport looking back on the last 6 years thinking hey what a ride it has been. What a blast. I sincerely hope the next 6 years will be as much fun.
To all my readers who have shared sea miles with me on the Seabourn Odyssey I thank you all. I hope you have had as much fun as I have. For the next 2 years I will be travelling between the ships. I will continue to blog on my travels and if you should see me onboard come and say hello.
I leave you with a few photos taken since my last posting.