This was a 14 night cruise taken in August 2007.

We sailed on a small  cruise ship, catering for 200 passengers, called:

The Royal Star.

Our cruise route was:

We stayed overnight at the Europa Hotel near Gatwick before boarding our plane for the 8 hours 40 mins flight to MOMBASA.

A welcome was waiting for us at the FLAMINGO BEACH HOTEL.

The hotel had a lovely beach and sleeping protection against mosquitoes;

After a 2 night stay in Mombasa we boarded an African Airways 2 hour 45 mins flight to the island of MAHE.

We were due to stay 2 nights at Mahe. The first day we visited a local botanical park where we saw giant tortoises:


On the second day we were pestered by a local on the ship's quayside to hire a car. I hadn't brought my driving licence but the young lad said it didn't matter. I think he was desperate for business. We drove all around the island which had lovely beaches like this:


The evening meal was advertised as The Captain's Dinner and it was our lucky day. On most cruises some passengers are invited for pre-dinner cocktails with the Captain followed by dinner at his table. After 12 previous cruises this was the first time we had been chosen:


The next day we sailed the short journey to the Seychelles 4th largest island, LA DIGUE. We set off to explore the Island in a very unusual type of transport:


The cart ambled around and the driver pointed out a thatched dwelling where he said Tony Blair had stayed. No doubt another Freebie holiday. We saw much of how the locals lived. He took us to see a couple of "Robinson Crusoe" type beaches:



We spent the next 2 days at sea. What's more the Captain said it would be open sea, miles from land and it would be rough.

The waves were white-topped and I knew that meant trouble for me. I am the world's worst sailor.

We changed for dinner and I tried to convince myself it was all in the mind. I didn't even last the first course and had to return to our cabin.

The next day the ship was heaving to and fro- little wonder when you compare its tonnage to previous ships we had sailed on.

Example: Celebrity's "MERCURY" - 77.000 TONS.   The Royal Star - 5,067 Tons

We went for breakfast but I couldn't eat anything, Jacqueline wasn't affected in the slightest.

The ship seemed deserted, I wasn't the only one suffering. Many passengers remained in their cabins.

The next morning our cabin was still heaving in all directions but by 2.0pm the Captain's forecast was accurate- we were in calmer waters.

I'd eaten virtually nothing for 2 days and after sunbathing all day I was ravenous. I ate the full 6 course evening meal and jokingly asked the waiter if I could have the previous two evening meals I'd missed.

The following day we docked at:

We stayed here 2 days after sailing 813 miles from La Digue.

Anchored off Nosy Be provided us with a continuous source of amusement. Many of the locals had come out to see us in their self-made canoes:


Mothers, fathers and children had paddled out to do business. Their purpose was to trade the fruit, vegetables and fish they carried.

Anything the passengers had was accepted and we were throwing to them shirts, trousers, hats, food and sweets which the children would dive overboard to catch. Their prize catch was a pair of shoes.

We left out ship by tender and took a taxi to explore the local town. We were a little apprehensive because we seemed to be the only two white people amongst thousands of black inhabitants. Signs of poverty were everywhere.

The state of the roads was terrible and the stench from a meat market was over-powering. We walked back to the ship in heat that was cooking us alive.

Our evening meal was billed as " Buffet Magnifique" :

It lived up to its name.

The next day we had an early start because we had booked an organised tour, £27 each, to fulfil an ambition of mine:

We were whisked away on high speed boats to see the lemurs on the island of Nosy Tanikely.

Our stay on the island had a few surprises for us.

It's not laundry hanging out to dry, they are table cloths for sale.

It quickly became obvious that there was great poverty here and that the islanders relied on visitors for their existence.

All the children seemed very happy and sang for us. Many were offering tiny flowers in the hope of getting money.

You couldn't help feeling sorry for them and our dollar bills were gratefully accepted.

We walked up higher into the island to see what we were looking forward to:

The lemurs of Madagascar.

Very little fazes Jacqueline when coming into contact with animals although by the look on her face she seems a little concerned.


Now she's happy.

There were other things around that you could pet:

We were now into day 13 of our cruise and we awoke to find us docking at the port of MAYOTTE, Comorus Islands

When we left the ship there were many taxi drivers wanting to take us on a tour of the island.

We accepted and our driver took us to see The Baobab Tree:

It produces a fruit called Monkey Bread which can be eaten. These trees can live to between 2000 - 3000 years.

Our driver also took us to a hotel on a beach where we met up with other visitors and  ate fresh coconut.

The main purpose for going to this beach was to see turtles swimming in the sea.

On day 15 of the cruise we visited an island of ZANZIBAR called PEMBA.

We were taken ashore by tender and set about exploring Old Stone Town. As usual the locals were waiting for us wanting to be our guide.

We accepted one who spoke good English:

The town was a maze of streets and we would have quickly got lost without our guide:

A very famous person used to live in this town so we asked our guide to take us to see the house he once lived in:

Freddy Mercury of the group QUEEN used to live here.

We stopped in the market area of the town:

We didn't go in because there was one last thing we wanted to see before our guide left us.

Zanzibar was heavily involved in The Slave Trade in the mid 19th century.

He took us to the place that had once been a slave market:

Slaves were brought here to be sold. They were often whipped and those not crying out were considered to be strong and commanded a better price. Our guide knew all the gory details and took us to this underground room that could hold up to 75 black men, women and children. They were kept here for up to 2 days without food or water before being sold.

Our cruise was coming to an end now but we were still able to see a spectacular sunset that this photo does not do justice to: