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23 July 2024
Alan Morris in Ceuta.

Today, the ship arrived in Ceuta, an autonomous Spanish city in North Africa.

Ceuta, Spain.

I arrived in Ceuta, knowing very little about it. I had not even heard of it until I was booked on this cruise.

After waking up this morning, I got breakfast and joined Helen and Shaw to walk around Ceuta. We met up with Tony and Kathy, who it turned out, lived very near to me in Spain and whose son, Chris, I was friends with.

We set off walking through parts of Ceuta close to the ship, visiting many places, including the Shrine of Our Lady of Africa, a church near the port, a Monument to the fallen in the African War, and Ceuta Cathedral, before heading to the beach on the south side of the peninsula. 

We then walked along the beautiful beach, watching many people fish as we walked towards Morocco. As we walked along Kathy spoke to a local who told us that the furthest point we could see along the beach was Morocco but that we could not cross the border as it is closed. It is strange to think of all the problems that are caused at the Spanish border with Gibraltar because Spain doesn't recognise that Gibraltar is an English dependency. Yet, they have the same issues with Morocco because Morocco doesn't recognise that Ceuta is a Spanish dependency.

After walking a long way along the beach, we turned back, walked to the walled fortress, and walked through it on our way back towards the port. When we got opposite the port, Shaw left us to return to the ship, and the rest of us continued into the shopping area of Ceuta, where we stopped off for a drink at a small cafe bar. When we left the bar, we walked back through the main shopping centre, veering off now and then to see different things along the way.

We headed down towards the Mediterranean Maritime Park early in the afternoon. We soon found our way into the park, and after walking around for a while, we found a restaurant, and we all sat down for a meal. The food was delicious, and I enjoyed sitting in the park with Helen, Kathy and Tony. We talked for hours before I paid for the meal and headed back towards the ship.

We had almost reached the ship when I went to take my ship's ID card out of my pocket.  I then realised that somewhere I had lost the card. It could have been anywhere. We had walked miles across Ceuta, been to several bars and restaurants, and looked at many tourist sights. As we approached the Port entrance, we were stopped by port security. Kathy spoke to the security in Spanish, telling them I had lost my ID. The guard was outstanding. He phoned the ship and talked to them. He told us to continue and that the security guard at the ship would speak to me. As we approached the dock the ship was in, more security stopped us and led us towards the ship. This security guard walked so quickly I couldn't keep up, and he disappeared. As we approached the ship, the ship's security called me up and explained that someone had found my ID card in Ceuta and brought it back to the ship. The card had everyone's photo ID scanned into it, and all they had to do was run it through the scanner to check it was me. I was glad I hadn't got to go to the trouble of organising a new ID card or proving who I was.

This evening, I met Helen and Jean for dinner. We had a great meal and watched the night's entertainment in the theatre. We again saw the guitarist we had seen previously, and he was excellent again. When the show finished, Jean left us and returned to her cabin, and Helen and I went to see the entertainment in another bar. It was advertised as a show where couples competed to see who knew more about each other. It was deplorable but so poor it was funny. It seemed that the shows on board consisted of passengers being convinced to do silly things to try and amuse the other passengers. This wasn't the entertainment I was looking for on a cruise. It was more suited to a 1970s TV show or holiday camp show.

After the show, Helen went to her cabin, and I had a pint in the bar before going back to my cabin.

Photos from Ceuta.