Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Holiday: Cruise to America - Day 1, 2 and 3: All at Sea


The food in the restaurant last night was excellent and although our request for a ‘table for two’ got lost in the administration, we did end up on a table for (just) six – all of whom seemed ideal table-partners* (I HATE being sociable with strangers when I’m on holiday! – Ann is all I need for conversation). The extra bonus however, was our table was postioned right next to a big window, so we had a great view of the Harbour, together with sister ships, Queen Elizabeth and QM2. The view came into its own when we realised there was going to be a firework display to celebrate all three ships leaving for their respective ‘World Cruises’. Lovely!!!

*it wasn't to last! - see later blog!


MONDAY
We’re all at sea for three days – it was the day that we woke to hear the news of the death of David Bowie!


We got up just before 8am: and luckily, the rough seas, that were predicted overnight, didn’t materialise. We headed for Breakfast in the Lido around 9am where I was expecting it to be a lot busier than it actually was. In fact it was very relaxed – my recollection of ‘Lido Restaurants’ in general is that they can often be more like rugby scrums when there’s plenty of good food around!

After eating healthily (honest!), it was off to the Gym for a quick workout (and I do mean quick!) before taking it easy for the rest of the day.


A Gentle Start!

All-in-all then a very chilled day, although the threat of sea-sickness did catch up with me late morning – but a few tablets seemed to sort me out for the rest of the day. The only after-effect was that it left me pretty drowsy (well, that my excuse!).

We headed for the Restaurant just about on time at 6pm and our Table. It seemed we’d lost Don, Janet and Malcolm from last night, retained Bobbie, but gained Denis.

After the meal was over, we headed for the nearest Bar and settled down for the evening – accompanied by a live string quartet.


The Adagio String Quartet

More of the same tomorrow – hopefully without the need for seasick tablets!!


TUESDAY
Well, the anticipated crappy weather as we passed near to the Bay of Biscay didn’t materialise overnight, so we both slept VERY well – and for me, no need for any more sea-sickness pills. As it turned out, it seemed that quite a few of us were affected by sea-sickness – especially the blokes (so I don’t feel quite such a wuss now!!)

We managed to get to breakfast for 9am where you might have assumed I’d accidentally picked up the wrong tray of food: Fruit ‘n’ Fibre, fresh fruit, yoghurt and cereal!


Not sure about the accuracy of these!

After a very sensible breakfast, we headed for the Gym where we worked-out for about 40 minutes (yes, you’re still reading the right blog!). By now, the weather outside had brightened up even more, and it looked like we might get out on the Prom Deck for the customary daily walk.

For lunch, it was down to the Pub – The Golden Lion. A pint of Old Speckled Hen for me and grapefruit juice for Ann accompanied by a very nice Chicken Tikka Marsala! Yummy!!


A Perfect Pint!

The weather had brightened up outside, so we braved the Prom Deck to walk-off lunch. Three times around is exactly one mile on this ship, so that’s what we did. Then it was feet-up for the rest of the afternoon accompanied by the obligatory Afternoon Tea…


…before getting ready for tonight’s first formal evening.

The nice thing about Cunard is that when they say it’s formal, everyone follows the rule – unlike some other cruise companies that we’ve travelled with where you end up with tuxedos and t-shirts on the same table! So, suitably Bond-like/Pengiun like* (*delete as applicable) and Ann looking every inch the Bond Girl, the ‘March of the Pengiuns’ began as we headed for the Restaurant. Bobbie, part of our table-group went AWOL, having chosen to join another table of serial-cruisers. That left Denis, Janet and Malcolm to complete our table-fivesome. We learned tonight that Denis was a Priest from Baldock – it’s a small world!


Evening entertainment in Cruise Ships’ Theatres can vary somewhat – from the dodgy to the delightful, so we weren’t sure what tonight’s performance of A Stroke of Genius would be like. Described as ‘a musical journey inspired by painting styles through the ages’, let’s just say, the pain t must have been the wrong shades! Even with great singers, a great orchestra and great dancing - all the right ingredients - it should have worked… but it didn’t! The whole show was a throwback to the 70s (not in a good way!) and if the between-songs script had been any more cheesey, I would have grated it and popped it under the grill!! Still, our fellow American travellers were in ‘full whoop’, so it obviously ticked the box for them.


With the smell of cheddar still ringing in our ears, we retired and sought comfort in a glass of Bailey’s!


Last day at sea tomorrow - we’re going to ‘slum it’ with Room Service Breakfast.

WEDNESDAY
We began the day with a lazy breakfast delivered to our room. Then it was off to find a comfy chair and catch-up with our reading.

Next, we caught the 11am presentation in the Theatre on ‘Forensics’ presented by Tristram Elmhirst, a retired Police Forensic Scientist. It was fascinating, and judging by the totally packed Theatre, others thought so too! Somehow we’d missed his first lecture, but there’s a ‘part 3’ in a few days’ time.


An hour later, it was time for a comfy chair for me again - and another long read – in the newly discovered Commodore Lounge whilst Ann tackled the Gym (hero!). Lunch in (a very busy) Lido followed, and afterwards, we gave ourselves a pat on the back after completing the customary three-times walk round the Prom Deck. Again!


It was informal tonight in the Restaurant and the food was a good as it always been. After last night’s disaster in the Theatre, we were in safer hands with this evening’s star - Irish Comedian, Roy Walker (The Comedians and Catchphrase) – and he was just brilliant! He’d lost none of his charm, and soon had us all in fits of laughter. I might be getting old, but it was nice to have a comedian who DIDN’T rely on bad language and constant sexual references to get the laughs.

Last stop for us tonight was the Ship’s Night-Club – Hemispheres. Brimming with the latest lighting technology and effects, all it actually needed was some people! We arrived just before 10pm to find the dance-floor ‘packed’ with just a single couple practising their quick-step. It didn’t get much better – and maxed out at nine (and that included us, the two waiters and the Band!). We gave it another 30 minutes for something to happen at this ‘happening-place’, but it didn’t – so we headed for our room.

Clocks went back one hour tonight, and I suspect this will happen a few times as we get closer to America.

Another great day with the highlight for us being Roy Walker!

Land ahoy tomorrow, as we’re due to arrrive at Ponta Delgado in the early hours.