Today was our last day at sea. Our day started with an early morning breakfast and then off to a lecture by Maria Friedman and to look at art at the delightful gallery. In the afternoon the weather broke and we finally saw sun and wispy clouds. Took a walk around the promenade four times and then had some wonderful English tea sandwiches (cucumber and cheese and tomato) followed by a visit to the spa and gym.
I preordered duck for dinner tonight which was wonderful. Tonight it’s entertainment night on board with entertainment by the Cunard dancers. Fit and talented male and female dancers strutting their stuff in front of a wide variety of very unfit and elderly looking male and females. Both sets were all dressed to the nines. As usual we darted to the side front. Great seats and nobody ever sits there. Thankfully, tonight it was a short show.
Had a nightcap at the Commodore Bar and then went off to bed. Everyone here had their suitcase outside the door at 6 pm. No idea why. Check out remains a mystery to me! There were some pamphlets about it but that all looked like a nightmare. It said to assemble downstairs at 8 am in your designated space etc. We are going casual though. They have my credit card. We have our bags. We will see what happens tomorrow but I am approaching this a bit like checking into a flight. Late and relaxed. Always board last and never hand someone your luggage. If they need you they will contact you and in meantime I’m going to get up early to watch landfall as we sail through the English Channel. Docking at 8 they say. They caught up blizzard delay. And how long ago was that, wow. Time actually did fly. As it were.
We started off the day with a morning breakfast disaster. They had run out of brown sauce! Now, to most people outside of the UK and Ireland, this means nothing, but to a Brit it is a major problem with an English or Irish breakfast., They said that the blizzard disrupted the supply in New York. The blizzard wreaks havoc again…
Today I went to an acupuncture session with a really nice lady, Ana, from Portugal. She was very spiritual, very cool, and stuck lots of needles in me. I️ felt great after! She was amazing. Went to the promenade for a circuit and the English tea sandwiches before I️ headed to gym. After the gym, I went to spa and then headed to a beautiful exhibition in the art gallery. Delightful.
Then to formal dinner where I got dressed up in bow tie and white shirt. The food and service has been pretty good all the way through but tonight it was exceptional. Tonight was the walk of the chefs as well. There are 236 chefs on board and they serve 15,000 meals a day. Bloody hell!
After dinner we walked to a concert where there was an amazing pianist with a band performing classical and show tunes. Afterwards, we stopped at the very cool art deco Commodore Bar for a nightcap. What a way to spend the day.
It was formal night last night and everyone had to dress up. You sit at the same table as usual but you have to wear a tux. There was a captain soirée earlier for certain sections but I took a massage and enjoyed the spa instead.
The boat is still rocking around fiercely. It’s a little unpleasant and the decks are still closed. There was an early morning wake up by the captain to announce that all water in the cabins is not working. No toilet or shower. Great wake up news. After breakfast the cold water is back at least but the hot was still out. Just in time!
We went to watch a dance class which reminded me of my holiday camp days. The internet connectivity is dreadful and they charge you even though it barely works. So far I have spent 200 dollars and the speed is worse than dial up! The boat is rocking and rolling around. I’m going to try the gym but it could be tricky as it is probably impossible to stand straight. It’s either that or playing bridge. It’s a huge boat. I still get lost. That makes every walk an adventure.
First, a confession. I have never been on a cruise ship. So to board a ship with another 3,000 passengers was strange. To understand that this ship had been in the Caribbean and was on its last voyage across the Atlantic before setting off on a round the world cruise was amazing. There were people on board who were going for the whole thing.
But we were the cruise virgins.
While we were going through the safety procedures on board, as we were looking out on a beautiful Manhattan skyline, we discovered that the boat was stuck. Blizzard! And so we got used to the skyline (which was amazing), had some great food, and waited until the morning.
Today we had a morning blizzard. There were high seas but the tug boats pulled us out of the harbor. Under zero visibility and raging seas with huge waves and snow lashing the decks, we sailed in a loop passing the Statue of Liberty through the narrows and rocked our way along the coastline of Long Island. All this before breakfast!
The outer decks were shut down but I sneaked out for a quick photo. After all, I don’t want to get swept away in these conditions. Just took a Dramamine, then off to the gym, then a massage later in day plus watercolor class. Very cruisy. So far it’s all a bit of an adventure. The Wifi is expensive and TV is not great unless you want Premiership soccer all day and outdated movies. But the blizzard is a trip.
First confession: I have never taken a cruise. I sort of always have wanted to, but every time I get close, I run out of enthusiasm. Maybe it’s just the thought of all of that food in seven days or the toilets jamming up or being stuck with 5,000 people day after day and night after night. But something always does me in. Recently, on the Montenegro coast, I was in a beautiful town tucked into the fjords called Kotar. It took an eternity to drive into the center and park the car. It wasn’t clear to me why until we got close to the center and I realized that a cruise ship was there, disgorging its travelers on excursions in this tiny town. Then it struck me…that’s why I don’t like cruises!
There must have been 50 sightseeing tours taking place at one time…maybe more. Here’s the church, here’s the piazza, here’s the shops, and on and on and on. This place was not that big and I could feel myself drowning in the guided talk and the crowds following the guides with their paddle boards.
As I sat there eating a rather desperate and dodgy slice of cold pizza, I thought how invasive these cruise ships can be. The bottom line was that the town could not cope with that number of visitors all arriving at the same moment. The cruise ship was almost as big as the town itself. It essentially chokes up the town. In Dubrovnik the night before, they had even installed a traffic signal to control the flow of cruise tourists coming into the beautiful center. A traffic light for people?! The cruise tourists rarely give back to bars and restaurants since all of the meals are free on the ship. Souvenir shops are the only ones that win. It seems a shame that cruise tourism, which is in the ascendant, is like tourism pollution.
For example, in Venice, it’s suffocating the city. While the glass factories may be rubbing their hands, the innocence of regular tourism and mingling with locals, is flying out the window. What is good for the gondolieri is not always good for the city. I spoke to somebody in Kotar who was staying there for a week. They said that they spent most of the daylight hours outside of Kotar and only came back in the evening when the cruise ships had packed up to leave. It’s a strange thing and a strange sight to see a gorgeous coast line with two cruise ships the size of Texas docked. The question really is, should I try a cruise? I’m not feeling terribly inclined at the moment.