Pirate Drill Somewhere off the Coast of Saudi Arabia

IMG_20190326_194829.jpgHad a really good long sleep. We always sleep so well at sea. Part of it is to do with the very slight motion that must be there even if I cannot detect it, but most of all, it is the utter blackout you get in an inside cabin once all the lamps go out. Normally, I hardly ever sleep later than 7am. This morning, it was 0840 before we stirred.
Decided to have some breakfast. Bob always has breakfast on board anyway but generally I don’t. However, today, we had our piracy drill at 10am and so I thought I might as well.
We are about to spend the next 5 days travelling through the waters around the Gulf of Aden, an area well known to be the haunt of pirates. Today, we had the drill for what would happen if we came under attack from Somalia, Eritraea or Yemen. Apparently, we are already travelling in a defined security lane and are under escort and protection of a UN task force designed to protect merchant shipping. We took on security personnel in Dubai who are licensed to use firearms and we have a Royal Navy Officer on board as a liaison. Other measures are that the lower open decks are closed from dusk till dawn, the ships’ exterior lights are being dimmed considerably. There are other deterrents aboard now i.e. water cannon etc. If the order is given, then passengers and non vital crew must return to their cabins. People with window or balcony cabins have to sit in the corridor outside their cabin, not in front of the door. People in inside cabins (us!!!!!!) must stay inside their cabin until the emergency is over. Gosh! Anyway, we stayed in our cabin so have no idea what went on outside but I’m sure we are as prepared as we can be if the worst happened.

After the drill was over, Bob and I scurried off to the watercolour art class. We were very pleased to find it was being run by Viv and Geoff, the same couple that ran the classes last year when we sailed to Australia on QM2. They were also pleased to see us, which was nice. I felt very guilty and embarrassed that I had been so very lax in the last year and hardly painted at all since getting off. This was more than visible in the very dreadful picture I attempted. More practice required!!!! It was good to be painting again though.

Had lunch up in the buffet. We love the sushi and sashimi bar and always feast on that. They have a proper brigade of Japanese chefs preparing it. Delicious.

Then, out to the rear terrace pool for the afternoon. It is on Deck 6 which is where our cabin is. We pegged out with our Kindles and were asleep in no time!!! The weather is very warm but still a dusty haze over everything. The sea is very calm, almost completely flat. No idea why we are so tired. We haven’t done anything really. Anyway, we enjoyed lazing out there till about 4pm. Bob then went up for a bit of afternoon tea.

There demographic on the ship is a bit younger than usual, perhaps because this leg of the world cruise corresponds with school holidays in some areas. There aren’t very many children but there are maybe about 20. And some younger passengers too.

Tonight was the first formal night on the ship, theme: black and white. It really only applies in the main dining rooms, some of the bars and the ballroom. If you want to be casual, you can eat in various other places, but most people join in. It makes for a very elegant evening. Tonight we were also invited to the Captain’s cocktail party, a large occasion held before dinner in the Queen’s Room, the ballroom of the QM2. It’s a bit of a bunfight generally but quite enjoyable. Drinks and cocktails are free. There are canapes and the Captain makes an amusing speech and introduces the main officers. Apparently there are something like 2300 passengers aboard, from 41 different countries. UK and USA are the main ones, but also lots of Canadians, Aussies and New Zealanders, some Germans…. It was fun. I managed to sink 3 glasses of champagne and took a red wine away with me for dinner. Dinner was very good. I started with grilled scallops and then had a fillet steak. No pudding for me, just espresso.
After dinner we went to the show, the first of this cruise. It was absolutely fantastic. What a great company they have this time! It ended up with a 15 minute Greatest Showman tribute which was simply superb. One of my favourites anyway, but they really did a great job, both dancers and singers. Would gladly see it again.