We slept like logs. We always do when we’re at sea. We generally choose an inside cabin and when the lights go out, it’s a real blackout which makes for great sleeps. Sometimes – quite rarely – we feel the itinerary is worth having an outside cabin, but generally not. Certainly not on a transatlantic cruise. Why pay far more to look out on a rather grey, endless ocean? There’s nothing scenic about it. Anyway, that’s our reasoning. We do take care over the choice of cabin though. On QM2 we like to be on deck 6: 1 deck below the promenade deck which also houses the buffet where we have breakfast and lunch. Deck 6 has a pool on the stern terrace, so we pick a cabin mid ship but on the stern side – a short walk to the pool. Plus we are only 3 decks above the main restaurants, the bars and the shops – we walk down to them easily. Anyway, that’s where we are!!!
We had breakfast upstairs. Not a bad day. Very overcast but the sea state was slight and the ship was, as usual, absolutely stable. It’s about 17C outside. Not cold, but a coldish wind if you can’t get out of it. Some brave souls were in the hot tubs. We took a turn around the promenade deck. It was nice to get out and feel the fresh air. We are somewhere off the coast of Maine, heading up to the Grand Banks where we will head out across the Atlantic on a Great Circle route.
We went to one of the guest lectures: Margaret Gilmore, a former British TV correspondent and a specialist in counter terrorism, gave the first of a series of talks on the face of modern terrorism and the agencies who hunt them. It was an excellent lecture, if pretty gloomy in the scale of the problem.
We had our usual sushi/sashimi lunch. It was then time for art. The art tutor this time is one we have not met before. She seemed very good and had all sorts of things for us to try. It was very enjoyable. I can’t say we produced any masterpieces today but we did enjoy it.
Then it was time for a cup of tea and a few errr…. Snacks…… naughty but nice. On the transatlantic routes, QM2 always has a troop of actors from RADA onboard. We went to see a little performance they gave in one of the lounges: the teatime scene from The Importance of Being Earnest. Very enjoyable. They do a morning workshop several days during the week and give short performances of various types at other times. We’ve done the workshops before and enjoyed them.
Tonight is the first of the 3 formal nights of the cruise. We are in our black tie finery. First was the Captain’s Cocktail Party. This is 45 minutes of undiluted drink glugging where everyone does their best – within the realms of civilised behaviour (generally) to drink as many free drinks from Cunard as humanly possible whilst maintaining conversation with the Officers. I managed 3 glasses of champagne and took away a glass of red wine for dinner. The Captain made a very witty speech. Apparently there are 2400 of us on board and that’s 2 less than there should be because 2 people failed to arrive back in time for the sailing last night and err… missed the boat and have to catch up with it and their luggage in 2 weeks. An expensive mistake. There are 33 nationalities on board, Brits being the largest group on this leg, Americans second, Canadians third and Germans fourth. There are 1250 crew of more than 50 nationalities. Oh, and 17 dogs and 2 cats. They have a full kennels on the transatlantic legs with a fire hydrant for American dogs and a lamp post for British dogs!!!! I don’t know what the dogs pay to come on board.
Dinner on a formal night is always a bit special and tonight I went for the fillet of beef as my main. I wished I’d had the lamb as that looked even more amazing. However, it was a very good dinner. Nice chat around the table too. On the next table were two elderly ladies who were dressed as Cinderella. They had long blue/turquoise net evening dresses with full skirts and silver bodices, tiaras and one of them had white mice running up her shoulder (stuffed ones I need to add). Very weird. It wasn’t a themed night or anything, just black tie. I wonder what they’ll wear when it’s the Roaring 20s night!!!! As usual there are some interesting people on the Transatlantic crossing. It is always so. Very different from a regular cruise.
After dinner we went to the show in the theatre. It was the main dance show, Apassionata, which the resident musical company perform. Amazing as ever. What energy they have. Very enjoyable. We turned in after dinner, passing the pub on the way where some karaoke was happening. Yikes! Don’t give up the day job came to mind…. Someone was murdering the Neil Diamond song, Sweet Caroline….. Hands…. Touching hands…. Reaching out…. Going flat… going flat……