Just a week to go. Linda will be house sitting and Kim will be joining us again on a voyage from Southampton to Valencia, Sicily, Venice, Sibernik, Dubrovnik, Cagliari, Gibraltar and back to Southampton
This is a test run as it must be 3 months since my last blog. It’s amazing how quickly those of a certain age forget how websites like this work. It would be great if you could reply to confirm that you have received this.
In the last week of July, our son Mike married his beautiful fiancée Gretchen in wonderful ceremonies in Dubai and at Little Bear, Pangbourne, England. As I write, the happy couple are honeymooning in the Maldives.The Dubai wedding
The ceremony at Little Bear
On Friday 10 August the 3 Queens were all in Southampton together. They left at about 6.00pm and headed for Cowes. It was the last day of Cowes week and as the Queens sailed along together, the Red Arrows carried out a magnificent display above.
Our friends Terry and Jane Smart had, some time before, booked a trip on SS Shieldhall to watch the Cowes Week fireworks. It was to be a treat for one of their Canadian grandchildren who was staying with them. The Shieldhall is a preserved 2000 ton steamship based in Southampton.
SS Shieldhall with the Red Arrows
When they booked they had not appreciated that the 3 Queens would be sailing out together, nor that the Red Arrows would be appearing overhead. They were so excited by the occasion that they have decided that now is the time for them to book their first cruise and not surprisingly they want it to be on one of the Queens!
I will of course be their advisor!
It was a brilliant start to the next voyage. The weather was good. Amazingly all the packing had been finished on Monday. The drivers arrived on time. Well, Ian Gordon was early and the Taxi was late, so they balanced each other out.
Ian was abused by the jobsworth parking attendant when he arrived at the Ocean terminal. Ian misheard what was shouted at him and sensibly aimed for lane one to enable him to drop the ramp on the adapted vehicle. Jobsworth wanted him in the inconvenient lane three and hurled abuse and was still seething when we drew up just behind. Power gets to these chaps particularly when people don’t obey them.
The luggage disappeared in a shot. We were lucky with the check in and within ten minutes of arriving in the teminal we were going through security. Five minutes later we were aboard Queen Elizabeth. The process is terrific. Congratulations to Cunard.
Jamie Firth of Cunard fame, at present on leave, had once again ensured that we were assigned to our favourite table for 8 for dinner. But for the first time ever, only the 3 of us appeared for dinner. What happened to the other five? We will find out tonight.
We are settled in once again. We have our favourite cabin on 7 deck and many of the crew remember Jane. A few of the remember me – but not many! The Master of the ship is Cunard’s first lady Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge. She and Captain Aseem Hashmi alternate – 3 months on board and 3 months on leave (I think).
One of the speakers, Malcolm Nelson, is a former senior Customs Officer. His lectures are based on his career at Heathrow catching drug smugglers. We’ve seen him before but he appears to have a great deal of new material. He is excellent.
And the ship’s Port presenter, Rachael, is also very good. In the past, Port presenters tended to promote tours organised by Cunard, but now their presentations are much more balanced. Rachael’s talks describe the ports and surrounding areas, the architecture and the places to visit with no hard sell on their tours.
At dinner two more guests appeared, Maggie and Gordon from Surrey. Still 3 empty seats!
This naval vessel appeared to be protecting us as we left the Solent on Tuesday!
The third night was a Gala Evening (What used to be called a Formal evening). The Black and White Ball for those who still like that sort of thing.
First it was the Captain’s Cocktail Party in the Queens Room. We joined the queue to shake hands with the Captain. We usually avoid that queue because it delays you getting in and that means the initial trays of drinks have been hoovered up.
But Kim had not met Captain Inger before and we had not been with her for a couple of years. The Captain remembered Jane and seemed pleased to see us. We had the standard photo (not very good of me so I haven’t bought it!).
Then followed the usual bun fight to get a drink, but after finding a waiter who remembered us, we ended up with an excess of G and T’s. Why do we go to these parties? They are always the same. Four each voyage. I suppose it’s the fact that Cunard is giving us a free drink (or two if you work at it).
Then it was off to dinner. Would the 3 missing guests be there? Well two were there, meaning we were now up to 7. Two ladies from North America. Karol, who is the Art teacher aboard and her friend Karen who lives in Mexico. They are on the ship until October. I will find out more!
Today from the cabin. A beautiful day.