Friday, September 12, 2014

At Sea

We bid adieu to London and took a coach to our port of debarkation, Southampton.

Once on board (phew!) we got busy exploring. Cunard boasts 3 fantastic luxury ocean liners; The Queen Mary, Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth. We sailed the Queen Victoria along with 2000 other passengers and a host of crew at our beck and call. 

 Greeting us on board was the sublime music of a classical string quartet.  That's when I knew I'd be right at home. To top it off we discovered the library!
   In true British fashion the pool and hot tub were tiny but not the chess set...
 We enjoyed fine dining every evening at the Britannia restaurant--always a "starter" then a salad followed by an entree, finished with dessert, and just when you couldn't stand another bite, the post-dessert tray came around with bite sized sugary delicacies.
 Our British table-mates who after 14 dinners together became our favorite British friends.
 Chocolate Royale? anyone?
 Cunard is the only cruiseline to have a ballroom, a museum, Herrod's gift shop, and it is the only cruise line to offer fencing. We took advantage of all of it.
 "Gentlemen" were on hand to serve as dancing partners--and in our case--teach lessons. One told me he'd have us dancing like Ginger Rogers after 2 weeks. Yep. pretty much. We learned to tango, cha-cha, foxtrot, jive and waltz.  For all that, it was ABBA disco night that really had us rockin' the dance floor.
 Room with a view
 To cool down after dancing we would saunter over to the lounge to listen to the harpist, or the pianist, or the string quartet depending on the night. All of it stellar talent and a superb way to end a day.
A typical sea day went like this:
9 a.m fencing
10 a.m. WWII Espionage lecture by renowned historian...
11 a.m. British politics lecture by Author and Lord ...
12:00 p.m.  Arctic Seals and their habitats by naturalist....
also scheduled were dance lessons and lectures about the history and attractions of the ports we would be visiting. What a dilemna--a smorgasborg of cultural and educational options and so little time! 

 Someone ordered room service for breakfast every day and it wasn't me.
 Beautiful Baltic sea.
 Every night after dining was a show--a fantastic show! We had singers, dancers, acrobats, a magician, comedian, even a flutist. Then it was off to the evening Ball.
 We sat in a box seat every night. It pretty much had our names on it and we shared it with our favorite Brits. We're all dressed up for the Masquerade Ball.

Life aboard the ship was grand. I ate lots of steak and seafood and even more desserts--fancy ones like Baked Alaska and souffle. We took afternoon walks along the promenade deck, went to High Tea, read our books on the balcony, played ping-pong or deck quoits, and got all dressed up for dinner.  

The ship was definitely British-style. Almost everyone onboard was British including the captain and staff. The food, the games, the tea, everything was British. It got to the point where I was THINKING WITH A BRITISH ACCENT.  We tried out some phrases with our newly acquired accent much to the entertainment of our table friends. They tried out their American accents on us and we were equally amused.  We learned to eat properly with a knife and fork. ( I had a real test with a hamburger!) We also learned to say things nicely and sophisticated-like. In conclusion I will shre some of my new language skills (to be read in a Midlands accent with a hint of Yorkshire) 
  •  It has been lovely spending a fortnight with you all.  
  • Sorry? What was that you said?  
  • That photo is absolutely brilliant!  
  • We must order dessert, this is the penultimate night of the cruise afterall.
  • Excuse me ladies, is this the queue for the toilet? 

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