A life on the ocean wave,Henry Russell, 1838
A home on the rolling deep,
Where the scatter’d waters rave
And the winds their revels keep.
Woke up several times in the night; if it wasn’t because I was rolling from side to side in bed it was because of the torrential rain that lashed our balcony, accompanied by the howling of the wind and the creaking of our cabin.
When we got up just after 8.00am we had intended going to try out the ship’s gym, but wondered at the wisdom of trying to negotiate the treadmill or the weights machines on such an unstable base. In any case, we decided we’d probably get a lot of passive exercise around the ship just trying to stay upright. 😊
Making our way up to the Lido Buffet on deck 9, I enjoyed a home-made granola with cranberries, Greek yoghurt and toasted almonds, washed down with a couple of cups of coffee. Afterwards we decided to have a peek out on deck to see what the weather was like, but we could already guess. Going down to the promenade deck we tried to push open one of the big heavy doors, but it was nearly impossible with the strength of the wind on it; when we did eventually open it a chink we were nearly blown off our feet! We therefore decided to remain in the warmth of the Queen Victoria’s opulent interiors.
Wandering around inside, we browsed around the shops and paused on the mezzanine floor overlooking the magnificent Queen’s Room, where they were holding a ‘chair aerobics’ session. In view of the fact that the Queen Victoria was dancing a merry dance on the backs of the many white horses we had seen outside, chair aerobics was probably the safest way to exercise! 😊
At 11 o’clock we decided to go to the Royal Court Theatre and listen to a presentation about the works of Charles Dickens, given by actor Robert Powell, of Jesus of Nazareth fame. He also starred alongside Jasper Carrott in the TV comedy series The Detectives. Although the talk was interesting, we felt it could have been presented by anyone; really, it would have been better to have had the cruise director interview Mr Powell and let him talk about his life and career, and maybe show some clips from his films/programmes.
As we made our way out of the theatre, we noticed that the motion of the Queen Victoria seemed to be getting worse. It was quite amusing watching those people walking in front of us; they would start in the middle of the corridor then gradually drift over to the right, before gradually drifting over to the left. We decided to go back to 5123 and listen to the captain’s noon navigational and weather announcement.
Captain Tomàs Connery’s voice boomed out over the tannoy and advised us that there was currently a 5-6 metre swell (up to 20 feet!) and that the wind was gusting up to 80 knots. He said it would be unlikely to calm down before tonight, but to take care moving around the ship and hold onto hand-rails, etc. etc.
I went out onto our balcony and stood there while the wind blasted my face and buffeted my hair into a tangled mass. The sea foamed and surged around me, with great rolling, white-crested waves and cascades of sea-spray and the roar of the surf in my ears. Grey and white clouds billowed and scudded across the leaden sky.
Suddenly I felt humbled and insignificant – man has gone to the moon and back, invented aeroplanes that can fly faster than the earth turns, created a means of communicating with someone on the other side of the world in seconds and transplanted hearts and livers into people to save their lives – all these wonderful inventions and innovations…. But man has never, ever been able to tame the elements. The immense power of the oceans, the strength of the wind and rain; Mother Nature still has the upper hand.
Seeking refuge inside once again (and combing my hair!) we thought we’d go up to the Lido Buffet and enjoy a light lunch. I had a plate of cold meats with fresh salad vegetables and a blue cheese dressing as we sat by the window and enjoyed the ever changing sea-scape outside.
Afterwards we staggered back to our cabin (and we hadn’t had a drink, ha ha) and decided to have a post-luncheon nap as we hadn’t really slept all that well the previous night. Then we enjoyed a glass each of the free fizz that Cunard had placed in our stateroom fridge along with a couple of flutes.
We just spent the rest of the afternoon pottering around the ship until it was time to start getting primped and preened before the first of three Gala Evenings we’d experience on board this voyage. Tonight was Black and White night, so I dressed in a long black cold-shoulder dress trimmed with diamante, which I embellished with a fluffy white feather boa. Trevor looked very handsome in his black dinner suit, crisp white shirt and black bow-tie and cummerbund.
We were very disappointed indeed that they would not be holding a Captain’s Cocktail Party in the Queen’s Room. This is a feature of cruises that we love; the glitz and glamour, the orchestra playing dance music, everyone dressed to the nines as the waiting staff flit about holding trays of drinks and canapés aloft. And, of course, the Captain doing his little speech and introducing his officers – there would be none of this on the Queen Victoria this time. Billy and Carole, who had only been on the QV to Norway in July, said that there’d been no captain’s cocktail party then, either. Oh Cunard – is this more penny-pinching? This is our 10th cruise with Cunard and every single time we return, we notice that there is yet something else that they’ve stopped doing… it isn’t what it used to be, back in the days of the legendary Queen Elizabeth 2. ☹
Making our way to the Britannia dining room and table #511, we noticed the waiter dishing out glasses of ‘champagne’ to each diner – “a drink from the Captain” we were informed. Big deal.
We enjoyed a scrumptious meal again, washed down with the free fizz; I had a melt-in-the-mouth lemon sole in a delicious sauce served with a mélange of leeks, spinach and asparagus. Once again I finished off with the cheeseboard and a tawny port, and we left the table immediately knowing we’d had too much to eat again. It’s far too easy to do that on a cruise! 😊
In the theatre tonight, we were supposed to have seen a production company show called “Be Our Guest” but, due to the heavy ship’s motion which was still as noticeable as ever the cruise director announced that it would now not take place until tomorrow night; instead we would be entertained by West End singer Eve Sheratt instead; she was very good and we enjoyed her performance from our front row seats very much.
Afterwards we went along to the Queen’s Room for the Black and White Ball, where we met up with Billy. Carole was not feeling too good at all and had returned to their cabin early. We enjoyed a drink there as we watched the dancers, before going up to the Yacht Club up on Deck 9, where they were holding a karaoke at 9.30pm. It goes without saying that I got up to sing. 😊
There weren’t many passengers singing, maybe four or five of us, so in between each song a member of the entertainment team got up and sang. I started off with Back to Black by Amy Winehouse, then later on I did another Amy song You Know I’m No Good. I was going to leave it at that, but they came around asking for more singers or if I wanted to do another song, so I sang Will You by Hazel O’Connor. I didn’t want to stand in the middle of the floor in my 5” heels and long dress with the ship rocking and rolling, so I stood barefoot with my back braced against a sturdy pillar for support; several other singers stayed sitting in their chairs! 😊
We finished the evening off by going to the Golden Lion for a night-cap around 11.30pm. Either the Bay of Biscay was calmer now or we had just become more used to it, but it seemed that the Queen Victoria wasn’t dancing about as much.
We settled down in 5123 and slept much better this time, in happy anticipation of our arrival in La Coruña, Spain, tomorrow morning. This would be a new port of call for Trevor and me, and we looked forward to what the day would bring.