During the night, we were certainly aware of the increased motion of the Queen Victoria as she headed determinedly north. Looking at the shipping forecast areas, today we would find ourselves crossing Fitzroy (previously known as Finisterre), Biscay and, as we made our way into the English Channel, Plymouth.
When we got up this morning it was quite depressing to know that this was our last day on board, and later on we would have to make a start with our packing. 🙁
Enjoying a good breakfast in the Lido once again, we tentatively went out on deck to see what the weather was like. It was bright, but certainly windy and noticeably colder as we headed towards Blighty – it is late November after all!
At 10 o’clock we made our way to the Royal Court theatre for a presentation by a former MP – the Right Hon. Lord Young of Cookham – who was doing a talk entitled “Members of Parliament – Saints or Sinners?” Judging by the shenanigans of our MPs (at least in Britain) during the last couple of years, I think we all knew the answer to that one! 🙂
We sat in one of the Royal Boxes in the theatre, as I had my laptop with my and needed a table so I could do some of this blog. I was only half-listening to the talk, but Trevor said he thought it was quite interesting. As the theatre was filling up, our vantage point allowed me to get some good photos. 🙂
After the talk, we returned to 5123 to find that Edison had been in and serviced the room; he had placed the large “LUGGAGE ONLY” mat on the bed in readiness for us dragging our cases out. We decided we might as well start packing the stuff we wouldn’t we wearing/using again this cruise, leaving out only those things which creased easily as well as what we would be wearing tonight.
Noticing that we still had one of the bottles of Cava in the fridge that we’d bought in La Coruña, we nipped next door to Billy and Carole’s cabin and asked if they’d like to join us for a glass. They brought their champagne flutes with them, and we popped open the bottle of chilled fizz, which went down very well. They said they hadn’t drank the free bottle of cheap plonk, but I suggested we keep it for the coach journey tomorrow; we would snaffle some plastic beakers out of the gym later on and put them in the rucksack. 😉
This brought us nicely to lunchtime, and we opted to go to the Golden Lion to eat. However, when we arrived it was absolutely packed; there was nowhere to sit at all. Obviously the pub grub is very popular on board Queen Victoria. We therefore took the lift up to Deck 9 and the Lido buffet, and enjoyed a substantial lunch once again.
We didn’t really do much more for the rest of the day. Inevitably, Trevor watched the football whenever it was on and we just relaxed and reflected on the last few days and what we thought of this cruise.
While it might seem to my regular readers that my content this time is a little lacklustre and there’s something missing (and that’s how I have felt writing it) , that’s exactly what this cruise had been like; good, enjoyable and pleasant, but not fantastic. Of course, we’re always excited and happy to be on a cruise and this one is our 57th, but Cunard and the Queen Victoria just seemed a bit “meh” this time.
Comparing it to our previous Cunard cruises (all of which were totally wonderful) and even our recent cruises this year on Azamara and Fred Olsen, we just feel that Cunard no longer makes the grade. All the things that made the difference between a “good” voyage and a “superb” voyage had disappeared, all the little touches that made it a bit special had sadly been swept away in a blatant display of penny-pinching. It’s a pity really; much as we’ve always loved Cunard they would no longer be our first choice of cruise line, unless the itinerary was exceptional.
As our luggage had to be outside our stateroom door by 11.00pm, we decided to dress smartly for dinner in the Britannia Restaurant and for the theatre afterwards, then go back and get changed into the clothes we’d be travelling home in. When we went into the theatre, the three ladies who sat along from us in the front row eagerly beckoned me over so they could look at my shoes (!!); I opened the photo gallery on my phone and passed it to them to have a look at my Irregular Choice collection. When I went back to my seat, I could see them all peering at the phone and “oohing” and “aahing” over the shoes. 🙂
Tonight’s performance, by the four lead singers of the show company and accompanied by the amazing 18-piece ship’s orchestra, was called “Thank You For The Movies” and featured some of the most memorable songs from movies such as the James Bond ones and from Mamma Mia! It was a decent enough show, not brilliant. One of the female singers has a particularly shrill voice which is not relaxing to listen to, but the music from the orchestra was, as ever, superb.
Afterwards, we went back to 5123 and finished off our packing, changing into our casual clothes. We went along to the Golden Lion where the Irish folk duo, Cula, were playing once again and enjoyed our last highly-expensive drinks on the Queen Victoria. The prices for a pint of beer and a large house wine are more than twice what we pay in our local pub at home, and then they slap on a 15% service charge as well!
When we returned to 5123 the cases had gone from outside our door to be collected in the cruise terminal in Southampton tomorrow morning. We settled down for the night, after setting our alarm for 6.45am.
In the morning it was still dark when we woke up, back in the port of Southampton. Another cruise had come to an end and now we faced the long coach ride back to the North East. But we only had 24 days to wait until our next cruise… 🙂