We got up around 8.30am this morning (which felt like 7.30 because of the lost hour). Going out onto our balcony, it wasn’t freezing cold, but the sky and the sea were a dull grey and there was a lot of moisture in the air. The balcony contained a small table and couple of deckchairs with footrests; we wondered how much use they would get.
We decided to go up to the Belvedere self-service restaurant and I enjoyed some fresh melon and pineapple and some cuts of ham, followed by a croissant and washed down with coffee. Returning to our cabin, we had a look at the programme for today to see what we fancied doing; there was a presentation at 10.00am by a bloke called Keith Hanson who was a former Yeoman of the Guard (or Beefeater) at the Tower of London. We thought it sounded interesting, and indeed it was; I listened in between writing up yesterday’s blog entry. 😊
Afterwards we decided to get some exercise as we hadn’t had much yesterday on the long coach ride down to Southampton. As we approached our cabin, we were in time to see Anthonio, our cabin steward emerging after he’d finished cleaning and tidying our room. He is from Goa in India and we spent about 15 minutes in conversation with him, talking about India and Britain, football and cricket. He then went on his way as he still had several cabins to do.
Putting our trainers and coats on, we went out onto the promenade deck. It was not as cold and windy as expected and I wasn’t wearing my hat or gloves. We enjoyed a bracing walk around the deck as we listened to the sound of the sea rushing and washing against the Arcadia’s side. It looked as if we were going at a good rate of knots, maybe trying to make some time up from our late start yesterday.
We decided to go to the Neptune Pool and Bar for our lunch. The pool has a retractable roof and there are usually burgers and hot dogs available at lunchtime. We sat at a table and noticed they were selling mulled wine, so Trevor put the order in while I queued at the snack bar for a curry dog, which was basically a hot dog with curry sauce instead of ketchup. The mulled wine didn’t stay hot for very long in the cool air.
Afterwards we went down to the Spinnaker bar which we remembered from our previous cruises on Arcadia. It’s a nice airy bar and has a display stand holding the ship’s bell from the original Arcadia. We each enjoyed a whisky with ginger ale and ice before making our way along to the Rising Sun pub to take part in the music trivia.
The Rising Sun was busy; it’s obviously a very popular venue. We found a table, ordered another drink each and collected our quiz paper and pencil. The questions were not all from a particular musical era (I’m pretty good with 70s and 80s music) so there were some of the more modern songs that we didn’t get. We scored an appalling 25 out of 40; the winners got 36.
We then stayed in the Rising Sun to watch the Killer Darts competition. Each player starts with three lives and they have to beat the score of the person who throws before them, otherwise they lose a life. In this way, each player was eliminated one by one until only the winner was left. 😊
And so the afternoon passed in its usual pleasant way. We spent some time browsing around the shops which were open because we were at sea. I bought a cute little limited-edition Pandora charm in the shape of a ship, complete with its anchor.
At one stage, we passed a bride and groom who had just been married on board by the Captain himself. How lovely; to marry on board the Arcadia and then have their honeymoon on a Christmas Cruise – it will be something they’ll never forget.
Tonight was formal evening, but there would be no Captain’s Cocktail Party. ☹ As with our cruise on Queen Victoria last month, cutbacks were very much in evidence on P&O Arcadia and they’d cancelled the Captain’s Cocktail Party, using Covid-19 as an excuse. Covid has certainly been a handy “get out of jail free card” for companies to lower their standards of service. Instead, the captain made some sort of speech/announcement over the PA system at six o’clock, half of which we missed because we were in our cabin/in the shower getting ready for tonight’s Black Tie do. It was all a bit of damp squib really.
We enjoyed our evening meal and the conversation at the dinner table. I was not expecting to see lobster on the menu so I was not disappointed when it wasn’t served. Trying to get an after-dinner liqueur was like trying to get blood from a stone; one waitress did not know what amaretto was, and even when I used its brand name (Dis Aronno) I was met with a blank stare. Eventually another bloke came over and said they didn’t have any amaretto. We therefore asked for a Grand Marnier each but, by the time it arrived, we’d finished our dessert and coffee and the other people on our table were getting up ready to go. Again – not enough fully-trained staff and very slow service – how P&O have changed from when it used to be Silver Service and there would be proper waiters, busboys and sommeliers tending to your every need.
Nonetheless, here we were on holiday and we determined to enjoy our cruise. The entertainment tonight consisted of a trio of talented male singers called “Triptonic”. They all sang in harmony and had lively, friendly personalities and we enjoyed their show immensely.
Afterwards, it was the passengers’ turn to be in the limelight – tonight was karaoke night in the Rising Sun! It was like the Ghost of Cruises Past when I took to the mic, 17 years after having first done so on this ship. Lots of people got up to sing and the place was packed; even those passing by outside the pub stopped in the doorway to have a look. Some people really hate karaoke nights and avoid them whenever possible, but to us, whether you’re a good singer or a bad one, it’s a great ice breaker, and we had a really good time.
So far, we’d never clapped eyes on John and Linda today; no doubt we’d catch up with them tomorrow.
It was about 1.00am when we left the Rising Sun and made our way back along to cabin E26. Opening the balcony door briefly, we were met with a blast of frigid air, but we left the door open a crack anyway. It was certainly better than the very dry artificial conditioned-air that had already made my throat husky and my hair full of static.
We settled down in our comfortable bed and immediately fell asleep, happily looking forward to what tomorrow would bring.