The slightly-increased motion of the Balmoral on the waves this morning showed that we were in the open sea once again; we could tell we were on our way home because of the grey skies and threatening rain. Nonetheless, we had a full day at sea to look forward to today as well as one more night on board, so we determined to enjoy it. 🙂
We pottered around the ship for a while and made a start with our packing, putting anything in the case that we wouldn’t need again this cruise. I also did a few rows of crochet; I am making a triangular shawl with a deep fluted edge, using a lambswool and kid mohair yarn. I always like to keep my hands busy, even when watching television or listening to the talks on board ship.
At 11.00am we went along to the Neptune Lounge for “Behind the Curtain”, where cruise director Jennifer Daulby was interviewing comedienne Brenda Collins. When I say “interviewing” however, she never got the chance to ask many questions as Brenda wouldn’t let her get a word in edgeways. In the end she gave up and just let Brenda take centre stage, with many amusing anecdotes and other stories which kept us entertained until lunchtime.
Lunch today was special; we went along to the Ballindalloch restaurant where King Neptune’s Seafood Lunch Buffet was being held. I love fish and seafood so I piled my plate high with fresh lobster tails, mussels, crab claws, prawns and langoustines, along with some fresh salad and, of course, a chilled glass of prosecco. It was absolutely delicious; I knew we’d have to have lobster at some point on this cruise. 🙂
Then we went along to the shops to see if there were any last minute bargains, and I ended up buying a black lightweight jacket with zipped front and two pockets; it had the Fred Olsen logo on it and was reduced from £53.99 to £26.99.
At 3.45 we went along to the Lido Lounge to take part in the tea-time trivia and partake of a cocktail or two. We didn’t win the quiz but I enjoyed the sangrias they made, which consisted of red wine, brandy, Cointreau, orange juice, lemonade and chopped apples – delicious.
Then it was time to get ready for the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail Party. It seemed strange not having to be dressed formally but it’s never a formal night when it’s the last night of a cruise, because all the suitcases have to be packed and placed outside the cabin door, so it’s assumed that dinner suits etc. will already be packed. We still dressed quite smartly though, and we went along and enjoy (more!!) free drinks and some canapés. Captain Bent Ivar Gangdal made a little speech commenting on the fantastic cruise we’d had, with the most beautiful scenery and excellent weather and how he hoped to see us back on the Balmoral soon. This little interlude took us nicely to dinner time at 6.15pm, where we enjoyed the last meal in the company of Colin and Sue.
Tonight’s show was the Farewell Variety Performance, featuring the Balmoral Show Company as well as Brenda Collins and magician Dain Cordean. It was excellent as ever. I felt quite sad that we would be going home tomorrow; I could easily have spent another week cruising. One week just isn’t long enough – we said the same thing last May when we did the “Lusitania Remembered” cruise on board Queen Victoria. Never mind – we only have a couple of months to go until our next cruise. 🙂
As ever, we went along to the Observatory for the quiz, meeting up with Colin and Sue, Peter and Liz to form the same team as we had when we’d won. No such luck this time though. Still, we had fun and they said how much they’d enjoyed this cruise, and how they couldn’t wait to do another one.
As we have to put our clocks and watches back to British time tonight, it meant we’d get an extra hour in bed, so we went along to the Morning Light pub to finish off the evening (and indeed the cruise) with Kath and Louise. Once again John Smithson had everyone’s feet tapping and hands clapping with his variety of catchy tunes, and I enjoyed a few more (free!) glasses of prosecco and tried to put to the back of my mind that our holiday was at at end. 🙁
It was late when we returned to cabin 4125, and we packed up the remainder of our stuff, only leaving out what we’d need in the morning. Then we put the cases outside our door and settled down for our last night on board.
Tomorrow we were due back in the Tyne, and we’d be back home in Durham before 10.00am – one of the great advantages of cruising out of Newcastle.