Thursday, April 26, 2018

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 – English Harbour, Antigua – Sunny – 82F

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Unscheduled Sea Day

English Harbour is a tender port and this is our first time here. We are also both on tour today – Ellen has a very early tour so she ordered room service. I am on the afternoon version of the same tour so I had breakfast up in the Kings Court – the usual.

As I looked out the window upstairs, I noticed a little chop in the water but I also noticed that many of the tenders had not been lowered.

Ellen was in the Royal Court Theater and I was on my way down when the Captain said that because the vertical rise of the tender vs the pontoon was in excess of 3 feet, it was considered unsafe. There would be no tenders in the water today and no tours – instead, QM2 was going on a “Voyage of Discovery” i.e. a cruise to nowhere or an unscheduled sea day.

When I got back to the cabin, the phone rang and it was Chris, the assistant EM. Because of the new sea day, he wanted me to move up my next talk. “The Search for the Unknown Titanic Child”, to this afternoon at 2:15 PM in the Royal Court Theater. Chris also told me that all the talks would move up and the extra talk I brought along would be given on the final sea day. He had a copy of all the titles and we were set.

Dave, the Production Manager called next and asked me to come to the theater at 1:30 PM to check out the equipment.

Paul came on the PA system and announced the changes for the day and a new Programme was rapidly published and brought to the staterooms.

The weather was nice and we spent the morning on Deck 7.

The turnout in the theater was difficult to gage – Chris was supposed to introduce me but he didn’t show so I self introduced. The turnout was good (considering the short notice and the crowd would have filled the Illuminations venue).  The lower section was essentially filled and there were lots of people in the balcony. The talk went well and finished in 48 minutes to a really nice extended round of applause.

The rest of the afternoon was spent out on the deck. Since we moved our deck chairs back to get away from the breeze, this is my view of the ocean.

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Storm at Sea

Dinner in the Britannia Room was very different tonight – we got a table for two but it was sandwiched between two other tables for two. The dinner was great tonight (I think because it seems my fork was always in mid air). Once one of the couples introduced themselves we knew that this would not be a quiet dinner. When they found out I was the lecturer, then both tables entered into a dinner long discussion. I never ate much of my delicious mushroom/cream pasta. Both couples left before we did so we had a moment to settle down. They meant well and it was nice to chat with them.  In our discussion with our table mates, we found out that the ship offered a vegetarian menu (some nice soups and a Caprese flatbread appetizer). We would check that out in the future.

The Entertainers tonight “Power of 2 – Ilia and Olesia” were supposed to board in Antigua so the show tonight became “Variety Showtime” – “Royal Cunard Singers and Dinners Jive” and Violinist Katarina Rossa – I liked her show this time out. I guess we will have to wait for another cruise to feel the Power of 2 and to visit Antigua..

Tuesday, December 26, 2017 – Crown Point Pier, St. Thomas, USVI – Partly Cloudy, 84 F

The weather is markedly warmer as we docked at our first Port of Call, Crown Point, St. Thomas.

Today, I had pancakes and an egg today from the buffet – a change up for my waffle cook.  The breakfasts are very good.


QM2 at Crown Point Marina

We don’t plan to take the walk or a taxi to Charlotte Amalie today – instead we are just going to check out the local vendors at Crown Point. We are parked next to the Celebrity Equinox so there are a lot of passengers wandering about. Being in St. Thomas also gives us a chance to make phone calls back to the US.

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Celebrity Equinox

The vendors may have increased in number from the last time we were here.  We explored the whole area and did not find anything we needed to buy.  It’s a pretty warm day, so we returned to the ship for lunch.

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St. Thomas from QM2

From where our ship is, it is difficult to see the damage caused by the September double hit by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. There seems to be power and the vegetation on the hills seems intact. It’s all deceptive because the island was without power and water for weeks.

We spent a cool and quiet afternoon on the outside deck. 

We are having continued good luck getting a table for dinner and the food has been pretty good. The Maitre D’ has been very helpful.

Comedy Magician Nathaniel Rankin (from Canada) is the headliner. Lots of juggling, cut neckties, and mind reading. We have seen him before and his act has changed little.  I think some people in the audience might have been recruited to be part of the act.  We met one guy who was asked to switch his tie for one supplied by the magician. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Monday, December 25, 2017 – At Sea (Atlantic Ocean – Sunny Skies – Mid 70s

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The cabin continues to be a quiet one and the sea is smooth so we are getting some sleep.  We are still in the Atlantic Ocean but getting closer to the warmer waters of the Caribbean.

I now have a pretty good arrangement with the waffle and pancake maker – he starts a waffle when he sees me. The waffles have improved daily since I started having them.  Again, all the other fixins are available and I get up there early enough to find a quiet place to sit.  Breakfast is OK.

It’s another beautiful day at sea – starting to get a little warmer still.  A great day to spend all your time on the open deck on a comfy lounger.

We pushed our loungers back away from the railing to get away from the breeze (and that way, it was warmer).

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View from my Lounger

On Ellen’s advice I paused my current book (“Evidence of Murder” by Lisa Black) and started a new book she had already read: “Dinner at the Center of the Earth” by Nathan Englander. The book is about the Israeli – Arab situation but the storyline is hard to describe. It is interesting.

Before getting ready for dinner, I captured a wonderful sunset in the Atlantic.

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Tonight is our second Formal Night.

Instead of going to the Dining Room, we had dinner in the Italian CafĂ© in the King’s Court – Caprese Pizza and pasta with mushrooms plus a Cesar Salad – very good.  I think the food here is better than the Dining Room and it is much quieter.  Tonight, it is not crowded.

The headliner tonight was Phillip Browne – West End Performer (Lion King) and former bus driver. He has a booming voice (very unusual and distinctive). He must have burned a 1000 calories moving around the stage. He was very entertaining – a good show.

After the show we went to the Queen’s Room to take in the Christmas Ball.  We managed to get some really good seats and it was fun watching the Gents pop around and dance with the single ladies.

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The Christmas Ball

A nice day at sea.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sunday, December 24, 2017–At Sea–Atlantic Ocean–Cloudy–60s

A smooth day at sea but too chilly to be out on the open deck.

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My arrangement with the waffle maker continues to work out so breakfasts are turning out to be OK.  I am getting my own coffee refills as I empty cups faster than the wait staff can get back around. 

Another full day of lectures ahead.

I am starting off with the 10:00 AM lecture by Christine Roussel in Illuminations.  Christine is an art restorer and we have been on QM2 together in the past.  Her presentation – “Art Theft” – drew a pretty small turnout, which was very unusual based on past talks. 

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Hanging out on Deck 3

At 11:00 AM, we head to the theater to hear the Celebrity Presenter, Sir Ivan Lawrence, speak on – “My Life of Crime: Defending the Infamous, etc”.  Sir Ivan is an amusing speaker with a lot of humor thrown in – some of the levity is Brit oriented so I didn’t understand it.

We had lunch up in the King’s Court buffet (Salad Bar and pizza).

In the afternoon, we attended the 3:30 PM presentation in Illuminations by Derek Fraser“Caribbean Slavery” - such a down topic – we didn’t stay for all of it.

Once again, the Maitre D’ got us a table for two in the Britannia Dining Room.

Showtime tonight was “Jingle Bell Rock” – a wonderful show of secular songs by the wonderful singers and dancers. Very entertaining.  Ironically, one of the songs not performed was “Jingle Bell Rock”, which I had seen in the past and really liked.  Maybe, next time.