Thursday, 25 of April of 2024

QE2 WC 2005 – New York, LA, Part 1

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2

WORLD CRUISE 2005

CABIN 3023

JANUARY 3 – APRIL 22, 2005

 Monday, 3 January – New York Harbor.

I flew to LaGuardia airport an hour before my original flight, because they had room on the earlier flight.  I arrived at the baggage claim area just as the Cunard hostess raised her Cunard sign almost before my eyes.  After a few more passengers gathered, we mounted our bus and were on the way to the ship.  I was given a group 4 ticket, checked in, waited about twenty minutes and was on board easily a little after two o’clock.  Peter Garland spotted me as I saw him, and we hugged – with a few accompanying quips!

My cabin, 3023, is in a small ‘”cul de sac” with three outside cabins and one other inside one, just before A stairway access, on Starboard.  I started settling in, and shortly the two suitcases arrived.  I immediately unpacked both, trying to fit everything into the double dresser and twin closets.  That having been accomplished, I read my greetings from the Cruise staff, and the program.

At about three o’clock I went to Yacht Club for the welcome cocktail party.  A very trim Elaine McKay greeted me along with Thomas and the new young Cruise Director, Martyn Moss.  I found Peter Garland again as well as Perle Coles then Eric and Margaret came to sit with us on the starboard raised section.  Next I had to attend the Boat drill at station A in the Mauretania Restaurant, followed by time on deck forward watching us back away from the Pier into the Hudson to face downstream with the outgoing current.

I eventually met Cornelia Müller and her friend Ann Haynes, who is a long time sea-faring woman working on ships for her whole career.  We chatted till we all froze then we parted.  I stopped in the Board Room to see Yoyo, and while there she called Wendell and Faith Bishop.  I also had a cup of tea as I watched us pass under the Verrazano Bridge.

I proceeded to my assigned table number 266 located on port side toward the forward side of the dining room, and I enjoyed my new tablemates, John from New York, Agnes and Betty from Toronto and a new dance host, Peter.  I had mushroom and garlic soup, and steak with tomato stuffed with peas and corn, beans and spinach.  I had an ice cream sundae as well!  I then went to joined Eric and Margaret Lee, but they informed me there would only be the late show, so we went to the Theatre Balcony to see the movie “Mona Lisa Smile.”  I thought it very good.  Carrying on our tradition from years back, we did our usual trip to the Lido for Horlicks, and I was in bed by eleven o’clock.

While watching us back away from the pier I struck up a lively conversation with a gal named Marguerite- all about ships, naturally!  I am sure we will meet again as she too is traveling alone – to Sydney.

 Tuesday, 4 January – At Sea.

The night seemed long on my hard bunk.  When I arose after seven o’clock I put up my Cunard scarf over my bed and then the World Map on the opposite wall over the second bed and television.  Ooh yes, I found a lovely flower array of anthurium, carnations, aster and tall, purple sprigs from David Hamilton, the Hotel Manager.  Also, a bottle of Dom Vincent wine awaited me, which I will give away.

When I emerged from my cabin I went to Five Deck to pay homage to cabin 5181, which was home for my 2003 World Cruise, then did the round walk on each ascending deck to 2 Deck then a part of 1 Deck to the Lido, where I passed nearly an hour with Ivan Pell, a dance Host from England, and eventually, Rod from two years ago.  We talked at length about the Indian Pacific train trip across Australia, which he has done.  He says I must get up early to see the camels and kangaroos in early light.  Another Brit Host named Jim joined us.  I then sat with Marguerite McLean, Suzanne and Sheila (Brit) and talked about QE2 and QM2.  We all love both ships.  By ten o’clock the sun had come out so I emerged aft to lovely balmy air and bright sunshine.  After making my way along by the tour office, Grand Lounge and by the Library I saw Joyce from 2003, who was also on that Tandem crossing (but we missed each other then). 

I returned to 3023 to collect the lighter jacket and “Bounty,” and I am now on Boat Deck under boat 4 behind the huge stanchion and davit.  The ocean is bright blue and ripply!  Boat Drill for Crew is taking place all along the deck.

After a while I decided to retreat inside to pursue the idea of lunch.  I found Eric and Margaret in their usual spot in the Lido so I joined them.  I told Eric about my GPS experiments.  Lillian, the Brit, joined us as well.  I had salad, tomato soup and creamed cauliflower, followed by lime pie!  When I left them I wandered back to the cabin to check the program and finding nothing to take my fancy, I gathered my 30 post cards, labeled them and went to Purser’s office to get the 2005 World Cruise stamp.  I stamped them all and wrote most of them while enjoying tea with Valerie Bennett, Molly and Fran Caldwell (Am.) in the Board Room.  We each received nice QE2 ballpoint pens so I used mine.

Just before four o’clock I made arrangements for the two QM2 voyages next year around the Horn.  Presently I am seated outside Yacht Club facing aft as the sun starts to set to the west.  On my way here I passed through Queens Room and spoke briefly with Doris McKeller and May.  I managed to pass up the teatime goodies.  Somewhere along the way I turned in my tour requests, and they have arrived already in my cabin.

I watched the sunset from Boat Deck where I had been reading.  I showered and arrived at the dinner table by six thirty-five.  Peter Eiderly and Betty were there. I wandered a bit and then headed for my cabin just before nine, after a crème brulée in the Lido and a brief stop on Boat Deck to gaze at the bright stars.

Wednesday, 5 January – Port Everglades – Fort Lauderdale.

After a fitful night on the very hard mattress I awoke about seven-forty to see we were just easing onto our accustomed dock next to both “Volendam” and “Rotterdam.”  I finally met my stewardess, Anemie Barnard from Durban, South Africa.  I guessed her accent correctly and mentioned how uncomfortable the mattress is and she will switch it with the one on the other bed, as well as attend to the steady dripping under the sink. 

I ate my breakfast in the Mauretania with Vernon Conway, who is on again for the whole World Cruise. We had been at the same table together previously in 2003.  Up on deck I had a brief chat with Cornelia on the observation deck.  She kept getting emails on her small iPod.

Eventually I met Margaret Lee at Mid-ships Lounge and took the shuttle bus to the Galleria from whence we took a taxi to a stitchery shop and back by bus to the ship by one thirty.  Eric joined us for lunch at the Lido and then I watched the Tom Hanks film “Terminal.”  By the way, Holly is back on board with a new husband, Hollis Latham.  She had a huge diamond ring on her finger.

Presently I am on Port Boat Deck under boat number 4 waiting for the ship’s departure.  Both HAL ships tooted simultaneously as their boat drills began.  Other ships in port are: “Crystal Symphony” “Caribbean Princess” plus a couple of those gambling ships.  First the “Volendam” backed out then “Rotterdam” then surprise, “Silver Whisper” followed down the parallel channel.  Then as it nearly reached the main channel we began to back away, and turn bow outward.  At the apartment buildings the whistles started the three blasts and odd toots back and forth from each ship and sirens, spotlights, whistles, horns etc., till we were well away.  Presumable, “Crystal Symphony” and the others soon followed suit.

I quickly changed for dinner and joined my tablemates plus Nellie Burns from Virginia.  The show was quite good, consisting of folk and country-western songs and patter.  After a Horlicks with the Lees I returned to the cabin by ten o’clock.

Thursday, 6 January – At Sea.

I had breakfast near the Lees after delivering my wine to them.  My grapefruit spoon served well and I am glad I brought it with me!  The logical segue for me was to head upward to Boat Deck and I sat on port side under boat ten.  I observed a sailboat sailing north and an oil tanker.  It is windy but warm.  After an hour or so reading in the brisk wind, I migrated inside to the Library to browse.  The Nautical section has been moved to the opposite side of the center stacks, and greatly increased in scope.  I then checked on my booking request and found no action had been taken.

I chatted with Eric and Margaret then found May to greet.  On I went aft to the singles party in Yacht Club, where I met a nice British widow and also Lucy Williams from the first welcome party.  Maureen Ryan is also serving with Elaine, who by the way has been on 23 World Cruises!

I returned to Boat Deck in time to hear the noon whistle and navigation report – too hastily given.  We are east of Cuba and will be taking the westward passage.  Again I joined the Lees and returned upward for more deck time.  The movie, “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius” was my next occupation, and when that was over I grabbed two sandwiches and returned again briefly to Boat Deck before cabin time, where I started on my doll project.

After our formal dinner I attended the Ventriloquist show; I wandered outside, before returning to the cabin and advancing my clock forward one hour.

Friday, 7 January – At Sea.

I did three and a half deck treks from five to 2 on my way up to the Lido.  I emerged at the Fantail and had a brief chat with “American” Valerie (Noonan) as she was finishing her yogurt.  I next had my fruit and yogurt while sitting at an aft table with two ladies from Ohio.  After a bit of a wander and browse in the Library and Bookshop, I attended the terrorism talk.  Now at eleven o’clock I am on Boat Deck under boat 12 ducking behind a life raft pile to avoid the very strong headwind.  The waves are boisterous with whitecaps to the horizon in misty blue atmosphere and sun.  Beautiful!

At noon I took a fix with my GPS at 16˚ North and 72˚ West.  The wind is blowing so hard from forward motion plus the velocity from southeast, that one could hardly hear the whistle!  I went to Yacht Club for the Ensemble Travel cocktail party, where I chatted at length with John and Pat Sagar from Brewster.  Evelyn from two years ago recognized me as I did her!  Also, I saw Mrs. Levy and Perle (who is in the Caronia category)!

I had lunch with Gemma Loughnane and a very interested English lady.  I am once again under boat 12 behind the life rafts in the strong wind.  Again —-it is so very beautiful!  At three o’clock I went to my cabin to putter and watch television.  I showered, dressed in my black dress and new black and red silk top for the six fifteen movie, “Troy.” When the horse entered Troy I left for dinner in the Lido on my own way aft.  I then caught the end of the show, a good Broadway and West End mezzo. 

The ship is swaying slightly, but the stabilizers are keeping her from rocking.  I was ready for bed by ten, and found three travel books on my bed.

Saturday, 8 January – Curaçao.

This was a very soggy day.  We were already docked at the outside Mega-dock by the time I awoke.  I had a muffin with Cornelia in the Lido then joined my Ensemble World Explorers in the Yacht Club prior to disembarking via Five Deck C portside exit.  We walked through the mini-tent terminal past where the little coral figures used to be.  They are all knocked down, alas!  The tour on a “trolley bus” took us to the Aquarium (dolphins) Curaçao museum, Liqueur headquarters and a nice lunch under a leaky roof.  I walked barefoot back to the ship on my own.  Torrents of rain and deep puddles rendered all who braved it, soaking – so much so, that upon re-entering the ship under the new “Welcome Home” sign, towels were placed along the path to the cabin.  I dried off, watched a television movie and took a nap. 

I had dinner with my tablemates and enjoyed the show by a very virtuoso harpist – Shirley Dominique from Montevideo.  After that I spent a long time on Boat Deck watching people walk to the ship in small groups.  The weather had cleared and the evening breeze was most welcome in the lingering dampness.  The departure was delayed till after eleven o’clock, but most of the time I stood by the rail anticipating the slackening of the four or five bow and stern lines on the bollard islands fore and aft.  Finally, men in little stubby boats poised themselves ready for their orders.  When this was finally achieved the spring lines were slackened, tugs nudged us away from the dock and we eventually turned 180˚ (as I predicted) leaving the long lit-up shoreline of Curaçao behind.  As we completed this turn I walked aft and down to the Lido where the midnight buffet was in full swing.  I ate cheese and crackers plus ice cream.  Tut tut.

Sunday, 9 January – At Sea.

Having returned to the cabin last night with cheese and crackers and a banana, I skipped breakfast and immediately headed upward to check the weather.  I found it very comfortable and dry, so I secured my deck chair under boat 15.  Since we are headed westward there is little wind over the deck, but the seas show another story of white caps in moderate waves and swells coming from behind.  The noon readings confirmed this.  GPS reading N 11˚ 56′ and W 73˚ 47.’  We are traveling at 210˚ west by south.  Wind Force 5, 18knots 10 knots over the deck.

I have spent the entire morning reading “The Bounty” reveling in all the seascape, and sounds of the seas as we plow forward!  At one o’clock I joined Eric and Margaret Lee for lunch in the Lido.  Margaret says I’ve got color.  I guess this is from the wind, because I always avoid the sun.  Then I returned to Boat Deck under number 13, having moved chairs to remain in the shade of the funnel – at least for a while!

I checked with Dell after three o’clock to see what progress was made on my booking and the report is “none.”  For a while I returned to Boat Deck, but went inside to the Board Room for tea, where I chatted with Holly and a British lady till time to dress for dinner and the Captain’s Cocktail party.  My moment with Captain Ian McNaught included name-dropping.  Portat and Bennell.  I basically passed through the Queen’s Room on my way to dinner with all the tablemates.  Had lobster tail.

After a short check in with the Lees in the Grand Lounge, and a browse through the shops (red handbags and black at $10), I watched the movie “Welcome to Mooseport,” then headed for the cabin.  The Panama Canal video is now showing.

Clocks back an hour.

Monday, 10 January – Panama Canal Transit.

My first objective upon emerging was to go straight to Boat Deck and find a chair.  It turned out to be the sunny side, but at least it was cloudy for a while.  We were delayed just short of the Gatun Locks so we had to wait stationary with tugs holding us in line because, of course, we had no steerageway. I stayed on deck till we started to enter the first lock, and then I went inside to avoid the sun.  I had green tea in the Board Room while talking with Ann Haynes who lives in the Barbican district of London.

We left the Gatun Locks at 11:40 or so.  The shops are open, which is a surprise to me!

On my wanders toward noon I stopped near the Lido threshold to chat with Doris McKeller.  She had a beautiful cream outfit of pants and an embroidered top.  I then ventured to Boat Deck where I found a great spot under boat 10 as we approached the Golliard Cut.  I noted the position on GPS for noon: N 09˚ 08′ and W 079˚ 48′   While noting this we turned to port per lighthouse alignments and channel buoys.  A tug was standing ready to nudge us if we didn’t have enough speed to do it on our own.  Speed 14.4 knots.  A rain shower came but I remained safe, behind the life raft pile and boat.

I went up to Hellideck to photograph the aft scene in the Golliard Cut, the tallest terraced cut area, the Continental Divide, and eventually the new Zekim type bridge, not yet open to traffic.  It was fun to watch the QE2 funnel pass under the span with who knows how much space to spare.  Again a tug came along side to ensure our proper ability to turn slightly in the narrow cut.

Oh yes, I stayed pat earlier when a rain- squall came by.  Others ran but I got only a few drops under my boat and behind a raft pile!  I went to get my club sandwiches and potato chips plus a plum from the Board Room.  I ate on deck and spent more hours in the pleasant breezy warmth very comfortable as we slowly progressed through the cut to the two Mira Flores Locks.  We were still lowering in the last lock by 4:45 leaving the next major landmark ahead to the bridge of the Americas or Balboa Bridge for after five o’clock.  I watched these from my cabin on Channel 3.  The best view was forward from the Bridge, affording a great sense of perspective.

Dinner – show – ventriloquist and singer.  Horlicks with Agnes and Betty.  Cabin by 10:30.  We are circling tonight to anchor off Fuerte Amador tomorrow.

Tuesday, 11 January – Fuerte Amador, Panama.

I heard the anchor line drop just before seven o’clock.  Just before eight I had milk and a muffin on my way to the Theatre and tender to the island.  What a happy surprise I had to find the replica of Captain Cook’s “Endeavour” tied up to the Yacht Club along with many super yachts!  We then boarded our buses for the scenic ride through Fuerte islands and causeway to the train station.  We boarded our beautiful Pullman cars refurbished in mahogany and green wall lamps.  Our tour guide kept us busy with canal descriptions, as we passed by the various locks and ships all the way to Colon.  The girl conductors entertained us with a medley of Panamanian songs and rhythms.  At Colon and the Gatun Locks we climbed stairs to the highest outlook to watch the ships enter the first locks.  We returned by bus through the rain forests to our tenders.  While there I photographed the “Endeavour” and returned to the ship just in time for a dessert and iced tea in the Lido with Marguerite.  I went to my cabin, puttered and slept till time to shower and dress informally for dinner and the show.  Good chat session with the Lees.  Stayed for the frenetic show and returned to my cabin before ten o’clock.

Wednesday, 12 January – At Sea.

There was a lightning and thunderstorm last night.  The flashes lit up the television screen. Since I awoke early I tidied and washed my culottes, then emerged at eight o’clock to join the Lees in their nook by windows and served by faithful Omar.  An elderly lady with much spunk sat with me, eventually and we compared family voyages.  When finished I went to Boat Deck, found a free deck chair and read, enjoying the semi-sun and very comfortable breezes.  At eleven I reluctantly left my chair for the Yacht meeting in Yacht Club.  Tandem crossing jerseys were on 60% off sale, so I bought the only size XL usable as a nightshirt!

The sailors’ meeting was most fun with all sailors and racers.  Mike has crewed on J-boats – and is an active member of the New York Yacht Club.  He has access to YCs all over the world and we may be able to attend as his guests.  Another man sails on the great lakes – Wisconsin.  Another man has a 40-foot ketch in refit.  Most of us are East Coasters.  Holly Latham (her new name) crews but says she doesn’t sail.  Come on!

After a brief return to the cabin, as yet not made up because of the crew fire and boat drill,.  I again hit Boat Deck where I finally found a place under number 13.  Just before noon I took the GPS fix, and compared with the noon report from the bridge. N. 07˚ 45′ and W 084˚59′ Rhumb line Wind 13K. Seas slight and low swell.

After assessing the crowds in the Lido at one o’clock, I decided to have lunch in the Mauretania.  I sat with five other women, two from Canada.  I had a nice mixed salad with chicken.  Back I went to the Boat Deck after getting a very drippy ice cream cone!  However,  soon rain forced me inside.  Cabin time from about three o’clock on.  I found another Cocktail party invitation – David Hamilton’s at Yacht Club tomorrow night.

At six o’clock, all dressed formally,  I went to see “My 50 First Dates,” with Drew Barrymore.  I then joined the long reception line just behind Edith Inghram and Stephanie Holloway.  They had received Platinum pins on their beds! Hmmm!  After shaking hands with the Captain, Rona and Dell, I drifted into Queen’s Room and found the Lees sitting on a high divider back to Arthur and Frieda.  Margaret and Eric never even received an invitation!  At any rate, I left after the toast and speeches for dinner in the Lido.  I ate by myself, crème brulée and fudge cake, then went upstairs to hear Melanie Stace sing and belt out her songs.  She was very good – She wore a red dress and her super slender figure was best exhibited by this.  She also donned a beautiful beaded, white shawl for her Evita number.  After a few moments leaning on the railing on Boat Deck, I headed down A stairwell to the cabin by ten o’clock.  This route always takes be by the Synagogue which faces the stairwell and elevators.

Thursday, 13 January – At sea.

I took the two finished dolls with me to breakfast in the Maury and ate with Vernon and Claire plus a not too likeable lady from San Diego.  I sat a while with the Lees and Arthur and Frieda, who admired the dolls.  Passers by also stopped to see them.

At eleven I and many others attended Sheridan Morley’s talk on Noel Coward and John Gielgud mainly, but numerous other fine actors were also referred to.  Earlier I had a nice chat with Perle who is in Caronia category this time.  Vernon came by to join us in the alleyway at C Stairway.  I missed the noon whistle and report so here is my fix:  N 11˚ 34′ x W 094˚’16’  The ocean is very deep here.  Light seas and practically no swell.  The temperature is a very pleasant 70s on the shady side and the light wind adds to our speed of 24 knots slightly.

At one o’clock I left Boat Deck for Mauretania.  I spotted Cornelia at a round table for six, consisting of her friend Ann Haynes, two black girls and a large man.  Our conversation was about cruises and in some cases very opinionated on the part of one “snobby” girl.  I tried to curb my tongue several times lest she light into me!

I am now back on Boat Deck under number 11 after a swing through the Lido (very warm) for three strawberries.  I became chilly so went to the Board Room where I ate a beef sandwich in sun shining through the tall slotted windows.  While there Mike (NYC guy)

came and said he will help me with my GPS later on.  We then went to the movie “Jersey Girl.”

I joined my tablemates for dinner.  Nellie quietly told me she will leave our table for Jean Burns’ table!  Now I don’t know if I want to go with her or not.  I attended the Hollywood show shared with the Lees, then after a Horlicks with them and a stroll forward on Boat Deck, I returned to the cabin.  Clocks back one Hour.

Friday, 15 January – Acapulco.

During breakfast with Vernon and Claire and later, the San Diego woman, the ship was easing into the Bay and dropped anchor.  I headed directly for Boat Deck and spent the rest of the morning gazing at the Acapulco shoreline as the ship responded to wind direction.  I had to change from starboard to port to avoid the burning sun, but in the shade of the boats it was quite pleasant.  The tenders continued all day to ply back and forth, and numerous obnoxious jet skiers ruined the serenity of the scene. I briefly returned to the cabin for my camera and photographed Britannia Dining room and various harbor scenes.

At lunchtime I headed for the Lido and ate with Eric and Margaret.  Fudge cake – yum!  Back on deck I now await 2:30 for the movie “Captain and Commander”. Oh yes, I had a brief chat with Edith Inghram by Queens Grill Lounge as she waited to go ashore with Stephanie. 

After the movie I went back to Boat Deck and found Marguerite relaxing after her stroll ashore.  At five o’clock I watched the Mexican Folklorico dancing.  The costumes were very colorful and so familiar with the Mariachi band, singers and dancers plus a rope twirler.

During dinner, minus Nellie and Peter, we saw the ship turn and head out to the ocean.  Also, even though in the noisy dining room we could feel and hear the three whistle blasts!  Mexican food on the menu was gazpacho and rice and chicken.  I asked for salsa, which greatly improved the flavor.  I joined the Lees and Arthur and Frieda for the very bombastic piano show.  The pianist was fabulous, but he was too much!  I call this “whiz-bang” playing.

I returned to my cabin after a brief stop at the Library.  Finally, I got the pronunciation of Annemie’s name down pat.  Ann – Emie.  Simple when you know the spelling!

Saturday, 15 January – At Sea.

I made myself do my systematic deck walk from 5 Deck upward and when at three deck  I collected my bag for the day.  Anemie was doing my cabin so we had a nice chat about her hometown, Durban.  She knows where the C.S. church is, near where she grew up.  Then I told her our experience where the old church was.  She said that area is going to be rehabilitated and they hope to make it up-market.

I went to the Lido and before entering the queue I was required to “sanitize” my hands.  They are on a scare right now.  I ate with a Japanese lady from Melbourne!  During the morning from there I chatted with the Lees, checked with Roma about my QM2 booking and finally got the details, 2 cabins and the bottom line.  Wow!  Only had to pay $500 up front.  More later!

By this time it was eleven when I had to report to Golden Lion Pub to register for the talent show.  The biggest turn out in my experience showed up.  I then went to the usual rehearsal room back stage to run through my “Mother Hubbard.”  The pianist is okay.

After a brief time on Boat Deck in wind and sun, I took my daily fix on the GPS, which of course matched the ship’s report after the noon whistle.  N20˚ 04′ x W106˚ 39′    Direction is 305˚ Northwest and speed is 27 knots.

I then had lunch with Vernon and ladies.  Claire, the Scottish lady from Ayrshire and a new pleasant American lady were there.  Claire shared her fresh chips with me.  Not being thrilled with the desserts on the menu, I returned to the Lido for rice pudding and chocolate sauce, this time with Barbara and Lucy.  I later found Holly eating alone.  She is a “Turtle” and says she will put my name in for membership.  It is secret she says with a chuckle!

Back at the cabin near three o’clock I found a lovely gift from my travel agent and World Ensemble Travel.  A leather -bound travel diary with gold edged velum paper, maps and many more features.  By four o’clock I was ready to go for the talent show.  We had 14 acts including singers, a very poor pianist, jokesters and of course, Mary Mastony.  She did her usual schtick plus a book sales pitch!

At dinner we all took photos of each other and had marvelous Chateaubriand with asparagus, carrots and medallion potatoes with hollandaise sauce.  Then came the Baked Alaska parade with the loud scratchy march and Auld Lang Syne.  I briefly chatted to the Lee contingent in the Grand Lounge and saw the QE2 Calendar Girls calendar with Maria, Marion Morgan (who isn’t with us this year yet?!), Elaine and others.

Since the movie doesn’t start till ten forty-five after the string trio, concert in the Theatre, I went on deck to see the half moon, and then returned to my cabin.

Oh, Arthur said I received a standing ovation of which I wasn’t aware.  Also the first singer, a fairly good bass voice, the large man at my lunch table a few days ago, was very complimentary.  He was dressed in his new Serape and sombrero, for the Mexican fiesta dance later on. Lennie is his name.

I left the cabin again to see the movie “13 Going on 30” and after a few minutes I decided to leave in order to check out the gala midnight buffet.  There were a few ice carvings and many very beautiful cakes, tortes, profiteroles plus a whole cafeteria line of delicatessen –type goodies.  Everyone was ordered to cleanse the hands before even entering just to look!  While Valerie Bennetts and I ate together by the window, waiters were wiping off each chair newly vacated!  We parted for our cabins.  Clocks back one hour.

Sunday, 16 January – At Sea.

I awoke too early, but got up anyway to look over again, the beautiful travel journal from Ensemble.  I also made decisions on what to off load to Chris and Cherie to save weight.  Eventually, I did the lesson and showered, emerging around 8:30 to meet my friends Myra and Claire and Vernon.  After breakfast I tried to wangle a new table, but I think I am still at 266 with all new people.

When I checked in with the Lees – Fran was with them as was Peter Garland looking for sponsors for his parachute jump in New Zealand.  Fran showed us her marvelous porcelain painted miniature round egg- shaped and square boxes, hinged delicately.  She will make them for sale at the charity fair.  I also produced my knitted dolls and learned how to chain stitch from Margaret.  She did a whole panel for me while I tried the same thing on the bagpipe.

I tried to explain the GPS to Eric, who unfortunately doesn’t see much.  He retired way before the GPS was developed.  I was on deck for the noon report, which follows:

N 27˚ 2′ x W 115˚ 16.’  Compass reading NW 324˚; Temp 67˚ F.  Wind northwest by north at Force 4 or 13 knots.  40 knots over the decks.  Slight seas, low swell.  Coastline of Baja California has been visible all morning to the East.

Earlier I had a nice chat with Norma and Ken plus the other neighbors.  They are busy packing.  The railings and walls are being repeatedly washed down everywhere.

At lunchtime I went to Vernon’s table (361) and joined him as he received his mahi mahi entrée.  I ordered the same, but mine didn’t look like the same fish.  Anyway, the Protestant Anglican Priest and wife joined us.  He is Roy and I’ve already forgotten her name.  Myra also came a little later.  We discussed gambling and lessons learned!

Despite the rather strong and cool headwind, I spent an hour forward on Starboard Boat Deck reading Captain Kidd, and trying to keep warm behind a vertical seat cushion.  I still got cold, so headed aft where the sun lights up the decks.  I am presently at a table by the fantail pool.  The stern sways a bit causing it to be difficult to write in a steady manner.

After reading there in sun and wind, I went inside for tea.  However, with the Lido and Queen’s Room filled to near capacity, I headed for the Board Room.  I sat with two American ladies whose names I forgot, and a nice English gent (a widower) named Steve or Stan.  His wedding band is a melding of his wife’s ring and diamond with his band.  Quite original and beautiful.

We 266 tablemates had our farewell dinner.  Salmon especially.  We had had such a good time and acknowledged our mutual enjoyment.  Agnes and Betty will be off to Florida before heading finally for Canada.  John will be off to another table as will Nellie (to Jean Burns’ table).  I guess I will remain and Peter doesn’t know where he will be assigned.

At eight thirty I watched “Shreck 2” then joined Maria and Frank Sotile for a nice chat over Horlicks in the Lido.  Cabin at eleven o’clock.  Clocks back one hour.