Day 1 – wind trails on the water
Rocking and rolling last night as we rounded the Isle of Wight and headed out into the English Channel. We are in Stateroom 12012, next door to the one we were in on the last cruise…on the night before we left we were upgraded from Stateroom 6164, as were our neighbors who started off on lower decks too…
Breakfast…coffee, tea, toast, and then bacon, eggs, baked beans, tomato for Clyve. Black currant jam (oh, how I have missed you)!!!! marmalade and strawberry jam. I’m being “good” and only having 2-3 small slices of toast for breakfast.
Morning tea…cup of tea and coffee, Clyve had a small Danish and I had a bread roll, butter and…wait for it…black currant jam!! Back to the room…Clyve is wearing a patch behind his ear and isn’t seasick this time but has a headache and is having his second shower of the day at 11.30am..I’m wearing the pressure bands and not having a problem at all. It’s nice to be sitting around without having to be anywhere 🙂
…and as I did on the last cruise….today I sacrificed my sunglasses to the Gods of the Atlantic…
Watching the webcam on the ship with Force 7 winds and a moderate swell.
We’re rocking a rolling a bit more tonight…up to 20′ waves tonight with confused swells
Day 2 – passing showers
Sometime in the middle of the night the rocking and rolling stopped and we both got a good nights sleep…This morning we are heading due west and rolling somewhat on a northerly swell..the snow line in our vicinity has dropped from 1,500′ to 1,200′.
We had breakfast down in Kings Court…I had toast and Clyve had scrambled eggs, which looked very nice, bacon (English, although they do have American as well), baked beans and sausages…I wish I had his metabolism).
At breakfast, a bit of eavesdropping …a youngish couple who had been living in Barcelona with their dogs had been ‘forced’ into driving across Europe and through England to Southampton, then across the Atlantic on the Queen mAry 2 with their dogs kenneled on the 12th deck kennels, then hire a car in New York and drive to Boulder, Colorado as that was the only way they could bring their dogs across without quarantining them……and people think we are crazy!!!
We undertook a circuit around the deck and then across the top deck in an air temperature of 8°C with a windchill of between 0- -2°C with winds across the deck of 40 knots!! Passing showers with a splattering of (maybe) graupel. We scuttled inside to warm up with a cup of tea…and a bowl of icecream and lemon curd pastry..and another bread roll with blackcurrant jam and a tiny escargot pastry for me. We met a nice couple from Brisbane who started what is now the 3rd largest private school in Queensland 19 years ago and do some serious travelling every year…last year was South America, and this year is sailing from Southampton to Brisbane on the QM2.
I had Asian for lunch and Clyve had salami and cheese rolls….we ‘pfaffed’ about during the afternoon and did a couple of almost circuits of the ship and retired to afternoon tea at 4pm…Clyve had icecream (no, he’s not sick of it yet) and I had a Devonshire tea…..I’m fully prepared to put enough weight on in the next 5 days that I have to lose before stormchasing season begins 😉
We dressed a little more formally for dinner tonight…I had brisket of peppered beef, cauliflower au gratin and steamed vegetables with a Yorkshire pudding that was nowhere near as good as Dayle’s at Christmas and Clyve had cod and chips, ……and icecream for dessert…
No seasickness for either of us today and I wasn’t wearing my pressure bands. Clyves patch is working well.
Day 3 – warm front approaching.
Well if there is a calm on the North Atlantic in January, this would have to be it!! Still an obvious NE swell but a small one that is doing no more than make things vibrate as they go through. Colder but virtually no wind.
Breakfast this morning was a disappointment…although it was delivered by a Russian who must have been 7′ tall and had to duck under the doorway to get into the room and walk stooped through the stateroom. On Monday morning we asked for 4 serves of toast and got 8 slices, today we asked for 2 serves of toast and got 2 slices…..which were cold, as was the hot water…we got oodles of milk at least and more cereal for tonight. Clyve asked for one egg and got 2….
Even though warm fronts move slowly, when you are doing 20knots in one direction and the warm front is approaching from the same direction, things actually happen rather quickly…in the time that I have been writing this entry today, we are starting to go up and down the swells a bit harder…..and the cloud deck has lowered.
We went down to Deck 2 to watch the waves and a couple of them washed the window…bigger than last time!! I didn’t have dinner tonight, have eaten too much too early in the day again…so my total for the day was orange juice, 2 pieces of toast and tea, then tea and a couple of small cakes for morning tea and had lunch which was trout, French fries, green beans, steamed veggies……and after that sat and watched Clyve have afternoon tea ….
Day 4 – rocking and rolling ahead of clearing skies
Last night there were a couple of waves that didn’t quite launch us off the bed but came close…..roughest so far this trip, rough enough to wake me up – and I sleep through thunderstorms!! The morning is overcast and raining lightly but the swells have dropped a bit. We decided to go down to breakfast this morning at 8am and that was very pleasant…not particularly crowded but it was getting busy when we left.
A wander about for a bit down at Deck 2 watching waves again….today the swells and waves were larger and we went down for morning tea….I had a small cinnamon scroll and Clyve had a Kit Kat from the stash…interesting to watch people still having breakfast at 10.30 am..and a bit more eavesdropping….a Scottish woman behind us was talking about ‘going home’ to her house out of Fort Lauderdale….she had married an American but was no longer married. Fashions are another point of interest…..There is no such thing as fashion on this ship…people wear all sorts of things, many of which I wouldn’t be seen dead in!! The big difference is that the running shoes make their appearance in the morning and start disappearing as the day goes on…
So I put my boots on and we went to lunch…it took me two circuits of the food court to find a table with a view just after 1pm and I found an ideal spot in the sun. Clyve had Cornish pastie and chips and I had Cornish pastie, chips and salad….dessert for Clyve was….ice cream……., and we took more desserts back to our stateroom with a cup of tea…I had pear bread and butter pudding with custard (10/10) and Clyve had a couple of small classy morsels…and that is before they have started putting out afternoon tea!! Seas have subsided a lot and all we have to deal with is a steady southerly swell.
By the 4th day you have something resembling a routine…you definitely do eat more on the ship than usual, and you have to be prepared to put weight on it you enjoy food (unless all you eat is fruit) as the presentation and quality is very good!! There is breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner…so you can start at 8am and eat every 2 hours of the day – the toughest thing to do is to find a table with a view!!
What is interesting is that you are travelling westward, beginning at something like 49 degrees north and actually heading southwest…and the water gets colder and so does the air….by Thursday its getting decidedly chilly. Ship life can be a bit of a shock if you are someone who likes to be on the go most of the time, doing things that you want to do…here there are no lawns to be mowed, no housework to do (although we like to have the stateroom neat and tidy when our steward Joy gets there)…a big thing on the ship is reading, there are board games to play, presentations, lectures, a casino, interest groups….and eating. I think more people partake of this on a regular basis than all the other activities on the ship put together. We qualify for a classy restaurant but have chose to slum it in the Kings Buffet….
Dinner tonight….I had crisp duck, caramelised mashed potato, steamed veggies, Clyve had spring rolls and wedges….and icecream!!! I had a tiny little cake which was stunning!!!! Choux pastry, custard, brûlée,..mmmmm
Day 5 – cloudy with snow flurries
Breakfast downstairs this morning….snow flurries passing, Clyve is dedicated enough to be out on our balcony taking photos…I’m being a wimp, I’m sitting watching from inside…now if it was really snowing that would be different!
After breakfast, where we met a couple who ‘had’ to cruise because she was unable to fly, we wandered up to Deck 3 to watch the waves and browse the ‘sales’ and then down to Deck 2 to watch the waves a little closer…there was actually ice on the outside of the windows both in the shop on Deck 3 and the games area on Deck 2 and we watched blowing snow over the water!! We went down for morning tea and they are putting together a magical display of ice sculptures and cakes for afternoon tea today. Lunch looks good too…the lunch menus have been more interesting than the dinner menus this trip…one of the amazing things about this cruise is the turnover of food for all different meals…as one area of the buffet closes down at the end of a meal, another is being set up for the next and this goes on constantly…..all the staff and food areas are immaculatelypresented.
Overhead down at Deck 2 this morning… “look at all the towels lying around to soak up the water..is that a good thing?” We giggled and kept going…
Clyve went for half a circuit in the decks…I declined…he came back white and shivering from a temperature of 1C with a windchill of -5°C or less…so we stayed indoors for the rest of the day watching snow flurries and moderate seas….
Dinner was taken early this evening before the crowds arrived…filet mignon which although cooked rarer than we both prefer was of amazing quality, Clyve had potato wedges and a bread roll, I had potatoes dauphinois, steamed vegetables and a bread roll….followed up with a couple of small delicacies for dessert….
Still cold and the wind is howling tonight……lovely weather for a cruise !!!
Day 6 – misty, warm and rainy becoming Force 10 gale
A completely different morning!!! From freezing and blowing furiously yesterday to mild and almost calm this morning after a night of ship vibration courtesy of a small cross swell. Today is our last full day on board…tomorrow at some horror hour we have to be up to greet New York, have breakfast and be ready to leave the ship by 6.45am…do we know what the weather will be like yet? Nope…can’t even find a forecast on the TV!!!!
Having done our housekeeping and packed our bags for tomorrow morning, we proceeded to check the path of least resistance to get down to the Queens Club from our stateroom…this requires going halfway along our deck, down to Deck 11 and all the way along that then down in the lift to deck 3!!! Glad we worked that one out today!!! I did a tour of the galley and Clyve took one look at the queue of a couple of hundred people and retired to the sanity of our stateroom.. The galley tour was amazing!!!
You could eat your meal from the floor, the walls, countertops or ceilings!!!! It’s huge and has escalators in and out of it!!!!!
We fought the masses to get lunch and retired to our stateroom…a good move considering the fact that we were in the process of running into a deepening low pressure system and a Force 10 gale!!!! The next couple of hours was entertaining…Clyve got soaked with salt spray that was getting up to the 12th deck while he was videoing from our balcony and had to go and have a shower, but the ship was listing to port so much that the water wasn’t running out of the shower, so we had our own mini tsunami in the shower for a few hours till the listing subsided somewhat….
We went down for the last Devonshire tea of the trip and “pigged out”…too many scones, far too much jam and definitely too much cream!!!! Never know when your next opportunity might be so we celebrated…..on the way back I decided to see if I could get a massage at a discounted price….when the cruise started it was $99 for 50minutes…..yesterday and today it was $89 for 50 minutes….I offered $75 for 45 minutes and it was accepted!!! Fabulous…and worth every cent…my neck, shoulders and back are mobile once again!!
Tonight just something light…a Creme caramel that I saw being made this morning…..and that’s the end of our week on the high seas…
We’ve seen some amazing weather this trip…30-40′ swells with 40-50′ waves at times…70 knot winds sustained for 2 hours today!! We listed 15 degrees to port for about an hour and a half..and had great fun rolling drink cans back and forth across the stateroom…..We had snow yesterday, a calm day somewhere in the week..but most days have rocked and rolled….and we’ve loved it!!!!
A few words about Joy, our room steward. Joy comes from the Phillippines and will be leaving the Queen Mary in Hong Kong on the world cruise to go home for a while and then rejoining in June….she has 2 teenagers and Skypes with them as often as time differences, jobs and school permit…..she was wonderful to us and presented our room to us as if it were 5 star hotel. Anyone who aspires to work in an international hotel should (if they ever have the chance) spend a couple of days on a ship like the Queen Mary to see how things are done “as they should be”!!