In the end, this was as close as we came to Bali, which we passed just before dinner, during the evening before our scheduled visit.
People have been very philosophical about the loss of two Port visits and, as a consequence, having nine consecutive sea days. But there have been one or two over reactions. As I was making tea in Kings Court yesterday – something I do about a dozen times a day despite our having a kettle and tea and milk in our cabin – a British couple took a call from, I think, their daughter. They poured out the story of missing both Ports as if it was life threatening. It was, the mother told her daughter, “just horrendous.”
In truth, there are some passengers, Australians who joined at Brisbane and are getting off at Singapore, who are entitled to be disappointed: they lost two of three port days. But judging by those of them who dominate the Karaoke in the Golden Lion and are always in good spirits, they’re coping pretty well.
Cunard have organised lots of additional diversions, putting on extra shows in the Theatre, talks in Illuminations and films in the Cinema, most notably, The Darkest Hour which was excellent. And World Cruisers have been sent more presents, this time portable power packs and adaptors for charging phones, all in QM2 livery. And we have had cocktail parties for three of the last four evenings. Cunard are certainly willing to provide lots of free wine on this cruise.
But the highlight of the additional activities, provided to ensure we all cope with this marine incarceration, has been a galley tour, which was organised at short notice, without the need to book and without charge. Predictably – to everyone other than Cunard who were patently taken by surprise – the response was overwhelming and it seemed as if the whole ship were queuing at the doors of the Britannia Restaurant. That meant we all had to walk through pretty smartly, not least because, half an hour after our all leaving, the staff had to have lunch ready. But the glimpse was fascinating and the staff seemed to like the attention, particularly this guy:
And there was a beauty in the some of the kitchen equipment:
The rest of the time, and in sometimes overcast but always warm weather as we approach the equator once more; we have spent our lazy days mostly on deck. Today, our last sea day before arriving at Singapore tomorrow afternoon seems to have been a little busier. We started the day on deck seven aft, our favourite place for the sun (with me cowering in a bit of shade). I did a few laps of the promenade deck and had a swim. And then, when the ship’s ceremony for crossing the Equator started we had a wander to the shops for a couple of things and visited the gallery with whom we’re negotiating to buy a couple of inexpensive reproductions of vintage Cunard posters.
We’re killjoys when it comes to the Crossing The Line Ceremony with Pollywogs and Shellbacks and people being doused with spaghetti. It’s tedious and inevitably leads to the closure of the main pool for 24 hours. But we accept that the hundreds who line the decks to watch it are proof that we’re just a pair of miserable bastards.
This afternoon, there was an excellent Big Band concert in the Theatre, with The Queen’s Room Orchestra (who generally provide music for the dancing) and The Theatre Orchestra coming together to provide an hour of Count Basie and Benny Goodman.
Tonight, we have (another) cocktail party and then we’re having our turn as guests at the Captain’s Table, albeit as guests of the Chief Engineer. It’s a hard life. And Singapore, tomorrow and Friday…