Southampton, UK to Cobh, Ireland
The first sea day of our long homeward bound journey. We may just be half way though this magnificent voyage, but we still have 51 days to go. Wow, UK weather hasn’t changed much, as in the Western approaches to the English Channel, it is completely overcast and the visibility repeatedly reduces in rain. The fog horn has been sounding throughout most of last night and this morning/afternoon. Even the winds and seas are picking up with at least 20 kts of wind and moderate seas. However, Judi has managed to find her sea legs, as she hasn’t used a patch or taken gravol for any of the rolling or pitching since we entered the Atlantic Ocean.
Temperature: High 19C/66F, Low 15C/59F
Wind/Weather: SW’ly at 20 kts, completely overcast, rain and restricted visibility (crummy)
Clox: Z+1 (no change)
On clearing the Solent, Sea Princess initially set a S’ly course to join the traffic scheme, then altered to WSW’ly courses through the English Channel. We passed Falmouth about 14:00 and shortly thereafter, when abeam of Lizard Point, Sea Princess altered to Stbd to a NW’ly heading. About 17:00, Sea Princess passed the southern most tip of the United Kingdom, initially following the traffic scheme before altering NW towards the Cobh pilot station.
This morning started with a brisk 7 mile, or 21 laps around the Promenade Deck. Surprisingly, it wasn’t very busy, so most of the almost 900 new arrivals must be sleeping in. On return to the cabin, I worked on catching up with the blog until Judi was awake and we could head for breakfast. On sitting at the table, one of the ladies immediately said, “you must be Judi and you Andy”. Gulp, either famous or infamous, but no, she was an avid reader of the blog before the cruise and had seen our photos posted. The porridge was cold again this morning, but the waiter saved the day, returning with a steaming bowl of hot gruel. However, the A/Waiter excelled with the tea, which came steaming hot and plenty strong. After some great conversation, we were almost the last to leave the restaurant.
Everybody received a re-issue of the form letter regarding the upcoming U.S. Immigration. They explained the requirement, stating everyone must have an ESTA or Visa, which of course if incorrect, as Canadians we require neither. We had advised them of the error when they issued the previous letter, but they re-issued it without amendment. After breakfast, we visited the Pax Service Desk and again brought the error to their attention.
At 11:00 we had the Cruise Critic meet and greet, but they also had a lecture that interested me – Battle for the River Plate, Dec 1939. Well, the lecture will probably be repeated on the telly, so we headed to the Cruise Critic meeting. A great turn out of officers, including the Captain, Hotel GM, Cruise Director and of course Cynthia our Customer Service Manager. The Customer Service Director took questions, so Judi pointed out the error on his U.S. Immigration letter. He mentioned he took it straight off the U.S. Govt website, which we confirmed was correct, but Canadians specifically have different requirements. On entering the room, we were each given a ticket for the draw. After the speeches, Cynthia drew out numbers and low and behold Judi’s ticket was first one called. Only after picking 3 tickets did Cynthia explain the prize was dinner with her one night during the cruise. We are most definitely looking forward to the evening, as we find her a most pleasant and dedicated young lady.
After the meeting, we headed down for lunch and initially had an older couple join us at the table. I tried, twice, to strike up a conversation, but nada, nothing, not even any sign that the chap had even heard me. He did have hearing aids, so I can only assume they were off. At that point the Waiter came over and shared a good laugh with me, as he witnessed the entire event. Fortunately the 2 ladies that want to join our dinner table arrived, so we enjoyed some good conversation over lunch.
Nothing on the daily schedule was of interest, so we headed to the cabin for some sea gazing from the balcony, getting caught up with the blog and reading. Formal night tonight, so we donned the glad rags and headed down to Crooners, where Krzysztof was playing some very pleasant, easy listening music on the piano. We sat for about an hour before heading down to dinner. Tonight’s formal night is the 50th Anniversary special menu, which has supposedly the best menu items from each of the five decades. Honestly, we find it the worst menu on the cruise, with everyone at the table ordering from the left side, which has the standard dishes that are available every evening. Yet again, my salmon was cold and also over-cooked, so it was returned. Santhos returned shortly with a freshly cooked serving that was not only piping hot, but it was also cooked to perfection.
In the Princess Theatre the evening show was billed as “Viva Voce”, a powerhouse of vocal harmony with a feast of classical favourites mixed with the greatest pop songs of our time. They were 4 young chaps, who are excellent singers, backed up by the ship’s orchestra. A excellent show, which finished with thunderous applause. On return to the cabin, we found a nice letter from Angus, the Customer Service Director advising we are correct regarding U.S. Immigration for Canadians and thanking us for bringing it to his attention. Nice touch.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.