Weather warm and sunny with following winds and calm seas. Temperatures rose to 23C.
Today we have a day at sea as we steam from Gothenburg to Southampton through the oil fields and rigs of the North Sea. We set our alarm so that we could enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the Queens Grill but still ordered our almost customary “pre-breakfast” to be delivered by Romil. This consists mainly of bowls of Water Melon and Pineapple for J (not on the normal breakfast menu, but we add it and Romil has always delivered), as well as a coffee for M, and maybe a Pain au Chocolat and muffin.
When we finally made it up to the Queens Grill for our main breakfast, J ordered French Toast and M had Scrambled Egg with Salmon. Not a bad way to start the day all in all.
After breakfast M went for another Cunard Insights lecture in the Royal Court Theatre. This time the subject was the publication of the book Dr Zhivago written by the Russian author Pasternak, and presented by David Burgess who had done a previous lecture earlier in the voyage surrounding the events of the Russian revolution. This particular lecture was fascinating to learn a bit about the involvement by the western spy agencies (MI6 and CIA) in aiding the publication of the book in the Russian language and trying to get copies back into communist Russia as part of the cold war efforts, and something M will probably look into some more when we are home.
Following the lecture we met up and went to the gym for a final session to burn off a few calories in an effort to be not too out of shape by the time we disembarked – although probably a loosing battle by this stage of the trip. We had misplaced J’s ship ID card somewhere along the way so also took a visit to the Pursers desk to get a copy produced which was easy and quick enough to do.
J had made a special request for Escargot for lunch as we left breakfast earlier. Savio, Head Waiter, although happy to arrange was not sure he could arrange it in time for lunch and suggested maybe for supper which J was happy with. However, as we prepared to order our lunch, our waiter confirmed that the Escargot were waiting for her so that is what she had, whilst M enjoyed a Seafood and Guacamole wrap followed by a Baked fillet of Cod with a Parsley Crumb, and rounded off with a Sherry Trifle.
We chose to have a relaxed afternoon in our suite, before the inevitable had to happen – M was required to pack our suitcases (M packs whilst J unpacks when we go on, and return from, holiday). We just about managed to get everything back in the suitcases but left the final packing until after dinner that night before we put the bags outside the cabin to be whisked up by the ships crew ready to off load them when we berthed.
For our final dinner in the Queens Grill be both ordered the Lobster Thermidor from the A la Carte menu (we had pre-ordered at lunch time which is requested for some items on the A la Carte as well as if you want to order completely off menu like J’s Escargot for lunch – the Head Waiter/Maitre ‘D is always happy to try to comply with any reasonable request, and in some cases seem delighted at doing something as a one off). We followed this with our absolute favourite desert when onboard the Cunard ships – Crepe Suzette, which Savio prepared table side again with the usual flair.
We returned to our suite after supper to complete the final packing so we only had the hand luggage left we would have with us in the morning. We also changed into the clothes we would wear to disembark, and after putting the cases outside our suite we went for a final wander through the ship.
It felt rather quiet in the Queens Room with not many dancers – this could however have been because it was still early in the evening that the 2nd sitting in the Britannia lounge had not finished eating yet. So we went up to deck 8 to the Commodore Lounge for one final cocktail. The sun was again just setting on the starboard side over the English coast, which wasn’t yet in view – we didn’t pass Dover until 11pm by which time it was dark. There was a jazz group playing in the Commodore lounge, and although it was certainly busier in there than normal, not to our taste so we walked through to the Yacht Club where a DJ was playing disco dancing music. There were several young children dancing and being mischievous on the dance floor, and we watched them having fun for a while. It was again surprisingly quiet in the Yacht club especially as for most of the passengers who embarked in Kiel on a 3 night trip we would have expected them to make full use of the ships facilities for as long as possible.
The clocks were turned back 1 hour that night so we had an extra hours sleep prior to arrival in Southampton. As we would be required to vacate our suite by 8am, and our assigned disembarkation time for Grills guests was 8.15am, the Queens Grill would open at 6.30am for early breakfast – we set our alarms so that we would have breakfast at 7.30…. so not too early, but still earlier than the norm for the past two weeks.