Day Nineteen – Our Final Sea Day

It’s our final day on the ship today, and we are definitely getting nearer New York. We have a grey sky and squally showers passing and the temperature has now dropped a fair bit overnight. We went to the Pursers office to get some more luggage tags for disembarkation and query the fact that I’m seeing some charges from Cunard on my credit card. Normally I wouldn’t see anything until the final total comes out, but apparently these are some pre-auth charges, my new card is obviously more dynamic than the previous one I used. That done Jane headed back to the room to start the horrible task of packing and I was banished to the Pavilion Pool to keep out of the way.

I stayed there until after Purple Haze’s set at 12:30, when we went for a buffet lunch which was salad and sushi. After lunch it was my turn with the packing I had arranged to meet up with Jane after that in the Carinthia before heading down to the Grand Lobby where the choir were singing sea shanties. It was really good, congratulations must go out to the passengers that gave up their time to entertain us.

After that it was back up to the Carintia for a chat with our table mates, as the weather was now getting colder, the lounge was pretty full, but we found a table for four and ordered a beer. I’m not sure what the etiquette is for talking while the acts are playing in the background, but we were shushed by a woman who wanted to listen to The Brevis Strings, string trio. She then proceeded to glare at all the other people talking., it was all very awkward.

The way I see it is the musicians playing in the bars and restaurants are background music and not recitals, and I see no reason not to talk.

It was soon time for our final dinner, I’d decided to wear the trousers I was going home in, a new pair I’d not yet worn, only to find that the sea air had shrunk them on the cruise, I’d checked the labels before removing them and they were the correct size. I poked my head out of the door to get my spare pair from my luggage and our ever efficient steward had already sent the cases away. I did manage to squeeze into my trousers but it was touch and go. The trousers weren’t the only items of clothing that I noticed the sea air has shrunk, several pairs of shorts also seemed to have succumbed.

Dinner was excellent again with shredded duck to start and a delicious paella as my main followed by cheese and biscuits.

Jane had spring roll to start followed by Norfolk chicken.

Then it was time for the farewells, the whole of our table are disembarking in NY, with eight of us being together since Southampton, which seems such a long time ago.

Day Eighteen – Still Heading North

Today is probably the last chance for some sunshine today, now that we’ve left the Caribbean, it’s a bit cooler, and the wind has changed to a north westerly so it’s a bit breezier than yesterday. We spent the morning, post breakfast, upstairs in the Pavilion Pool which was nice and warm with the sun on it.

After lunch Jane went down to the pool on deck six and found a sunbed that was out of the wind. I went back up to twelve to sit by the pool there.

Too soon it was Commodore o’clock where I had a pint of London Pride and Jane was back on the Cosmopolitans. After this we headed back to the room to have a rest and get ready for dinner with the intention of having pre-dinner drinks in the Chart Room, but when we got there at 19:50 is was very busy with no seating available. So we headed back up to the Commodore Club where there was seating at the bar and the knowledge that Jane could definitely get a QEII there.

Dinner was delicious again, I had asparagus to start followed by sea bream and angel food cake for dessert. For Jane it was chicken consommé, mushroom and feta strudel then chocolate mousse. Jane then headed off to the show which was the Cunard Singers performing their new show “Symphony”.

Day Seventeen – Leaving the Caribbean

We’re now truly on our way home and have officially left the Caribbean for the Atlantic. The sun was out early on in the day so we headed up to the. Broadwalk to catch the last of the sun before returning to more wintery climes. At the 12 o’clock announcement the captain said we had some unsettled weather approaching with squalls coming in from the port quarter and true to his word the heavens opened and it chucked it down.

We made a dash for the Pavilion Pool and bagged a sunbed there for the rest of the day.

Commodore o’clock came and we sat with our dinner mates in the Carinthia Lounge for a drink rather than heading up to deck 9. The cocktails in the Carinthia are more limited, you can’t get a QEII there, so Jane made do with an Aperol spritzer instead.

It was the final formal night, a Masquerade ball theme, with many diners sporting Venetian masks at their tables. I started with escargots, followed by Beef Wellington, and then a pistachio soufflé.

Dinner was rounded off by the chef’s parade and the presentation of some of the more notable members of the catering team. Well done to all as the catering on the cruise has been excellent.

Day Sixteen. – St Kitts and Nevis

St Kitts today, it was a lovely morning approach into Basseterre where we had a 09:45 rendezvous arranged with our tour at the end of the pier. So after breakfast we made our way off the ship and onto the waiting coach then off for a quick tour of St Kitts, heading out to our first stop which was the Amazing Grace experience.

This was in a church out past Sandy Lane, and was the story of the hymn Amazing Grace. The links between John Newton, the hymn’s author and St Kitts was pretty tenuous, but it was a good story and an entertaining presentation. From there we headed to Romney Manor where there were beautiful gardens to view and a Batik factory where they made the distinctive dyed cloth. Jane took a fancy to a sun dress, not cheap, but it was pretty and it was locally made.

The tour dropped us off in the centre of Basseterre at Independence Square and we walked back to the ship from there. The Cruise Terminal was a mix of tat shops and duty free diamond places and U felt it offered nothing for the local economy as all the visitors seemed to stay there, pushing the tat shops out into town would have pushed the cruisers out into the local shops which would have benefited Basseterre better.

We never found a local restaurant to eat in yet again, which has been a disappointment for us on the trip, Jane was looking forward to eating locally caught fish when out, but the only place that looked like coming close to this was in Bridgetown. St Kitts has some very good fish restaurants, but they’re only open in the evening.

We had a late lunch in the buffet, then Jane headed on deck for sunbathing while I snoozed on the steamers and watched the punters on the Carnival Fascination (or maybe Fantasy) which was berthed opposite us.

Jane had steak for dinner and I had roast pork, very nice yet again.

Day Fifteen – St Lucia

St. Lucia today and we are anchored out in Castries bay, so we will be tendering ashore today. We weren’t on any excursions and had decided to have a stroll around Castries. Getting off the ship was a bit of a chore, excursion travellers had priority so we had a bit of a wait and eventually got ashore about an hour and a half after leaving the room. We had a proper Caribbean welcome, with a steel band playing Christmas carols on the dockside.

Castries was a big change from Bridgetown, no where near as clean, with broken and uneven pavements, and open storm drains. We walked out through the cruise terminal, out past the veg market and around the tat market which had hundreds of stalls all selling the same tourist souvenirs. We did a bit more walking around the shopping streets before heading to the Caribbean Pirates bar above the cruise terminal. I can see why they named it so, it was $20 for four small Carib beers, but the bar was pleasant enough and the steel band give it a good vibe.

The rest of the day was a mixture of snoozy time on the steamers on the promenade deck and reading in the cool of the Carinthia lounge. We had no drinks this afternoon, Jane’s was taking it easy today, well easyish, sharing a bottle of Chardonnay with dinner and a glass of port with her cheese and biscuits.

It was a Caribbean theme to dinner again with Rasta Pasta for Jane and a beef pepperpot for me. Both were excellent.

Day Fourteen – Bridgetown

We woke up to an announcement over the tannoy system explaining that several excursions have been cancelled because of an expected heavy swell, needless to say ours was one of those cancelled. That’s the third tour we’ve had cancelled on this trip so we were in a bit of a quandary, just go for a walk around Bridgetown or get a cab to the beach. A quick look at the map showed that we could do both of those things easily. So after breakfast we headed ashore on the Noddy train transfer that was provided to the cruise terminal. It was possible to walk it, but we decided to conserve energy given the heat.

We were looking at walking to Brownes beach on Carlisle bay, but a $4 taxi ride seemed cheap enough. The beach was beautiful, soft white sand and a clear azure sea. The beach sellers wanted USD 20 for two beds and a parasol, and as we were only going to be there for an hour or two, we declined and walked along the beach to a clear spot and placed our Cunard beach towels on the sand. After a couple of hours the sky started to darken and we made the correct decision to head to a cafe for a drink. It chucked it down, not for long but it was very typical Caribbean rain.

While sheltering in the cafe with a coffee, two ladies came in and it turned out they were on the Azamura Journey that was berthed alongside us. The were enjoying their all inclusive ship, but they were very happy to have WIFI in the cafe as the internet on their ship costs £20 per day.

Once the rain had finished we walked back to the town centre, purchasing some postcards on the way and stopping for a beer and to write them in a little bar on Broad street. Suitably refreshed it was time to head back to the cruise terminal where Jane bought some tat, then into the ship for a late lunch.

I like Bridgetown a lot, it was clean and well laid out, and not too expensive.

There was Jerk chicken on the menu for dinner that evening, and I wisely gave it a miss because as I expected there was no heat to it. I had a wild mushroom risotto which was very tasty.

Day Thirteen – Dominica

Dominica today. We had an excursion booked to a plantation house, which unfortunately had to be cancelled because of road works, so we changed it to a Waterfalls and beach excursion instead. So it was an earlyish start, 09:10 in the Britannia for check in. We then had a slightly chaotic scrum to get on the coaches that we going to take us up into the highlands and the Waterfalls part of the tour.

Jack Falls was our destination, a very picturesque waterfall at the bottom of a steep descent into the river valley. The concrete steps down were sound and not slippery at all, but the wooden bridge was. After the waterfall we headed back over the mountains to the seaside where we spent a couple of hours on a beach of black volcanic sand, shade and beds were provided.

We arrived back at the ship with enough time to get some lunch, we did have a look around Roseau to find somewhere for lunch, but as today is Sunday there wasn’t any where we could see open.

After lunch Jane headed up to the deck eight pool area and the padded beds the have there, I just grabbed a steamer chair and dozed in the sun before heading into the Carinthia Lounge for tea and cake.

There was a rather nice Victoria sponge on offer, it had a very nice lemon and cream filling.

It was a fishy dinner for me smoked fish cake followed by grilled shrimp and then a lime chiffon cake.

Day Twelve – Tortola

It was a glorious day to be in Tortola, hot and sunny. We were up nice and early for breakfast and a quick jaunt off the ship. We don’t have any excursions booked today, so we just went for a walk around Road Town, with the intention of possibly getting a cab to Long Cane Bay for the beach. The cabs were advertising it at USD 8 for the ride. As it was I had forgotten my cap, and there wasn’t a whole lot of shops selling hats so we just went back to the ship for a bit of sunbathing on deck eight.

That set the tone for the rest of the day, sunbathing and eating until it was time for the sail away party. We had a couple of drinks listening to Purple Haze and, once we set off, we retired to the Commodore club for a last drink. Jane’s drinks of choice were a B&C, a Rum Runner punch and to maintain the rum theme a Mai Tai. I stuck to beer, but tragically they’ve run out of Doombar.

Dinner was excellent again with one caveat, not enough lamb chops in the rack of lamb. Two lamb chops do not a rack make!

Day Eleven – The Caribbean Beckons

Today is our last sea-day, before arriving at Road Town in Tortola tomorrow. The sun is out with a vengeance today, it’s glorious morning. So after breakfast we headed up to the Broadwalk for a bit of sunbathing. This was pretty much all we did all day, sunbathe, lunch and more sunbathing.

We ended up in the Corinthia lounge with our dinner companions at Commodore o’clock, here I had a pint of Marston’s Pedigree and Jane had a vodka and coke.

It was another Gala night so I was fully penguinified. Dinner was very nice with a delicious belly pork starter, roast sirloin main followed by cheese and biscuits.

Jane went to the show, the singer celebrated Whitney, she certainly got the crowd going.

Day Ten – The Sun Has Arrived !

We lost an hour last night so getting up was a little difficult, so I was sent again to the Carinthia Lounge for a yoghurt pot for Jane. I brought Jane back a bircher muesli pot, nice, and a lemongrass and tapioca pot, not so nice.

The sun was out on the port side, so we headed up to the Broadwalk where there were beds out already. We spent a couple of hours in the sun before a lunch of burger and chips in the chef’s galley, Jane had a prawn salad from the buffet. After lunch it was back out on deck, the Promenade deck this time on the steamer chairs there. I’m now more than a little red according to Jane after nodding off for a few minutes.

Drinks in the Commodore club followed with Jane back on track with a new cocktail, this time a Dark and Stormy and I was back on Doombar.

We had Thanksgiving dinner in the MDR, so turkey and a lot of pumpkin themed accompaniments. We missed the show again, a comic juggler this time, as his slot was a 7pm one and we had misread the daily programme again.

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