Monday, June 22, 2009
Cunard Adventure, Part III
Saturday was not a good night: winds picked up to gale force, clocking 60 knots over the deck while waves rose to 18 feet. The much vaunted stabilizers on the QMII could only do so much to allay the effect. Rod is seemingly impervious to sea sickness, no matter how rough the seas. I suppose his stint in the South African Royal Navy, navigating the rough waters off the Cape, steeled him for any future turbulence. We learned from our steward that last night was sufficiently rough to fell staff as well, who lined up to receive the magic injection. Fortunately for me, the tablets were enough.
Stomach settled and balance restored, I've decided this is a most civilized way to cross the Atlantic. One's body clock adjusts gradually to the changing time zones, as we move ahead one hour each day. Cunard delivers each evening a schedule of the following day's activities, which passengers are free to ignore or join as they wish. If one were so inclined, you could run around from 8.00 a.m. until midnight, participating in dance classes, wine tastings, bingo, table tennis, and watercolor seminars. Lectures abound. A very good music historian has done a series of talks on great American composers such as Irving Berlin and Cole Porter, while a maritime historian gave a splendid lecture on the great ocean liners of the pre-War era.
We've selected gingerly, preferring to pace ourselves. The rough conditions last night (and the resultant sleeplessness) made for a late morning. We had some breakfast, wandered a bit, and then attended a samba dance class conducted by a lovely young South African couple. Some 42 nationalities are represented among the Cunard staff, although South Africans and Russians seem to predominate, interestingly enough.
We indulged in afternoon tea, which is lovely. White gloved waiters circulate with silver trays laden with traditional tea fare: finger sandwiches, petit fours, little tarts, and absolutely the best scones I've ever eaten. Passengers nibble to the sounds of a very good string quartet. It is eminently enjoyable.
Tonight we dine at the private restaurant reserved for our passenger class; then we will dance to ballroom and Latin music until mid-evening, followed by a late evening drink in the "Chart Room," where we will listen to jazz before retiring for the evening. We are clearly falling into the pleasures of shipboard life.