For the cruise that is..
On the final sea day (Sept 23) I woke to fog and cool temperatures. Later in the day, the sun came out briefly and it was lovely. By evening we were back in the fog again.
About 8 or 10 of us, met for breakfast in the buffet. Conna, Cheryl, Valerie and I had won a bottle of champagne a few evenings before. The contest was called, "What men really think, what women really think". The same questions were asked with points awarded for coming with the correct (or in some cases, nearly correct answer). It turns out that four single women may actually know what men think. Though to be honest we barely scared over 50%...it was good enough to win. We drank (mimosas) to our wonderful trip, good health, and the budding friendships that I'm sure will continue into the future.
From there I headed off to the Princess theatre for the cooking demonstration featuring the executive chef and the maitre d'hotel.
Hilarity ensued when as the maitre d'hotel created his own version of the pasta dish the chef had created in a just a few minutes. Some of the more interesting ingredients included Purel hand cleanser, whole eggs, and about 30 cloves of garlic. No one was willing to taste it!
I did, however pick up a couple of practical suggestions. First, put the cheese grater in the fridge or freezer before use - it will make the cheese easier to grate. Also add shredded carrots to tomato sauce rather than sugar. The carrots add sweetness without the extra calories.
After the demonstration was complete, we were escorted through the hall into one of the dining rooms, to the galley. I know the kitchen has two levels - the one we were shown was quiet so I suspect there was much more activity elsewhere. This group of bakers were busy preparing desserts for lunch and dinner.
Not long after the tour was complete, I met Lyn at the Crown Grille for the pub lunch. It's a favorite of mine, with fish and chip and mushy peas. Karen and Loretta showed up just as we finished so we joined them for a gabfest while they ate.
Then it was time to finish packing - I have a tendency to pack as the week so I don't have a lot to do on the last day. I'd done a load of laundry earlier so that was in the bag already. I decided what I needed for the rest of the day and the following day. As an aside, it is humorous how many cruisers forget to leave out clothing for travel day...so it isn't unusual to see someone in a dress or suit from the previous night's dinner.
I took the book I'd brought with me (and finally finished), The Shipping News, by Anne Proulx to the library. Princess is great as they keep a shelf or two of books for passengers to exchange. I picked up J. D. Robb's Echo in Death to read on the way home.
Then it was time to meet Loretta at the International Cafe to see Christopher Watkins, violinist for the third time this cruise. He's an amazing musician, charismatic and so much fun to watch. I didn't have my camera with me, took some cell phone pics but nothing worth keeping. The place was packed to the rafters - it was clear why he was chosen Entertainer of the Year in 2016. Pam joined us, and I enjoyed a visit with the two ladies, a chai tea and a sweet treat.
I did another walk about the ship (by now the sun was out). This view always takes my breath away and a I feel a sense of peace and calm. It convinces I'm meant to live by the water.
Before I close the post, I thought I'd share the group photo we had taken on the first formal night. Only one person was missing, David, from New York.
This group made the trip the best ever, so many wonderful, interesting (and unique) personalities. All had cruised previously but two were relative newbies on their second cruises. One of the Maureen's has 24 cruises booked over the next 19 months. She wins!
Six were retired, the rest of us were envious. The other Maureen and I were the only Canadians in the group, Matt and David were the only men. Several of the women are widows, some have never married and for those with children there were lots of stories to share, including those of our grandchildren. One of the group was expecting their first great-child with days of the end of the cruise.
In any event, I hope I have the chance to cruise with such a group again. There was never a fuss when I wandered off on my own, and there was always someone to meet with for meals or other activities.
And so ends my latest cruise. I won't bore you with the details of the travel day. It was long and mostly boring (thankfully). I left the ship at 10:30 local time (8:30 Sask time) and arrived home at 11 p.m. I'd slept all the way from Toronto so had no difficulty making it to work the next morning with visions of the sea in my head.
Time to start the countdown to the next cruise...19 weeks and one day!