This is always the saddest day of any cruise. You come back from breakfast and your cabin steward has placed the protective cover on your bed. Yes, let the packing begin.
As they don’t have a World Club party anymore, on the final Gala evening when you return to your stateroom there is a bottle of the dreaded Pol Acker in the fridge next to your supply of biltong, chocolates, and Veuve Clicquot. By the time you get back to your stateroom you are way too tired to drink even more bubbly, so it stays in the fridge until the morning when it can be converted into mimosas making use of the orange juice in the Lido.
It always amazes me how even though you don’t do much shopping, there is never enough room in your suitcases at the end of a holiday. Ours are all over filled, and we still need to find room for all of the liquids and other items that were confiscated in Southampton for some unknown reason, and will now be returned to us tomorrow. Well, we will deal with that tomorrow, Brian isn’t too hopeful that we will see everything again anyway. I am hoping he is wrong. I need my cosmetics and packing cube containing cruise essentials. I don’t like the thought that someone has discarded them.
With all of the other suitcases good to go, we had to address the issue of the broken locks on my red suitcase. Despite all of Brian’s attempts to get the locks to close, they just kept on popping open. So, I had to go down to the Pursers desk and report that there were some things the duct tape, zip ties, super glue and bungee cords just can’t mend, and please could I have a large roll of packing tape. Luckily that seems to have done the trick. We may never be able to open the suitcase again, but at least it should stay closed for its final journey back to the US. It doesn’t look pretty, but it should get all of my stuff home and that’s what matters at the moment.
I continued to drink the Pol Acker, now it was neat as I didn’t have the energy to go to the Lido to get the orange juice.
I thought it would be a nice to sit out on the balcony for a while and enjoy the sun.
It was not to be. The weather had become significantly worse. There was no sun, there were huge waves, and there was a gale blowing. It was a struggle to open the door to get back into the stateroom. I was just thinking how glad I was to be in our steady large ship instead of a small sailboat.
That’s when the captain interrupted our afternoon and said we must be wondering why we had come to a standstill. We had? I never noticed. Apparently there was a sailboat in distress, and we were coming to its assistance, so we had to keep away from the starboard side of deck 3.
We looked out of our balcony, and sure enough, there was a sailboat bobbing around in the murky enormous waves. As we are on the port side, we had assumed that they were going to launch a rescue boat from the starboard side, so we wanted to go on to one of the upper outer decks to see that happen.
Unfortunately, all of the outside decks were closed off because of the strong winds, and by the time we looked through the windows on the starboard side of the ship, they were bringing the rescue boat back up. It must have been too rough to launch it.
We returned to our cabin to see how the little boat was faring. Not well. It was bobbing up and down, and being tossed about by the huge waves. Wow, it must be very scary to be on board. Especially if you get seasick. Although Brian pointed out that that was probably the last thing the occupants were worried about.
Suddenly, we heard the sound of a helicopter. Yay, rescue was imminent. Sure enough it hovered around for a while, but then we saw someone being lowered into the water. The helicopter seemed to be being blown about a lot, and we were wondering how on earth someone would be able to land on the boat. Well they didn’t. They splashed down into the water and disappeared beneath the waves. We then saw someone swimming towards the boat, and realized that there were other people in the water near to the boat.
It seemed to take ages, but finally everyone who was in the water was taken up into the helicopter, and the helicopter headed off.
The captain announced that the rescue mission had been successful. Our ship had heard the mayday call from the sailboat and had changed course to see if we could help out. The sailboat had sustained damage when it was hit by a wave, and they were taking on water. We had been unable to launch a boat to rescue them due to the bad weather conditions, but luckily they were in range of the French search and rescue, so a helicopter had been sent out. The 2 people on the boat had been successfully taken on the helicopter and they were on their way to France.
I wondered what was going to happen to their sailboat. Were we going to tow it behind us? Apparently it was no longer seaworthy, and the captain thought that it would sink very soon. Another shipwreck casualty on the bottom of the Bay of Biscay. I wonder how many ships have come to their end when trying to sail thought the Bay.
We would normally have slowed down to make our passage though stormy weather a lit less bumpy, but we were now behind schedule, and so in order to arrive in Southampton on time we would have to get a move on. Although the sea was rough, and the winds high, we carried on. Yes, there was some movement, but with our stabilizers out it really was not too much at all. I much prefer it when we are really going up and down!
After the excitement of the afternoon I finished packing, and sadly went to the restaurant for one last dinner. The food was excellent as usual. We have been avoiding crowded areas of the ship in general (not always possible), but I simply had to go to the Queen’s Room to hear the FlyRights.. They are amazing, and had everyone up on the dance floor. I wish they would play there every night.
I must say that the music really has been wonderful this voyage. All of the musicians have been really fantastic, and they are part of what has contributed to the positive vibes everyone has felt on board.
I really wished that we could stay on for the next cruise. We are back in the swing of cruising again, and loving it!
Yes, Covid has caused a lot of changes to what happens onboard, but that has really not detracted from the total experience. It sounds strange to say, but this is a happy ship. It just feels like home to be back on board for us all, every day is one to be savored and appreciated. Who knows when the pandemic will end, but we all felt so safe on our beautiful ship being transported to great ports, with our every need being catered for.
Do we really have to disembark tomorrow?
Thanks for taking me along with you – I have enjoyed reading about your adventures immensely. I agree it is great to be back cruising again! I hope you get your belongings sorted out at Southampton and have a safe journey home.
Many thanks for your fabulous blogs. Cruising is still off the agenda for us at the moment so following your voyages is the next best thing! Do let us know if you get any of your missing things back – that was a totally bizarre experience! Safe journey home. X
We were really ambivalent about cruising again, but decided that we aren’t getting any younger or any healthier, so we should give it a try, and be as careful as possible. It worked out fabulously well for us, but maybe we were just lucky. Cruising is not back to normal yet, but hopefully one day we can all feel safe again.
Bizarre indeed. Reminded me of a friend’s experience when TSA and then customs and border control thought there was something suspicious in his bag. CPB really did a number on his bag.
Love following along.
Thanks for following along! I seriously still cannot understand what the issue was with our confiscated items – we will probably never know, but at least we did get our suitcases and an apology from Cunard who admitted their storage people messed up 🙂
I’ve really enjoyed reading about your recents trips. Thanks for posting and safe journey home.
Thank you 🙂