April 21st, 2023
The captain was right. The weather had definitely changed, and we awoke to a cold and rainy day.
Usually most of the passengers seem to be out on deck, and we were concerned that the ship would feel crowded with everyone indoors.
I would love to go to the main dining room for breakfast, but we are never up in time, so we end up in the Kings Court, not my favorite place. While Brian indulges in his yogurt, fruit, granola and all manner of healthy items, I go and check out what the Carinthia has to offer. That’s never boring. Today’s offering was a sort of a cross between paella and an Indonesian rice dish. It was delicious anyway, but fried onions aren’t really the best breakfast food.
We went to the Commodore Club, to check emails, and for Brian to get some work done. Although there were more folks there than usual, there were plenty of seats and it didn’t feel crowded at all.
I decided to leave Brian to his work, and join the galley tour, as did half the ship it seemed. However, the tour moved quickly, so no worries. I am always amazed at the amount of food that is produced every day, and how the galley staff manage to maintain the high level of quality that they do.
The executive chef, James Abhilash, gave a very informative talk about the issues of provisioning for the ship, especially on a world voyage. He then introduced us to all of the head chefs, there are 150 chefs in all.
There is a provisions team of 13, headed by the inventory manager, who load all of the stores while we are in port, and keep a close eye on what provisions are on board in the storeroom and 21 refrigerated and frozen rooms. Quite a feat I would say.
I returned to the Commodore Club to update Brian on the galley tour, and waited to see if the whistle would be blown at noon again today. It was not, but when Captain Hall gave his noon update we realized that there was excitement in store for us.
The Queen Mary 2 was in need of some repairs to be done in Southampton. Thus instead of arriving there on Sunday morning, we would be arriving at 9:00 PM on Saturday night. Unfortunately we will not be able to disembark at that time.
Then, if all goes according to plan, our all-aboard time on Sunday will be midnight, although when we will actually sail may not be for some time after that. This will not interfere with our arrival time in New York apparently.
We will be overtaking Queen Victoria in about an hour, so we should go outside and wave to her as we pass by.
Stephen Payne was in the Commodore Club, so we asked him what was up with our liner. Apparently one of the diesel engines needs some maintenance after the long world voyage, so that’s what will be done in Southampton. He thinks that the time allocated will give plenty of time to get the work done, and then we will be off on our way again.
We dashed down to our stateroom to grab our cameras, and dress up warmly as the weather was looking quite nasty outside.
An hour later we were standing around in the wind out on deck, and Queen Victoria still seemed to be a long way off. I would have thought it would be quite easy to predict when we would overtake her.
I mean if she is traveling at 17 knots and we are traveling at 22.8 knots, and we are 2 miles apart, when will we overtake her? It’s sort of like one of those relative velocity questions from O level maths, except maybe they don’t teach relative velocity any more.
Well, half an hour later than expected we did overtake. I waved my flags wildly.
I was the only person doing so. We sounded our rather spectacular whistle, and Queen Victoria, clearly exhausted from her world voyage did her best to reply. We shouted 3 cheers, and the Queen Victoria crowd shouted 3 cheers back. All of a sudden I felt quite emotional. It was so reminiscent of the 2008 final westbound crossing on QE2, when we were accompanied by Queen Mary 2. Each noon we would come close to each other and sound our whistles, while the passengers stood on deck waving flags and shouting 3 cheers. That time I was also on the ship with the better whistle.
Brian took a great video with his phone, but alas the sound wasn’t that great.
All too soon, we had sped past our little sister. We will see her again in Southampton on Sunday.
On our way back to the stateroom we rode in the lift with Alfie Boe, and his guitarist who has the most amazing head of hair. Alfie seemed very pleasant and chatted to a man in the lift who was very chuffed that he had taken a photo of Alfie with his wife at the World Cruise cocktail party the night before.
All that Victoria watching almost made me late for the guest choir concert. Peeling off several layers of clothes I rushed to the Grand Lobby to get a good spot from which I could see them. I love being in the choir, but for several reasons did not join them this time. The choir was excellent, and I really enjoyed their performance, especially their interpretation of the Beatles Blackbird. Not an easy song to perform well.
Back in the stateroom Brian was working on the video he had made of us overtaking the Queen Victoria. The video was done, and ready to upload. We tried several areas around the ship, but even though we have the upgraded internet package, it was taking ages to upload to YouTube. Such is life on board the ship!
Tonight’s the night for Alfie Boe. There was much excitement in the air. First we had been told that there would only be one show, so we never expected that we would get to see him, which was OK. Then in the Daily Programme it showed that there would be 2 shows, 8:00 and 10:15 and that the doors to the Royal Court Theater would only open a half hour before the show, and people were asked not to go to the late show if they had seen the early one.
Brian had been down by Connexions as he was trying to participate in a Zoom meeting, and wanted somewhere with a reasonable internet signal that wasn’t too noisy, and returning to our stateroom he said that there was a huge queue waiting to get into the theater for the early show. We thought that this didn’t bode well for our chances of getting in to the late show.
Dinner was as always excellent. The food for dinner really has been great, better than on recent voyages. Lots of new items on the menu, but the old favorites are still there. We sat obsessing as to whether we should go to the show or not. Brian had never heard of Alfie Boe as it turned out, so was quite indifferent about going. He was also not wanting to queue up and be in a totally packed theater.
We decided to give it a try – head over to the theater when we were finished with dinner and if it wasn’t packed, and there were seats all well and good. We had a leisurely dinner and wandered over to the theater when we were done, and low and behold, although the lower level was completely full, there were plenty of seats upstairs, and we could find good seats away from the crowd.
I am so glad we went to the show. I have to say it was the best show I have seen on board a ship.
Alfie Boe entertained us for over an hour and a half (usually the shows are 45 minutes), and didn’t stop for one minute. He showed us how versatile he is – singing Neapolitan love songs to rock and roll. He has a lovely voice, and an infectious personality. By the end he had us all up and singing and dancing. It was a fantastic experience. We didn’t want it to end. Well worth all of the hype. We are so lucky.
It was past midnight by the time we all filed out of the theatre. It really has been an amazing day. I am so, so lucky we don’t have to disembark in Southampton, I am not ready for that at all.