The Black and White Formal Ball ... and missing the ship
The Queens Room was glittering with guests in formal wear. The men looked elegant in black or white tuxedos and there was a array of beautiful dresses everywhere. The champagne and wine fueled an animated level of conversation.
Some of our group were gathered together chatting on the dance floor, when a visibly upset Bill, one of our dance hosts, joined the group. The mystery of the missing Karen began to unfold. Here is the story from Bill's perspective.
Apparently after a relaxed and enjoyable day sight-seeing, Bill, Karen and Gordy, another of Wendy's four dance hosts had returned to the port area. There had been an earlier discussion about the time that the ship was sailing and somehow they had the idea that they had to be on board for a sailing at 6. They were making their way leisurely back to the ship when Bill went to look at something in one of the shops, and said he would catch up to them. Bill found his way back to the ship and at the check point, realized that he had Karen's Cunard card with him. At that point he realized they had not boarded the ship and alerted the ship's crew.
Bill hurried to the upper deck and saw Karen and Gordy in the distance walking towards the ship but the gangway had been lifted and the ship was moving away from its berth. We were sailing to Ireland. They were stranded in France!
Before we could question Bill further, the ceremony of introducing the senior personnel of the Queen Victoria got underway and we realized we would have to wait until dinner to learn more.
Once the four Cunard dance hosts for the voyage had also been introduced - more about the dance host program later -the reception wound down and we strolled back to the Britannia Restaurant for dinner.
In keeping with my absolute determination not to gain any weight on this trip I manfully- or womanfully- resisted the temptation of accepting even one of the delicious breads and rolls that are offered at each meal, and also stuck to one appetizer and one entree. No dessert.
I was really quite impressed with the food so far. The breakfast and lunch buffets had been good, and the first night's dinner was also excellent. At this evening's dinner, the shrimp thermidor in a walnut brioche was delicious, as was the Gressingham duck breast with apple and cranberry savoury stuffing and morel cherry brandy sauce.
I wondered what was so special about a Gressingham duck. Turns out that the breed is a cross between Pekin duck (a duck domesticated in China for over 2000 years) and a Wild Mallard. This breed is only produced by Gressingham Foods in East Anglia in the UK. It apparently has 20% more breast meat than other ducks of equivalent weight and the meat is more succulent and flavourful. I can certainly agree with the tastiness and tenderness - at least as it was prepared for dinner this evening.
At dinner I learned more about what had befallen my errant cabin mate. Apparently when it was determined that they were in fact stranded in the port at Cherbourg, Gordy did not have his passport with him. So Bill had to retrieve the passport and somehow it got from the ship to shore. Then as far as Bill was able to find out, the two of them would have to take a ferry over to Ireland to meet up with the Queen Victoria in Cobh, our next port of call.
What an adventure for them. I figured that I would hear an exciting story from Karen when she was back on board the next day.
After dinner we went to the Royal Court Theatre where the Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers presented a dance spectacular called Dance Passion.
I was impressed by their youthful energy and by the range of dancing they were able to pull off.
After the show we returned to the Queens Room ballroom where the orchestra was playing from 9:30 PM to "late." Here are some pictures of our group.
The formal ball hosted by Freda the social hostess, brought out a lot of couples onto the dance floor and it was really crowded for quite a while.
Later in the evening the crowd thinned out a bit and it was possible to get some better dancing in.
But even though our dancing was somewhat restricted early on, I really loved the atmosphere of the formal ball, and it was really great to see all the elegantly dressed people enjoying the music . The professional dance couple on the ship, Nadiya and Dimitri did an amazing dance demonstration.
I got back to my cabin around midnight. It was quiet without Karen to chat to, but I confess i enjoyed the luxury of having a cabin to myself! The room service menu was lying on the bed together with a mint chocolate which I virtuously did NOT eat. I thought I might order coffee, yogurt and fruit for the morning, so I ticked it off on the room service menu. At the last minute against my better instincts I also ordered a blueberry muffin. I hung the menu outside the door, hopped into bed and as always, fell asleep in minutes and slept well.