travelblogue

My dance cruise from Hong Kong to Dubai on Cunard’s QM 2 was memorable for many different reasons as you can read in my travelblogue. The first was me making a spntaneous , snap decision to join the cruise in Hong Kong, instead of  5 days later in Singapore. I‘m a cautious planner type so I was quite proud of myself for not fretting for days about the decision.

 

I grew in Cape Town, playing on the banks of  the Liesbeek river long before it was canalized. I remember clearly the view from my window looking across to  the shaded side of the iconic Table Mountain. I also remember the scolding of my irate mother, when we had set out to climb the mountain and descend by cable car. Unlucky for us, strong winds had closed the  tram down and so I stumbled and slid down the mountainside,  mostly on my backside, tearful and terrified… getting to our pickup point hours later than planned. That explains the irate mama. 

It reminded me of a ski trip to Lake Louise, years later, when, as a beginner skier, I inadvertently found myself at the top of a  Black Diamond run and thought I would rather freeze to death than ski down.

My phone rang as I was getting ready to go down for the early dinner seating in Britannia dining room. It was the Captain’s secretary inviting me to join the Captain's table for dinner at 8:30. Another new experience.  I thanked  her for the invitation and said I would be there.

I really did eat a  piranha on the Amazon River - it didn't eat me because it was a vegetarian. Really.  I thought  - piranha - big, sharp teeth, man-eating carnivore. But did you know that in the rivers of South America there are more than 30 different species of piranha? And some eat primarily vegetation.

We had booked a transfer from The Intercontinental Resort to the cruise ship pier with the Princess Cruises representative at the hotel. There were advantages to doing this. Firstly, although the recommendation for normal check-in time is after 2 Pm for speedier processing, our transfer was scheduled for 11 am and we could check in as early as 11:30 am. That gave us lots of time to get settled and still have the afternoon to explore the market and pier-side area of Papeete.

The first word in French Polynesia is - French. So how did I so badly ignore that very important fact. If I had been planning to travel to France i would have packed my travel adaptors and brushed up on my French but somehow, it escaped me that the electrical outlets in Tahiti would be based on European not North American standards. Naturally none of my plugs fitted so to recharge my laptop battery I had to get an adaptor. The friendly Francophone guest services man came up with one - but when I plugged it in my poor little laptop was buzzing - literally. I  hope I am not frying its poor little insides. Anyway next day I bought a better adaptor and the buzzing stopped.

Of the 7 ports we visit on this cruise around the British Isles,  Liverpool has never been on my "must-see" short list.  In Ireland I was excited to visit Dublin because  of my interest in its great literary history. In Scotland, I am looking forward to going back to Edinburgh partly for sentimental reasons - a wonderful visit there with my then-fiance more than 40 years ago; and also because of the spectacular city-scape with Edinburgh Castle looming over the town. Glasgow holds family interest because that's where one of my grandmothers came from.   But Liverpool to me evoked images of grey buildings under grey skies, and apart from the fact that it was the birthplace of the Beatles, I knew very little about it.

While Karen got ready for dinner, I heard the start of the missed sailing story from her perspective, as well as the key saga. When Karen first boarded she was given a key to another cabin - that was number one. Then when the confusion about who was rooming with whom was sorted out she got a key to our cabin. However it did not open the door so  she went to the Purser and had the key reactivated. We joked about a keycard jinx on our cabin.  Little did we know.

Since the first port of call for the Queen Victoria was Cherbourg in France, the clocks were set forward an hour at midnight on Thursday. When I woke around 7 am I was feeling quite weary. Five nights of less than 6 hours sleep does have a compounding effect.

The first thing that struck me on walking into the welcome cocktail party, was that apart from Wendy, how many of the other dancers I knew from my previous cruises with Dancers At Sea.  From my first West coast Wine Tasting and Dance Cruise, there was Raoul, one of the hosts, and guests Nancy, Dean, Bruce, Dr. Bill, Ginny and Bill. On the Labour Weekend Getaway Dance Cruise I met Bill C, one of the dance hosts. From the South-East Asia Dance Cruise there were Helene and Jeanie, and from the Eastern Caribbean New Year Dance Cruise there were host, Gordy, fellow guests Karen R and Karen D, Harlan and Peggy, and Robert, one of our terrific dance professionals.