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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fort Lauderdale to home

January 22

Woke very early (only had about four hours of sleep) to watch the sail-in to Port Everglades.  We had to meet in the Queens Room by 7:45.  Sat and talked with Linda (dinner companion) until we were called to disembark just after 8.  Found my suitcase quickly once in the terminal and joined the queue to go through immigration.  Took about 25 minutes since there were only two officers on duty (there were two large ships in with maybe 5000 passengers total so our couple of hundred were insignificant in comparison).

As I was headed to get a taxi there was a shuttle van for $11 so I took that along with two couples from the ship.  I was the second to be dropped off.  Delta had curbside check-in so I only had to pull my suitcases about ten feet.  The machine that prints the luggage tags ran out of paper but I didn't mind waiting because it was a beautiful day (sunny, warm, a gentle breeze).  I had decided a couple of days ago to check both suitcases so I didn't have to drag my carry-on around or try to get it in and out of the overhead bins.  It was a great decision and made the whole day easier.

I was given TSA pre-check approval again (didn't have to take off shoes, show electronics, etc.)so was through security in a couple of minutes.  Bought a bagel and coke and used the free wifi until boarding time.

Plane left the gate in Fort Lauderdale and arrived on time in Atlanta.  As I got off the plane I discovered that my arrival gate and departure gate were the same and it was the same plane so  I didn't need to worry about walking the length of the airport.  There was only about a half hour from the time I got off the first flight until I boarded the second.  Departure was again right on time.

Arrived in Richmond a few minutes early.  A friend picked me up and I got home about 6:15 just in time to watch QE sail out of FLL on the webcam.

Now comes the unpacking.  Ugh!

I will have a summary of my cruise in the next couple of days.

Smooth sailing until next time!

At Sea

January 21

Right before I went to bed last night I saw a flash through my balcony door.  Looked out and it was a spectacular thunder storm.  The lightening lit the entire sky.  It was as far as I could see along the horizon off the starboard side.  I had been disappointed that the only thunderstorm last year was at dinner time and I couldn't really see it.  This one more than made up for it.

I stood on my balcony (it was a lovely, balmy night) and watched for over an hour.  Finally decided I needed to go to bed so I lay in the bed watching until I fell off to sleep (about 2:30).  Woke up again at 3:30 and it was still going on.  Found out later from early risers that it was still going on at 5:30.

I went to all four trivias and we didn't win any (second place in the last one).  I am really going to miss my team.  Turned in my prize booklet and for my three stamps I received a thumb drive and a credit card wallet.

After the first trivia I sat outside near the Lido pool under the new awning.  It was a beautiful day with a high of about 75F.

Lunch in the Lido and had one of my favorites, chicken karma with saffron rice and naan bread.  I was disappointed that there were not more crumbles for dessert this year.  The only one I saw was banana and I don't care for baked bananas.  Cunard has changed the warm dessert to individual serving containers instead of a large pan where you helped yourself.

Then it was time for my last Needlework/Knitting group.  I took some pictures and will post when I get home.

I gave my Cruise Critic friend Judith the bottle of Pol Acker (sarcastically called "Chateau de Gangway" by the entertainment staff) that was in my stateroom upon embarkation.  Spent about an hour talking to her (she is doing the full world).

Last dinner in the Britannia Club.  Although I enjoyed the small dining room and the excellent service I would never pay the extra as a solo cruiser.

Our last trivia of the night was something different.  They gave you clues to a year and the faster you figured it out the more points you got.  There were also four questions that pertained to the clue for more points.  We had 320 points and the winners had 330.  What was Elton John's first UK #1?  (Really???)

I tried to find Marina, my favorite server, to say good-bye but could not find her.  Picked up my final orange juice and headed back to my stateroom.  In the corridor I met John (one of my Cruise Critic friends from last year) who was bringing me a note to say good-bye.  Luckily we were able to chat instead.  He and his wife are doing the full world and then a Caribbean cruise on QE this fall in Princess Grill.

I have to admit I played hooky from finishing and posting this and stood awhile on my balcony instead.  I also seem to have forgotten to post this as I just found (1/27)  it as a draft.  Sorry.

Smooth sailing until next time!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

At Sea

January 20

I awoke about nine before the alarm went off.  Lucky I did because I set the alarm last night without my glasses and set it for 9:15 PM!

For morning trivia we had a new member, Sally.  Andy left in New York.  We only had 14 correct and the winners had 17.  In May 1930, Ellen Church became the first _______.

Down to the purser's to pick up a print copy of my flight arrangements for Thursday and a printout of my onboard account.  Then went up to lunch to find that I had lost my key card.  Back to the purser's and turns out I had left my card there.

Back to the Lido for lunch and start my next book.  Spent a few minutes on my balcony when I went to my stateroom to get my knitting bag but it was a bit chilly.  The captain had announced at noon it was 57F/14C.

Large group (over 20) at Needlework/Knitting group with many new people who just embarked.  Rumour of the day is that a couple were removed from the ship in NYC because of fighting in their stateroom.

Afternoon trivia was no better than this morning with 15 correct and 18 for the winners.  Who wrote A Time to Kill?

Since I still had $114 onboard credit I picked up a few things in the shop and then went to the Lido for my afternoon ice cream.  Watched a beautiful sunset as I ate.

I was ready before trivia time so I went down to play the slots.  I originally put in $20 and when I reached $22.10 I cashed out taking my $2.10 winnings.

Unfortunately we were not very lucky with trivia.  Out of 23 total we had 16 (winners had 20).  Here is one I actually knew (not sure why) - What do Leonardo da Vinci, Jack the Ripper, and Horatio Nelson have in common?

I arrived at dinner before everyone left.  We have an empty place at the table and the story is they have not been able to get in touch with the missing person (so where did he/she go????).

Late evening trivia was called Jeopardized Trivia.  Just like on Jeopardy there are different categories with varying point values/difficulty.  Different from Jeopardy is that you do not give the question (just the normal answering the question).  There are some questions that you get to bet any amount of points you have accumulated.  Total possible points (if you had every question correct and bet everything on the "Daily Double" type questions) is 300.  The winners had 282.  We only had 84.  What was Michael J. Fox's characters name in the Back to the Future movies?

Did not care to see the comedian/ventriloquist so I watched the dancing in the Queens Room then got my orange juice and went to my cabin.  Stood on my balcony for awhile, looking at the sea and stars because it has warmed up nicely.  As I type this it is 11:45 and we are off the coast of South Carolina.

I have updated some previous posts with pictures.

Only one more day :(

Smooth sailing until next time!

Monday, January 19, 2015

New York City

January 19

Since I had no plans for today (except to call Delta) I did not set the alarm and slept until I felt like getting up which was 10:30.  Dressed and watched the morning show while waiting for a confirmation as to what time we will arrive in Fort Lauderdale.

After being reassured we would be arriving at 7 AM, I called Delta.  Evidently I had booked during a promotion so they had to charge me more but they waived a fee for changing the booking.  I ended up paying $128 but expect to get it back from either the CunardCare travel insurance I purchased or from Cunard (they said to go through your insurance first and then if any trouble, call Cunard).

Walked out on the deck but it was cold and windy (later checked and the Weather Channel said with the wind chill it was 33F/.5C) so I decided to stay on the ship.  It was very calm and quiet onboard with so many passengers off.

I ate at the Lido and then went to sit in the Queens Room before afternoon tea. (Hint - sit in the Queens Room at least 15 minutes before serving starts and you don't have to queue for a seat.)  Love the elegance of afternoon tea with the white tablecloths and napkins, the white-gloved servers, a pianist softly playing in the background, the little pots of jam, and endless tea, sandwiches, pastries, and scones.

A football match (soccer for Americans) was being shown in the pub so the Wipeout Trivia was in the Yacht Club.  Most of my usual team were not present so the one who was invited me to play with the group she had joined.  We came in second with 3200 points to the winners 3600.  Here is one I did not know (although others on my team did) -  What animals live in a drey?

Came back to my stateroom to get ready for the evening as we were set to sail at 6:30.  Turns out we left early (just before 6:10).  Last year I stood out on deck 9 by the Lido Pool.  We had excellent commentary on the places we passed as we sailed-away but it was really cold.  This year we had no commentary so I decided to watch the sail-away from my balcony.  Being on the starboard side, I would be able to see the Statue of Liberty.  It took just over an hour from when we set sail until we passed under the  Verrazano Narrows Bridge.  It was cold on my balcony but there was a little shelter from the wind.

Evening trivia before dinner.  Winners had 17, we had 15.   Brotophobia is the fear of ___.  Only three of us at dinner - Eion (previously misspelled as Ian), Irene (one of the new ladies) and myself.

Late evening trivia was scattegories.  We had 42 points to the winners 49.  David, Fran and I sat afterwards and talked.

The evening show ("Sing") was postponed because the sound system in the Royal Court Theatre stopped working today.

Purchased more internet time (that comes with the World Club program) so I will have enough to post pictures from the last few days.

Smooth sailing until next time!

My afternoon tea

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New York City

January 18

An amazingly lazy day.  I slept much better last night and the congestion has not gotten worse so hopefully not a full-blown sinus infection.  Awoke as we were coming up to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.  It was cold, rainy/snowy and foggy.  Decided it was not worth getting dressed and going to one of the outside decks so I took a nap instead.  We were just passing NCL Breakaway when I woke up and turning into Pier 90.  Quickly dressed and watched us dock just about on time (noon) from my balcony.

Since I knew it would be at least a few hours before I had to disembark for immigration, I took my coat, passport, phone, etc. with me to the Lido to get a table in my favorite area.  Sat there until about two surfing the net on my iPhone (since I am almost out of Internet minutes).

Then I went to sit in Cafe Carinthia.  Read for awhile as well as using my phone some more.

Immigration started about 12:30 for those disembarking for good.  About 45 minutes later they started calling decks to go into the terminal and be processed.  They asked those of us who just wanted to get back on the ship immediately to wait until the "Last Call".  That would reduce the wait time in the terminal until the ship was "zeroed out" (all passengers off).

Last Call just after 4:30.  Instead of letting us off on deck 2 (where the earlier groups were let off and where we were waiting) we had to go up to deck three.  Then wound around waiting in line.  They had a number of immigration officers working and that went fairly fast.  We then walked the length of the terminal to go in at the front to go through security.  We were then given numbers as to when we would be allowed back on (my number was 15).

About the time I sat down it was announced that the ship was ready before reboarding and they started calling numbers.  I sat about 20 minutes before 15 was called.  Back in my stateroom just before six.

Hadn't been to a trivia in over 24 hours so I was having withdrawal.  Got ready for the evening and went down to trivia to get a table about 7:25 (trivia starts at 7:45).  Only four of us tonight - Andy left this morning and Judith was on an excursion.  Here are two we missed.  Doraphobia is a fear of what?  How many muscles does it take to move your hand?

At dinner we had two new table mates, Irene and Sally, both of whom are doing the full World Voyage and are frequent Cunarders.

9:45 trivia was called Brainteasers with some hard ones.  There were five on travel destinations (we got all of those correct), ten general knowledge, and five on literature.  We only had 15 correct and the winners had 19.  Here is your question - Winston Smith is the main character in what novel.

After trivia Fran and I sat and had a drink and talked until after midnight.

I was able to renew my soda card for four days so I got my orange juice and headed back to my stateroom.

Tomorrow I tackle Delta and decide what I want to do in NYC (if anything).

Smooth sailing until next time!

Verrazano Narrows Bridge

the Intrepid

the snow as we docked

waiting in the terminal to reboard

evening view from my balcony

Saturday, January 17, 2015

At Sea

January 17

Had a hard time getting to sleep last night as I was getting congested.  I am hoping it is not a sinus infection (I just had one at Christmas).  Finally was able to get to sleep about 2:30 (and that was taking into account the time change) but woke up a couple of hours later needing to sit up for awhile.  Slept sitting up on the sofa for a couple of hours and then back to bed until the 9:15 alarm.

We tied for first place in morning trivia but lost the tiebreaker (When was Pride and Prejudice published?).

At 11:15 the Senior Officers Party was held in the Queens Room for the Platinum and Diamond passengers disembarking in NYC or Fort Lauderdale.  Not all that exciting and only saw a couple of people I know.

Lunch in the Lido and then to Needlework/Knitting group (about 12 present).  We were three below the winners at afternoon trivia (What are you afraid of if you have oneiophobia [sp?]?).

Took an hour nap before getting ready for dinner.  A Cruise Critic friend and I had both received dinner for two at The Verandah so we each invited a guest.  Had a delicious meal (I will post pictures when I get my free internet minutes when we leave New York -  I only have 24 left now).

Went to the Queens Room to watch the dancing after dinner.  I have cruised on this ship for a total of 126 days and this was the first time one of the Dance Hosts asked me to dance.  I thanked him for asking but declined (no rhythm whatsoever and two left feet).  My favorite "Public Room Steward" Marina suggested a drink for me to try - a Peach Melba Martini.  It was very good (vanilla vodka, peach schnapps, raspberry liqueur,  peach puree and a dash of cream) and I am determined to use up my OBC so I am trying different drinks.

When Paul Ritchie and the Queens Room Orchestra finished their last set I went to the pub and picked up my orange juice.

We gain another hour tonight.

You can watch us sail in and out of NYC on the PTZtv webcams.

Smooth sailing until next time!

Our trivia team - Andy, Mary, David, Judith, me, and Fran

My meal at the Verandah

amuse bouche

crabmeat starter

champagne sherbet (to cleanse your palate)

beef fillet 

creme catalane

Friday, January 16, 2015

At Sea

January 16

Well, today was an interesting day - not quite like any I have had.

Up at my usual 9:15 but not for trivia.  Last night at dinner I had been invited to a funeral.   Actually, the correct term is " Service for the Committal of Ashes to the Deep".  One of the gentlemen from the dinner table used to cruise frequently with his mother.  She passed away recently and he wanted to scatter her ashes at sea.

He had talked with Cunard before the voyage and was told the arrangements could be made onboard.  He had contacted Janice, the Social Hostess, and she had arranged everything.  Janice escorted us to the rear of deck 3 which had been closed off.  Two of the ship's officers (Deputy Captain and Security Office) met us at the stern.  There was a table covered with a Union Jack and a beautiful floral arrangement on it.  In the base of the arrangement were the ashes.  The Deputy Captain led the service which was very beautiful.

After the service the nine of us in attendance went to the Cafe Carinthia for coffee/tea and a nice talk.  Although a somber occasion it was a very nice morning.

The Captain's noon announcement had some astounding news.  Last night we had 70 knot winds (which, if I calculated correctly, is just over 80 mph) and 10 meter swells.  Because of this we slowed down considerably and there will be more bad weather tonight (though not as bad) so we will not be arriving in New York until noon on Sunday.  We will overnight in NYC and leave Monday at 6:30 pm.  Consequently, our arrival in Fort Lauderdale will not be until Thursday (instead of Wednesday) - I get an extra night onboard!

I have no idea what will happen with my flight home.  Not sure if Delta will charge me for a second ticket, whether the Cunard Care insurance will help cover any extra costs, or what will happen.  I'm just excited to have an extra day onboard (especially after missing half a day with our late embarkation time).

After all the interesting events of the morning I decided to try something else different.  I had lunch in the Cafe Carinthia.  I chose the Laugen Croissant Sandwich which was quite tasty.

Stayed in the Cafe Carinthia after lunch because that is where Needlework/Knitting group is held.  Today we had 13 present.  We were able to listen to the "Singers at Sea" who performed in the Grand Lobby which is just down the staircase from where we meet.

Into the pub for Wipeout trivia.  We had 15 out of 20 correct but wiped out with the final question - In which classic would you find Lady Deadlock?

Up to the Lido for my afternoon ice cream and to do some reading.

Returned to my stateroom to find a letter from the Hotel Manager explaining the changes due to the rescheduled itinerary.  Cunard will pay for a phone call to make new travel arrangements but I am going to wait until we get to New York and use my cell phone.

Just after six an announcement was made that the show tonight, Palladium Nights, would be postponed until tomorrow night.  The variety show scheduled for tomorrow night and the comedian Rhondell Sheridan and the violinists, Elektra, will perform tonight.  Evidently the weather issues tonight will be more like last night's than previously thought.  I did hear people complaining they could not sleep last night because of the weather.  I heard my balcony furniture shifting slightly but I had no problems sleeping.

Tonight is another formal night.  There is a World Club (Cunard's loyalty program) cocktail party tonight.  Those who know me know that chit chat with total strangers is not my strong suit so instead I went to the "Early Evening Brainteaser" trivia.  Only three of us and we came in third or fourth.

We were finished by 8:10 so I went on to the cocktail party although all the free drinks were gone.  As I was leaving I stopped to talk with a couple who had been in the same room at the stadium last week.  Then I talked with Maggie and JT (from last year's World Voyage) and we walked down to the dining room together.

Dinner with Hugh, Michael, Ian (although I found out tonight he spells it the more Celtic way starting with an "E"), and Linda.  It was Beef Wellington/Baked Alaska night but there is no "Parade of Chefs" in Britannia Club (unless it happened before I arrived).

The five of us then went to the Midships Bar and had a couple of drinks (one for me) and a good time talking.  A very congenial group of people (I have been so lucky getting great table mates two years in a row).

Picked up my orange juice and returned to my stateroom at the witching hour of midnight.

We gain another hour of sleep tonight.

Smooth sailing until next time!

Singers at Sea