This morning at breakfast I was seated at one of the very best tables in the dining room – it features a sweeping view of the Grand Staircase and is under a dramatic piece of art-deco art that is the focal point in this beautiful space. I rekindled some childhood memories on this cruise as I have been enjoying wheatabix for breakfast. I enjoyed this healthy cereal as a child. I top it with hot water. The pastry tray arrived as soon as I sat down. The selections change from day to day which is nice but I do my best to say, “no thank you” to the morning sweets. The Britannia Dining Room is such an elegant spot to enjoy a very relaxing breakfast. It’s where I like start to write my blog post. I then head to the royally Christmas decorated atrium to finish it.
Last night we all went to the Queens Ballroom to see Cunard’s Christmas Production Show. I have been on many cruise ships during the Christmas Season and this is the first time that a ship has produced a special singing/dancing show for the holidays. Overall it was extremely well done. I think everyone appreciated the effort that they put forth to create this festive show. Sadly it lacked secular Christmas songs as they were probably worried they may insult someone in this politically correct World.
Four of my passengers were so excited as they booked one of the showroom boxes for last nights Christmas production. They enjoyed a champagne and dessert reception prior.
Dinner was Formal and the menu matched. I selected the Lobster Tail which was accompanied by jumbo shrimps. The Baked Alaska was probably the best I’ve tasted on a cruise ship.
The seas continue to be smooth and are expected to remain that way for the duration of the cruise. We soon pass through an area which can sometimes be rough as deep waters meet much shallower ones, but we have been told that this is not going to be an issue for us.
Many of us started packing yesterday. After a cruise of this length the Queen Elizabeth certainly feels like home so it will be sad to depart. We have been treated so well.
Today all my passengers will gather for a farewell luncheon. I’m so lucky to travel with such wonderful people. This group like all of my groups, are so happy to spend time together. Even though I state that this is an optional event we have met for lunch on every sea day. The staff just assumes that I am going to bring in a big group so they reserve the Captains table and the smaller ones surrounding it, especially for us.
Todays sea-day is filled with activities. As I write my blog I am enjoying the Christmas music that playing in the background.
I just had a charming gent sit down next to me for a visit. He chatted for 45 minutes. He wanted to hear about my travels and we talked about our Christmas traditions in the UK and Canada. They have a son and 2 grandchildren who will gather with them on Christmas Day. He said he has a self-basting turkey in the freezer ready to roast for the big day. Like many on board this is an annual Christmas cruise for his wife and himself. Tomorrow they will travel by train for 2 hours to get to their home in a small rural community near Bristol.
This evening I am hosting a special dinner at the Smokehouse, American Style Steakhouse where my passengers can select entrees like spare ribs, brisket and coconut crusted jumbo shrimp – sides include Cajun fries, creamed sweet corn. It’s a casual venue so we can pack our sports jackets this afternoon instead of tonight after dinner. We’ll also be celebrating 2 more birthdays and a 50th Anniversary so I’ve ordered a couple cakes.
Tomorrow my group will be some of the first off the cruise ship as I’m going to try once again to get us into Windsor Castle. You may recall that when we flew into London the worst snowstorm in years had shut down so many things including the castle. If our disembarkation goes smoothly we should have time to enjoy the castle before continuing to Heathrow for our direct Air Canada flight to Toronto.
What a wonderful festive cruise this has been.
Cunard is a very solid cruise line with a huge following. Last evenings repeat guest cocktail party was loaded to the tilt. I can certainly understand why Cunard guests return time after time. I know some of you hesitated as you thought Cunard would attract a little high brow cliental. As one of my passengers stated this departure is filled with hard working people that saved so they can now afford to enjoy cruises as Grand as this one. For many on board, this has been a cruise-of-a-lifetime. Some of the local men told me that they bought a suit especially for this cruise and they will probably never wear it again but their wives beamed and were so proud.
The Cunard staff works extremely hard to please every guest. It’s a tough life to be away from home especially this time of year.
When I get home I’ll have a few more gifts to wrap that I purchased during this journey and then I’ll be on my way to Moms. I’m one of the lucky ones that gets to spend Christmas surrounded by an incredible family. It’s a bit of a tradition that we enjoy a fondue on Christmas Eve and of course, Mom prepares a traditional Christmas dinner with Ukrainian specialities for our Christmas Day feast.
My travelers provide me with an extended family. We have spent so much time together over the last 3 decades. How lucky we are to explore this spectacular World that keeps getting smaller and smaller.
I’ve enjoyed some time during sea days to plan new future travel departures. The more I travel the pickier I get when it comes to itinerary planning. Many of you have told me that my latest tours have been your all-time favourites so that makes me happy as I continually work on raising the bar. Lately as you know other tour companies have been following my lead so I consider that a compliment.
I’d like to wish you, my traveling family a joyous Christmas.
Sadly Christmas for some is not a happy time but hopefully the Christmas spirit will still be able to fill a bit of their heart.
I’ll be back to blog posting during the New Years Mystery Journey. That tour sold-out in record time – 3 of the passengers that are currently with me on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth will be joining me over New Years too – that is what I call a devoted family!
Wish us a good flight home to Canada.
Merry Christmas – I Appreciate You All,