Day 100 — Apr 10 — At Sea
Today we have the play, “Snow White”, where many of the Passengers are setting up to act in, Elee will appear as the ‘Evil Queen’ and it is a big day on board. The play is a grand success and gets Standing Ovations. The audience is in stitches for most of it. After the Play, we attend another “Chef’s Table”. Everyone has a great time.
Day 101 — Apr 11 — At Sea
Today we sail north along the coast of Portugal.
This morning Elee competes in the Finals of Master Chef. They have the two competitors pick out their ingredients and when that is done they instruct them to swap tables and cook with the others ingredients! Well, Elee is not daunted by the challenge and comes out on top, winning first place! It is a win-win for both of us as the prize is dinner in The Grill and a bottle of champagne. I also get her winning meal for my lunch!
Later in the afternoon I play darts and make it into the finals. The show in The Paladium tonight is “Rock of Ages”, a tribute to the great rock and roll of my era. It’s very loud but enjoyable and we turn in for the night.
Day 102 — Apr 12 — At Sea
Easter Sunday. Today we find ourselves sailing across the Bay of Biscay and the water is calm. Three months ago we sailed across the same bay in a Category 12 Hurricane. Quite the difference from today. The entertainment staff organizes an Easter Egg Hunt which consists of finding little slips of paper with a photo of an Easter Egg on them. Great fun is had by all.
This afternoon I play the Final Darts League Playoff. I don’t do so well but a shipmate friend wins it!
Tonight the Entertainment Crew performs their last Performance and it is another wonderful show with music and dances from around the world to commemorate our “Around the World” cruise. Later, the restaurant staff puts up a marvelous display of carved fruits, sugar sculptures and chocolate displays in honor of Easter. Unfortunately, there turns out to be many passengers that literally destroy the display in their haste to hoard the chocolate and other items as if they haven’t been fed in months. A very sad display of poor manners!
Day 103 — Apr 13 — At Sea
Today we enter the English Channel and, amazingly enough, the seas are a bit rough, approximately 5-6 meters high. I love the motion of the ship one last time. We move about the different groups of friends we have made and say most of our goodbyes amidst hugs and handshakes and fond farewells to new long time friends and acquaintances. Sharing of email addresses and phone numbers ensue and promises to keep in touch run rampant.
In the evening, we collect Elee’s Master Chef prize of Dinner for 2 in The Grill. We end up joining our restaurant table mates and also celebrate Debra’s Birthday. The meal is great and we chat well past dessert. Soon it is time to go check out the “End of Cruise Party” where the crew is awarded “Employee of the Month” awards and music and singing goes on and on and we congregate among hundreds of passengers for the last time. Balloons tumble down from above and more goodbyes and well wishes are passed around.
We have been packing our suitcases, started yesterday and we finish packing them this evening. We are required to put them in the hallway with special personalized tags on them by midnight. We have kept an extra day of clothes and essential items with us that will carry us through tomorrow.
Day 104 — Apr 14 — Tilbury
We awake today and look out the window to see we are tethered to the dock and are finally off the open sea. On board announcements are heard throughout the ship announcing cueue numbers for people leaving the ship. They are disembarking groups of 30 people at a time. Passengers are given masks and gloves and told to “Social Distance” with at least 2 meters between people. We aren’t scheduled to leave the ship until tomorrow and we go about our day visiting shipmates and playing games, eating and hanging out in the bars for the day.
We even take a short nap in our room knowing we have to get up early tomorrow to disembark. Then it’s off to dinner and the last 3-400 passengers gather in Taverner’s Pub this evening for the last entertainment. The Cruise Director joins our table, having to get to know us personally as we have been very active on the ship. The singers that entertain us in the different pubs and bars get together and play for us in the Pub. A good time is had by all as we sing, dance and hug and kiss all of our new friends goodbye.
Day 105 — Apr 15 — Disembarkation
We’re up bright and early to get ready and we even have time for breakfast on the ship before our Group Number 10 is called for us to go. We cueue up and quickly disembark after we are issued gloves and masks. We cover our hands and face and go through British Customs without much delay. Then we board a Coach, constantly being given instruction to stay 2 meters apart. The Coach ride is approximately 90 minutes with very little traffic. A small traffic jam as we cross London that only lasts about 10 minutes.
We arrive in Heathrow Airport and it is eerily quiet and devoid of traffic or people. We gather our luggage and check it in. Then we have almost 4 hours of Social Distancing in the Terminal. We are given a Gate Number and we go to the plane where we board without delay. There are 44 passengers on the plane, 20 of which are from our ship. We are delayed about a half hour on the plane but soon we take off. We have got seats in “Premiere Class” and there are only 6 people in the section.
I ask the Attendant for a glass of wine, hoping it will help put me to sleep, but I am informed that alcohol is not available due to the current world health crisis. So, instead, I watch3 full length movies and several short films and we arrive in LAX 10 hours after taking off.
We depart the plane and are sent out on the tarmac to waiting buses where we load onto them and are taken to a Terminal to get our luggage. By the time we get to the luggage carousels, our luggage is there for us. We load the bags on a cart and head for Customs, only to be ushered through without much to do. Elee’s brother is already in the airport and by the time we get outdoors, he pulls up with a rented SUV and we load it up and head home, a car journey across Los Angeles in Rush Hour. It takes about 30 minutes to travel 40 miles as there is literally almost no cars on the roads.
So we get home and bring our bags indoors and we are HOME, SWEET HOME!