January 10, 2010 (Still Crossing the North Atlantic)

January 10 – AT SEA

We are now two days from England, and our shore excursion to Stonehenge and Salisbury has been cancelled for Monday – due to the unprecedented cold and snowy weather that has completely paralyzed the UK. The entire country is in effect, shut down. Just imagine a Maine winter without salt, sand, and plows… uh, wait a minute… those of you “from away” NEVER visit past October… so how could you possibly understand what I’m talking about?

We will just have to amuse ourselves in Southampton instead. And honestly, being on solid ground should be excitement enough. I am totally bummed about missing Stonehenge though. I am quite certain that Steve and I would have experienced something magical there among those ancient stones. Perhaps even levitation. We’ll never know.

The waves are 25+ today… but they are hitting the bow head on, making for much less movement. Steve’s off the drugs and can even look at the waves without… well, you know… and we both feel quite chipper. The story today is the wind. 75+ MPH (no, I’m not exaggerating) coming from the East. Walking the complete loop around the ship is now allowed today … lest some of the more annoying passengers get blown (or pushed) over the railing. The temp is still in the 50‘s.

Now, a bit about the stateroom category we chose. We are in a Princess Grill Suite. We forked over the big bucks for several reasons. First… size DOES matter. Our stateroom is a generous 381 square feet, which includes the large balcony, walk in closet, and sizable bathroom with a tub/shower. In addition to the king bed, we have a decent sized sitting area, vanity with chair, and bar area with frig. On our drive to New York, my growing trepidation over the imagined lack of storage space almost led me to abandon half of Steve’s belongings prior to boarding. Did he really need all those shoes? I envisioned living with piles of clothes everywhere. When we finally got everything unpacked, I was amazed to see that we still had two empty drawers… which I prompted claimed as mine, which is, by law, another one of my birth rights.

Second, is the “single seating” private restaurant that only those in our category dine in. We are assigned a table, and can eat anytime we want between 6:30-9 PM. How awesome is that? We have been on cruises before… and the one thing I despised most was being assigned a time I had to eat – if I wanted the fancy restaurant. My stomach does not grumble on demand. Of course, there are over a dozen venues to eat any meal in… but our dining room is about as Fine as it gets. Even if you order a lowly burger for lunch, you are not permitted to bathe your own french fries in ketchup. There is a guy for that… and he grandly places the dollop on your plate with a silver spoon. I am totally serious.

Analisa (from the Philippines) is our “stewardess”, responsible for our comfort and the state of our suite during the voyage. Steve told her we live in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, in the US, and she responded with a polite nod of the head and a quizzical look, which revealed that she had no idea where it was. He tried to narrow it down a bit… “Near Portland?“ Nothing. “North of Boston?” Still nothing. “North of New York on the ocean?” Success. We got an enthusiastic response, although it was probably just to end the agony of the guessing game. That’s okay… we often get that blank look from people in our own country when we tell them where we live.

We reviewed the “pillow menu” (I kid you not) that has 7 different choices (in varying levels of puffiness), and made our preliminary selections with Analisa. We have since made several modifications… and I believe, we finally, have the optimum blend of feather and foam.


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