21.07.2015 - 22.07.2015 34 °C
Talking and dining with others on the ship is a way of learning so much. Here are a few things I have learned.
1) selfie sticks have taken over the world! These infernal extensions of the cell phone are visible everywhere. It is sometime hard to take your "once in a lifetime' photo without having these sticks as part of the composition of your shot. I was overheard making a snarky remark about these S.S. by a young lady while we were at the top of the Dubrovnik cable car. Turns out she was travelling alone and admitted that she would like to have a stick so she could include herself in her photos. I assured her I would be happy to take her photo. Our conversation continued and it turns out that she is a WestJet employee who not only works in Calgary but was involved with our SAIT Travel and Tourism interns at the airport. What a wonderfully small world.
2) We also found out that this cruise was a replacement itinerary for what was to be a summer of sailing around the Black Sea and the Ukraine for the Queen Victoria. This explains how this itinerary was not here when we initially started our research. The ship was repositioned out of that 'hot spot' and here we are. We have met several couples who were on the originally planned cruise.
3) Cunard has a very understated elegance in everything they do. It is very much in keeping with that 'Upstairs, Downstairs' British way of doing things. It is day 5 already and we have yet to encounter our cabin steward Rogie. He/she is not visible in any way. Staff are there to go above and beyond and are always very friendly however they seem willing to let you enjoy your holiday without them interfering, unlike other cruise lines.
So Monday we visited Dubrovnik, Croatia in the vicious heat wave that is gripping Europe. On our previous visit to this beautiful city we encountered 5 other cruise ships and more tourists than the city could handle. It seems that Dubrovnik has become such a popular port of call that the city now restricts tourism to a maximum of only three ships per day..... Imagine that, restricting tourism to save the city's infrastructure. After the cable car ride, an expensive coffee with a million dollar view, a visit with our new friend from WestJet we were off to explore the city again.
This visit was a bit different as I felt I was more in King's Landing and the Game of Thrones TV series. It was very fun to walk in the areas where the filming is done. You can see why the city is a perfect backdrop for the show. Sadly, no sighting of Tyrion and any of the other cast members.
Staying hydrated is crucial in this weather so it was necessary to try the local beer, spend our last Croatian kunas, and link in to the outside world through WiFi. Unlike last time we were here WiFi has changed how we pick a restaurant. The two questions; do you have beer? And do you have WiFi? Answer yes to both and you have customers! This has saved considerable amounts of money on the expensive and often unreliable shipboard service.
Tuesday was our only day at sea so it was time for some R and R (or so I thought when I was writing this). So some of you might wonder what happens on a sea day. The ship does its' best to ensure that you are entertained and educated, if you are so inclined. They present a full line up of activities to appeal to the wide variety of their audience. "Introduction to Fencing" - yes! "Watercolours with Georgia" - yes. " Line Dancing for Beginners" - yes!
So Marty was off to the watercolour course and I took the opportunity to start a new book. I had the entire Commodore's Club to myself as most others were around the pool baking in the early morning sun. Cunard always has guest lectures on board so we took in a talk by Martin Flynn of BBC fame and Jock Reid who was a RAF pilot who went on the become a Concorde pilot and trainer. Jock will be talking about the Concorde in a second talk later this week. He had any great things to say about our Canadian built DeHavilland aircraft.
In the afternoon we signed up for a wine tasting session that turned out to be as much fun as it was informative. You had one hour to taste six white wines and six red wines from around the world. The wine sommeliers were on hand to talk and teach. It was a bit of a challenge to race around the world but we did our best. And who did we happen to meet at the wine tasting? Peter Mansbridge, of course!!!! Well, really it was Peter's doppelgänger, John from Britain. Now Marty had seen this gentleman earlier in the day and when he showed up at the wine tasting Marty had to ask him if he was Peter Mansbridge. It turns out that this has happened to him on other cruises. The best part of it was when I took " Peter" over to some of our newest Canadian friends and introduced him as Peter. They actually thought is was him!!!! What great fun.
We are headed it Mykonos shortly. A few rough seas had us a awake early. Thankfully coffee is available from 4 AM so we are making use of the verandah and watching the sun rise over the Greek Islands. I think it is going to be a stunning morning. The day trip could be interesting with 5 or 6 cruises ships visiting this one little island today. It seems the Greeks are not limiting THEIR tourism!
And here is the follow-up to what we thought would be our day in Mykonos. As we were having breakfast and discussing the high winds our captain came in to tell us that it was not safe to take the tenders out of the ship. Unfortunately, no Mykonos visit for us this trip. Maybe next time. Too bad I bought the Mykonos postcard on the ship BEFORE that day. I guess I have a souvenir of what was not to be.