Vision of the Seas - 10 British Isles Cruise
Back to the cabin to dry off then change for our first of two formal nights.  At one time, they had the welcome party in the Some Enchanted Evening Lounge.  It had been held there in 2008 and 2009 yet in 2011 it was in the Centrum, which has less seating, gets crowded and it darker.  A young lady was wearing a dress so short you could see her knickers yet kept pulling it down to try and cover herself.  This may be a radical idea but she could buy something longer!  A group of about fourteen Americans were taking their first cruise and having a whale of a time, though doubled up day wear for evening to reduce luggage weight, while many ladies from south-east Asia were enjoying themselves dancing to Achey Breaky Heart.  Unusually, despite still having the pilot aboard, Captain Lis came, first of all having photos taken with the passengers for forty-five minutes before her speech.  Captain Lis gave a brief history of the ship, including her maiden voyage from Southampton, which was a first!  There were 1700 on the ship, over 1228 were Americans.  I have no idea how many Brits were aboard but they were less than the 31 Australians Captain Lis read out first from her list.  Then it was dinner and I was now alone at the table since Hinge & Bracket had decided to go elsewhere.  Suited me, though Brani and Dorota were keen to shove me onto the table of American couples behind.  No, ta.  I'd rather be on my own, get through fast and avoid the bloody awful singing.  Despite us being dressed for dinner, the piano player was not, putting his daily brown jacket on after he'd finished.  My salad was done a different way to the previous night so I wondered whether it would stay this way or change nightly.  I went to sign up to the internet afterwards.  I do wish RCI and Celebrity would allow sign up in the cabins (or in wifi areas) like other lines.  The sea was steadily getting rougher and there were some cracking waves hitting the hull, making her judder.  a shame it was all wasted in the dark.
And so the first of three sea days began on the 17th but no chance of a lie in as Diamond upwards immigration was at 9am.  We were allowed to sit and wait in the theatre.  Hinge & Bracket sat behind me and said they hadn't abandoned me, just changed to earlier dining as it was too late for them.  I was next to a Scottish couple, so knew there were at least some more Brits aboard.  The process was very fast but before leaving the theatre, I was stopped by one of the officers behind a table who took my passport and stuck a label on it with my cabin number.  I thought it said EU passports weren't being taken during this trip.  Make up your sodding mind!  Meanwhile, for some inexplicable reason, Royal Caribbean were offering transfers to Copenhagen airport in the Compass.  Very cheap transfer all the way from Southampton.  As I'd been on the Prom deck before immigration once I found a door which would open, it was quick stroll on deck 10 after breakfast, only to be yelled at by a crew member and made to go down one.  I soon discovered why as we briefly hit a storm!  Since the weather was incredibly boring, I decided to go back to bed for a couple of hours, fighting my way around logistics men working on wiring and wifi as well as avoiding pot holes in the deck.  Why do ships built in Saint Nazaire end up with indentations you can break your ankle in?  Celebrity Constellation and QM2 are the other two French ladies over five I've sailed on which have them.  No idea about Norwegian Epic yet so will need to go back in a few years.
These sea days don't half make you lazy when you're on your own.  I half-heard Captain Lis's noon announcement and got up for some lunch.  Later, I found the Prom doors shut and typically, Thomson Spirit was outside, having caught up with her.  There was hammering and a burning smell along the corridor which was the workmen welding.  I decided to order room service, which took a while due to the people going green staying in their cabins.  When the waiter arrived, he knocked on the door and then I nearly hit the door while went backwards as the ship rocked, but thankfully there were no accidents and he saw the funny side as I was handed the tray.  Diamond Club was fun when I was joined by the Scottish couple as well as two American couples.  Some of the crew were milling around including Topi, our cruise director, so I asked if he had been on the ship in May 2009.  He said he had been and it was his first time.  I remembered him from their British night and he'd said then he was new.  The show was Kirk Marsh, which had been postponed from the first night.  You really didn't know what to expect, especially as he doesn't speak to the audience, just mimes, but he was hilarious, particularly when he dragged people on stage and got them to copy him.  Before dinner I noticed one of the RCTV channels was buggered up.  A programme about Adventure finished around 8pm which was followed by one about Oasis.  That was suddenly replaced by Radiance before returning to the Adventure one after two minutes!  After dinner, I logged onto the internet since the Centrum was quiet then rested my back and knee in the cabin.  The sea became quite bad, one of the drawers in the bedside table half-opening twice plus I was almost thrown off the chair when she hit a wave - wooo!  This is what cruising's all about.  Go, Ducky!
Our second sea day would see us in the English Channel as we passed Dover.  Captain Lis had told us it would be worse than the day before but Dover cruise port was open with Amadea and Braemar sat snugly in it, so it wasn't that bad.  The starboard Prom doors were locked but at least you could get out the other side.  Surprisingly, there weren't many out.  It was cool and breezy but it's always nice to do this in daylight, which most of the time you don't.  It was the second time I had, the previous being Celebrity Constellation from Amsterdam to Southampton in 2012 but we went much slower than this.  It was a shame the info channel updated once a day and I hope that would be sorted out during refit, including returning the webcam to its own channel.  Lunch and on the way up, some American ladies got into the lift, one saying about the time change they got on their mobile so the rest changed their watches.  This was despite one teeny weeny little factet - we were still on Central European Time with no idea when or if it would be changed to UK!  I do hope they didn't miss dinner.  They had a very nice tandoori potato salad on offer in the Windjammer, so I took a plateful back to the cabin on the way out.  A lady sat at the table with me and when she saw my Fan of the Week T-shirt, assumed I worked for Royal Caribbean.  I wish!  A little later, it was time to go back out for Seabourn Pride after I received a text from my friend Oskar informing me she was ahead doing seven knots and we were catching up fast.  I hadn't seen this one before.  Though she would be in Cork with us, the chances of seeing her were slim, especially with us at Cobh and her in Cork itself, so I was glad of this bonus.  The weather was atrocious, Pride disappearing into squalls, while two ladies from south-east Asia told me as I was leaving they were singing to their Christian God everyone would be safe.  A bit later I was out for Celebrity Infinity, but we then hit really bad weather near the Isle of Wight, reducing visibility to severely crap levels.  I found myself sheltering by my very first muster station, which will also be the next one providing they don't change the habit of five years by giving me an upgrade I don't want.


© Patricia Dempsey 14th-24th September 2013
Not to be reproduced without permission