After lunch it was time for a few dock photos then while back in the cabin, there was an announcement about testing the PA and alarm systems. Well it’s different!
Sea Cloud II was sailing at 4pm but it was a tad windy so needed a tug. It appeared as though Hamburg would be next until Sinfonia slipped out and followed a ferry. Hamburg tottered along after both leaving us to back up and turn when our time came.
The usual solos quiz with Lauren. She also took down names of those of us who wanted to visit the bridge the following day. It was pirate night at dinner. Jerry took his inflatable parrot, which developed some kind of slow leak so became somewhat droopy at times. Later that night, I spotted birds flying along the side of the ship and only managed some rubbish photos. It was so blustery on the top deck you couldn’t make it forward.
So the penultimate sea day on the 30th April and the 10.30am bridge visit. Captain Kaminski opened it for just an hour (two visits). I had done it on Discovery with Rob O’Brien, where you registered at reception. This was the hour before with Lauren. On Discovery, you were able to take photos (though not of certain areas) and video. On Voyager it was photos only. The first group were a little late coming out but we stayed even longer.
As I hadn’t received an invitation to the Discovery Club booze up, I didn’t know where it was so went to lunch instead after a wander on deck. One thing which was frustrating was trying to get fruit from the bowls, which for some reason were put right at the back. Leaning across the desserts (some dipping their sleeve or skin into it) is incredibly unhygienic. Due to unusually getting up before noon on a sea day, I had an afternoon nap to make up for it. Quiz again then dinner. Eight of us went so we were taken to the Explorer Club Restaurant for a change. Service wasn’t as good as the Discovery Restaurant. Our clocks would be going back during the night.
Leixoes! No, I can’t pronounce it either (or spell it most of the time – Lisbon is easier but we passed that!) so the nearest port to Porto. I got up early for our arrival and company. I had only been here once before and docked beside the new terminal building works. This time it was a different location but a short walk into the local town across the bridge apparently. Delphin, Empress and Hamburg had all followed each other from Lisbon. Hamburg arrived 4 hours late at 11am and Empress was docking during our crew drill instead of 9am. It also appeared that Voyager had a nasty coughing fit during the night as soot was over decks 7 & 8, including in the pool and hot tubs.
We were having an early departure at 2.30pm, so we could have the last formal night. No quiz so normal dining time when you felt like it. I was put on a table of 7 Americans. Peter and John were on the Captain’s table but the Captain buggered off after the starter to be at the second booze up. Having two was a complete waste of time. Because of it, the restaurant was heaving as people tried to escape it. My Americans were impressed seeing the place name for Lord John Moore. I told them he’s a nice bloke and on my quiz team. They also thought the table was full of royalty.
Our final port was La Coruna and there would be a staggering 6 ships in. Thankfully the largest was Oriana, these days a mere stripling at 69,000 tonnes. Deutschland was in already, which made a change from us being first. Delphin sidled between us, which was fun to watch but rudely interrupted by Oriana appearing. Empress followed. Hamburg wasn’t due until 1pm.
Why is it there are ALWAYS announcements of some sort by the Captain when I try to sleep in the morning??? If it’s not crew drill (of which we had three), it was the essential maintenance so the other generator was switched on. After watching Hamburg arrive, I had a short wander.
EU passports were returned. By the time most ships were due to depart, the wind whipped up. Oriana sodded off 15 minutes early, deafening the entire area! Empress was supposed to be next but we lost our ropes. The only problem was, despite our tuggy friend, we were being pushed back alongside. I almost lost my bag several times as it was blown off my shoulder so I put it under my coat. Empress then left with her second tug coming to our aid.
Quiz. Looked like we wouldn’t get another pen. 9 of us went to dinner afterwards and ended up sat at the Captain’s table as it was the only one large enough. Lauren arranged for us all to have a drink.
Our final sea day as we entered the Bay of Biscay, which was pretty calm surprisingly! The highlight was losing speed. I don’t know how low it dropped but when I put the info channel on, it was rising from 5.7 knots. As the day wore on, the sun came out and it became very pleasant.
It was our solos farewell booze up and it was noticeable there were far less than for the one at the start of the cruise. Cruise Director Gerry as well as Lauren were there. A few more went to dinner so we were split onto two tables, with some of us on the Captain’s table again and were the noisiest in the room!
A stroll around the deck before going back to the cabin to try the internet again, which hadn’t been connecting all flipping day and I still had about 80 minutes left. Later, we could still see Oriana while Oceana was coming the other way from Southampton.
And so it was time for our Portsmouth arrival. I have to admit, it was very strange turning right past the Forts instead of left to go around the Brambles, hook then into Southampton. But I’m always open to new experiences. For some strange reason, breakfast only began at 7am and continued until 9am, which was daft when you had to vacate your cabin by 8am and disembarkation started half an hour later. It was absolute chaos but thankfully by the time I went as we were docking, there were a few seats. My colour, Mauve 1, was called about 9.15am so we went to Scott’s Lounge and down the gangway onto a waiting bus, which took us the short drive to the terminal. There, Lauren was helping out with luggage direction. I found mine very fast then went to the National Express stop to wait for my coach home.
A full review will appear on my site in a couple of weeks but this is now my second best cruise. Everything was just right – crew, atmosphere, my fellow passengers (very few Hyacinths!!!!). My 30th ship has also leapt into my top 5. She has her faults but is still fabulous. I’m missing her already and can’t believe how fast the past two weeks have gone since I left for Gatwick. Viva Voyager, my adorable bambina.