(…as a note to those who are pedantic and sticklers for precision: I am fudging on exact times/days of particular activities because I don’t have my program in front of me. So please forgive a few inconsistencies, this is just meant to be a broad generalization of what goes on aboard the QM2.)
Midnight: The Canadian and I put our little door hanger on the door indicating what time we’d like coffee (and REAL cream) delivered to our door the next morning. This takes a great deal of discussion because the ship’s clock moves forward an hour each day in order to slowly acclimate to UK time.
Do we do it at 8:30? Or 9:30 to accommodate our new time?…Do we want to sleep in? Or get up early? What time do we want breakfast, because we should give ourselves at least an hour to relax over coffee…These are difficult decisions! Ultimately we decide on 8:30 in the morning and then crawl into bed, lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of the ship.
8:30 am: The knocking on the door awakens us and our coffee is delivered by a very nice gentleman who wishes us “Good Morning”. The Canadian pours coffee and we turn on the BBC and we watch news of the economic collapse of Greece. We feel guilty that it makes us contemplate a Greek vacation.
9:30 am: We get dressed and make our way down 10 flights of stairs (we avoid the elevators in hopes of also avoiding the inevitable weight gain on a cruise) and head down to our restaurant on the ship, known as the Brittania Club. Our waiter Aleksandar (from Macedonia) greets us and tells us, “Whatever you want, I will make it happen.” We love him. Aleksandar is assisted by Igor (from the Ukraine) and who is also thoroughly adorable. I want to take him home in my pocket. I also love Ralph the head waiter who places my napkin in my lap and makes sure we’ve had a good night’s sleep or enjoyed our day. (How could one NOT enjoy their day?!)
During breakfast, the Canadian spots a pair of Dolphins jumping alongside the ship which I reference about every 30 minutes from that moment forward. (Weren’t those dolphins cute?...I love dolphins!... You know, dolphins protect people from sharks!... I want a dolphin like Flipper…) The Canadian is displeased with my dolphin chatter.
10:30 am: We meander back to our room to decide what to do today? Dr. Ruth (yes, that one) is a guest on the ship and is giving sex talks, particularly on Sex over 50. We decide to go see her and then head to “pub trivia” in the on-board pub.
I won’t go into graphic detail about Dr. Ruth, because this is at most a PG-13 blog (although if you knew me in real life, our conversations would be NC-17), but, for the purposes of the larger internet I’ll keep this fairly clean. She did tell this story though:
“I never allowed my husband to come to any of my lectures for fear he would say something embarrassing but one day Diane Sawyer came over to our house to interview me, and he adored Diane Sawyer and I didn’t have the heart to tell him he couldn’t be there. So we sat down for the interview and Diane Sawyer asked, ‘Mr. Westheimer, how’s your sex life?’ and he responded, “Ms. Sawyer, the shoemaker’s children have no shoes.”
11:30 am: We decide to go to Pub Trivia where the Canadian and I proceed to tie another team for first place, answering 18 out of 20 questions correctly (we missed the year that Czechoslovakia became the Czech Republic – 1993 not 1992 as we thought and we also missed the average number of peas in a pod – 8, not 6). There were several tie breaking questions which we answered correctly until, the final question, which year was the Eiffel tower * raised * (not built, but actually lifted). It wasn’t our guess of 1888, it was 1889. So, we lost. : (
12:30 pm: We make our way down the stairs for lunch, and order our usual 4 courses (appetizer, soup or salad, main, dessert). We are unsure how it will be possible to return to fixing our own meals…and what on earth did we eat before? We agree we don’t want to think about it.
1:30 pm: At around this time we go see a screening in the Planetarium (the only one at sea) of the film “A Summer Sky” presented by Royal Astronomy Speaker Mark Butterworth.
2:00 pm: I attend my watercolor class and paint a pair of tomatoes – I think maybe they are better than my rose….tell me what you think?
4:00 pm: I finish my painting and find the Canadian stumbling around the ship. We decide to go for afternoon tea so that he can sober up before our formal evening. We much on cucumber sandwiches while the harpist plays in the background. The Canadian definitely smells like a distillery and I’m wondering if others notice…
4:30 pm: We head into the pub for pub trivia again, this time with MomE who supplied Tammy Wynette (which country singer was kidnapped) and Groucho Marx (Who said, “I never forget a face, but in your case Madam, I’ll make an exception”). We didn’t win this time though.
5:00 pm: We head upstairs to change for our formal night. I read the dinner menu and it’s lobster night tonight (note – you should read my lobster story here to understand how I feel about lobster night) so I put on my loosest dress. I heart lobster.
7:00 pm: We make our way to our dinner table where Igor and Aleksandar serve us our usual 4 courses (and giving us each an extra lobster tail…I’m in love).
8:45 pm: The Canadian and I decide to see a performance of Canterbury Tales put on by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts – what a talented group! And of course, the typical bawdy jokes were fabulous.
At this point I would also like to thank Mrs. Larkin (my 11th grade English Lit teacher) for making me memorize the introduction to Canterbury Tales in Middle English…I lip synced along with the actor as he began the play. In Mrs.Larkin's class I wish I had I just known that someday, watching a Canterbury Tales performance on the Queen Mary 2, that I would be grateful that I memorized it. (This particular talent of still being able to recite the prologue also tends to be great at parties as well…it’s a real show stopper when I bust out the Chaucer after a few glasses of wine)
Here's a sampling:
WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droghteof Marche hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holtand heeth
The tendre croppes,and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale fowles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open ye,
(So priketh hem nature in hir corages:
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmers for to seken straunge strondes,To ferne halwes, 9 couthe 10 in sondry londes; And specially, from every shires ende 15 Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende, The holy blisful martir for to seke, That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke.
10:00 pm: The Canadian and I decide we should definitely go play some darts in the pub – so we play a few games (he won, 2 games to 1) and then finally around midnight head back to the room to read our books for awhile and go to sleep.