Azores to Southampton

We left the Azores with a heavy heart, as the next stop was Southampton and the end of our holiday. Still we did have 3 more days with one formal night to look forward to.

The last time I sailed from the Azores was to Portugal in Anamcara when the sea was abominable, 5 metre waves and a very robust northerly blowing, but at least this time I am in a 90,000 ton cruise ship, hopefully more comfortable.

Once we left the Azores and headed back into the Atlantic, we were pleasantly surprised as the sea was calm, like a millpond; how long will that last, especially going through the Bay of Biscay; still we are grateful for what we have.

Life on board continued much as before though we were limited to staying inside, still we had several “wrap-up” lectures to attend and this passed the time. The show tonight was the Queen Victoria singers and dancers, singing and dancing their way around the world, and a very lively and entertaining evening it was.

We now arrived at our penultimate day, scurried around doing things that hadn’t been done earlier, and tonight, being the last formal night, there was a party atmosphere; perhaps as the majority of the cruisers had been on for 74 days they couldn’t wait to waddle off!!!!

After the evening show we wandered around the deck with Dave and Elaine, up to the Lido for a cuppa then bed. Tomorrow is going to be a late one!!

Last day, our 29th on board the Queen Victoria but the 73rd for many and it is time to pack, sort out gratuities, exchange names and addresses with new found friends, and look at our accounts; ouch.

We had crossed the Bay of Biscay by now and the sea was still like a millpond, knowing our luck we will pay the price when we take the ferry back across the bay when heading back to Spain.

We were all packed up before we went to dinner so could enjoy our “last supper” without worry. Many guests were anxious over dinner, as they hadn’t packed, not organised like us; that’s probably a first!!! We said our good byes to the dining staff and headed to the theatre for the last show, though we have a bonus tonight, there is an extra performance of the “Rewind Project”.

Good atmosphere for our last night.

Good atmosphere for our last night.

Tonight’s Showtime was Darren Day, a Singer, cum comic, cum impressionist; he tried to be all things to all men, but “no”; in fact we walked out before the end, as he was quite embarrassing to watch.

We now headed to the Queens Ballroom along with most of the other guests to listen to the Rewind Project, the group made up of members of “Moody Blues” and “10 CC” and they certainly entertained us. Interestingly, Darren Day joined them for a couple of numbers and he was actually quite good,

Re-wind project, so good!

Re-wind project, so good!

perhaps he should restrict his act to just straight forward singing.

The party ended well after midnight with a drop of several

Great night

Great night

hundred balloons across the dance floor.   Now It was off to bed for the last time; early start tomorrow.
Balloons everywhere

Balloons everywhere

We arrived in Southampton at dawn, cleared our cabin and went to our last breakfast. Disembarkation was a well-choreographed affair and we had to wait ‘till 1000hrs before we were allowed off.

Disembarkation was straight forward and our cases were waiting for us, colour coded, lined up like little soldiers then we joined the Taxi queue; we should have pre-booked a taxi me thinks.

Final thoughts

When we left Spain at the start of December we had 120 days of travel in front of us, the longest holiday we have ever had and we couldn’t really see it ending. Unfortunately there is an end, and we have arrived there; sad I know.

Our highlights have been covered in our web site and overall it was an excellent experience though some issues did arise. For example, as the trip was so long we had to have additional special insurance at exorbitant cost, and thank goodness we paid for it, as we all know, Christine certainly used it!!! Do we plan further extended trips and swallow the excessive 1-off premiums, or do we manage trips within our 35-day limits; who knows. We also had an issue with the car insurance. Before we drove over to the UK our insurance broker pointed out that our car insurance would not be valid after 90 days, there was a shortfall of 30 days, and Spanish insurance people won’t budge on this, even with additional premium. We had to park the car securely in the UK and cancel our policy and then take another policy out, just before we started to drive back.

Before we left I think we had a slight worry that we may be bored, being away for so long but no, the time just flew by, possibly because we had different components to our trip. Many of the guests on the Queen Victoria did the round trip, Southampton to Southampton, 74 days in total, and speaking to many of them, they weren’t bored either. I have to say there were as many activities during the day and evening to entertain most folk and particularly the many different and varied Lectures; they were interesting, informative and entertaining, well done Cunard.

The main point of difference between Oceania and Cunard was the food and the size of the ships. Serena was small, 600 guests and specialised in the spectacular quality of food, but had limited entertainment. Cunard on the other hand had good food, 2,000 guests and better entertainment, so difficult to compare but we certainly enjoyed both.

We now have to plan our next adventure with the help of Harry O’ Hara, our excellent travel consultant who did a superlative job putting this 100 day trip together. With the various destinations, hotels, transfers and flights all working as planned, our holiday couldn’t be better. Thank you Harry O’ Hara, we’ll be in touch.

Our next adventure, watch this space......

Our next adventure, watch this space……

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