Heading South

After waking up several times in the night (we were still on UK time) I lay awake for some time listening to the waves washing against the side of the Braemar before deciding to get up at 6.00am. 🙂

It was so exciting to be at sea, heading south at a rapid pace, and I couldn’t wait to explore the ship and looked forward to whatever the day had in store. I went out onto the balcony in the balmy, tropical heat and watched the sun rise, before taking a refreshing shower.

We went to the Palms Café for breakfast, and there the first surprise of the cruise awaited us – free champagne! (well, sparkling wine). You could either add it to the orange juice and make a Buck’s Fizz, or drink it plain and chilled (the only way, as far as I’m concerned). I enjoyed two glasses with my breakfast which created a festive, holiday atmosphere; a great start to the day. Cheers, Fred! 🙂

After breakfast we went outside for a stroll around the deck. It was not yet 8.00 o’clock but already the sun was very bright and hot. You could easily be deceived by just how hot it was because of the brisk sea breeze. We sat up on the almost-deserted pool deck for a while before taking a walk to the bows. Now the Braemar is an unusual ship in that passengers are actually allowed to go right to the bows of the ship; most ships don’t allow this because of safety reasons, as the capstan and chains and other potential hazards are situated there. It made you want to do what Kate Winslet did in the movie Titanic. 🙂

It was so pleasant at the pool deck that we went back to our cabin and changed into our swimming things, before applying the Factor 30 sun tan lotion. Normally I would only use a factor 8 or 10, but we were heading closer to the Equator all the time, and with the sea reflecting the sun’s rays it would be far too easy to overdo it and burn. Going back to Deck 8 we bagged a couple of sun loungers before taking a refreshing plunge in one of the two pools. It’s quite good in the pool when the ship is at sea; the motion of the vessel causes waves to go backwards and forwards in the pool and it makes the experience quite exhilarating.

We stayed on the pool deck for an hour or so before getting dried and changed and making our way to the Neptune Lounge (the ship’s main show lounge) for an informative lecture on the flora and fauna of the Amazon River.  The Amazon is the mightiest river on the planet and contains a fifth of all the fresh water.  It is an amazing wealth of trees, plants and wildlife such as birds, monkeys, fish, crocodiles, manatees (also known as sea cows) and of course onca pintada, or the jaguar.  It was a really interesting lecture.

After the lecture we went back to our cabin and changed for lunch. We went to the Palms Café and ate outside, next to the Lido Bar. From here we could see and hear the ship’s wake. We enjoyed a couple of ice cold beers and whiled away a pleasant hour or so in the sun, talking to our fellow passengers and just enjoying being on holiday and not at work. 🙂

Later that day I went to the hair salon and had my hair put up in preparation for the evening’s formal cocktail party.  We got dressed up and went along to the Neptune Lounge for more free champers and to be greeted by Captain Magnus Rodberg, the Norwegian master of the Braemar.  The captain was a bit of a joker and made an amusing speech.  We managed a few refills of our glass before making our way to the Grampian Restaurant on Deck 8.

We were allocated table 35 and met our table companions for the first time.  There was Colin and Liz Edwards from the Rhondda Valley in Wales, and Paul and Lyn Foster from Devon.  Tonight was to be the first of many enjoyable evenings spent in their company.  As ever, the food in the restaurant was excellent and very well presented and served.  I tried hard not to eat too much!  🙂

Then it was off to the show lounge for tonight’s cabaret; Scottish comedy entertainer Ron Dale.  He came onto the stage in full Scottish dress playing the bagpipes at which he was very good.  We soon discovered he was a better musician than comedian; most of his jokes had made me fall out of my cradle laughing.  He was mildly amusing, however.

Then we finished the night doing what we were to do every night of this cruise; go along to the Skylark Club for the quiz.  We met up with Colin and Liz who joined us for a couple of drinks.

Afterwards it was off to bed, once again with the balcony doors wedged open.  🙂

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