En Route to Cape Verde

We got up early this morning in order to be in the Palms Café in good time, as experience on Fred Olsen ships had taught us that there would be a free ‘champagne’ breakfast, because tonight is the first formal evening. On Fred ships, whenever it is a formal night, they always put bottles of sparkling wine next to the juice dispensers so passengers can enjoy a Buck’s Fizz or two, and today was no exception. 🙂

After an enjoyable breakfast of smoked salmon, cold meats, fruit and a couple of glasses of the free plonk we went outside on deck for a wander about. The weather had faired up and the clouds were few, so went right to the bow of the Braemar and enjoyed the feeling of the sun warm on our backs. The Braemar is one of only two ships we’ve been on (the other was the SuperStar Gemini) which allows passengers to go right to the front of the bow, and you can almost feel as if you are the ship’s figurehead as she glides through the calm Atlantic waters.

Back in cabin 7050 we went out and sat on our balcony while the cabin stewardess, Meemi, cleaned our room. I did some kumihimo braiding, read my Kindle and just generally whiled away the time in a pleasant and relaxing way.

At lunchtime we partook of a light al fresco meal up at the Marquee Bar on the pool deck, and enjoyed an hour or so sitting in the sunshine. Then around 2.30pm we went into the Neptune Lounge to listen to a presentation about the bombing raid during the Battle of Britain which was very interesting.

Trevor stayed for the next lecture by a retired Scotland Yard policeman, but I went back to the cabin to get showered and start getting ready for the Captain’s Cocktail party. As we are on first sitting at 6.00pm, the cocktail party was at the ridiculously early time of 5.15pm, so it meant putting on formal evening dress and DJ for Trevor which was, effectively, at tea time. The problem is that the second-sitting passengers who dine at 8.30pm were still dressed in their shorts and t-shirts, while the earlier diners were a complete sartorial contrast dressed to the nines.

Personally I think if there is a formal dress code it should be enforced in public rooms throughout the ship from a certain time, say 6.00pm.

I wore a gorgeous floor length black velvet Gothic dress with long black velvet gloves and a black lace choker, and wore diamanté platform shoes with 5” heels. Quite a few people commented on the dress, which is certainly different from how you see most people dressed on formal night (in fact, some of them need to look up the definition of the word “formal”).  🙂

As ever, once we arrived at the doors of the Neptune Lounge at 10 past 5, we joined the lengthy queue until they opened the room at precisely 5.15pm. Everyone poured in and we managed to get a seat near the front, before the cocktail waitress came with her tray of drinks.

The master of the Braemar on this cruise is Captain Bent Ivar Gangdal (who we’ve inevitably nicknamed Bent Over, ha ha), and he introduced his senior officers and did the usual little speech about how wonderful it was to see everyone on board enjoying a Fred Olsen cruise etc etc.

We enjoyed another couple of drinks each before spotting George and Barbara and going over to sit with them, where we spent some time reminiscing about the Funchal cruise before it was time to go to dinner at 6.00pm. Right now, Braemar was crossing the Tropic of Cancer, so fair weather and warmer waters beckoned.

I decided to give dinner a miss and just join the others on table 123 at the coffee stage. I often miss meals on cruises because it’s just too easy to eat far too much, so it’s nice not to feel like a stuffed pig when going into the show lounge. Instead, I enjoyed a couple of glasses of cava in the Morning Light pub, then joined Trevor and the others at around 7.30pm, just in time for coffee.

When we got into the already-full Neptune Lounge, we found seats that were partially obscured by a pillar, but we still managed to enjoy the show, which was a female singer accompanied by the Braemar Orchestra.

Then it was along to the Coral Club for the quiz; we spotted some spare seats neat the front and formed a team with another couple, but we still didn’t win.

At half ten the Braemar Show Company put on another excellent singing and dancing show, while we enjoyed a few more (free!) drinks, then made our way back to 7050.

Tonight the clocks went back an hour to Cape Verde time, so we would enjoy an extra hour in bed.

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