Travel: Crossing the Atlantic

Hello Friends,
Have you been on a cruise? Do you enjoy them? 

Earlier this month, I joined my father on a seven night cruise from NYC to Southampton, to visit Oxford and London.  We would sail to London (3,459 miles) and fly home.

My father had double knee replacement surgery this year and I didn't want him to travel alone.  He wanted to take cruise vs flying to avoid the small seats and gradual time change.  Did you know that at sea they adjust an hour a day, midday?

Leading up to the trip I was anxious since there is no way off the boat, January is the known for rough seas, and the news confirmed a terrible flu outbreak on the QM2. 

Cruise Highlights:

The QM2 made no stops… it was me, water, a boat, and a thousand senior citizens ~ photo to right was my uniform: headset, scarf, vest, sunglasses, ipod

I met Celia Imrie. She’s just delightful

Madame Butterfly - in 3D

The entertainment was okay. The violinist on board will be on Britain's Got Talent, he has a great spirit about him.

Satellite internet is very slow, and expensive, but kept me busy. I was able to be online everyday. I worked for a few hours each morning, keeping up with email, enjoying the view and consuming a lot of green tea.

Video Skype is amazing

My dad was a big hit!  There were at least 50 widows/single ladies for every one man on board.  I kept joking that I accompanied him to make sure he didn't get married.

Weather and the forecast kept me occupied:

We had rough seas until the very last day, when the water looked like glass. When I say rough, I mean glasses sliding off tables, performances cancelled, swaying, rain, and even snow.

I walked outside a lot, sometimes getting pelted with rain. As the boat headed east the north side of the ship took the hit... big waves (the deck was wet and sprayed up to the 11th deck at times)!  With the north side taking the 'hit', the south side was dry and a bit calmer.  For some reason walking and being on the deck calmed me. People watching and listening to music, podcasts, and books while walking. 

One day I walked a half marathon at sea but usually I strolled for an hour in the morning, midday, and sometimes before the sunset.  Sunsets are stunning at sea, everyone stands at the back of the ship to watch the last moment before darkness arrives (around 4:30). 

The weather was the highlight. Without the storms I wouldn't have had the opportunity to watch a rainbow rise from the water.

A spectacular sight!

This trip confirmed something for me, not everyone will enjoy cruising.  The list of daily entertainment / programs didn't offer enough variety for a long winter voyage.  By day three I had attended all of the options... but I do wonder if this was due to timing of our travels.  The week after Christmas, rough seas, and I also may have been the youngest person on the ship, by twenty years. HA! 
That said, my father and I have a new travel memory, the gift of time, and he showed me around Oxford. A place he holds dear.

I have crossed cruising off my list!
Next up: Part II, Oxford and London.