I haven't blogged in what feels like a very long time, I have been a busy bee on holiday and starting a new job.
Approximately 16 months ago my parents asked me if Tom and I would like to go on a cruise on The Queen Elizabeth, what a silly question, of course we said yes.
After lots of waiting the date of departure finally arrived and we set off nice and early to get to Southampton to board for 2. We were early and managed to board by about 1. We went straight to our room, known as a stateroom and not a cabin to see where we would be sleeping. We were greeted by a bottle of champagne on ice and the most comfortable king size bed I have ever seen. Our room was in the centre of the ship so we had no window but my parents and sister were booked into a room with a balcony so we planned to use their room as our window out into the world.
We first headed to the Lido buffet restaurant because we were hungry and we both ordered a pizza which was made in front of us, very tasty indeed. Then it was off to the commodore club to meet the family for a G&T to drink as we sailed off from Southampton. The Queen Victoria was leaving at the same as us so we got to watch her on her outward journey as well. From here we explored the ship and took in the many entertainment options on board.
That evening was the first time we dined in the Brittania Room which was where we would be dining for the four evenings on board. We were greeted by our very attentive waiters Persius and Sanjay who were so attentive it was incredible. Whilst on the ship I ate some of the most amazing dishes which included confit duck terrine, lobster tail, baked Alaska, crepes suzette and loads of other things. I even tried one of Tom's escargot and was surprised by how tasty and un-snaily it felt.
After dinner we went to the pub, it is called the Golden Lion and offers a lot of entertainment. We took part in the quiz the first night and on the third I sang karaoke...not sure what ever possessed me but standing in my ball gown singing was reasonably good fun.
Our first stop was at Guernsey and we had to take a tender from the ship to land, I am prone to sea sickness so this was not the most fun part of the holiday but I did manage to keep my eggs benedict down. Whilst it is a lot prettier St Peters Port is much like any other British town so we decided that we would catch a bus around the island to see the sights. It cost £2 each and was a regular service bus but we got lucky because our driver was also a tour guide for a coach company so we got free information whilst taking in the beautiful sights. I couldn't believe how beautiful the island is, Tom and I hope to holiday there next summer.
That evening we made our way to the theatre, a lovely room with boxes around the edges and terribly comfortable seats. We laughed as Adrien Walsh cracked many jokes, the one that tickled me most was the story of how after 60 your bottom is replaced by a pleat, I giggled for quite some time.
Fortunately we were blessed with some good weather and managed to spend some time in the pool and hot tubs on the lido deck when we got back from Guernsey. Tom and I were in the hot tub by about half past 10 on our third day which was to be spent on the ship.
After ordering room service for breakfast which was eaten in bed the ship day was spent mostly reading my book and enjoying the view from the window because not long after we got out of the pool the weather turned and it became very windy, to be expected out at seas though really. After a lot of wandering and food avoiding we eventually settled in The Queens Room which is a large room with a stage and is often used as a ball room. It is incredibly beautiful and rather decadent. At 3 the waiters started to set up for afternoon tea and the string quartet started to play. We must have drunk a gallon of tea each as the waiter filled us up before the cup was even half empty, it did get a little too much after a while. We ate lovely little sandwiches, cakes and scones.
That evening was the formal evening so we all headed back to our rooms to get dolled up, I loved it and the atmosphere on the ship reflected this. Everyone just looked so happy to have an excuse to get dressed up.
Our final day was spent on excursion to Bruges, we didn't have long to explore the town so it was mostly spent in typical Hall style by travelling from one type of food to another. I really wanted some Moules et Frites which is a Belgian traditional dish, they were huge and incredibly tasty! The streets were lined with chocolate shops, souvenir shops and beer shops. All incredibly tempting and in most cases impossible to resist. Bruges really was a beautiful city and I do wish we had been able to spend a lot longer there so much like guernsey I think Tom and I will pay it a visit soon.
Tom and my Dad took an excursion to Ypres and Flanders fields. I have only seen the pictures and heard what they have told me but it sounds to have been a very worthwhile and emotional visit.
When we woke up the next day it was time to disembark, a very sad occasion as I had started to feel well and truly at home. To be honest it is hard not to when your every whim is catered for. We headed down for a final big breakfast and then made our way to The Queens Room to be told when could disembark, we were off by 10 and shortly after heading home.
I don't think we can ever express how grateful we are to my parents for taking us along on this holiday. It has not only been a wonderful experience but a fantastic way to enjoy rare time spent together as a family. All in all an incredibly memorable and very special occasion.