Thursday 21st February 2013 – Barbados Birthday Day!
Oh dear the big Five 0 is upon me! And what better way to celebrate with friends in Barbados on my fave P&O ship!
Pot of tea in bed and opening of cards and presents (friends not present at this point lol). Lots of sparkly things for me today. Champagne breakfast in XVII had been arranged and our table on the terrace awaited. Fizz was on ice and served. Did I really need food or just the fizz? The sun was shining and it was just perfect gloriousness. More pressies and I love everything about my day. The lovely, lovely waitress came to me and gave me the most sincerest of birthday wishes and it totally made my day. She was so absolutely genuine and it was just so sweet of her.
I had researched, and planned very carefully, a special birthday lunch at The Tides Restaurant today but thanks to some stupid law of the day I took the decision to cancel. Government elections meant that the serving and display of all alcohol in Barbados was banned. I was less than impressed! Why did it have to involve the tourists? We weren’t voting! Why did it have to affect our lives? I can sort of understand why the government didn’t want the locals drinking until they had voted, but us? I hope it screwed up the local economy and I hope whoever got elected changes the law for next time. Anyway, a ‘dry’ lunch was not on the cards for my special birthday lunch so we decided to just chill!
No way was I stopping onboard the ship despite alcohol being allowed. The ship had become a embarkation and disembarkation lounge for turnaround day. From what I could see of the ‘departures’ board the first disembarkation from the ship was at 1.45pm. so why were people sat in Malibar and Blue Bar in jumpers, coats and anoraks doing suduko and waiting for transfer coaches to the airport at 10.00am in the morning? The announcements were starting so we needed to go ashore and come back when it was all over.
We decided to walk into town. If ever I tell you on the phone that Bridgetown is just a short stroll away don’t listen to me. I swear they had moved the town and beaches this morning. It was a long hard slog into town. It was hot! One shouldn’t moan but jeeze the beach seemed like miles away today. We eventually made it, into town, over the bridge, down the side of the Honda garage and there it was… the oasis of turquoise sea and fine soft white sand! Just another mile trek along the beach and Dee was there signalling to make use of his sun loungers and parasols. First question of the day was had he got any rum and beer on offer today? Lemonade and fruit punch (wink wink) was all available as per usual. Suddenly all was well with my day! The biggest effort that followed was trecking the few feet from sunlounger to sea and back again. It was hot! Breezy, but hot and the sun was very strong. We had to be vigilant. It was 6 months in clink for breaking the no alcohol law, but we survived undetected despite patrols of the beach. There were a few hawkers about touting paintings, beads, and whatever else the dodgy people sell, but all were polite and moved on quickly. OK, so it wasn’t quite how I envisaged celebrating my birthday, in fact it couldnt have been much further removed, but what was not to love. I was on a beach in Barbados, in the sun with my hubby and bestest friends. We briefly contemplated walking back to Azura but as if by magic Steven the taxi man appeared at our sunlounger from nowhere and $3 each we were back at the ship. The cruise terminal was cool, oh so cool. So cool I felt like lying down and rolling on the floor. The effort to stroll though it was massive. We made it alongside the ship and had to pass through security. Last week the in transit passengers had a separate security queue, today they wanted us to queue with the already processed passengers! P&O need to sort this out. I don’t know why the changeover of passengers has to interfere with the other set so much.
Back onboard the suite was the new oasis of the day. Flowers had arrived, its a day of surprises for me!
A lovely shower, hair done and it was nice to feel refreshed. Invited guests arrived and Deepak found time in his busy day to provide the best ever birthday afternoon tea. Lovely fresh sandwiches, warm scones, fresh brownies, lemon meringues, chocolate éclairs, sponge cake, chocolate chip cookies, jam tarts, clotted cream, jams, and two pots of fresh tea. It was just divine! I do love my balcony.It’s a fantastic entertaining space.
Dusk was falling but I had work to check on, certainly is no rest for the wicked, even on my birthday. Another knock at the door and I called out to come in. A voice called back that they would if they could. Who could it be? It was a delivery of cards and pressies from another bessie back in the UK. How nice of them to send a personal delivery lol. How did todays newly embarked passengers look so much fresher and relaxed than I did this time last week? I couldn’t let them go without a full tour of the suite. I think they like lol.
And so the duvet was calling me, but it was all too brief. There was another knock at the door. This time it was a nervous looking steward with a tray complete with ice bucket, champagne and glasses. When I saw who the card and champers was offmaybe he had every right to be nervous : ))
Casual dress code this evening but it was my birthday so I dressed accordingly. Not that I ever do casual dress code anyway.
We finally made it to Blue Bar for pre dinner drinks, every time we have tried last week it was rammed. The constant arrival announcements for newly embarked passengers were starting to get annoying now. Muster drill was being called. Shops were shutting, bars were closing. Why? I appreciate that safety is of the utmost importance but surely both can operate efficiently alongside each other? I got terribly wound up with he drinks service in Blue this evening! “Shaken and poured at tableside” Martini cocktails were offered in the menu – so I made a point of ordering a Mayflower Martini and requesting it shaken and served tableside in chilled glasses, as per the menu. They arrived ready poured, non chilled glasses and the waiter stood at the opposite side of the table. Stood over Mr C, nearly tipped his Brandy Alexander over his legs and then indicated to me that I needed to get up and take my martini from him when there was more than enough room for him to come and serve me from the side. The martini spilt down my arm. Then I dared to comment that it should be shaken and served at the table? The look I got said it all. ‘Madam they are only words, we do not serve as it states, P&O write the words not us’ well I was paying for it so I would like it served as stated. He made it quite clear that I was being totally awkward and repeated that it was not going to happen either this evening, or any other evening! Well we shall see about that! I don’t think it unreasonable that at almost £10 for two drinks one should receive a bit of service with them! I’m not unreasonable with any member of the crew, so why was he being totally unprofessional with me?
Dinner in Peninsular Restaurant was exclusively for last week’s embarking passengers. So quite why we had to be subjected to the entire safety drill complete with piercing seven short blasts is beyond me. We had a new waiter this evening and a new wine waitress, all very odd and another reason I don’t like the one week turnarounds. Our new waiter isn’t the most jolliest of waiters on the planet! Things are not going well! But the restaurant manger and section waiter did not disappoint. When they promised me the biggest ships Happy Birthday choir they really did mean it. I liked!!! Well done birthday boys! Mr C had ordered the luxury chocolate cake all by himself but not without stress by all accounts. Apparently the fact that the cake was required for the first day of a new cruise had caused logistical nightmares – P&O get a grip! I have had to say that all too often this cruise!!! Reception couldnt take his order for the day in question because it was a turnaround day, so he had to order for the day after turnaround, and then go back to reception once the new cruise updates were installed and amend to turnaround day. Shouldnt that have been P&O’s problem and not Mr C’s? Just as well I wasn’t ordering it myself. Mr C is far to laid back for his own good sometimes.
Back at the suite more champagne had arrived. The cake had been delivered, more birthday cards were on the bed due to another special delivery, an elephant towel animal sat guard. I needed to make space, hang up my dress and put my head on my memory foam pillow!
Friday 22nd February 2013 – at sea
Chillin is the order of the day! Couldn’t even be bothered to get out of bed for some breakfast. Even picking up the phone to Deepak to deliver some breakfast was too much of an effort, so we went without breakfast! Oh how will we survive? Mr C enjoyed his coffee from the coffee machine out on the balcony whilst reading yesterdays printed Daily Express, a suite perk.
I had work to catch up with, a bit of laundry to do, nails to paint, this evenings attire to sort out, and Mr C? Well he had to listen to the news and catch up with world events! What is this mans obsession with the news? He drives me nuts at times. I also needed to sort the suite out. It seems to be full of deliveries of various forms. Birthday cards, opened envelopes, canapés, birthday cake, flowers some of which are past their display dates now, champagne, ice buckets, gift bags, towel animals… yes I need to get straight!
Its hot on the balcony! The sun is shining directly onto it. The sea is blue and the wake is doing its hypnotising thing. The sky is blue and it’s not a bad Friday!
Mr C was glued to Sky News to see the outcome of some lunatics bail hearing and I went on a wander round the ship to see who and what I could see. The decks were rammed. There was sunshine to be had and passengers seemed determined to catch their fare share of it. It just confirms to me that balcony, preferably suite balcony life, is the life for me!
We decided to just chill today so that exactly what we did. We took up residence in Glass House for a couple of hours and caught up with Al, Wine host, who re joined in Barbados yesterday just a little tired and bedraggled. The Glass House seems to be as it should now and all is well with my Glass House world now that Al is back. Mr C enjoyed a flight of Exotic whites and I enjoyed a very nice glass or two of white. We had a trio of starters, disappointed that the king prawns had shrunk considerably but still rather yummy. A little later we had lunch – you will note that we did not take breakfast this morning so we are not making piggies of ourselves. All in all it was a nice chilled out day. And after that? Well that big bed, with soft, yet crisp, white sheets was calling. A few hours later I awoke and had a huge bubble infused Jacuzzi and then just chilled by painting nails, sipping on some chilled wine from the fridge and generally doing not a lot. Deepak has just swung by with beef and asparagus canapés so that was the perfect excuse to lay on a lounger on the balcony and check what the ships wake was doing.
Despite being early for pre dinner drinks we struggled to get into Blue Bar again. It was only 7.15pm and it was packed. By the time 8.00pm ticked by there were people lingering just waiting to pounce on any seat that might become available.
Dinner in Peninsular and if I’m honest it was the first meal I have actually enjoyed in there. Mint and pea soup, turkey roulade, oh yes and then there was desert … profiteroles they were not so good. Seemed a bit overcooked or stale. We had coffee and cointreau to make up for it and were one of the last to leave. We stood for a while watching the ballroom dancing in the Atrium. Bossy dance instructor lady must have got off last Barbados. Mr C went into the Casino for a £10 challenge, watched and assisted by Rodders but they soon came back without a pot of money.
We had a flyby on Malibar but that was its usual busy self, Changez are just too popular, so we continued onto Manhattan and waited for the George Michael tribute act. I will be honest and say that I didn’t feel like I was watching George himself, yet when I watched Robbie last week I did feel I was watching Robbie. This to me was more like a bloke singing George Michael songs. But it was enjoyable and he did get the passengers up and dancing and joining in. We ended up having a late night, a very late night as Mr C kept thinking ‘one for the road’ was a good idea!