We set sail promptly at 16:00, 3 January, 2017. The Black Watch is a fairly small ship, just over 800 passenger capacity with a crew about half that. This leg of the around the world is far from filled, something like 540 passengers, of which just over 500 are UK and three (3) are US, of which we are two. We haven’t met the other one yet.
The food, accommodations, and amusements are certainly more than adequate. It is an older ship and the clientele are British. Daily entertainments include (but not limited to) bridge, whist, “knit & natter”, quoits, shuffleboard, and afternoon tea. Since people who have the time and resources for this kind of trip are of a certain age, we fit right in. I am, however, reminded of a quote from Gerry Sell, when she was advocating on behave of the people with limited mobility, “There are two kinds of people in the world; those mobility impaired and those temporarily not mobility impaired.”
Breakfast and lunch are buffet, like other cruises we have taken. Unlike other cruises we have taken, the staff prefers to seat us at tables with other people, which we have enjoyed very much . Dinner also has the option of a buffet instead of the more formal fixed time and table. We went with formal.
We chose the second seating at 20:30 (aka, 8:30) fearing the first seating could be overrun by Americans. We needn’t have worried. Our four dinner companions are quite agreeable, from towns in England that I didn’t understand the names of and have little understanding of exactly where they are.
John and Beverly: John spent 10 years in the Royal Navy (directing planes landing on an aircraft carrier,) then was in the motor trade (Lexus dealership.) Beverly, between raising kids, was an estate agent and ran a medieval restaurant in a medieval house she had helped restore. Second marriages for both, first spouses have passed away. They met when he was admiring her new Toyota.
Claudio and Carole: Claudio was born in Spain, lived most of his life in Chili. He now works (when he works) as a simultaneous translator for English and Spanish. He actually provides translators primarily to businesses for pretty much any combination of languages, including once finding a person fluent in both Welsh and Korean. In addition to English and Spanish, he can communicate in Italian, Portuguese, Castilian, German, and French. Carole is a journalist, now free-lance, typically Features, particularly a food critic. She is also doing a blog for cruise; I’ll get the link. They live very near Oxford; I know where that is.
Everyone is very gallant and supportive of Doré. It is still difficult to follow group conversations, but the table makes every effort to include her. It often brings her to tears when anyone is kind to her, and she is decidedly not a teary kind of person.
She is also very concerned that she is ruining my trip. Not having her along would have ruined my trip, but wait till you hear about our day on Madeira. It adds another chapter to our travel experiences.
Next port of call: Bridgetown, Barbados. Sat, 14 Jan.