Vigo and towards home

8th November – Vigo

There are some nights on a cruise when you wonder what was I doing in bed, and last night was one of these. Oceana was being tossed around by a swell that reached 5 metres (or a little more) and that is nearly the height of a house. This ship is tens of thousands of tonnes in weight and was being continually lifted and dropped by these surges of water.

My Fit Bit told me that I had NO meaningful sleep until after 4:00 as I listened to the roar of the sea, and coughed very regularly. I could sense each time being lifted up by the waves, and then waited for the dropping feeling as we came down again. Art the end of each descent was a boom as we hit the bottom of the waves, and when it was one of the really big oneswe had an enormous crash and juddering as poor Oceana sorted herself out again.

Eventually the swell reduced as we began to go nearer the Spanish coast and I finally managed to get to sleep. Then Deb and I were both woken suddenly by a horrendous roar outside the cabin door.

There had been a leak, and the lads were hoovering up the water from the carpet… but this was at 5:30!

Deb was not happy. She got up, opened the cabin door, and shouted that we were trying to sleep. Whoever it was out there attempted an initial plea that the carpet was wet, but soon knew he had lost, and the machine was switched off. It wasmade even worse by the peopleinvolved who were chattering as they worked, but the nosie of the machine meant they had to shout.

There was still a bit of the night left to get some more sleep, but soon we heard the sounds we had become accustomed to as Oceana approached her berth in Vigo. The cabin we have is very nice but is just one cabin away from the most regularly used door to the outside when we dock.

It was time to get up and with very bleary eyes to make some tea. My throat was still sore, and the cough still annoying me. I think things are a little better, but I am now so tired from lack of sleep.

We had breakfast in the calm atmosphere of the restaurant, but very restrained with just juice and cereal plus the toast. This morning we made a point of asking for four slices of toast rather than the automatic three pieces. Why they think an odd number of slices is a good idea I just cannot fathom.

Anyway, with breakfast over, and a moan at the reception desk about the 5:30 wake up issues, we relaxed a little before going out into the city of Vigo.

The weather this morning was a little grey and overcast as we arrived, but the sun did make a rather cool appearance as trhe day went on. There were a few hardy souls trying to worship the sun on deck during the afternoon, but it was certainly not warm enough to expose too much skin.

Deb and I set off for a stroll at around 10:00 with no intention of doing much. I did have to go into a chemist to get some more throat lozenges, and this proved very expensive. The 9 Euros was as much as coffee and cakes elsewhere, but will probably last a lot longer.

After perhaps 45 minutes of walking up and down hills and peeking into shops, we made our way back to the ship for the final time on the cruise.

I have seen a lot of bad Face Book posts about Oceana saying she was tatty, showing her age, needed a refit etc, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how good she looks. The external paintwork is generally very good, and the crew are continually tarting up the odd rusty spots. Inside the décor is as good as I remember it from 15 or so years ago. The Atrium is of course the focal point of this ship and a lot of people enjoy sitting there all through the day. If there are a few weak points, it has to be the lifts. There have been lifts out of order on every day, and when they are working they are moving so slowly, that people tend to jump into any lift, going in either direction, and put up with going the wrong way initially before getting to their desired floor. Of course that means the lifts stop at floors where people are no longer waiting, an hence slow the service down even more.

My major concern is still the food. I am not a food expert, and I am willing to experiment with different styles of cuisine, but I do expect taste. The dishes all seem bland. Yes, I know that hundreds of people say the food is brilliant, but I will still highlight that a piece of beef covered in soggy pastry is NOT Beef Wellington.

Before we left Vigo at about 4:00, the captain gave us a quick chat about the voyage to Southampton. The swell would continue as we return to the Ocean and probably increase as we round Cape Finesterre to begin the passage across the Bay of Biscay. As the evening and night goes on, that swell will reduce and a following wind should make the crossing quite comfortable. He did warn us that another storm is coming to batter Britain, and we will feel that as we round Ushant Point and go into the Channel.

Just before having our showers, the Deck Housekeeping Supervisor came to discuss our early morning wake up problems. He apologised and understood how it affected us. It was not his fault, it was not the crew’s fault who were given the task to clear up the water, but it would been nice to have had a tap on the door and a warning before the racket cket began.

The afternoon was rounded off by Deb winning the Individual Quiz with 20/20. It means she has won the first, and probably only golden sticker for the cruise.

We had dinner in Café Jardin, and the on-board credit has now been finally spent. The meal was lovely – yes it had true taste and flavour – but just too much for us. Deb is now showing the initial signs and symptoms of the bad throat, and lack of appetite is one of them.

After eating we sat for a few minutes in the Atrium with our books, but bored with that we decided to go to the cabaret show in the Starlights Lounge.

It was from the guitarist Paul Ruck and backed by the resident band ‘Pulse’. It was superb with his versions of songs by Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, and even Procul Harem. This man is someone to go and see, as long as you enjoy rock and guitar solos… and Pulse were really good as a backing.

That was enough for the day, so we took to our beds with the pills and potions to get us through the night.

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Saturday 9th November – Sea Day to Southampton

The night had been kind to us, and we both slept well. My throat is easing, but Deb is now suffering.

After breakfast Deb sat quietly with her tablet and I updated my diary.

The captain has just announced that the sea conditions are much better than yesterday, and will stay reasonably good for the crossing. But, as he warned us yesterday, there is a storm brewing in the Channel, and it will catch up with us. In the meantime he is hammering Oceana along as fast as he can to get ahead of the storm if possible before we dash up the Channel to Southampton.

Today I will hopefully go and listen to the choir to see how good they sound (without me). Apart from that, the evening has another show from the Headliners called ‘Dream Lover’ that we haven’t seen before.

That just leaves the packing.

Well, that is all from Oceana, but I will post again when we settle in back in Roseland Parc. The cruise has been what we expected, and for a couple of weeks we have forgotten the last cardboard boxes, and piles of ‘bits’ that still need somewhere to sit in our new home. Over the next few days we will be ordering a new fridge freezer, and there is a little matter of my appointment with the surgeon to discuss the future of my knee.