Wed 1 Jan ‘14 – day 18 As the fireworks finished the ship cast off and unlike our arrival the weather was now clear and so all the landmarks were clearly visible as we set off down the River Tagus heading for the open sea. With the pilot disembarked a northerly course was set as the ship followed the coast of Portugal and Spain on the way back to her home port.
Having partied until the early hours it was time for bed as the sea state had increased quite dramatically and so a lie down was most welcome. I (just) heard the Officer of the Watch’s announcement at 08:55 hours, but closed my eyes and drifted back to sleep; the next thing I knew was a broadcast by the Captain just after 12:00 hours as he gave an updated on the weather and especially the sea state. The current six to seven meter swells would continue for some time, but once the ship has rounded Cabo Finisterre at about 18:00 hours and set a north easterly course across the Bay of Biscay, the ship would be heading more across the sea and so there should be less pitching.
I did the washing but will do the ironing once the ship was not bouncing so much.
There were very few people around the ship for the majority of the day as most were still feeling the effects of last night’s celebrations or they were unable to cope with the motion of the ship as it pitched and rolled, quite dramatically at times while steaming northwards.
By early evening the ship had subsided and so most people made dinner before going to watch the ships company perform the pantomime ‘Dick Whittington’. It was hilarious as it combined all the traditional aspects of a panto with comments about personalities on-board, P&O and the ship itself.
While most of the leading parts were played by members of the ships entertainments team or people from the Headliners Company, it was those of the ships company who had bit parts or were doing some basic routines that got some of the loudest cheers.
It was a great show with which to end the cruise.
Thu 2 Jan ‘14 – day 19 The sea had definitely subsided overnight and so passengers who had spent the majority of yesterday in the cabins had come on deck, even if only to get a breath of fresh air.
I had another pedicure and then followed that with a massage which I hoped would loosen my very tight muscles. And so it proved, Marina’s thumbs got stuck into all my knotted muscles and she really gave them the works as she pushed, prodded and pulled things back into place. For the first time since the middle of my trip to Japan I can now walk without worrying that my legs are going to seize up.
The trip across the Bay of Biscay had been very smooth compared to the outbound journey and once the ship had rounded Ushant and was heading up the English Channel towards her home port any rough weather was behind us.
I spent the afternoon doing work in the cyb@study, checking rugby records and putting photographs into albums – this is about the only time I get to do this so I am about three or so years behind.
The final dinner is always a bit of a let-down as you dine with your table companions for the last time, never knowing whether you will see them again. But the wine flows, if only moderately as people have to drive tomorrow and then it is the last handshakes or kisses and time for bed.