Days 314 – 330 (April 11th – April 23rd) Walvis Bay, Namibia to Southampton via Tenerife

8 days at sea, 2 tropics and the equator to traverse before reaching the Spanish island of Tenerife. The crossing the line party was a little tame compared with our first time in the Pacific, with 2 smallish trout and an effeminate King Neptune…………..but the weather was fabulous

Tenerife was a treat, stopping off in Santa de la Cruz and meeting Debi & David who just happened to be on holiday in the south of the island and caught a bus up to spend the day with us. We found a quiet outdoor restaurant for tapas, sangria and beer and spent the afternoon catching up before returning aboard. Walking around the town, which has some lovely colonial buildings, we noted the birdsong, blackbirds and warblers, sounds we hadn’t heard since May 2022.

Internet is Cunard’s Achilles heel. This “service” at $24 a day for basic access and $36 daily for streaming is not quite useless enough to justify being completely out of touch for days at a time but is dreadful enough to make use extremely slow and frustrating. Simply updating this blog could take 2 hours a day, most of which was waiting for the page to download and trying to speak with Tali on Whatsapp was a painful experience. In port we quickly learned that buying a local SIM for substantially less than the wifi cost was a much better way to make internet phone calls and download content to view later. It is rumoured that the system will be upgraded later this year, a wise move as it is the subject of more ridicule than anything else on the ship.

Throughout the trip Cunard has had a sequence of guest speakers, performers or celebrities on board to entertain or inform guests. These vary from guest lecturers talking on a variety of topics ranging from history, the building of the QM2 to bridge instructors. The most interesting and, to be frank, the only lectures we attended, were delivered by John McCarthy who was taken hostage in Lebanon in 1986 and his story made him and his fiancée at the time very well known. He was followed by Naga Munchetty, BBC presenter and journalist, who was interviewed by the dreadful entertainment director but still came across very well although it could be argued she made more of an impression on the dancefloor/karoake that night! A real star, Alfie Boe, came aboard in Tenerife and performed a night or 2 later. It was certainly the best show put on by Cunard since we embarked in Sydney.

We’d learnt on Seaborne that complaining about unsatisfactory issues, if legitimate, could be fruitful in terms of discounts and refunds. On this occasion, after lots of noise on the deck above, Cunard did the right thing although an apology is still pending for getting Helen’s title and name wrong…

As we sailed across the Bay of Biscay we overtook Queen Victoria, an event which required the dusting off of the ships whistles…

We were sailing north at the time of peak bird migration as birds which winter in Africa or southern Europe migrate north to breed. Even so it was surprising to see swallows, a kestrel and a yellow wagtail aboard as we’d not passed nearer than 40 miles to land since leaving Tenerife

Finally, docking in Southampton early…the Queen Mary 2 left Southampton early Jan 2023 and covered a total of 31750 nautical miles before reaching Southampton again, 103 days later.

Cunard persist in encouraging tipping of staff despite every purchase onboard being supplemented by an obligatory 15% service charge. This can be done in 2 ways. Either guests accept that for each sector (of which there were 3 on this trip) a fixed amount is debited from guest accounts (approx $17 a day each) or guests can ask for this not to be done and so they can pay cash directly to staff they feel deserve it more (or not). The last day requires envelopes stuffed with cash (or not) being surreptitiously handed to favoured staff members in the hope that those less favoured won’t notice!

That night, unable to disembark until the morning there was still time for drinks with my new best friend David…..

With a sore head on the Sunday morning, we looked out and realised the dream was over…

The early arrival was no accident. It turns out the ship had mechanical issues (one rumour being an engine turbine) and we later learnt that the anticipated departure to New York later on the 23rd was cancelled as was the return trip a week later. Looking on the Cunard Facebook page and it seems there were a lot of very unhappy guests!

That’s all folks until the next adventure!

One thought on “Days 314 – 330 (April 11th – April 23rd) Walvis Bay, Namibia to Southampton via Tenerife

  1. 👍🥰welcome home! You brought a little sunshine with you too although a bit more warmth would be nice. Hope to see you soon. Xxxxxx

    Sent from my iPhone


Comments are closed.