Tranquil Bay Crossing

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Our first night at sea was pleasantly calm, and our cabin, although not one of the larger ones, doesn’t feel too cramped, and has a large window instead of a porthole, which always earns extra brownie points in our book.

My first class was in the afternoon, at 2:30pm, which meant we didn’t have to crawl out of bed at a ridiculously early hour. Instead, we were able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and spend some time relaxing before the chaos of the first painting session in the afternoon.

After lunch, we headed to the area outside the Conference Room designated as ‘The Art and Craft’ space, to prepare for the class. There are 6 large tables there which, for most of the time, have blue covers on them to make them look nice. First job was to remove the covers and rearrange them into the layout that most suits my class. Setting up for the first class on a cruise always takes a little longer because everything has to be unpacked. One of the biggest challenges is also to prevent folks from sitting down at the tables until we’ve finished laying the painting materials out on them. In the daily programme, the session is down as starting at 2:30pm. Past experience has taught us that we should try and work as closely to that time as possible, and not let folks take to the tables earlier, because if someone turns up as 2:25pm and everyone is sat down, they assume the class has started early, and will complain (oh… will they complain…).

In fact, we’ve had so much aggro previously, that we’ve become quite strict, even if it looks cruel, at not letting folks sit down early.

I’m pleased to say that everyone who gathered to do the class were on their top behaviour. Not only was the class was full to capacity, but we were able to keep it to the one class and didn’t have to worry about having to run a second one.

I’m always quite drained after my first class, and all I want to do is drink tea and/or sleep. So we drank tea in Raffles Bistro and took a short walk around the ship before spending what was left of the afternoon in the cabin.

By 7pm in the evening, the in-cabin TV map told us that we were almost half way across the length of the Bay of Biscay. Other than a noticeable, but generally gentle, swell this morning, the crossing has been quite smooth, which is always a bonus.

This evening was the first Formal Night. We’ll put our glad-rags on and look smart, but draw the line at ‘full formal’ this time around. While some people seem to relish the dressing up thing, and eating posh in the restaurant, we still prefer to dine informally in the bistro.

Tomorrow will be our second full sea day (and my second class in the morning) as we head towards our first port-of-call, Lisbon, where we are due to arrive on Tuesday. We’ve offered our services as tour escorts and will probably be given tour duties, but for most of the ports, we hope to do be doing our own thing.

Peter Woolley

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