Day 4 Monday 22nd October at sea
The extra hours sleep was welcome as we started our next sea day. The warm front was now a distant memory. I was out on the balcony watching the swell at 5.55 am and listening to our neighbour’s chanting their prayers.
Breakfast was relaxed in the Oriental. We chatted to our fellow passengers and shared tips about what to do in Ponta Delgado. I had now slipped into my diet free breakfast of orange segments, a smoothie and finishing off with a cheese omelette with mushrooms and bacon.
Photography lecture and our walk
I attended a short lecture on landscape and travel photography. This was presented by one of the ships photographers. Her images of Asia were excellent. I only wish that the A/V equipment had been better rather than all of her images being heavily pixelated. One image of a torn Prayer flag was in my opinion outstanding.
Our three mile walk backwards and forwards on the Promenade deck was next. I had forgotten just how narrow the Promenade deck was in places on Azura. As we were walking later than usual this meant that at times we were in queues going through these narrow spaces. This was especially happening as the deck narrowed towards the stern.
Ahead of us on one circuit we were confronted by a large group of crew members being lectured to. They then all went up to one of the lifeboats above us. We guessed that they will probably getting their safety drills on how to use the lifeboats.
Our reward for persevering with the walk was to head down to the Java cafe in the Atrium and to have lattes and cakes. The line dancing class was in full swing on the floor of the Atrium floor. Everywhere was crowded with passengers avoiding the chilly air outside.
Our extended lunch
Lunch became an extended stay in the Peninsular restaurant as everyone had decided to stay indoors and eat at the same time. Our servers apologised profusely that there would be a delay in taking our orders as they were very busy. Then we guessed that the other Peninsular Club luncheon taking place elsewhere on the ship had probably depleted the available staff for this restaurant.
My confusion continued with the new menu as I ordered cod, scampi and chips of the sharing menu. Two of our table companions also ordered the same meal. They was queried about how they wanted their meals serving. I looked around the restaurant and almost every table was occupied.
Our table companions were cruising for the first time. One couple wanted any advice on what to do once we arrived in the Caribbean. The other couple asked about what clothes would be needed for whale watching in Ponta Delgada. We suggested that many layers would be needed plus a hat as it would be cold and windy.
Our server returned and kindly suggested that we change to another meal. The fish and scampi meal was very popular and the estimated delay was at least another 30 minutes. We had no other plans for the afternoon so we decided to wait. On the nearby table we watched the arrival of their sharing platters of fish and scampi. I now understood my sharing meals were only half the platter but presented on the plate. Our table companions had earlier opted to have their meals on plates rather than a single platter. All became clear.
We received a couple more visits to offer other meals and more apologies over the delays.
The meal arrives
The staff in the restaurant could not have been more helpful or concerned. They clearly were stretched to cope with the demand this lunch time.
My meal when it came did have an unusual pea and batter addition to the fish and scampi. Mine did not have any peas inside when compared with the others on the table. This should have been an indication to leave it. In my mouth the fat from its deep-fried cooking oozed out. I suffered an upset stomach for the rest of the afternoon!
Afternoon in the cabin
The afternoon’s weather did not improve and we stayed in the cabin and watched a couple of movies on the TV. Again the sound was impossible to hear and I finished up standing so that I could see the screen properly. Watching the second movie, The Big Short, was shocking as it was about the collapse of the US housing market. It laid bare the greed and the fraud that caused the eventual banking collapse that made us all suffer so many years ago.
Outside the grey skies and rain reflected our feelings after the end of this movie.
Noisy Planet Bar
We went upstairs for a pre-dinner drink in the Planet Bar. The piano was very loud at our side of the bar. We soon missed the melodies of the Everglow Duo of the earlier evenings. Any conversation was impossible without shouting! We watched as ship’s officers, who were walking the tables, did not come to our half of the bar.
I ordered a Doom Bar to take down to the Oriental having remembered that we had a curry on the menu. After smoked salmon and a caprese salad the curry was excellent. A first on this cruise was mango chutney with the Chicken Makhanwla Curry. My desert was a version of mille-feuille.
We had missed the first show of the Beatle’s Experience when we had watch the comedian. We were early for the show and waited in the Manhattan lounge. On the screens there were a series of Beatles trivia questions and luckily also the answers!
Their show was excellent and even included one of my favourite tracks ‘Don’t bring me down’. Their encore was a rousing audience participation version of ‘Hey Jude’.
From the Captain’s Log:
At Sea (Noon Posn: 41° 03.9’N, 020° 25.8’W)
At 02:00 Azura retarded her clocks by 60 minutes, bringing ships time to GMT, 1 hour behind British Summer Time. By morning, Azura was 350 Nm west of Finisterre in North West Spain.
By noon we had steamed a total distance of 1,025 Nm since leaving Southampton.
Weather: Overcast, dry conditions
Wind: North Easterty, Force 7