Our cabin (or to be PC our stateroom)
The balcony was a decent size, with a table, two chairs and two foot stools.
The Atrium or Piazza as it is called in this class of ship, covered three decks in the centre of the vessel.
Each early evening a female string quartet,
or a small jazz band
or a piano player
would supply background music.
One afternoon we had four players from the Chinese National Orchestra, who played a short piece to advertise their evening performances.
On our second evening, while sailing between Naples and Santorini it was the first of four formal nights anticipated for the twenty-eight day cruise. This first formal evening was the evening when the Master and his senior staff were presented to the passengers, over drinks of course!
The Italian Master had been in command for the past seven months during the fitting out procedure and the first few weeks cruising around the Mediterranean. He left the ship for home leave when we arrived in Dubai, and was replaced by a British Master.
The Staff Captain was British, but he did not take over command in Dubai.
All the senior people, which included engineers, doctor, hotel staff, chefs, were presented to the passengers.
The Champaign fountain had been built during the afternoon and I was pleased that the sea was calm . . .
The maître d’ using two more bottles of Champaign for the trickle down fountain. Free welcome aboard drinks for all . . . . . . .
Most people dressed accordingly for a formal evening – dinner or dark suits, and the ladies in evening dresses.
Maureen (my wife) on the left – Will Wood from New Zealand, his wife Mei has yet to arrive, John & Fiona Cuthbert on the right. Both Will & John have recently retired after a life time at sea – both held command.
The badge on John’s cummerbund was presented to him by the officers of HMS Northumberland, during his and HMS Northumberland’s time in the Falkland Islands. John came from the Newcastle area in the UK.
I booked Maureen & I on the cruise and mentioned this to Will, who asked if he and his wife Mei, could come along, which pleased me greatly. We then ‘ganged’ up and persuaded John, who still lives in the UK to also join us.
The three of us joined HMS Conway together in September 1960, and have kept in touch off and on during the last fifty-seven years, so it was really great to meet up once again for the cruise to Singapore. A bit of a busman’s holiday for Will & John.
Knowing that we would have four ‘formal’ evenings I splashed out and bought a new suit – the original man in black. It was an ordinary suit because I no longer attend functions that require a dinner suit (not since the early 1980’s),
but I knew that I would blend in with a plain black suit.
On unpacking the suit in our hotel in Civitavecchia, to hang it and avoid creases, I found out that I had only packed the jacket. The suit was in a special carry bag and I’d forgotten that the pants had been sent away for a small alteration, and on their return I had left them on their own hanger instead of under the jacket . . . .
I visited every possible shop in Civitavecchia looking for a pair of black pants. They had black pants, but not my size.
Fortunately during our ‘walk about’ in Naples we passed a clothing store and I was able to buy a pair that matched the black of the jacket. . . . an expensive mistake, but I now have an extra pair of pants that matches the suit.
A small shop near the above location saved the day for me.