This morning we opted to sleep in later than usual as we were both pretty worn out from yesterday. We took our time taking showers, packing and getting ready for today. Plus, I had unlimited internet that I did not want to give up and we had asked for a late check out. The hotel had a shuttle to the docks, so we had them store our luggage while we grabbed a bit of lunch – yes we actually skipped breakfast. We scheduled the shuttle for 14:00. The bellman was kind enough to take our luggage all the way onto the boat. Check–in has just begun, but I am letting the crowds get through first. It already seems as though there are more Americans on this trip. This boat seems so small since we have just sailed in on the QM2. We are seated out on the sun deck, taking in the views. I found out that there is just one computer on board that you can use, and no wifi. So sad for me. I will have to post when we are in port in the towns.
They made an announcement that we were able to check into our rooms. That was certainly easy – all they needed was our passport and then we were taken to our stateroom. The room is small, but very well appointed. Every space in the room has its own purpose. Our luggage is so large that it took up most of the floor space. We will need to pick out some clothes for the week so that we can stow our bags under the bed. We decided to deal with that later and went back to the lounge where they had a light buffet lunch. We had a little snack and ordered a Grolsch. This is one of my dad’s favorite beers, so we decided to call him and tell him about it. It was about 9:15 EST, so we knew he would be up. As always, it was so nice to be able to have some contact. After talking with him I called Hunter to see how things were going for him. Once the phone calls were made we went back up to the sun deck.
The crowd slowly gathered and before we knew it we were setting sail. The scenery is so picturesque. This really is such a great way to see the countryside. While we were seated up there we met a couple from Winston-Salem. It was then time to head down to the lounge for the briefing by the captain, travel director and hotel manager. We sat with a couple from New Jersey who were extremely friendly – it’s going to be hard to remember all of these new names! The captain began the presentation and we found out all of the pertinent information about the ship and what to expect over the next few days. He also made a point to inform us of where the fitness center is located. I am going to try and hit that tomorrow.
Next it was time for dinner. The atmosphere here is much much more casual, so we didn’t need to “dress” for dinner. Since the ship is a total of 3 decks, they do not have elevators, but mom is handling the stairs very readily. The dining room is on the lower deck, so we went down and decided to sit with a couple from Pennsylvania. We had a really nice conversation over dinner. The menu was pretty diverse, and they have a section called the “chef’s choice”, which we decided to try. We started with the beef Carpaccio, followed by creamed chicken soup with asparagus, tilapia with lobster sauce for an entrée and coconut cake for dessert. I am continually surprised how the desserts are typically not very sweet at all (makes you feel less guilty about eating them!). They have complimentary wine at dinner, so we tried the chardonnay, and it was very good. We were finishing dessert when we looked out and saw that we were slowing down and that there was a large wall next to us. We realized that we were entering the first lock. We excused ourselves and went up to the top deck where it was so foggy and cold! You could actually see your breath in the air. It’s by far the coolest air we’ve felt since leaving. We were only about 12-14 inches away from the wall on one side.
We could see the water filling in from the other side. Neither of us has been through a lock before, so it was really fun to watch, even in the cold. We came back down to the lounge to warm up with a cup of tea. We stopped by the info desk on the way back to the room to find out where I can get wifi in Cologne, and there is a spot! We will arrive there tomorrow afternoon and stay overnight. We are now back in the room and are going through another lock as I type this and we are now moving again. Looking forward to a good night’s rest and an exciting day tomorrow.