If I seem to get my tenses a bit mixed up below it is (or will be) simply because I started writing this on 8th July but didn’t finish typing it up until 5th August. Sorry!
When Carla and Faith went on their Baltic cruise ten years ago they apparently struggled to fit afternoon tea in between finishing lunch and getting ready for dinner. I thought they were exaggerating – they weren’t!
My own experience of Cruise Fare on the S.S. Nevasa in 1968 was somewhat different – you ate in the “Refectory” (a.k.a. the Canteen) in shifts according to the number on a badge that you had to wear at all times (and which I still have).
The portions were adequate but were by no means excessive and only once did I do anything that could be construed as “overeating”. That was during the extremely turbulent passage during the Bay of Biscay. The ship did have stabilisers fitted but these were retracted in really rough weather (i.e. when they were most needed) in case the strain broke them off and as a result it pitched and rolled quite dramatically during that part of the trip.
At breakfast time you collected your tray with your cooked breakfast on it and sat on benches at one of the long tables running across the dining room. This table had a raised edge to stop any fore and aft motion from dumping your meal into either your lap or that of the person opposite you but nothing to stop the sideways slide that a good roll would induce.
At that stage of the trip there were three types of passenger among us.
- Those (myself included) unaffected by seasickness.
- Those who didn’t feel great but knew that they had to eat something.
- Those who just wanted to die and who took their tray of food but didn’t even want to look at it.
When the boat rolled the trays belonging to Type 3 above would begin an unstoppable, almost frictionless glide down the table. Type 2 would lift their tray to allow unhindered passage while Type 1 would do the same while simultaneously forking a sausage or similar from the visiting tray before reversal of the roll carried it back the other way! I do not think that the owners of those trays minded one little bit – all they wanted to do was to apply Spike Milligan’s patent cure for seasickness; “Sit under a tree”!
When things got calmer some of the naturally big eaters (excluding me) somehow managed to acquire badges for all 6 sittings, enabling them to eat as much and as often as they wanted. I did not ask how they got them but do not recall any stories of mysterious disappearances of pupils from other schools!
No such problems on THIS cruise!
Breakfast is buffet style with no limit on return visits, lunch is a similar arrangement in the same restaurants while dinner in the evening is a 3 or 4 course affair with waiter service. It is on 2 of these latter meals that we are required to dress formerly (as explained in the introduction) and on these occasions it does get rather difficult to tell the passengers from the waiters!
Because of excursions ashore messing up the timings of the other meals we have only actually managed to fit in the afternoon tea (also waiter service) mentioned at the start of this piece on one occasion but if we should get peckish there are burgers, pizzas etc. available from kiosks near the swimming pools at most hours of the day!
Anyway, I’m off now for a late breakfast and to continue my experiments to find a way of eating flaky croissants without getting a large percentage of them on the tablecloth!