I have a secret… I know how the other half lives! I decided it was time to raise my sights, look to
the horizon and sail off to the seven seas for a holiday. My partner Deirdre asked me to assist her in her vocation. This vocation is the second best job in the world just behind Caretaker—Great Barrier Reef. Deirdre is a host for Cruise Specialists and Virtuoso on-board cruise ships around the world. Message starting to appear?
Deirdre requested I consider partnering her on the inaugural Cunard MV Queen Elizabeth round-the-world cruise! Thankfully my good looks and charm worked—apparently pleading on my knees didn‘t hurt – but I think it was the crying that made her finally dump her bestie for me. I was away.
I started by flying Business Class to LA. If you have seen my work clothes, you will think I’m lying, but thankfully my ex-sister-in-law was purser on board, so I was upgraded to business (don’t tell anyone). Now that’s a good start! Problem was I missed my connection in LA – PANIC. My luggage is gone. Then all flights were canceled because of snowstorms in New York. ―Business Class Mr. Brumpton? – no problem says the Delta girl as she smiles busily with the phone to her ear. US Homeland Security procedures work at chaos level in LA. I was relegated to third standby and I score the last seat to New York – lucky again… and in Business Class!
Wealthy North Americans, English, Germans and Japanese buy their summer heat by taking cruises away from the daily foot-high snow falls. A good idea I think. After donning my new navy ―Reefer jacket, brushing the last snow flake from my sleeve, waving my white Visa at the purser, and smiling for the cabin-pass camera, I made it up the gangway through ―the Grills shorter line – the Executive Class at Cunard is called ―the Grills. I‘m feeling gooooood! Deirdre made me walk three paces behind her with the luggage but that‘s OK- my smile was hurting.
Once on board, I examined every single inch of the boat starting, of course, in the Commodore Club. It is one of the really great cocktail bars that I was to become ever so familiar with. It overlooks the pointy bit in the front of the boat… the bow, apparently. I now know it well.
The ship was launched by Queen Elizabeth II in October 2010 so she is exquisite (the ship is too). Completed in Italy, it features marble, crafted woods, with a romantic turn of the century stylishness, enhanced by etched glass in an art nouveau fashion. The ballroom is styled after Queen Victoria‘s Osborne House. Thankfully they also have a stylized English pub. Oh – and apparently there‘s a gym on board; who would have thought!
So what does a fella do all day for four months? For me, this type of trip is really about discovering one’s inner aspirations, and then living them. Noticing whether the butler has laid out your dinner jacket correctly, whether the room service soup is hot, has General Cosgrove a wit, do the silver service waiters smile when serving your hard crusty buns during the Late Sitting, or whether your dance partner for the Ascot Ball has a good understanding of the Fox-trot and Quickstep as the ten piece band plays crooners till midnight.
But it‘s not all smooth sailing… there are hazards to living aboard. Toe-crunching while dancing can seriously interfere with your social standing on board. I mean invitations to cabin parties or the Captain’s table can quickly dry up. Thankfully, my skill on the dance floor is sufficient for an invite or two, or is it Deirdre‘s influence? Sipping Pimms at Croquet is difficult in heavy seas, running to catch the ship after a long lunch at Dukes on Honolulu is tiring, and the list goes on and on. Getting the picture?
I can tell you are concerned for my well being, so I‘ll finish with the Best Bit. It‘s what everyone asks. So for me, the Best Bit was having fun with my friend Deirdre; looking, feeling and touching the most fantastic monuments that mankind has created, from the Sphinx to Petra and the Dubai Experiment – with her, to see the contrast between developed democracy and dictators disasters, to luxuriate in spoilt splendor with the context to really appreciate it – and to allow it to influence me. The Best Bit is being with a friend – anywhere.
So now you know my secret, I do know how the other half lives and it was great……. I‘ll run off now to lunch. Harry‘s Cafe in the Mall has a really good salad sandwich special at $3.00 today – served with tongs.
Lucky To Have Tried a World Cruise