Thursday July 29th
I awoke around 8.00 am, sad in the knowledge that this was our last full day on board the ship after such a great cruise.
A leisurely breakfast at Lumiere`s being waited on, seemed like a good idea so off we went.
Most of the morning was spent just lazing around the Quiet Cove Pool [even though we had to wrap our legs in blankets!], interspersed with a bit of last minute shopping and collecting our final batch of photo`s from Shutters…..it was amazing how many photos had been taken of us by the ship`s photographers on this cruise, and their cost will surely take a huge chunk out of my wallet when the on board account is settled!
At 1.00 pm we met up with Doug & Michelle outside Topsider`s and soon Tim Moss [the pianist from Sessions] arrived for our lunch date.
Over lunch Tim reiterated how much he had enjoyed the surprise party that we had organised on his birthday, and he went on to say how much he hopes that we will be back on-board the “Magic” before too long.
He then asked me all about the stories behind the autographs that I had collected in my youth of the numerous bands of the 60`s.
He also managed to get me a bit jealous when he told me about meeting Eric Clapton`s band when they were on tour and staying at the hotel in Canada where he was playing a few years ago.
He became friends with Nathan East who was Eric`s bass player at the time who gave him tickets for one of the gigs along with passes for the after show party. Apparently Eric didn`t attend the party though, and Nathan told Tim that this was mainly because nowadays Eric is tee-total and thus avoids these events.
We later finished off our packing as our bags had to be placed outside our stateroom by 10.00 pm this evening and we didn`t want a mad rush after dinner.
Our dinner this evening was at Parrot Cay, and as is customary on the last night of the cruise it was a “Till We Meet Again” dinner where all of the servers leave the room and then re-enter each carrying a flag of many countries around the World and march around the restaurant, while “It`s a Small World” is played on the pa system.
After exchanging contact details with our other dining partners [Robert & Margaret], and handing our tip envelopes to the servers, all of us headed down to Sessions to say our goodbyes to Tim.
After a short time, Tim had to go to Rockin` Bar “D” where he was to provide the backing music to the “Pub Night” at this location when the on-board entertainment staff did a skit on the stage “If I were not upon the Sea….” to which we all attended before returning to Sessions after the show`s finale.
After a final sing along with Tim and the great bar staff in Sessions, we sadly said our goodbyes to all of them, promising to see them all again as soon as we are able to do so.
Friday July 30th
It was a bright sunny morning when we arrived back in Dover where we docked at around 7.30 am. I stood on our veranda for a while watching the activity going on along the dockside as all of the bags were being transported to the arrivals hall and the ship was taking on provisions for the ships departure later in the day on its repositioning cruise to the Med.
The cliffs of Dover looked great in the early morning sunshine.
After vacating our room shortly before the required time of 8.00 am and saying our “Goodbyes” to Sean [our Stateroom Host], we made our way to Parrot Cay where our rotation dining arrangement had placed us. [i.e. the same restaurant where guests had taken dinner the previous evening]
Over breakfast, I noticed that Dani was trying hard to disguise the fact that she was in tears. I averted my gaze before it “got me going” as I heard Michelle reassuring her that we will all be meeting up again next year so she won`t be saying “Goodbye” but “Au Revoir” to my DW and I.
After hugs and kisses from Robert, Margaret, and their family, we bade them farewell after which we said our “Goodbyes” to the dining room staff who had taken such good care of us throughout the cruise, before Doug, Michelle, Dani, my DW and I made our way to the Atrium where a couple of CM`s waved us off the ship.
As we were among the last to leave the ship it was easy to locate our bags, and a porter was at hand offering assistance which we gratefully accepted.
Our exit from the hall was to the right, and for a moment we had lost our friends who had to exit to the left in order to board a bus to take them to London where they were to spend a couple of days before returning home.
We then saw all three of them rushing down the hall towards us where we hugged each other and said our goodbyes.
I will never forget the image of Doug as he lifted my DW off the ground and whirled her around, and I saw a couple of tears running down his face. As Doug is a huge guy, not obese, but of the “pumping iron” variety [he has played the roles of Tarzan, Hercules and Conan for US and Disney in LA and has competed for the Mr. Universe title a few years ago], this was indeed a rare sight to behold.
Surprisingly, we never had to show our passports or pass through any Customs inspection which seemed very odd.
Therefore with more than a slight tinge of sadness, it finally dawned on us that our cruise had come to an end as we exited the building where our taxi was waiting to take us on the 200 mile journey home.
Roll on 2011 when we hit the high [and hopefully warmer!] seas again!