Off in the Veendam

Saturday, 4th June

It has been a big day. We revisited Place Jacque Cartier and chose a pretty flower bedecked restaurant for breakfast. The prices seemed reasonable so we ordered pancakes with strawberries, cereal with yoghurt and tea for me and coffee for John. The menu said espresso but I warned John! He didn’t listen and even ordered a double shot. It was basically a double shot of percolated coffee if that is possible and they charged six dollars for it. imageIt took a while to get over the bill but we found some beautiful and interesting buildings including a large market called Marche Bonsecours and the Musee Marguerite-Bourgeoys. They weren’t open so early in the morning but the buildings were impressive. We then crossed the railway line to the waterfront area which is made up of a big top housing Circe de Soleil, children’s parks, zip lining, bicycle and segway hire, rows of containers operating as stalls and a huge ship on dry land designed for climbing on. Grace and Harry would have a ball.

imageA bit before 11 am we checked out and wheeled our bags across the railway line to the pick up point. Soon we were in a mini bus on our way to the ship. In about half an hour we had filled in our papers, had our photos taken and were crossing the gangplank.

imageOur room took a bit of getting used to as on our last two cruises we have had balconies. This time I opted for a window only (another economy measure) and we weren’t sure if I had made the right decision. However we reversed the pillows on the bed and could lie down watching the world go by so are pretty happy now. So far the shore on either side is not too far away and we can see typical picturesque Canadian houses sliding by. At least we don’t have to close the curtains unless we are in port.

It was 12 o’clock and the Lido Bar was open so we found our way there and had lunch. Next was a tour of the ship by Joel whose accent led us to believe he was from the North Island of New Zealand and we were right. Originally we weren’t going to book a fancy restaurant but decided to try the Pinnacle on the second formal night. It is $39 extra a head so had better be good. The drinks package at $45 a head a day plus tax seemed a bit steep as I don’t think we could drink that much so we will just pay as we go.

The Mandatory Passenger Safety Emergency Drill was next. We had to report to Level 6 under Lifeboat 3. This took a long time as a roll had to be called and missing people chased up. Eventually we were freed and it was nearly time to leave. On Deck 11 they were offering $10 cocktails (keep the glass) but we opted for a prosecco beside the pool. There were lots of children here but I have become more tolerant now I am a grandmother and besides, it’s a relief to see someone who isn’t 103. The ship moved away from the wharf and began its voyage to Quebec, where it will arrive at 4.00 am. We can go ashore at 7 so have ordered room service for 6.30 am.

We had booked dinner for 7.00 pm and were seated on our own at a table for 2. The people at the next table were Japanese so we talked for a while and found we had many things in common. The main difference was their ability to speak English far surpassed our ability to speak Japanese. John ordered a bottle of Grant Burg Shiraz which we planned would last two nights. It seems to have about a third left so looks like a lean night tomorrow. The meal was quite OK and better than anything we have eaten recently on land.

imageThe entertainment tonight was a showcase of all the acts on the ship. We were surprised to see our life jacket demonstrator was also a singer and entertainer. You have to be multi purpose on a ship.

I was really tired by this time but John had a new burst of energy. We wandered past piano bars and jazz groups, people dancing and playing gaming machines until we came to the library and games room. There is a great collection of books and John was soon in a comfy chair facing the water reading about the Berlin Wall.

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