On Monday, April 27, we woke up quite late again, so we had breakfast at the Lido restaurant, and went straight to the Royal Court Theater to listen to the lecture by Howard L. G. Parkin “The Constellations – Myth, Legend And Mystery”, right after which we attender another lecture, this time by Simon Dinsdale, in which he shared some of his experiences as a Royal Family bodyguard.

After a light lunch, we went to the library. It may not be the Queen Mary 2’s library (the largest at sea), but it had a very nice selection. I took my wife’s expert advice for a “smart Victorian page turner” and checked out Wilkie Collins “The Moonstone”. I also took a nice poetry anthology, looking forward to discovering more poems by W. B. Yeats, Thomas Hardy, Emily Jane Brönte, William Blake, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Clare, John Wilmot, Jonathan Swift, Anne Finch, William Shakespeare, and Anne Bradstreet.

We read in the stateroom for a while, and then went to have afternoon tea, followed by some exercise. I chose the gym, which was a lot busier than I had anticipated, while my freeze-defying wife decided to walk around the deck for a couple of miles.

By 7:45 pm we had returned to the stateroom, showered and changed to meet Commodore Christopher Rynd and his officers at a cocktail party, have dinner, and attend the formal Black and White ball. My wife was wearing a lovely cocktail dress, while I was wearing one of my tuxedos and, of course, a black and white bow tie. The sublime sight of my wife adjusting her fascinator in the mirror before leaving the stateroom, with Ella Fitzgerald as the background soundtrack, is one of those memories that make a trip like this so special.

Commodore Rynd told us that there are over 1800 passengers on board, around half of them from the UK, a quarter from the USA, around 100 from Canada, and so on for a total of 25 nationalities. Apparently I am the only Spaniard onboard, although there are other Spanish speaking passengers on this crossing. The crew is composed of over 900 people, giving The Queen Victoria a ratio of a crew member for less than two passengers. No wonder the service is excellent.