London Calling!

IMG_0978London calling!

by Mary Jo

Did you know that cruise ships migrate like birds?  In summer they flock to Europe, cruising from Nordic regions to the Mediterranean and more.  In autumn, they turn and head to the Western hemisphere, particularly the Caribbean.  They do this because tourists follow the sun, and so do the cruise ships.

This means that ships do repositioning cruises twice a year, spending days crossing the Atlantic with very few ports of call.  This is great if you like lots of lazy days at sea and the Mayhem Consultant and I do.  Hence we cruised from Southampton in England to Miami, with three stops in Europe and seven glorious sea days. 

 

Southampton is a major port city on the south coast of England and the storied home of Cunard cruise ships. The best way to get there Tea on the Thames Tower of Londonfor most people is to fly to London, two hours to the north, and who wouldn't want an excuse to visit London??.

Having read far too many of my books where characters reside in the upscale Mayfair area, the MC found us a hotel in Mayfair, and very conveniently located it was.  We had a wonderful time catching up with English friends at the hotel restaurant, and when we needed to get Covid tests within 48 hours of boarding our ship, the concierge  asked, "Would you like to have a nurse come to your room to perform the test?"  YES!!!!!  Talk about Mayfair convenience!

We only had two days in London, but we did one fun excursion, also found by the MC: A tea cruise on the Thames!  The pictures scattered through this blog were taken from the boat, which docked at Tower Bridge and headed up river past the Tower of London, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben–and the MI6 spy headquarters, which is that modern green building below.  (The Tower of London above on the left.)

London EyeWhen it was built in 2000, the London Eye was the tallest observation wheel in the world.  The 32 capsules are enclosed and air conditioned and can hold up to 25 people.  It takes half an hour to go a complete revolution. The cruise commentator said that one could have a wedding in a capsule, say "I do," at the top–and after that it's all downhill. <G> 

We had a great table in the bow of our ship, and we received a proper tea trolley with sandwiches, cakes, MI6 and scones, jam, and clotted cream on the top.  Besides several types of tea, other beverages were available and at the MC's suggestion, we both had English cider–lightly alcoholic and a perfect accompaniment. 

On our way back to the hotel, the MC spotted a red London bus that had "THE ENGLISH TEA BUS" on the side.  Now we need to return to try that!

 

65415-7427787Sail Away!

We sailed on the Celebrity Silhouette, a large ship though not one of the humongous ones.  When one boards, they take pictures against a backdrop of the ship.  Sleek ship, disheveled travelers. <G>

Celebrity runs a very smooth operation and passengers are constantly offered food. Things like the mid afternoon chocolate dipped strawberries felt like fun treats for the first few days, but soon became overwhelming and something to be avoided as Too Much Food!  I came home the same weight as when I left. IMG_1092<G>

But there were certainly fine meals. To the right is a sort of deconstructed strawberry shortcake, and it was lovely.

The Silhouette had all kinds of features and amenities, including a long passageway of designer goods including multiple watch shops, some of the brands so high end I'd never heard of them.  There was also fine jewelry  and specialty retailers like Dior, Kate Spade and Michael Kors.  (Not a lot of shopping for us average folks, though!).

There were a number of eateries and places to hang out.  I found an alcove filled with songbird cages which contained not actual birds, but videos of birds.  It seemed a little odd, but did save a lot of cleaning up. <G>

We had three stops in European waters before heading out across the Atlantic for seven days.  Peace!  Particularly since the wifi was IMG_1003minimal to nonexistent when in mid ocean.  I got a few messages on my cell phone so I could briefly reply to business matters, but mostly we had blessed relaxation.  We both read A LOT!  When I got home, I had to clear almost 2000 messages from my spam folders.

Are you familiar with the origin of the term posh?  It may be apocryphal, but I've read that for passengers sailing from Britain to India, to reduce the brutal heat of the tropical sun, it was desirable to have a cabin on the Port (left) side of the ship when going east, and on the Starboard (right) side of the ship when heading west. Such passengers were traveling POSH: Port Out, Starboard Home.

As it happens, our cabin was on the Port side and we were heading west and south, so our balcony was too hot and sunny to be good for sitting on much of the time.  Maybe I'll think of this if we ever cross the Atlantic again. <G>  

Mary Jo with Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster where Parliament meets.  The building looks Gothic but was actually a Victorian restoration after a devastating fire in 1834 destroyed most of the original palace.

105 thoughts on “London Calling!”

  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful time! I haven’t been to London for years even though my eldest has been living there for over ten years. I’m not a great traveler. I was born in England but came back to Ireland when I was five.
    I do love London and hope to go again one day.

    Reply
  2. Sounds like you had a wonderful time! I haven’t been to London for years even though my eldest has been living there for over ten years. I’m not a great traveler. I was born in England but came back to Ireland when I was five.
    I do love London and hope to go again one day.

    Reply
  3. Sounds like you had a wonderful time! I haven’t been to London for years even though my eldest has been living there for over ten years. I’m not a great traveler. I was born in England but came back to Ireland when I was five.
    I do love London and hope to go again one day.

    Reply
  4. Sounds like you had a wonderful time! I haven’t been to London for years even though my eldest has been living there for over ten years. I’m not a great traveler. I was born in England but came back to Ireland when I was five.
    I do love London and hope to go again one day.

    Reply
  5. Sounds like you had a wonderful time! I haven’t been to London for years even though my eldest has been living there for over ten years. I’m not a great traveler. I was born in England but came back to Ireland when I was five.
    I do love London and hope to go again one day.

    Reply
  6. I would love to take a liner across the Atlantic, although I’m a little leery of winter storms. I think some of the extra food gets walked off, because you do a lot of walking on those big ships.

    Reply
  7. I would love to take a liner across the Atlantic, although I’m a little leery of winter storms. I think some of the extra food gets walked off, because you do a lot of walking on those big ships.

    Reply
  8. I would love to take a liner across the Atlantic, although I’m a little leery of winter storms. I think some of the extra food gets walked off, because you do a lot of walking on those big ships.

    Reply
  9. I would love to take a liner across the Atlantic, although I’m a little leery of winter storms. I think some of the extra food gets walked off, because you do a lot of walking on those big ships.

    Reply
  10. I would love to take a liner across the Atlantic, although I’m a little leery of winter storms. I think some of the extra food gets walked off, because you do a lot of walking on those big ships.

    Reply
  11. Thanks so much for the lovely post and pictures. You are blessed to have such an amenable arranger for your touring. Thanks again for sharing your travels.

    Reply
  12. Thanks so much for the lovely post and pictures. You are blessed to have such an amenable arranger for your touring. Thanks again for sharing your travels.

    Reply
  13. Thanks so much for the lovely post and pictures. You are blessed to have such an amenable arranger for your touring. Thanks again for sharing your travels.

    Reply
  14. Thanks so much for the lovely post and pictures. You are blessed to have such an amenable arranger for your touring. Thanks again for sharing your travels.

    Reply
  15. Thanks so much for the lovely post and pictures. You are blessed to have such an amenable arranger for your touring. Thanks again for sharing your travels.

    Reply
  16. That was fun to read about, Mary Jo. Glad you had a chance to relax and recharge. Nice change from the on-the-go trips you and the MC usually take. Interesting to find out that POSH is really a thing. Imagine what it would have been like before cabins were air-conditioned. (Like living in an oven, I suppose.)

    Reply
  17. That was fun to read about, Mary Jo. Glad you had a chance to relax and recharge. Nice change from the on-the-go trips you and the MC usually take. Interesting to find out that POSH is really a thing. Imagine what it would have been like before cabins were air-conditioned. (Like living in an oven, I suppose.)

    Reply
  18. That was fun to read about, Mary Jo. Glad you had a chance to relax and recharge. Nice change from the on-the-go trips you and the MC usually take. Interesting to find out that POSH is really a thing. Imagine what it would have been like before cabins were air-conditioned. (Like living in an oven, I suppose.)

    Reply
  19. That was fun to read about, Mary Jo. Glad you had a chance to relax and recharge. Nice change from the on-the-go trips you and the MC usually take. Interesting to find out that POSH is really a thing. Imagine what it would have been like before cabins were air-conditioned. (Like living in an oven, I suppose.)

    Reply
  20. That was fun to read about, Mary Jo. Glad you had a chance to relax and recharge. Nice change from the on-the-go trips you and the MC usually take. Interesting to find out that POSH is really a thing. Imagine what it would have been like before cabins were air-conditioned. (Like living in an oven, I suppose.)

    Reply
  21. Teresa, I admit that if I lived in Ireland I would feel much need to travel, but London isn’t that far away and there are endless wonders to explore! Next time, the Mayhem Consultant wants to see the Bow Street Museum and the Humphry Davy laboratory. I’m game.

    Reply
  22. Teresa, I admit that if I lived in Ireland I would feel much need to travel, but London isn’t that far away and there are endless wonders to explore! Next time, the Mayhem Consultant wants to see the Bow Street Museum and the Humphry Davy laboratory. I’m game.

    Reply
  23. Teresa, I admit that if I lived in Ireland I would feel much need to travel, but London isn’t that far away and there are endless wonders to explore! Next time, the Mayhem Consultant wants to see the Bow Street Museum and the Humphry Davy laboratory. I’m game.

    Reply
  24. Teresa, I admit that if I lived in Ireland I would feel much need to travel, but London isn’t that far away and there are endless wonders to explore! Next time, the Mayhem Consultant wants to see the Bow Street Museum and the Humphry Davy laboratory. I’m game.

    Reply
  25. Teresa, I admit that if I lived in Ireland I would feel much need to travel, but London isn’t that far away and there are endless wonders to explore! Next time, the Mayhem Consultant wants to see the Bow Street Museum and the Humphry Davy laboratory. I’m game.

    Reply
  26. Karin, true about the walking. Cruise ship captains don’t want sea sick passengers so I think they’re careful to avoid the big storms. We had a beautiful sunny passage, a little warmer every day as we headed south.

    Reply
  27. Karin, true about the walking. Cruise ship captains don’t want sea sick passengers so I think they’re careful to avoid the big storms. We had a beautiful sunny passage, a little warmer every day as we headed south.

    Reply
  28. Karin, true about the walking. Cruise ship captains don’t want sea sick passengers so I think they’re careful to avoid the big storms. We had a beautiful sunny passage, a little warmer every day as we headed south.

    Reply
  29. Karin, true about the walking. Cruise ship captains don’t want sea sick passengers so I think they’re careful to avoid the big storms. We had a beautiful sunny passage, a little warmer every day as we headed south.

    Reply
  30. Karin, true about the walking. Cruise ship captains don’t want sea sick passengers so I think they’re careful to avoid the big storms. We had a beautiful sunny passage, a little warmer every day as we headed south.

    Reply
  31. Mary, I have a mental image of Victorian female travelers stripping off all their garments except a thin shift and spending days lying dazed on their bunks. NOT a happy image! Thank heaven for air conditioning.

    Reply
  32. Mary, I have a mental image of Victorian female travelers stripping off all their garments except a thin shift and spending days lying dazed on their bunks. NOT a happy image! Thank heaven for air conditioning.

    Reply
  33. Mary, I have a mental image of Victorian female travelers stripping off all their garments except a thin shift and spending days lying dazed on their bunks. NOT a happy image! Thank heaven for air conditioning.

    Reply
  34. Mary, I have a mental image of Victorian female travelers stripping off all their garments except a thin shift and spending days lying dazed on their bunks. NOT a happy image! Thank heaven for air conditioning.

    Reply
  35. Mary, I have a mental image of Victorian female travelers stripping off all their garments except a thin shift and spending days lying dazed on their bunks. NOT a happy image! Thank heaven for air conditioning.

    Reply
  36. Lovely blog, Mary Jo. When I was a little girl and my mother, siblings and I went to join my father in Scotland, we went to the UK by ship — nearly a month from Australia — and my mother had a wonderfully relaxing time, after having packed up the house (scrubbed it from ceilings to floorboards) moved, and managed 3 teenagers (one doing her final year at high school) and a small child. She really needed that break, I’m sure. We sailed into Southampton and caught a train to Scotland.

    Reply
  37. Lovely blog, Mary Jo. When I was a little girl and my mother, siblings and I went to join my father in Scotland, we went to the UK by ship — nearly a month from Australia — and my mother had a wonderfully relaxing time, after having packed up the house (scrubbed it from ceilings to floorboards) moved, and managed 3 teenagers (one doing her final year at high school) and a small child. She really needed that break, I’m sure. We sailed into Southampton and caught a train to Scotland.

    Reply
  38. Lovely blog, Mary Jo. When I was a little girl and my mother, siblings and I went to join my father in Scotland, we went to the UK by ship — nearly a month from Australia — and my mother had a wonderfully relaxing time, after having packed up the house (scrubbed it from ceilings to floorboards) moved, and managed 3 teenagers (one doing her final year at high school) and a small child. She really needed that break, I’m sure. We sailed into Southampton and caught a train to Scotland.

    Reply
  39. Lovely blog, Mary Jo. When I was a little girl and my mother, siblings and I went to join my father in Scotland, we went to the UK by ship — nearly a month from Australia — and my mother had a wonderfully relaxing time, after having packed up the house (scrubbed it from ceilings to floorboards) moved, and managed 3 teenagers (one doing her final year at high school) and a small child. She really needed that break, I’m sure. We sailed into Southampton and caught a train to Scotland.

    Reply
  40. Lovely blog, Mary Jo. When I was a little girl and my mother, siblings and I went to join my father in Scotland, we went to the UK by ship — nearly a month from Australia — and my mother had a wonderfully relaxing time, after having packed up the house (scrubbed it from ceilings to floorboards) moved, and managed 3 teenagers (one doing her final year at high school) and a small child. She really needed that break, I’m sure. We sailed into Southampton and caught a train to Scotland.

    Reply
  41. I just love when you take us along with you on your trips. One of my big regrets is not making it to London while I was still able to travel.
    I don’t think I would enjoy crossing the ocean on a ship, but your trip does sound restful and pleasant. Congrats on coming home the same weight as when you left!

    Reply
  42. I just love when you take us along with you on your trips. One of my big regrets is not making it to London while I was still able to travel.
    I don’t think I would enjoy crossing the ocean on a ship, but your trip does sound restful and pleasant. Congrats on coming home the same weight as when you left!

    Reply
  43. I just love when you take us along with you on your trips. One of my big regrets is not making it to London while I was still able to travel.
    I don’t think I would enjoy crossing the ocean on a ship, but your trip does sound restful and pleasant. Congrats on coming home the same weight as when you left!

    Reply
  44. I just love when you take us along with you on your trips. One of my big regrets is not making it to London while I was still able to travel.
    I don’t think I would enjoy crossing the ocean on a ship, but your trip does sound restful and pleasant. Congrats on coming home the same weight as when you left!

    Reply
  45. I just love when you take us along with you on your trips. One of my big regrets is not making it to London while I was still able to travel.
    I don’t think I would enjoy crossing the ocean on a ship, but your trip does sound restful and pleasant. Congrats on coming home the same weight as when you left!

    Reply
  46. Thanks for a wonderful post, Mary Jo. I’m happy to hear that you and the MC had a fine time!
    My one long sea voyage was as a ten year old traveling from Australia to Guam. It was a fine time after the first few days being seasick especially since my sister and I then befriended the daughter of a Cadbury chocolate salesman….

    Reply
  47. Thanks for a wonderful post, Mary Jo. I’m happy to hear that you and the MC had a fine time!
    My one long sea voyage was as a ten year old traveling from Australia to Guam. It was a fine time after the first few days being seasick especially since my sister and I then befriended the daughter of a Cadbury chocolate salesman….

    Reply
  48. Thanks for a wonderful post, Mary Jo. I’m happy to hear that you and the MC had a fine time!
    My one long sea voyage was as a ten year old traveling from Australia to Guam. It was a fine time after the first few days being seasick especially since my sister and I then befriended the daughter of a Cadbury chocolate salesman….

    Reply
  49. Thanks for a wonderful post, Mary Jo. I’m happy to hear that you and the MC had a fine time!
    My one long sea voyage was as a ten year old traveling from Australia to Guam. It was a fine time after the first few days being seasick especially since my sister and I then befriended the daughter of a Cadbury chocolate salesman….

    Reply
  50. Thanks for a wonderful post, Mary Jo. I’m happy to hear that you and the MC had a fine time!
    My one long sea voyage was as a ten year old traveling from Australia to Guam. It was a fine time after the first few days being seasick especially since my sister and I then befriended the daughter of a Cadbury chocolate salesman….

    Reply
  51. Mary T, I was impressed myself by staying the same weight! But after several days of self indulgence at the beginning of the cruise, I cut back because it was just more food than I wanted to eat. This may be a sign of age. *G*

    Reply
  52. Mary T, I was impressed myself by staying the same weight! But after several days of self indulgence at the beginning of the cruise, I cut back because it was just more food than I wanted to eat. This may be a sign of age. *G*

    Reply
  53. Mary T, I was impressed myself by staying the same weight! But after several days of self indulgence at the beginning of the cruise, I cut back because it was just more food than I wanted to eat. This may be a sign of age. *G*

    Reply
  54. Mary T, I was impressed myself by staying the same weight! But after several days of self indulgence at the beginning of the cruise, I cut back because it was just more food than I wanted to eat. This may be a sign of age. *G*

    Reply
  55. Mary T, I was impressed myself by staying the same weight! But after several days of self indulgence at the beginning of the cruise, I cut back because it was just more food than I wanted to eat. This may be a sign of age. *G*

    Reply
  56. It sounds wonderfully relaxing. Lovely to think about a balcony too warm to sit out on – just at the moment it is bleak and grey in London. Truly November weather. Thank you for a lovely post, Mary Jo.

    Reply
  57. It sounds wonderfully relaxing. Lovely to think about a balcony too warm to sit out on – just at the moment it is bleak and grey in London. Truly November weather. Thank you for a lovely post, Mary Jo.

    Reply
  58. It sounds wonderfully relaxing. Lovely to think about a balcony too warm to sit out on – just at the moment it is bleak and grey in London. Truly November weather. Thank you for a lovely post, Mary Jo.

    Reply
  59. It sounds wonderfully relaxing. Lovely to think about a balcony too warm to sit out on – just at the moment it is bleak and grey in London. Truly November weather. Thank you for a lovely post, Mary Jo.

    Reply
  60. It sounds wonderfully relaxing. Lovely to think about a balcony too warm to sit out on – just at the moment it is bleak and grey in London. Truly November weather. Thank you for a lovely post, Mary Jo.

    Reply
  61. So glad you had such a wonderful time, Mary Jo! Next time you come I’ll take you to Browns Hotel for afternoon tea – theirs is the best! Let me know when you’re heading this way.

    Reply
  62. So glad you had such a wonderful time, Mary Jo! Next time you come I’ll take you to Browns Hotel for afternoon tea – theirs is the best! Let me know when you’re heading this way.

    Reply
  63. So glad you had such a wonderful time, Mary Jo! Next time you come I’ll take you to Browns Hotel for afternoon tea – theirs is the best! Let me know when you’re heading this way.

    Reply
  64. So glad you had such a wonderful time, Mary Jo! Next time you come I’ll take you to Browns Hotel for afternoon tea – theirs is the best! Let me know when you’re heading this way.

    Reply
  65. So glad you had such a wonderful time, Mary Jo! Next time you come I’ll take you to Browns Hotel for afternoon tea – theirs is the best! Let me know when you’re heading this way.

    Reply
  66. I loved the term Google-fu….so descriptive and such a THING. The Tea Cruise sounds like a really fun thing to do. And an English Tea bus tour sounds fun as well. Though a bit daunting to try to sip tea as the bus starts and stops!
    What a luxury to have a nurse come to your room to give you the test. So much more relaxing than having to go chase a site down for it.
    I’m glad the two of you had a tremendously relaxing trip and your batteries are nicely recharged.

    Reply
  67. I loved the term Google-fu….so descriptive and such a THING. The Tea Cruise sounds like a really fun thing to do. And an English Tea bus tour sounds fun as well. Though a bit daunting to try to sip tea as the bus starts and stops!
    What a luxury to have a nurse come to your room to give you the test. So much more relaxing than having to go chase a site down for it.
    I’m glad the two of you had a tremendously relaxing trip and your batteries are nicely recharged.

    Reply
  68. I loved the term Google-fu….so descriptive and such a THING. The Tea Cruise sounds like a really fun thing to do. And an English Tea bus tour sounds fun as well. Though a bit daunting to try to sip tea as the bus starts and stops!
    What a luxury to have a nurse come to your room to give you the test. So much more relaxing than having to go chase a site down for it.
    I’m glad the two of you had a tremendously relaxing trip and your batteries are nicely recharged.

    Reply
  69. I loved the term Google-fu….so descriptive and such a THING. The Tea Cruise sounds like a really fun thing to do. And an English Tea bus tour sounds fun as well. Though a bit daunting to try to sip tea as the bus starts and stops!
    What a luxury to have a nurse come to your room to give you the test. So much more relaxing than having to go chase a site down for it.
    I’m glad the two of you had a tremendously relaxing trip and your batteries are nicely recharged.

    Reply
  70. I loved the term Google-fu….so descriptive and such a THING. The Tea Cruise sounds like a really fun thing to do. And an English Tea bus tour sounds fun as well. Though a bit daunting to try to sip tea as the bus starts and stops!
    What a luxury to have a nurse come to your room to give you the test. So much more relaxing than having to go chase a site down for it.
    I’m glad the two of you had a tremendously relaxing trip and your batteries are nicely recharged.

    Reply
  71. Sorry for the gray miseries, Sophie! We were lucky to have pleasantly sunny weather when we were in London. (The MC has a sideline in weather magery. ) He liked the sunny balcony but it was too much for me. Next time we’ll see if we can travel POSH!

    Reply
  72. Sorry for the gray miseries, Sophie! We were lucky to have pleasantly sunny weather when we were in London. (The MC has a sideline in weather magery. ) He liked the sunny balcony but it was too much for me. Next time we’ll see if we can travel POSH!

    Reply
  73. Sorry for the gray miseries, Sophie! We were lucky to have pleasantly sunny weather when we were in London. (The MC has a sideline in weather magery. ) He liked the sunny balcony but it was too much for me. Next time we’ll see if we can travel POSH!

    Reply
  74. Sorry for the gray miseries, Sophie! We were lucky to have pleasantly sunny weather when we were in London. (The MC has a sideline in weather magery. ) He liked the sunny balcony but it was too much for me. Next time we’ll see if we can travel POSH!

    Reply
  75. Sorry for the gray miseries, Sophie! We were lucky to have pleasantly sunny weather when we were in London. (The MC has a sideline in weather magery. ) He liked the sunny balcony but it was too much for me. Next time we’ll see if we can travel POSH!

    Reply
  76. Vicki, given London traffic, the Tea Bus might be stationery much of the time. *G* But the idea is great!
    The MC had googled in advance to find nearby places were we could have hour pre-cruise covid tests, but it turned out that having the nurse come to our room only cost about ten quid a head more, and was SO much easier. He was very prompt, too, tapping on our door at exactly the time set. A great luxury.

    Reply
  77. Vicki, given London traffic, the Tea Bus might be stationery much of the time. *G* But the idea is great!
    The MC had googled in advance to find nearby places were we could have hour pre-cruise covid tests, but it turned out that having the nurse come to our room only cost about ten quid a head more, and was SO much easier. He was very prompt, too, tapping on our door at exactly the time set. A great luxury.

    Reply
  78. Vicki, given London traffic, the Tea Bus might be stationery much of the time. *G* But the idea is great!
    The MC had googled in advance to find nearby places were we could have hour pre-cruise covid tests, but it turned out that having the nurse come to our room only cost about ten quid a head more, and was SO much easier. He was very prompt, too, tapping on our door at exactly the time set. A great luxury.

    Reply
  79. Vicki, given London traffic, the Tea Bus might be stationery much of the time. *G* But the idea is great!
    The MC had googled in advance to find nearby places were we could have hour pre-cruise covid tests, but it turned out that having the nurse come to our room only cost about ten quid a head more, and was SO much easier. He was very prompt, too, tapping on our door at exactly the time set. A great luxury.

    Reply
  80. Vicki, given London traffic, the Tea Bus might be stationery much of the time. *G* But the idea is great!
    The MC had googled in advance to find nearby places were we could have hour pre-cruise covid tests, but it turned out that having the nurse come to our room only cost about ten quid a head more, and was SO much easier. He was very prompt, too, tapping on our door at exactly the time set. A great luxury.

    Reply

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