I like to think I’m a pretty normal person. I’m not posh and I do not have an overinflated opinion of myself. Going on a luxurious cruise on the Azamara Quest as a first time solo traveller was something I had to get a little used to. It only took a few days of being waited on, no bed making or cooking and having a constant array of food and alcohol options to choose from, that I started to enjoy it. My nails always grow when I’m on holiday.
I’d already had invitations to visit the bridge, the engine rooms and the kitchens, and could see my floating home was a place that ran with well-organised efficiency all of the time. The smiling and friendly crew members completed their tasks and helped to keep the whole ship afloat, so to speak.
I was a little surprised to receive an invitation to the Captain’s table. I’d seen him on the bridge during my tour, but hadn’t imagined dining with him and others who were chosen. It was a semi-casual cruise so I didn’t have any flash evening attire, but managed to scrub up to presentable.
I was instructed to meet the others in one of the bars where we were greeted with champagne. Our captain arrived, resplendent in his uniform, and escorted us to a large round table in the middle of the dining room. The seas were rough and we were experiencing turbulence so I hoped I would not disgrace myself, but had secreted a sick bag from the lift in my purse.
To my surprise, I was seated to the right of Captain Magnus Davidson who hales from the Shetland Islands and now lives in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. He was young and friendly and talked about his holidays in Australia and even remembered passing the Big Banana (a local Coffs Harbour landmark). The other guests at the table were also friendly and one American gentleman kept us entertained with a barrage of jokes to which he thankfully also remembered the punch lines of.
The food was delicious as was all of the food on board. Chef Nathan Shijunath from India came out and personally described the menu to us. It reflected also the cuisines from the areas we had visited on shore. The wine selection was wonderful, the conversation was interesting and I felt both ‘quite special’ but also completely at ease – something I don’t always feel when I am out of my comfort zone as a rather reserved and shy person.
Cruising on the Azamara Quest was a wonderful experience for me, with a vast array of activities to enjoy on the ‘sea days’, or the option to just relax with a book and daydream whilst watching the sea from my balcony. There were so many highlights, but dining at the captain’s table was surely right up there with the most unforgettable. It’s wonderful to feel special and to be treated to a special event every now and then, so as I go off to peel the skin off my pumpkin to make soup, I look back rather fondly of my evening of being a real ‘lady’.