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Atrium-3371Today has been a sea day with bad weather – indeed, the upper open decks have been closed, as have the open spaces on deck 7. This has meant that all of the passengers have been indoors. We’ve spent a lot of the time around the Atrium, which we really like. During the late morning it got quite crowded (and hot) but not too surprisingly the crowds thinned over lunchtime. Now – half-past three – it’s quite busy again especially as teams of ship technicians are getting ready for tonight’s formal night; photo sites are being set up, for example.

We lunched at the Market Cafe, and had a Gourmet Bite each. We both had samosas – lamb for Val, veggie for me – and these came with a couple of chutneys, a salad, mini-poppadoms and some crunchy nibbles. Very tasty; and we washed it down with a shared bottle of Thornbridge Brewery’s Jaipur IPA ale (also very tasty). Mind you, it’s a bit ironic to be drinking Thornbridge beers on Britannia – the brewery is presently based in Bakewell, just a dozen miles from where we live. (The brewery originated in Thornbridge Hall, which before it was sold to private owners was run by Sheffield city council’s education department as a sort of outdoor pursuits centre. Many kids who went to junior school in Sheffield in the 70’s, 80’s and into the 90’s may be familiar with it – do tales of the White Lady ring any bells, I wonder?) We finished lunch by sharing a “Quattro di Gelati”, four mini waffle cones of various flavours. Val chose Peach Melba and a chocolate thing; I had vanilla and ‘lemon meringue’. Very nice, however, and just right after the curry (the lime chutney was quite fierce).

Shortly after 12 noon Captan Brown made an announcement to the effect that we will be late into Bergen tomorrow. This is due to leaving Southampton over an hour late yesterday, and “stronger than forecast” headwinds overnight – winds of 40mph have been mentioned. We’re not due to dock until about 10:30 am, instead of 9am, and as a result a couple of excursions have been cancelled. We’re not directly affected – we will be doing our own thing tomorrow. We had been intending to get off the ship as early as possible and get to the funicular terminus quickly, but that might be more difficult now. But we’ll see.

Finally it’s worth saying a few words about our early impressions of Britannia. We’re enjoying her a lot. In particular the Atrium is a real focal point. Ventura used to be like this (though not as large) but we found the atrium on Azura to be disappointing – the presence of the dance floor there on that ship means that all too often the atrium is completely taken over by dancing, either ballroom or a line-dancing class. I’m sure the dancers enjoy it, but it restricted our enjoyment of the central part of the ship. Here on Britannia we’ve got that mixed-usage central hub back, and we like this a lot. We liked the layout and decor of the restaurant last night (we’re in the Meridian), and of course the Crow’s Nest is enjoyable, albeit very busy this afternoon. We even felt that the balcony wasn’t too small after all, but that was before Val banged her knee into the corner of the little table out there when she was coming back into the cabin, so her opinion may have gone down a bit. Still not sure about the absence of a promenade deck, however – thanks to the weather today we haven’t been able to check the Promenade walkway on deck 18. Hopefully it will be accessible later in the cruise.

Tonight it’s the first formal dinner, and tomorrow it’s Bergen, where we are forecast temperatures in the low to middle 20s, sunshine and not much chance of rain.

PS – Val says she now thinks the balcony is “barely adequate”; and that banging her knee was painful.

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