Sunday 3 August 2014

Cruising is just like Downton Abbey

As some of you may know, I have just returned from my very first cruise. Going in, I didn't know what to expect: Would I get seasick? (I did. Well, very queasy and in need of Gravol.) Would I feel claustrophobic? (Surprisingly: no.) Would I gain a million pounds? (Again, no! #winning)
But one thing I did not expect at all was this: Being a guest on the ship felt like being a member of the Crawley family of Downton Abbey. Yes, I got to be Lady Mary for a week!

Don't believe me? Let me educate you:

1. Lady Mary has a lady's maid, Anna. We had our very own stewart, Bagus: The one of the easy smile, amazing ability to remember our names, and creator of fabulous towel animals.

2. Getting dressed up for dinner. As all you Downton Abbey fans know, no member of the family would be caught dead in anything less than tails for the men, and a cocktail dress, complete with long gloves, pearls and the occasional head piece for the women. We did our own spin on the formal dress code: Suit and tie for Rich (which is special indeed, he usually never wears a suit), and a long skirt and white blouse for me. Too bad I didn't have a head piece! 

3. Being waited on hand and foot. That was actually quite strange to me, and made me feel a bit uncomfortable at times. Lady Mary pulls off the imperious mistress like no other, but I can't do it. The ratio on the ship was 2 guests per 1 crew member (crazy, isn't it?), and someone was always close by. Your water glass is empty? "Want some more sky juice, madame?" (Sky juice! Love it.) Stepping out of the state room: "Do you need anything, Miriam?" (That Bagus and his mad name memorizing skillz.) You push away your empty plate, and a second later: "Let me get this out of the way for you." The service was impeccable!

4. Being called "Madame" (pronounced the French way).
Lady Mary may be called "My lady", but I was called "Madame". While I hate being addressed with "Ma'am", I could totally get used to Madame! It sounds so much more elegant in French.

5. Playing games.
Oh boy, the game playing. You probably don't know that about me, but I am no game player. Here is an unsavory secret: I find games boring. *collective gasp* I'm weird, I know! It's me, not the games, I'm fully aware of that.
For ladies and gentlemen of leisure, there has always been quite a bit of game playing, to pass the time. Since we all got to be people of leisure for a week, that's what was offered on the ship as well: Bingo, Trivia, some sort of mini golfing competition, and a few more that I have missed because I couldn't be bothered.
I'll take books over games any day!
Our cruise director Mark doing what he does best: Entertain!

6. Lots of strolling.
While Lady Mary and her sisters like to stroll the grounds of Downton, I strolled the decks of the Volendam. Same thing, right?

7. Lots of reading.
I did a fair bit of reading during our vacation, and so did the noble ladies Crawley. One has to occupy all those endless hours of one's day before getting ready for dinner!
This photo has nothing to do with reading, but everything to do with romance. Or something. 

8. Tea time.
Yes, there was a true English tea time at 3pm sharp every day! I have to admit that we did not partake in it (we are not huge tea fans), but it was there for the more cultured crowd. I read on the menu that they had little cakes and tea sandwiches, just like during Edwardian times.

9. Entertain me.
Remember the dinner parties, concerts, dancing, and gambling at Downton? Why, we had all that and more on board of the Volendam! There were 2 broadway-type shows, a comedian, a magician, a game show, and lots of dancing. Not to mention the food (so much food!), casino, library and the drawing rooms - I mean, lounges, to relax in.

10. Getting spoiled.
We wined, dined and got complimented like the best of the nobility. While you could say that the compliments were cheesy (one stewart to another on the dessert table: "Don't give her any more sweets, she is sweet enough already!"), it sure put a smile on my face. What can I say - I am easily pleased. But you better believe that I had more sweets, that comment didn't keep me away from their delectable chocolate cake!

Do you have any big or small revelations you would like to share? If you do, link up below!

xo Miriam
The School of Life

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  1. Ok, for whatever reason my first one did not go through ;) It looks like you guys had such a fun and relaxing trip!! I'm so glad it went well. The hubby cleans up nice ;) I would have wanted to play bingo!!

  2. Oh, this makes me so anxious for our upcoming cruise in November. I am so addicted. Glad you guys enjoyed yourselves!


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