We were on the Xmas trip. A little quiet as there were only 600 passengers. It made for a little more room than usual. We were told that 1000 would be on board for the NY crossing to Honfleur. We were on one trip when there 800 on board and that was just right.
PA was immaculate with everything, except the one engine that is to be replaced, working. The cabin 6228, we always ask for this one, was very clean and comfortable - the wife would liked to have taken the mattress home!!!
We started loading at 2.45 and were sat without rushing, having a drink, in the piano lounge at 3.45.
The crew, except one, were very happy, smiling and helpful. The entertainment comprised a 5 piece band, DJ, childrens entertainer, comedy illusionist, singing duo and a rather moderate solo singer. All the rest were good. We did not have the Gala Lunch as it is the same menu every year but dined in Le Flora twice having the lamb and duck - excellent. We suspected that one of the waiters had been sent up from the engine room as he was a mild version of Basil Faulty but amusing.
The crossings were on time arriving in Antwerp at 1.00pm instead of the scheduled 3.00pm, bur who cares on these trips, and were calm especially the return. Only a very slight roll on the outward voyage.
Two unusual things happened:
1. On the outward voyage we were all called to Reception to declare our place of birth. ??
2. The first persons onto PA after the passenger access ramp was in place were two Belgian police. ??
I enquired of a man with rings on his jacket sleeve if he knew how they were going to fit the new engine. He did not know but I imagine major removal of steelwork will be required. Might someone be able to get pictures ??