John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Saturday 4 June 2016


Iceland, Faroes and Northern Isles Cruise
07:45 Alarm clock set
10:00 Taxi booked
13:00 Embarkation check-in
16:30 Depart Hull, UK

… The alarm went off at 7.45am. Misty, grey day.… The young man who’s taken us here and there in the past drove up just before 10am. He couldn’t park in front of the house because the lorry of the roofing firm that’s usually parked on the other side was in front of our gate. I resent firms garaging their vehicles on the public highway, for which I pay taxes. We arrived just before 11am. There was a white marquee serving as a waiting area. I apologised for being two hours early to the lady in an orange high-visibility vest, for the cruise ticket said, “Embarkation — check in: 1300hrs… In order to avoid unnecessary congestion, you are respectfully requested not to arrive at the cruise terminal in advance of the allocated embarkation time…”, but she wasn’t bothered. The cases were loaded into a van to be taken away, and we went into the marquee and sat.

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 11:26:24
Marquee and portable toilets

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 11:28:42
Waiting in the marquee

It was about an hour later that we were invited to board the first small coach that arrived, which took us to the terminal. A young woman came along the aisle issuing health questionnaires.

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 11:58:08
Aboard the small coach to the terminal

At the terminal we showed our passports and the cruise ticket at a counter and were issued with “Cruisecards”, to be used when boarding and disembarking, and for making purchases on board.

Cruise ticket


I handed in the health questionnaire at a nearby desk, then we went on to further desks, where debit card details were taken and we were photographed. Then we went through a security check. Janet’s bag and indeed she were searched; mine and me were not. Outside the building we were taken in a shuttle bus to the ship.

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 12:16:00
The Marco Polo seen from the shuttle bus

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 12:17:40
Boarding the Marco Polo

We went to the cabin, where there were two keys. The temperature in there was agreeably warm. (Usually, we find fierce air-conditioning making accommodations cold and draughty. Indoor areas of the ship, apart from one or two, were comfortably warm also.) Two of the cases were brought while we were in the cabin. The shore excursion tickets were in an envelope in the cabin, and there was a copy of “Your daily programme”.

I followed the printed instructions to use the safe, and put the envelope, passports, cash, etc., into it. We went up to Marco’s Restaurant on Deck 8, and I helped myself first to cold items: bread, salami, chorizo, and a hardish, moderately strong-flavoured cheese: Parmesan? I had a Franziskaner weissbier and Janet a Coca Cola Light (12:45). She enquired, and found out that this was the only diet soft drink available. The other two cases were at the door when we got back. Janet started unpacking, so I got out of her way and went exploring. The sun had come out, though it was still hazy. I’d figured from the “Marco Polo Deck Plans” that the only way to promenade around the ship, was to go up to Deck 9, two decks above ours, then more or less amidships go up a ladder to Deck 10 to go round near the bow, then descend the ladder on the other side, continuing one’s way round the stern end. But I found that one could walk all the way round on Deck 10. After doing that I went up to Deck 11, the topmost deck in the plans, but found a ladder to one even farther up. The ladder was cordoned off at the top, but I went up it as far as I could, to see what was there.

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 13:48:08
Helicopter landing deck at the very top

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 13:49:34
“Whirlpools” aft on Deck 11

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 13:50:02
View astern from Deck 10 of two lower decks

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 13:52:18
Lifeboat №10 (the one assigned to us) seen from Deck 10

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 13:52:34
Deck 10, port side, looking forward

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 13:53:42
Deck 9, from aft, looking forward

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 13:54:48
Deck 9, port side

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 13:57:32
Deck 8, Pool Bar outside Marco’s Restaurant

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 13:58:26
Deck 8, poolside statue

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 13:59:32
Deck 7, door to the corridor on which was our cabin

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 14:00:22
Deck 7, door to our cabin, 538

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 14:02:10

When Janet had finished unpacking we went up to Scott’s Bar on Deck 9, where I had a 40cl glass of draught Bitburger beer and Janet a Coca Cola Light, but we ended up having three (14:39, 14:56, 15:39). Between ourselves we sneered despisingly at the fools who were carrying their lifejackets with them.[i] If there were a real ship’s emergency, they’d surely have already brought their lifejackets with them! We were there at 4pm when the call came for the emergency drill, so we returned to the cabin to pick up lifejackets and reported to our muster station Marco’s Restaurant. We sat at a table with a couple from Kent called Steve and Cola (short for Nicola). While we were talking I noticed that the ship was moving. We passed the exit channel from dock to river, so must have then turned to enter it. We returned to the cabin ca.5.30pm. Before dinner we went to Scott’s Bar and I had a Campari and soda as an “aperativo” and Janet a Coca Cola Light (17:50). We went down to the Waldorf Restaurant at 6pm and were seated with a couple who were already there, at a table for four in the forward starboard corner. Jean was originally from Newcastle and lived in Waltham; Keith was from Grimsby and lived in Scartho. I bought a bottle of Marufa red wine, perhaps a bit steep at £21.90, that I could re-cork and leave for another evening. I had spring roll, beef bouillon with rather too “eggy” pancake strips in it, chicken stuffed with cheese and spinach, and cheese and biscuits. We passed Grimsby Dock Tower as we sat there. Ca.7pm Janet and I returned to the cabin.
[i] Janet’s journal at this point was perhaps even more scathing: “As usual, well before 4pm there was the usual bunch of fuckwits wandering around carrying or wearing their lifejackets. Morons!”

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 19:23:04
Passing Spurn Head

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 19:23:36
Passing Spurn Head

Saturday 4 June 2016 — 19:24:16
View astern

Got the envelope out of the safe and checked the tickets for all the excursions against the booking receipt (20:25–20:32). Transferred 21 photos from the camera to the WD Elements HDD (20:51–20:52. Janet showered, and went to bed not long after 9.30pm. I wrote a bit of this account, looked at the photos, rotating one that needed it (22:05) then got ready for bed myself.

[Sunday 5 June 2016]

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