If we imagined being able to put our feet up this afternoon, then we were wrong. It was gone three when our luggage arrived and we began to unpack properly and before we knew it, it was half past four and an announcement reminded us of the need to attend the safety briefing – lifeboat drill – at 5pm.
Seven short blasts and one long blast is the signal to take action and make our way to our muster station, in our case Signatures restaurant. For the first time, we were led down through a crew only area which was spick and span as as highly polished as any public rom on the ship. I wonder how long someone spends polishing that brass nosing on the stairs?
Not easy taking a selfie wearing a lifejacket!
Each time we take a cruise, we note that the safety briefings become more serious and more comprehensive. It’s interesting to see how events determine a different focus, how the emphasis changes as things are learned from experience. This time, there was much to say about not returning to the room to collect a lifejacket or anything else – a full set of them is at each muster station and specially trained crew will retrieve particular items (medication, documents etc) from suites if required in an emergency. Mindful of a recent incident on board a ship which required an immediate evaculation (in port), we stowed our spare packets of tablets, contact lenses and so on in our bedside cabinets, since we’d learned that was where the crew will look for such things in the event of an emergency.
There was further advice about fire risks and instructions regarding the need for obedience and silence when taking instruction from the crew. Finally, we were to practise the evacuation procedure, our muster station being divided into three groups who would be led outside onto the lifeboat deck.
We lined up and went slowly outdoors, each of us with our left hand on the shoulder of the person in front. We received reassurance about the number of lifeboats available and the equipment on board – I’ve posted about that previously, so had no fears in that department.
We stood for a while, enjoying the view and the warm afternoon sunshine. Eventually, all were accounted for and we returned to our suite, put our lifejackets away and prepared for the next event.
The HK immigration service wished to have a face to face exit screening. Another five minutes of fun! Meanwhile, I caught up on a bit of email, at least and between us, my hero and I scuttled to and from the laundry.
Finally, at 6.30pm, with three loads of washing almost complete (!) it was time to change and meet our friends for drinks.
Dinner was fun, with Sunny and Maurice our waiters in playful mood and Vikram the sommelier joining in from time to time.
After a short show in the theatre, we came back up and looked over our balcony rail. Down there at sea level, things were happening and we were preparing to leave.
We looked out over our favourite city, breathed in the warm Hong Kong air and said goodnight.
At ten o’clock we turned around and sailed out of the harbour, bound for Keelung, Taiwan the day after tomorrow.
Goodnight Hong Kong. We hope we’ll be back soon!