Feed on

Up early and (after a false start or two) in the car at just after 8:30. An easy relaxed journey with a couple of stops saw us turn into Dock Gate 10 at Southampton at 12:45 or so; we handed the car keys to the CPS people before 1 o’clock; and we were on board by 1:15. Then quickly to Lido deck for a cup of tea and a rest which took us to 2 o’clock and the announcement that the cabins were ready. We found our way to our cabin (C325, starboard-side balcony), dumped our hand luggage and had a preliminary explore. For this first sortie we wandered along deck 7 and quickly checked out the Tamarind Club, Ramblas, The Red Bar, and Havana. After this we definitely felt that a drink was called for, so we went back up to the Lido deck and the Terrace Bar, and enjoyed a beer in the sunshine. Then we explored a bit more of the upper decks – we briefly looked into the White Room, but took rather more time to check out Metropolis. This was followed by a very quick snack in the Waterside, a return to the cabin, the start of unpacking, and then the 4:15 safety drill (quite casually done, I thought – more so than on Oriana in the spring). Then sailaway! – flags flying, and, err, a Max Bygraves sing-along CD. But the afternoon was beautiful; very sunny, warm, and quite still. We started on Deck 15, starboard side (in the sun, you see) then went down to the Promenade deck and saw Hythe Pier and Fawley; then back to the cabin as we slipped past Calshot. Out into the zig-zags with the sun now quite low but still shining, the wind not too strong, and we stayed on the balcony all way past Cowes, and down to Ryde Pier. Strange to think that only a month or so ago we’d been on the pier watching Aurora go past us! Then back into the cabin to finish unpacking.


So, what are my first impressions? Pretty positive, I have to say. The cabin is very good – our first balcony cabin ever, but quite apart from that we like the layout with the walk-in hanging space – definitely the best arrangement we’ve yet encountered. The shower looks pretty minuscule, but I’m sure it will do. Drawer space is OK, if you allow for the shelves near the hanging space. The cabin was very hot when we arrived – the a/c was not really on, and the cabin had been facing the sun most of the day, with the curtains open. It didn’t really cool down until early evening, after we had had the balcony door open for a while. We’ll see that how develops over the days to come.

We haven’t really made use of any of the main public areas yet, but we liked the  the look of Ramblas. The atrium was  bit smaller than we’d expected, but we haven’t really studied it. We liked the buffet areas, which were less busy than we’d expected on embarkation day.

And that’s it for now. Tonight’s dinner is ‘smart casual’, and we’re in the Bay Tree (2nd sitting, 8:45). The tomorrow is a sea day, with a formal night. More to follow, tomorrow.

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