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Well, we left Solstice at about 9 o’clock on Friday morning. We were one of the last to leave – I overheard one of the team managing the disembarkation saying a few minutes earlier “we’ve got about 85% of the passengers off at the moment”. So it really is a quick operation on turnround day. Incidentally Solstice was already docked when we peeked over the balcony at about 5:30.

After disembarking, the day proceeded like a charm until we hit Heathrow, which we did at 3:30 or so. After that it turned into a slow slog, and we didn’t get home until 10:30, very tired indeed. Since then we seem to have been doing an awful lot of washing & ironing.

So what did I think of it altogether? We’ve come away thinking that it was probably our best cruise. Solstice is a beautiful, high-quality ship, the food and the company were both excellent, and the itinerary was to die for. We were also blessed with excellent weather – warm sunshine (75-85 degrees/23-28 degrees or so) which was hot enough to make you feel it but not so hot it was uncomfortable.

I think the effort that both journeys took has rather put us off fly-cruises for the time being. If we do one again we’ll look for ways to fly from an airport nearer home – there must be a way of flying to the Mediterranean from Manchester or East Midlands with a reasonable amount of luggage. However it’s not something we need to address in the near future – next year will be a P&O year, with two cruises (one long, the other short) from Southampton. Then we’ll see if Eclipse (or a sister ship) will be based in Southampton for 2011.

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