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(This posts and the ones following come from the 3-night cruise on Arcadia that we’ve just returned from. The posts were all composed while we were on Arcadia, but weren’t posted until we returned. I was going to post from the ship but found that there wasn’t a suitable internet package – the cheapest available was for 100 minutes, and would have cost £30 or something like that. I chose not to post at the non-package price, so I’ve waited until we’re home to do so.)

well, today is the first day of our mini cruise on Arcadia. We had our usual slightly stressful time getting to Southampton and embarking. We arrived at the Ocean Terminal at about 12:15 and joined a queue in the waiting lines. We waited for almost 45 minutes before being called forward to the unloading line, and after handing over our bags, waited for a further few minutes for someone to take our car keys. While we were waiting a friendly chap wearing a CPS bib explained that they’d introduce a new computer system; today was its first operational day; and everyone was finding it a bit strange. This was confirmed by a CPS lady who arrived at the end of this conversation. She had to type our registration number into a hand-held terminal which spat out a pair of matching bar codes, each on their own bit of sticky-backed paper. One was our receipt, the other stayed with the car keys. We have to keep ours and hope that CPS don’t lose theirs.

After embarking and having lunch in the Belvedere we investigated our cabin. We’re in D187, an aft-facing balcony cabin. The cabin seem to be a good size; to me it feels roomier than the Ventura cabin, though Val has just pointed out that it doesn’t have the separate walk-in wardrobe that we like on Ventura. The balcony is huge, stretching a long way back from the cabin to the rail. I would say it’s even bigger than the C Deck balcony on Ventura. However, unfortunately it’s almost completely covered by the deck above, there’s only a very small length – a foot or so right by the rail – that isn’t covered. Later in the afternoon we looked down on the stern cabins from the Lido deck; we could see uncovered balcony area on al of the other decks (A, B, C & E) but not ours. I think this is a change since the Autumn 2009 (?) refit, and it means that the only time that these D deck stern cabins will get any direct sun is when it’s very low in the sky, and if it’s coming from due astern. Which is what happened for us, after leaving Southampton; with Zeebrugge as our first port we were sailing almost due east, so the setting sun was shining directly onto Arcadia’s stern. We enjoyed a very pleasant hour or so relaxing in the sun.

So far my impressions of Arcadia are all positive. Now it’s time to get ready for dinner, so more tomorrow.

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