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At last we’re on our main cruise for 2012 – thirteen nights on Arcadia to the Canary Islands. It’s been a long time since our last proper cruise, and it seems very strange to be having our summer holiday in October.

We travelled down to the south coast yesterday (Friday) for a one-night stay at the Holiday Inn at Fareham. This was perfectly comfortable and was also good value for money – Val paid £70, I think, for bed & breakfast for the two of us, and of course there was no car parking charge either. Yesterday afternoon we found our way down to Titchfield Haven which we thought was delightful, and then we drove on to Lee-on-Solent. At both places we walked along the sea front and enjoyed this enormously; we must have walked several miles all told. The weather helped as it remained sunny all afternoon. We could see heavy showers hitting places a few miles inland, but for us it stayed dry all afternoon.

Then this morning we checked out at about 10 o’clock and drove to the Royal Victoria Country Park which I’ve wanted to visit ever since the first time I saw the church from a ship as we sailed down Southampton Water. We had a good stroll along the edge of the water, and we could see Celebrity Constellation at berth 39 and also Arcadia’s funnel above a couple of car transporters. Unfortunately we couldn’t get into the visitor centre; the ‘Pumpkin Festival’ was being held at the country park today and the visitor centre was shut until the festival started, at noon or later.

XShips_at_Southampton

Celebrity Eclipse and Connie

We got back in the car and drove along the local roads to Southampton. We thought Netley looked very pretty (and busy) and we imagine that property prices must be high around there. Then we were across the Itchen Bridge, where the toll was a bit of a surprise, and round to the Ocean Terminal by just after midday. There was the usual series of delays as we were processed by various people who needed to process us – CPS, P&O, and then the security people – so it was just after one o’clock before we were on board. Lunch (barbecue by the Neptune pool) took us up to two o’clock and cabin availability. Then followed unpacking, a drink in the Rising Sun at three o’clock, more unpacking, muster drill and then sailaway starting at 4:30. There were five ships in today – us, Connie, Eclipse, Aurora and Fred’s Balmoral – so there was quite an impressive procession out of port. Aurora came past everyone first from the Mayflower, then Eclipse from City, then Connie edged away from QEII. Then we were able to back out of the Ocean terminal, swing the bow to starboard and head off just ahead of Balmoral which had been berthed at 104. The weather was sunny but quit cold with a stiff breeze, so although there was a good sailaway party on the Aquarius deck (facing towards Southampton Water) while we were still moored, as soon as we got out into the water the breeze picked up and most people, including us, beat a hasty retreat inside. More unpacking ensued, together with a cup of tea and a short snooze.

Now it’s time to stop as there’s just ten minutes to dinner.

One Response to “Cruising on Arcadia – preparation, travelling and embarkation”

  1. […] the cruise started with the journey to Southampton and embarkation; […]

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