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Final (sea) day

It’ the last full day of the cruise, and it’s a sea day. We’re continuing the passage from Kristiansand to Southampton.

We had a leisurely-enough morning: breakfast, walked a few times around the deck, and then hit the balcony for maybe 90 minutes. It’s not as hot today but it was sunny and we stayed out on the balcony until nearly 1 o’clock at which point we lost the sun behind the upper decks. During that time we saw Aurora in the distance, heading northwards. Then we packed – as usual, this went much faster than packing to go on the cruise. As long as everything in the cabin is in the bags, it’s job done. We’re doing self-disembarkation (again) so we don’t have to put our bags out, but our plan for today includes a Glasshouse lunch and we’d rather not address packing after that.

There was one rather odd thing this morning: we found the Terrace covered in soot. We’ve never seen that before, on Ventura as well as on this ship.

Later: we went to lunch at nearly 2 o’clock and found the Glasshouse as busy as we’ve seen it all cruise. As a result it was nearly 3:30 before we got out, after a couple of large glasses of the Planeta and a meal each. Val once again had the 6oz steak and I had the ‘3 dishes’ meal. This may have been a mistake as between them they were quite filling. Perhaps I shouldn’t have had the dessert as well. When we left we found people queuing for the galley tour (which ends at the Chockoholics buffet in the Oriental restaurant) but we aren’t interested in either. We did the galley tour once on Ventura, and to be truthful I found it hard to make sense of what I was seeing. So we ventured out onto the promenade again where we found that it had got misty since going for lunch; on the windward side there was definitely mist along the promenade itself. Now we’re back in the cabin blowing bubbles and wondering if we should go to the Glasshouse for a final glass of wine.

We had a conversation with a lady this morning about the cruise overall – of which, more when we get home – and the conversation turned to the increasing capacity and the need to fill the ships. It turned out that this lady had made a booking for an early cruise on Britannia (possibly the maiden). I made some comment to the effect that it was a pity about the balconies and the (lack of) promenade deck, and her eyebrows rose. It quickly became plain that she hadn’t been aware of Britannia’s shortcomings in these areas, so unfortunately I may have upset her anticipation of her cruise. But it makes me wonder how many people do the research. In the case of Britannia, not only do we have deck plans, we now have sister-ships Royal Princess and Regal Princess in service, and the balcony and promenade deck issues are well known from those ships. But it seems that despite yr. humble correspondent banging on about them for over a year, and the wealth of other on-line information, a lot of people just aren’t aware. I predict a lot of publicly-expressed angst when Britannia goes into service.

(We even saw Royal Princess the other day in Warnemünde, berthed just behind us, and these issues were obvious – no promenade, and on every balcony you could see the two chairs arranged facing each other, because there’s no room for them any other way.)

We’ll have a gentle dinner tonight and an early night. We’ll be setting the alarm for about 5:30 in order to be in the atrium with our bags by 7:15. Fortunately we get our last hour back tonight, so that won’t be as bad as it sounds. But I think this will be the last post from the cruise itself. At some point after getting home I shall do my usual ‘summary & review’ page. I hope my readers have enjoyed these posts.

3 Responses to “Final (sea) day”

  1. Malcolm Oliver says:

    Tom said: “on every balcony you could see the two chairs arranged facing each other, because there’s no room for them any other way.”

    I don’t know how ship designers can make such a fundamental mistake. NCL’s Getaway and Breakaway also have very small standard balconies. In many cases a couple of extra feet added to the balcony would have made all of the difference.

    In the case of NCL a couple of feet cold be taken from the ends of the cabins which are fairly narrow, but over long.

    (By the way, a nice Baltic Blog)


  2. Mike says:

    Interesting about Britannia .. the other worry is the lack of deck space for lounging and sunbathing .. I understand that there is less than 1000 sun beds available, so watch out for early risers with their towels and books.
    I believe this is going to be a source of huge unhappiness amongst passengers. Thing is, these ships were designed for the American market and they do not sunbathe like the Brits, so the demand for loungers is low.

  3. Neil R says:

    Hi Tom and Val

    Great to read the blog whilst you were away and hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable cruise

    It isn’t just the new ships which have such poorly designed balconies though. We were on Arcadia in April and the balconies are so small that it is a struggle to get 2 people on them as well as the chairs. This is compounded by the door onto the balcony being hinged rather than sliding, and compounded even further by the door opening OUT onto the balcony rather than IN to the cabin. The end result is one person could only sit on the balcony if they used the chair on the other side to the door. It seemed like such a fundamental design flaw that its a miracle no one spotted it. My mum had a balcony on Deck 5 (D Deck) which are above the lifeboats and which the balconies on Deck 6 overhang them. So these balconies were very gloomy and depressing places, to the extent that my mum hardly used it even though she loves to sit on the balcony and read

    We’re back on Arcadia in 6 weeks and have decided to go for an outside as the balconies were so poor we didn’t use them. We’re also toying with seeing if we can change our booking for J422 and 423 over Xmas and New Year to move ‘down’ from a balcony to an outside, but not sure if we can without losing money. We’re going to ask when we’re on board in August

    Looking forward to reading the summary


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