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Monday, 31 January 2011

Day 1, Sun 30th Jan, Southampton

Well, we set of at 7 exactly, and we got to Southampton at about 12.30.  Everything was going really really well.  We found the dock or “Gate”, and the guys took our suitcases without us getting out of the car.  Peter drove the car round to the terminal entrance and the valet person checked it over, said “sign here”, and drove it off to the car park.
Because we are not passengers, we were able to get on the ship before everyone else and have a good look round. So we walked into the terminal and asked the guy where we check in?
In the “Pass Office” my nightmare came true.  Peter was on the list to get on as crew, but I wasn’t.  The security guard said I would have to queue with the passengers.  I pointed out I didn’t have a ticket.  Stress levels are beginning to rise.
Fortunately, a quick radio call and someone on the Boudicca said it was alright to let me through. At the Security Check In on board, I WAS on the list and my onboard pass was ready.  Phew!
Our cabin is brilliant.  Don’t get me wrong, the last cabin we had was absolutely fine.  It had a porthole and I was delighted with it.  But it was very cramped and I expected this to be the same.  But we have more room this time, it feels quite luxurious.  We’ve worked out why we’ve got it tho.  It is very noisy.  We reckon we are right over the propeller engine or something.  It’s no bother to us, we quickly got used to the background noise and the comfort of the cabin more than makes up for it.
When it came down to it, it was Peter that wasn’t on the list.  A check from our cabin showed the schedule of events didn’t include him.  Maybe he doesn’t have to do all those workshops after all?   Another minor problem is that one of our cases hasn’t shown up - the one with all my clothes in! 
Every ship has to run a passengers life boat drill before they set sail, ours was at 4 o’clock, and I felt like an old hand cos I had done it once before (feeling dead smug!)  Then we joined the rest of the entertainments team for introductions and a quick run down of the rules. ( Still feeling smug)
Peter sorted out his scheduling problems, and we bought our first set of Wi-Fi minutes this cruise.  Back to the cabin, still no suitcase...... the ship is gonna set sail soon?  It must be somewhere.
We went out on deck to see the Southampton lights drift away from us, because of course, it’s dark now.   And still no suitcase?    So we go to reception to see if they have a lost and found.  Maybe the suitcase tag came off?  Maybe they took it to the wrong room? 

We are going that way
And Hey Presto, there it is right in front of reception, looking unloved and waiting for an owner.  Admittedly I was beginning to have visions of a shopping spree, but luckily, (or maybe unluckily) this wasn’t so. 
So we grabbed it and a list of tours to check out the ones we want to go on and then came back to the cabin to get changed for dinner.   Casual tonight, so that everyone can get used to the ship.
 I really really like the “Secret Garden Cafe” where we are going to eat all our meals, it has an intimate feel about it, and is laid out like a restaurant.  I assume they call it a cafe because it is self service.  I should point out that by now (7 ish), me and Peter were absolutely starving.  We’d been up since 6 this morning, and only eaten a couple of scones each all day.  The food was really lovely, but I think it was even more so because of our hunger.
Finally a coffee in the Iceni Lounge, where we sank into the comfy sofas and just about fell asleep.   So we “retired to our cabin” where we really could fall asleep.   It feels we are poised at the start of our adventure.  I am dead excited.   Lets hope the sea stays calm.  The odd wave reminds me of how bad I felt at the beginning of our Canary Cruise last October.   

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