Sunday, May 30, 2010
Saturday May 29, 2010: All Aboard for Departure: Southampton
Yesterday, Friday was a very busy day for us, zig zagging across London on the “tube” to see all we could see in 10 hours. Our leg muscles are talking back to us today! But we considered our amateur tourist adventures to be a success. We voted and the Changing of the Guard was the best. I’ll have a photo gallery just for London soon as I get the photos edited and uploaded.
Saturday we woke up a little later, (getting used to jet lag now), had coffee in the room and packed everything for the bus ride to Southampton where the ship awaited. We caught a cab at the hotel to Victoria Coach Station at 10:1, in plenty of time to check out the place and find out where to meet our bus and grab some breakfast.
Our two London cab drivers so far have not been so friendly. They just sit in the driver’s seat and let you load your bags yourself and the only thing they want to know is where you want to go. It’s the last you hear from them. There’s no conversation, no good morning, just a robot at the wheel. I think I figured this out. The traffic is so bad in London that it turns these guys from humans to car robots. If you think Houston traffic is bad, it is nothing compared to London.
Anyhow the bus station was a mad house of busses, luggage, and folks draped over their bags sound asleep, pretty much what one could expect at a city center bus station. What we learned later was this is a big holiday weekend for the British and there were a lot of people going and coming.
Anyhow, we sat in the bus terminal for more than an hour, met some fellow Princess passengers. Actually we met them with a sense of relief that we really were in the right place. When one goes on cruises, their worst nightmare is being late or in the wrong place and the ship leaves without you. Travel tip here: If you book your connecting (to/from ship) transportation with Princess, they guarantee to hold the ship for you. We hoped this meant hold the bus too just in case. In fact the day before we took a side trip to the bus terminal and made inquiries just to make sure this really was where we needed to be.
I thought we would never get out of London but finally we were loaded up and on the way. Well, sort of, the traffic was pure stop and go from the time we left the bus terminal, through London and onto Highway 3 to Southampton. Highway 3, the so-called open road was just as busy. There are huge traffic jams even on the off ramps to gas stations and rest stops. Crazy! I told MA they needed to hire some Aggies to show them how to build some freeways. Thank heavens we had our MP-3’s which are great travel accessories for times such as these!
The two-hour bus ride took over three hours, but finally we arrived, checked in, got our boarding cards, cleared ship security, and found our room. We are on the Emerald Deck, (#8) room E208 with a balcony that looks out the port (left) side of the ship. We made our way to a buffet lunch (Once again, priorities!) and went back to the room for a short nap.
Later we walked around, checking out the ship, MA got her usual mystery book at the Library. MA says reading is a luxury for her that she doesn’t make the time for at home and she always looks forward to her mystery novel when we travel.
We finished unpacking, steamed our clothes in the small bathroom to get wrinkles out (irons are not allowed in cabins). And suddenly it was time for dinner! (Honestly, there is more to do on the ship than eat!) Our tablemates so far are a couple from England, Steve & Hazel. They are super friendly and we look forward to enjoying their company for the rest of the cruise. For now, it’s been a long day so I think I’ll say good-night! More later!