Off to Southampton and the Seven Seas - well maybe just the Baltic Sea22nd May

Gotta love English motorways. A nice speedy trip to Southampton from Sue's and time to relax with some free wifi, a chai latte and a Belgian chocolate brownie (hey I'm on holidays) before finding a free bus to the cruise (hmm not sure we were meant to be on it - all seemed to be from cruise organised flights, but no one asked), and heading for our cruise,

As you might know in 2014 we also took a cruise - a bike and barge cruise, boy oh boy - this one's bigger!
2014 The Fiep

2016 - Celebrity Eclipse

Pic not taken today but found before we left along with a grand photographic tour if you'd like to see more. It's an old website but had some interesting stuff.  We have so many things you might not expect to have eg an art gallery, Team Earth environmental centre and a 1960s disco!  Launched in 2010, The 122,000-ton Celebrity Eclipse carries 2,850 passengers and about 1,250 crew. The ship has 18 retail shops, including glass merchandise from The Corning Museum of Glass and Riedel Gallery. In addition, one of the onboard shops specializes in authentic local artisan crafts, and the Celebrity iLounge has Apple products for sale.

I have so many mixed emotions coming to Southampton as the last time I was here was in 1971 when we left our home, and my sister, to live in Australia.   Yes almost 45 years ago! We came out on the Fairstar, which also looks a lot smaller than the Celebrity Eclipse in this pic my Dad took back then.

The Fairstar - 1971
Mum and me leaving Southampton back then. Haven't changed - much.

So far this holiday has been about delays and standing in queues. Today no different. A huge line-up to check in to the cruise, (such a reminder of standing in the alien queue to get into the UK yesterday). Then when it was almost our turn to go through security a piece of equipment failed and so everything stood still for 10 minutes or so. When we finally climbed aboard we hit the next barrier - the check in people had given us two passes, both with my name on them. More standing around whilst that was fixed. When we went for our first drink they tried to charge us - so more waiting around whilst they sorted that out. Then we were over an hour late leaving Southampton.  Oh and only two of our cases turned up so a bit if an anxious wait for number 3 given we had left the port before it arrived. So enough whinging.

The life boat drill was more standing around (oops I lied) though I was very amused that the abandon ship siren was very short - one shrill buzz, as opposed to the go to your stations siren which was seven buzzes long. I guess the guy pressing the buzzer doesn't want to hang around too long if we are abandoning ship but I fear many will miss that signal if it ever came before assembly,

Did I mention in the last post that we are in Cabin #8291 (Vista Deck - deck 8). Oops that's Stateroom 8281 - no cabins on this ship.  You can see a layout here Vista Deck Plan

I have found a new favourite saying "Piso majado"

Ok it means wet floor, but it just describes it so well and we had mucho Piso majado when it piso'd mucho from the sky before we left.  I also loved the sign on the life boat under our room ( yes folks if we fall off our balcony we will break bones rather than drown)
I'm thinking this might be the manufactirer's name but it also seemed to me to describe the feeling if you fell from our balcony on to it. (That first scotch and soda has gone straight to my head! Well we missed lunch with all that waiting around.) I also loved this life preserver 
It sits above this fall. Now imagine if someone fell overboard with so many decks to the water (OK concrete dock in this pic but it would be water), would they survive? And if they did would a passenger throwing this thing after them get anywhere near them? It's the thought that counts perhaps?

My first thought when seeing my fellow passengers was 'I'm too young to be on this cruise." Perhaps a more reliable mirror is required?  Oh and irons are a safety hazard - see Mum I told you ironing clothes was no good for you.  The next thing to come to mind was how convenient that the staff are colour coded. Yes it is a bit uncomfortable to me that 99.9% of the cruisers are white and 99.9% of  the crew are black/Hispanic. Though I do thank them for the Piso majado. 

Hmm I seem to still be whinging again - jetlag? Lots of people lined the shore to wave to us.
No actually they were waiting to wave to Harmony of the Seas, which is the largest cruise ship around - double the size of ours, and she followed us out. No really the food so far has been excellent and the drinks choice fantastic. Garrie even tried his first Budweiser

Though his next beer was a Heinekin.  Our stateroom is wonderful.

And some of the rest of the ship is pretty nice too. Think this is the library
And there is real grass on one of the decks!
These are just a couple of the pools.
We are also going to get fit. Some good advice re avoiding germs on board came from a friend who said "Use the hand sanitiser, don't go in the lifts and don't touch the railings". Well so far today we have been up and down from deck 8 to deck 14 quite a few times and I have 15,549 steps up in my Fitbit!  (There is no deck 13). We went to a great show tonight. David Copperfield (no not the musician - the English comedian). Then we headed to
To see
So as the last rays disappear goodnight to you all. We are steaming towards Bruges and the next adventure.