Monday, 1st November 2021

Cases PackedCases PackedCases Packed

We stayed the night before boarding in the Southampton area, as normal at the Holiday Inn Express there which worked fine. It was Halloween which might explain being greeted by a sneezing witch (you need to dress up warm if you fly around on a broomstick). Or the blood stains on the floor of our room which had seen better days. But it was fine particularly as the room rate was cheaper than when we stayed before.

There's time to kill before one can start queueing to board. Virginia went to look at clothes in the West Quay Shopping Centre. I found waiting around for her a difficult experience. The Victoria Sponge in the Marks and Spencers cafe was welcome, and I enjoyed looking in the Lego shop there. Very inventive, amazing when I compare the large kits on offer with what I remember from my childhood. Perhaps too inventive? Pre-empting the chance for children to experiment themselves?


The boarding process started with a Covid test at the Mayflower Terminal area. This I wasn't looking forward to, both because I dreaded one of us getting a positive, but also because I thought it was going to be physically unpleasant. In the event the medical technician didn't shove the swab far up my nose, and it didn't hurt. It came on to rain quite heavily soon after that, and I felt for the poor staff out directing cars in it.

We then did a lot of waiting in various places. Waiting with other cars at the Ocean Terminal for the results of the Covid test to be texted through. Waiting at the terminal for a verbal health check. (The one doing the checking told us to see her colleague in a red jacket, they were all wearing red jackets). Waiting to go to a checkin desk. Waiting to be called to go through security. Waiting in the security queue. Waiting to board the Queen Elizabeth. But we did eventually board, and found our cabin to be greeted by Ryan our cabin steward who had already placed 3 of our 4 bags in the cabin. Always nice when your bags turn up. Virginia's pink bag turned up later.


There's a lot of trust in this process. The questions they asked about Covid relied on your being truthful. They didn't check travel insurance just relied on you saying you had it. The cabin cards were left outside the door.

This time we didn't have to all congregate at a muster station at a set time. It was enough to watch a video then go and get our cabin cards scanned at the Assembly Station C. And listen to the captain at 4:45pm.

As we had another excursion cancelled we went to the Tours Desk and booked to see some gardens in Madeira instead. I was impressed by the Tours lady not apparently needing to know who we were when she made the booking for us. Perhaps we're more famous than I thought as unlikely as that is.


We met our fellow evening diners on table 360 (appropriately a round table!) We shared how difficult it was with all the form filling needed - a couple of older women told us that one old dear had come from Birmingham and had been turned back because she hadn't done any of the forms required. There seemed to be fewer diners than our previous cruise on the Queen Elizabeth.

Relaxed a little before turning in this evening. After it all we are now under way!