We drove to Southampton and were transferred to the coach station by ACP Southampton then to Heathrow for the flight to Dubai. That all worked well as did the transfer to the docks which was part of the package by Imagine Cruising. We were then messed about for a couple of hours before getting on board ship. It was as if someone had planned a way of ruining the embarkation experience. People were happy to wait but an impressive amount of people had been recruited to keep passengers amused, confused and frustrated by their antics.
The ship was more than impressive, our steward followed up on our queries and did far more for us than expected as did our waiters in the Britannia Restaurant. We used the Britannia for breakfast and lunch and each time found the staff and food to be first class. The pleasant and efficient service seemed to rub off onto the passengers who were, on the whole, pleasant and sociable.
After adjusting to the heat we were able to keep fully occupied by the numerous activities, quizzes and competitions as well as taking in the scenery which included the HMAS Melbourne which was engaged in protecting ships in the area of the Arabian Sea. She circled around us before resuming her patrol and was a very welcome sight.
The entertainment was excellent in all respects. I failed to go to a Planetarium show.