I've waited a week or so before deciding to write this piece assuming that someone else was bound to kick off immediately on their return. They haven't, so here goes!
The trip from Hull to Liverpool of 23/05/12 to 29/05/12 was a memorable one and not entirely in a good sense. Weather, big swell and adverse high winds prompted an announcement from the ever-solemn Captain that the calls at Guernsey and Isles of Scilly were cancelled. As both these ports were tender ports, the presence of a projected 3-metre swell was going to make passenger transfer between tender (the ship's own lifeboats) and ship almost impossible. So with passenger safety in mind the decision has to be accepted except that along with the swell was forecast winds up to force 8, that's a big gale and in those conditions we were not only going to proceed to the port of Cherbourg, more exposed than Honfleur where the weather was beautiful and the river estuary a dead calm, but then across the channel as it narrows between France and England. What could have been a really rough 2 days turned out well. The Sun shone, the sunbathing decks were full and the sea was calm.
Unfortunately, after the unfortunately of the 2 cancelled ports of call a pipe associated with the swimming pool cracked and emptied the pool's contents, if not entirely then certainly substantially, into the show lounge forcing alternate venues for the evening entertainment and making some of the ship a no go area whilst moping up operations continued.
The crew, all of them, earned their corn on this trip and whilst there's nothing I could add to the descriptions in earlier revues, tired furnishings and 3 star food, there is a general warning about the itinerary that future cruisers should be aware of.
Any itinerary, not just Ocean Countess' that includes Guernsey and the Isles of Scilly is likely to disappoint. Neither place has deep-water jetty facilities so tendering on and off requires flat seas. The word is that 80% of all attempts to land at these 2 ports are failures. On this cruise 90%+ of all passengers wanted those 2 calls above all others. For some this was their 2nd attempt with the same itinerary. So be warned.
In other revues there are harsh words for the Liverpool experience both leaving and arriving. THAT IS HISTORY. The brand new Pier head cruise terminal is convenient, sited in the city centre, iconic. Yes it's going to be taken down for the "closed" season but frankly I'd take ship from here to anywhere in preference to almost anywhere else. Brilliant.
Oh and an apology to all those folk in Fowey who thought they'd have a lie in on Sunday morning. We weren't expecting to see you either but didn't we PARTY on leaving!