From our overnight stay at the Travelodge, Eastleigh, to the wonderful port parking at Southampton docks, our holiday got off to a terrific start. We were taking our daughter on her first cruise as a present for completing her Masters, so we were keen to board and show her around our ship.
Embarkation was flawless. And as usual, friendly helpful staff were there to guide us through the boarding process, and we boarded around 12.00 mid day. As we knew our cabin wouldn't be ready, we made our way to the very very busy Windjammer and were able to snag a table almost immediately. The place was heaving, and after we ate our lunch we were delighted to hear that cabins were now open. Our cabin 9358, was a triple room with balcony, towards the back of the ship. It was a good sized cabin, with very little motion or engine noise. However, each morning almighty bangs were heard from the floor above, as we were opposite a service door, we presumed these were deliveries. They did not impact on our cabin experience in any way.
Sadly during the first night I came down with a gastrointestinal illness which I believe came from my buffet lunch . After seeing the ship's doctor, I was quarantined to the cabin on a diet of dry toast and peppermint tea. I was given free access to the movie channels and the mini bar at no charge. The infirmary staff were wonderful, kind caring and professional. The next day I was allowed mashed potato and white rice to compliment the dry toast and peppermint tea. With all the wonderful food on board this was very difficult to swallow, but very good for the waistline! Eventually I was allowed out of the cabin, but not into public areas, however, the following day ( our first port of call Gibraltar) I was allowed to leave the ship, but still on the restricted diet.
Our dining room experience was wonderful. We were seated with some lovely people, and our waiter Josep, and his assistant Barjolette were just superb. So efficient and organised, it was a pleasure to be at their table.
The shows we saw were very good. I thought David Copperfield was hilarious, he was so entertaining and such a lot of fun. The ice show was, as usual exemplarary. And the daily quizzes were brilliant.
Out of all of our ports only two disappointed us, and that was Gibraltar and Lisbon. Gibraltar was like any British high street, and Lisbon was dirty, graffiti ridden and just generally not pleasant. All our other ports were gorgeous, Corsica being my very favourite.
We loved every inch of the ship, so much so, we have booked our 30th wedding anniversary cruise for next September back on the AOS- however, we've treated ourselves to a suite.
Leaving the ship was a little chaotic, but once we were called we easily found our luggage and left the port very smoothly.