Arriving at Southampton by car from North Yorkshire my daughter said " Where is the ship - what is that large black funnel - oh wow - I never thought the ship would be that big !"
As first time cruisers and excited by the prospect - we had been planning our outfits for some weeks, this really was an exciting prospect.
Check In: Was fairly seamless, though it would have been good if the lady at the bottom of the escalator sending us up to the check in area had explained to us that we needed to get a coloured boarding card at the desk at the top - we did not find this out until we sought someone to explain the procedure - apart from that very little wait and check in was excellent and efficient. We had already checked where out suite was on the ship ( Deck 12) - and were surprised when sent to Deck 10.
However, this soon became clear when we received an invite to The Princess Grill restaurant - and realised we had been upgraded - some treat !
The Cabin : - Excellent space with walk in wardrobe and decent space to store your luggage. The only comment - is it not time they installed flat screen TVs as the old ones are really bulky now ?
The Cabin steward was lovely very attentive and efficient.
The Princess Grill: - My daughter and I were treated like royalty - I don't think the waiters see many 18 year olds in the restaurant and it appeared to be a source of amusement , when every evening there was a different dress - and she liked the attention too. The menu choice was excellent , and service was in the main very good. A little bit of overkill on a couple of occasions with too many people asking whether we were enjoying the meal - on one evening this happened 7 times during the meal !
Having been involved with the hotel and events industry most of my working life I know how hard this industry can be and I salute these guys for working at the pace they do.
It would have been nice if the butter was not put on the table until you sat down, because if you arrived after 7.30pm (the restaurant opened at 6.30pm) the butter was practically running out of the dish - and brown sugar in packets - what is that all about ?
The Enrichment Programme
Absolutely excellent, from the lectures to the RADA classes which my daughter attended. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed the classes and attended all three and was much encouraged by the guys and girls who commented she had obviously done some theatre before. We did not attend any of the balls because we did think that was aimed at the older couples - but that was choice not criticism.
For fun one evening we went to the pub and of course Mum being of a certain age managed to win the 60's quiz night!
This was the only disappointing part of the voyage as it took rather a long time. From having to leave you cabin by 8.30am ( which is quite understandable in order to turn the ship round) - to sitting in the theatre until 9.30am before our baggage number was called. We eventually arrived at the hotel in New York at 11.30am. Now obviously we could not get our rooms in the hotel at that time but were told it would be between 2.00-2.30pm. So taking our small bags went to explore a little bit of Times Square etc. We arrived back at the hotel at 2.30pm to be told the rooms would not be available until 4.00pm - not good - for a large corporate hotel - by the time we got our rooms we were so tired we went to bed that evening at 8.00pm as we had been up since 4.30am
All in all though a thoroughly enjoyable cruise - despite the sea sickness on the first day - dealt with very efficiently by the Concierge on Floor 9 who was handing out sea sick pills by the packet !
I will be back hopefully but this time to warmer climes ....