Although we only live a couple of hours from Southampton, we decided to travel down the day before to make sure we didn't have any worries about being stuck in traffic en-route. The journey was horrible as it rained constantly all the way to Southampton. We stayed in our usual haunt, the Holiday Inn, just beside the docks and on getting to our room were greeted with the surreal sight of the Independence of the Seas almost immediately outside the window. Even though we were on the 7th floor, we seemed to be staring straight across at the IOTS Bridge! We watched both IOTS and Oceana sailing away at 5.30 in the wind & rain. There certainly were only a few hardy souls out on deck.
That night we ate out at Banana Wharf in Southampton's Ocean Village marina. Despite getting soaked walking 100 yards from the taxi to the restaurant, we had a great meal there. It is buzzy, informal and serves good, reliable food. If it had been summer on 9th August(!) we would have enjoyed eating out on the terrace, overlooking the marina.