Aurora Cruise R718 to Zeebrugge (Didn’t dock!). Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd October 2017.
DAY 1 - Friday 20th October- Southampton
Our first experience of a 2 night cruise and back-to-back cruise all in one (although I am doing separate reviews for each). The 2 night taster cruise to Zeebrugge didn’t start well, as CPS car drop off was, for the first time, poor. The normal arrangement for a 2 day cruise is for passengers to self park in the short stay car park, but I had called CPS many weeks before and they had linked our two cruise bookings, telling me that I could ignore the self parking option and should pull up at the terminal to be valet parked as normal. I had called CPS again the day before the cruise to confirm and was, once again, told this would be no issue and CPS staff would be available at the terminal. As we arrived at the terminal, we first had a battle with the traffic marshal’s, who seemed incapable of understanding what we had arranged (and were quite offhand) and then, as we arrived outside the Mayflower cruise terminal, there wasn’t a CPS operative in sight. After a phone call to CPS (when I was kept on hold for 10 minutes) and a further wait, two CPS staff members eventually arrived.
Accessible balcony cabin. We had stayed in this cabin on a previous cruise, so were happy to use it again. Due to the heavy seas and storm we experienced some issues that we hadn’t on our previous (calm) cruise. The ceiling creaked and cracked loudly as the ship pitched around and the balcony door didn’t form a good seal and let in a drought and quite a lot of noise. As with most P&O ships, sound insulation between cabins is very poor and you are disturbed by neighbours slamming drawers etc and can hear conversations and TV’s from cabins either side of you.
Due to high winds, we were unable to dock in Zeebrugge so the port call was cancelled and we spent an unscheduled day at sea cruising up past the Thames Estuary to the top of the Suffolk coast and back to Southampton. To add salt to the wound, other ships due in to Zeebrugge that day docked with no issue.
Never tire of the sailaway down Southampton Water and out into the Solent past the glorious Isle of Wight