This was our first cruise in 22 years, and our first time on Princess. We only booked this about 3 weeks ago when one of those tempting emails came through from that “top 20 deals of the week” company.
Our drive from Northamptonshire to Southampton was uneventful, bar a detour through Winchester to avoid a nasty accident on the M3. With the SatNav armed with the postcode for dock 4/5, it was tempting to take the exit marked docks, but I persisted, arriving at the marked dock 4 where we could see the ship, small queue of cars, etc. It was at this point it went a little wrong, when the chap at the gate asked if we had our covid test band on our wrist – no. Maybe it was me in my trying to be super organised or the day – you can only imagine my frustration with the Medallion app. Anyway, we were told that covid testing takes place at dock 10 for all cruise ships. We were given a rather lengthy set of directions, and proceeded to get lost. I have to say the signage for the test centre was not great. It was not until you got through the gate for dock 10 that there was any sign indicating where the drive through testing centre was. At the first mini roundabout after the gate there was one saying to turn right. The centre is about half a mile down this road, where confusion hit me again – another Princess ship (Sky). Perhaps Regal usually docks here – not sure. Testing was quick, efficient and not invasive. Then the drive back to Regal with wrist bands.
By the time we had started the unloading of our bags, the results were through. Bags went to the porter and we went into departures. Once again, very efficient, and loads of staff to help. One desk for health screening questions, and another for getting your Medallion. Then along the gangway to get on the ship. To me it was strange, as we just walked on and were welcomed very nicely, but then nothing was said. Not being a seasoned cruiser, I had ask what I did next. Perhaps obvious to many, but I didn’t know if we had to go somewhere else, or where the lifts were. We went to our cabin, watched the safety video, and went to our muster station, followed by a lovely Mojito.