London is an almost two hour drive from Southampton, where the Crown Princess docked. Although we could have schlepped our luggage to a train station and gotten a taxi from there to the port, searches on the web lead us to book a shuttle service which would pick us up at the hotel and deposit us at the gangway. Pricier, but so much more convenient. We shared the ride with three other couples and everyone was in an ebullient mood, looking forward to the trip ahead. The driver talked nonstop and the time flew by. The woman sitting next to me was blind enough to be using a white cane and her husband was also visually impaired. I have a hard enough time finding my way around a big cruise ship and can’t imagine all that they had and will have to deal with to get where they want to be. There are Braille cabin numbers in the hall, but each floor has hundreds of cabins. We had to admire their can-do attitude and will look for them again on board to see how they are doing.
Porters at the dock were less enthusiastic about getting our luggage than we have experienced in less affluent ports, but the haul to the conveyor belt was a short one. The lines of passengers in the terminal waiting to board were quite long, but our frequent flyer status on Princess, put us in a much shorter one and the only wait was at the ever obligatory security check. Oh, for the days when you could walk quickly on your own ship and board any others than were in port to see what they were like.
The luggage arrived at our cabin so fast that we were able to fill a bag full of dirty laundry and get it washed before most other passengers discovered when the laundromat was. And then it was on to the first of what will be many wonderful buffets. You couldn’t ask for a smoother start.