We stayed overnight in Southampton at the Holiday Inn , with the Stay Park Cruise package. Excellent location, our room overlooked the terminal so we could see the ships arrive and leave. Only a 5 minute walk to the city centre with restaurants and bars. The transfers are included and are for a personal taxi, this was run efficiently, we only waited 5 minutes on our return to be picked up. The car is parked in the hotel car park so no-one moving your car whilst you are away. We will definitely use it again.
The check in was so easy, a porter took our cases when we got out the taxi and we went quickly through security and passport control.Although we had been given a check in time of 3pm, we took a chance and checked in as soon as we left the hotel so by 1pm we were on the ship. We took alcohol in our carry on and the suitcase, no queries.
The cabin was ready when we boarded so we made our way there to drop off our carry on bag. I was surprised at the spaciousness of the cabin,loads of storage space, lovely smelling toiletries, surprisingly the shower curtain was curved round enough not to stick when showering, the shower was powerful,balcony plenty big enough. I was surprised at the size of the large tv on the wall opposite the bed, we managed to use our USB stick to watch movies. The TV channels are minimal, a couple of movie channels, some news channels and TVChoice and BBC HD, both showing repeated ITV and BBC programmes. The cabin door is on a strong spring so slams shut every time you use it, not so good when neighbours return to their cabin late at night. Didn’t notice much noise from adjacent cabins, quiet at night.
One thing we hadn’t bargained on was the ‘enthusiasm’ of the steward. He popped up at different times, on the first night we had unfortunately blocked the ‘delicate’ toilet system and he turned up at 8pm, no knocking just came into the cabin to see if the toilet was working ok. It was and he retreated quickly. After that we discovered the ‘do not disturb/make up my room’ card and used it from then on with no problems. Another thing I noticed was when he had serviced the room, he tidied things away in drawers so we had to go hunting for them, also I had left my nighty on the bed, we returned from dinner to find it laid out on the bed in a fancy pattern ??? A bit weird I thought, after that we made sure we didn’t leave anything out.
The MDR was excellent, first class service and the food was as good as anything I’ve eaten in restaurants at home. We ate there every night,didn’t see the need to pay for the alternative dining and experience of the Lido was a typical free-for-all buffet. Although the advertised four nights were all informal, once we were on board the second night was listed as formal(optional) /informal. There was a good mix of dress every night, men usually in ties but not really any formal gowns.
We missed having hot drinks in our room, luckily kettles will be available soon which will be good. The coffee in the Lido was in my experience horrible. Don’t count on room service to bring you any either, we tried phoning and after being on hold for 15 minutes gave up. I think the coffee card is about £35 dollars which you would need to have about 10 to break even but at least you could order speciality coffees. Something we will probably use next time if the kettles haven’t arrived !
Didn’t use the other facilities or the shows, 4 nights is not long to get acquainted with the ship. But we definitely are converts to cruising, loved Cunard and the whole experience and looking forward to the Fjords next year !