Published: May 19th 2009May 19th 2009
The last leg of the cruise - from Spain through the Bay of Biscay to Southampton should have been a dawdle. However things didn’t go as planned, nothing strange about that.
We had planned to get all our packing done in the 3 days from Spain to Southampton. What we didn’t count on was the weather…. Heavy sea swells and although not seasick, we would have broken our necks trying to pack 6 suitcases in the confined space of our cabin at the beginning of the crossing.
So we decided to do our packing on the last day, before docking in Southampton… Mmmmm great plan… We sort of, enjoyed our last days on Arcadia, visited places and people on board and generally had a great if rocky time.
On the last day before port we got up early, went for breakfast and started packing - a mammoth task - we stopped for lunch, but apart from that we spent the whole day packing … how can that be? Well it was still swelly and the boat was rocking, so it became difficult to keep from falling over while trying to get suitcases in order. We ended up with 6 large suitcases
and a very large bag to go out in the corridor for uplifting. Our suitcases filled the corridor.
We decided to go to the dining room for dinner at 6-30pm instead of slumming it in the self service restaurant, as it would be the last time we would see our cruise table companions, then have an early to bed night - the ship was to dock at around 8am and we were due to be off at 10.
With a certain sadness we bade our companions good bye and retired to bed. On the way we said our goodbyes to the band, the photography staff and our waiters.
It was a foggy night and felt like an old war movie, the muffled sounds of the ships propellers, the dim viewing and seeing shapes in the fog - the sound of an occasional ships horn muffled in the fog…- on our balcony it was cold, wet and very foggy, not what we were used to. It really did feel like the end of our holiday.
So we went in to the cabin to pack away the last bits of hand luggage. Drawers were opened and at my side of the bed
were the chocolates that were left on my pillow each night ….. 50 odd chocs ….not eaten. Not tasty enough when I got them but they might be when we got home. They were packed with the daily biscuits that we hadn’t been hungry enough to eat.
By the time we were finished we had enough hand luggage to fill another two large suitcases…. Where does it all come from? We were going to be leaving the ship with enough stuff to mount an expedition.
Next morning we were up and breakfasted early. We were told we had to vacate our cabins by 8am.
We found a couple of seats on the top deck, soft couches, lucky us, we must have beat the rest of the passengers to the good seats!!! So we settled down to wait for our call to disembark… we waited and waited… and waited. Not perturbed and not aware of how few passengers were visible on the deck, we waited. After about an hour, and still within our 10am time for disembarkation, one of the photography crew approached us to enquire if we were staying on board for the next cruise!!!! No, we replied… well, he
said, there are only crew left on board. Everyone has gone ashore… the ship docked early. 6am.!!!! . What a pair of plonkers we felt.
So off we trudged with our mountain of hand luggage, to the baggage reclaim hall to uplift our cases - what a ridiculous amount of luggage!!!!
Judi was concerned that we would be stopped by customs and they would mistake out Chinese tea for illicit substances. We needn’t have worried, there were very few cases left in the hall and no sign of customs. I think they must have got fed up waiting and gone home for the day. We needed 2 carts to wheel our stuff out to the taxi rank.
We had to wait a short time (with the crew - not passengers as they were all gone) for a taxi and when one did arrive the driver wasn’t to keen to pile all our luggage into his cab - an extra 20% on the fare to take us to the dock gates, to pick up our car from the Avis depot, cheek but no option.
At the care hire we had a problem ----- the car was not what I had ordered
some 3 months ago… it was smaller… and the only one available!!! So with some huffing and puffing we managed to squeeze everything into the car - backseat flat, boot full to bursting. Stuff stored under seats, in glove compartments, on knees and down the side of the back seats.!!! Will the suspension hold up I asked the hire people? Know idea they replied, but we are fairly confident it will be ok if you take your time and avoid potholes!!!
So off we went - out of Southampton docks and heading home - with sad, backwards glances at the ship that had been our home for 2 months, we headed north.
We didn’t get very far and decided as the weather was rubbish and the forecast was worse, to head for Cornwall!!! South not north and wait there a few days till the weather improved before heading North and home.
There are more photos below