Our cruise around Great Britain last summer was a bit complicated, but fortunately, as it was the vacation of a lifetime for us, everything went well. This was the first time we had ever used passports, but we sailed through security at RDU . We were in plenty of time to catch our ride (we even had time for chocolate ice cream). We boarded our tiny plane and made it to Toronto, where we had a quick supper before boarding a larger, nicer plane for our trip to Heathrow Airport in England.
We had an almost glitch when, about halfway there, the flight attendants asked if there were any medical people on board because a passenger was having chest pains. Fortunately there were, and when we arrived at Heathrow, a medical team was there to meet the plane.
We made it through customs and security, collected our luggage, which had the decency to take the same plane, and found our cruise line representative waiting for us, holding up a Princess Cruise Lines Card. We waited for a little while and were able to tap into the free Wi-Fi at the airport. Then we headed for a bus which whisked us off to the Southampton to board the ship. We arrived at our cabin, and so did our well-behaved luggage, attended the requisite Titanic Scene safety drill, wearing our life jackets and assembling for a brief demonstration on how not to drown while fumbling with our life jacket. Finally we were free to enjoy our cruise.
We didn’t get the Norovirus, or lose engine capacity or anything like that. We ate a lot of great food, enjoyed the musicals at the theatre at night, and the shore excursions by day. We even lucked out in getting the best guide for our Liverpool excursion, which was called “In the Footsteps of the Beatles.” Our guide, Marie, grew up across the street from Ringo and she was a font of information on everything to do with the Fab Four. Fantastic!
The weather was warm and dry for the most part, with one day of rain in Ireland. We also visited Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the beautiful town of St. Peter Port in Guernsey . We spent a day in Paris and our two days at sea were spent enjoying the hysterical humor of the two cruise directors and their staff.
When our cruise was finished, we stayed for 2 more days to explore London and visit Stonehenge. We walked from our hotel to Buckingham Palace, ate some fish and chips in a pub, and rode on the upper deck of those familiar red buses of London.
Unseasoned travelers that we were, I think we did pretty well on our first foreign country experiences. I must give credit where credit is due, to my husband who did the planning and to the cruise line staff and the tour guides, who made it all, come together. And, of course, to Air Canada, who flew us safely there and back to Toronto and then to RDU. In Star Trek vernacular, the trip was “as smooth as an android’s bottom!”