And so the day had arrived when I’d be reunited with Epic nearly 16 months after the disasterous cruise! When I booked it direct with NCL, I opted for their flight and transfers, since Celebrity’s worked out so well exactly a year before. We were all booked on the 11.15am BA flight to Barcelona, arriving 2.20pm CET. As usual it was Terminal 3, Gate was 24A which opened at about 10.10am, so slightly early. Bussed to the plane and I had 24F, a window seat.
Contrary to the Captain’s announcement, it wasn’t a full flight, which was actually a blessing. It was great having no one next to me so me and the lady on the end could stretch out a bit. One of the cabin stewards was a dead ringer for my friend Paul except the steward was from Liverpool and had a beard. We left ten minutes late then joined the queue as a private jet and fat Singapore Airways Airbus were after us. There was a smaller plane behind the airbus which looked like its young! We flew over the partially snow-peaked Pyrenees got into Barcelona on time, flying over the port and the four ships waiting for passengers – Azamara Journey, Grand Holiday, Ryndam and, the biggest of them all, Norwegian Epic!
You really couldn’t miss her with those shades! Some Scottish people behind were taking their first cruise and were very excited. I was still waiting for my ears to pop so I could hear properly. There’s never a big yawn when you want one! It was fairly quick getting off the plane and the luggage was fast – once the belt started moving! NCL reps, though, were quite far away from where we come out. Holland America Line were there showing a presence to their passengers but I had to ask where mine were. Once there, we kept our luggage and were told to wait by the yellow bit which we did – and waited and waited and waited! After 3.10pm we were led down, those like me who thought they’d be taken to the ship dragging cases behind us. We were put onto two coaches, fifteen on each, and left bang on 3.30pm then stopped to collect more people.
We got the Terminal A just after 4pm, checked in then up and the eight bells of muster were sounded before 4.15pm!
None of us realised it was ours. No boarding photo because of it. We boarded on the Promenade deck then had to go aft to go in before heading straight to our muster stations. Mine was the Epic Theatre so forward!
This really isn’t good. Hand luggage (or just luggage for anyone who chose to take their own on) had to go with everyone. Thankfully one of the crew looked after my little case but I was worried the entire time. I sat next to an elderly lady who had come all the way from Tokyo just for this trip! My other side was an American. We all had Studios. Muster was just a demo of the lifejacket, waited a few minutes then off! Despite alternate exits on deck 5, most people closer chose to head up the stairs to deck 6. NOW I could head to my cabin and freshen up before the sailaway party on Deck 15! Well as soon as I got a lift which wasn’t full!