Off to Harwich for Discovery! It’s so much easier to stay overnight before a cruise than struggle on the day, particularly somewhere like Harwich where you now have to change at Manningtree. You only have 5 minutes between trains and one train per hour. Last time I was in Harwich back in 2009, National Express had the franchise and it was direct. Because I hate trains with their expense and cramped conditions (unless you can afford first class), the first half of the journey was via coach to Victoria. It was FAR less stressful! As I also had the Tube, it was a taxi across London to Liverpool Street where I sat on bloody gum! It’s time this stuff was either banned or made non-sticky. The train from Liverpool Street had no socket, which I’d requested and was so cramped, worse with the table. But I was sat with a mother and daughter who were very nice and it helped pass the time and it was great travelling past the Olympic Park.
I wish I’d taken photos of the site in 2009. On arriving at Manningtee, I had help with my case. There are no lifts, only stairs, which is a pain in the backside when you have luggage. As I also have a bad back, it made it more difficult so I was very grateful and only just made the connection. This train was an old National Express one with all that lovely space and comfort. An American couple from Kentuck were on the train, also going for Discovery. They had done Norwegian Epic and hated it. Arrived at Harwich and met Rob O’Brien at the station then we got a taxi to the Premier Inn. That was so hot despite a window open and a fan in the room.
The 25th August was surprisingly dry! The forecast had been non-stop rain so I was glad that was wrong. I popped out to see if I could see the ship and there she was looking great.
This would be the smallest I’ve sailed on. Check in began at noon and already loads of people were waiting. The average age on passengers must be at least 70. They opened the barrier about 5 mins late and the Discovery Club queue was longer than newbies so we were checked in really fast. They took the passports though. You register your credit card onboard. There was a slight delay boarding as they waited for clearance but we were at our cabin at 12.50pm. It’s quite spacious for an old ship. We were surprised.
The luggage was already waiting for us too, which was nice. A bit of exploring then lunch in the Lido. No tip added to the bar bill. Registered the credit card afterwards and was amazed at the most expensive internet package being 12 hours for £21! That is unheard of! Muster was around 10 minutes late at 2.25pm. Our muster station was the Carousel Lounge and they were very thorough including a roll call. Then out for our 3pm sailaway. Thankfully it only tried to rain and held off but that wine whipped up a lot! The Deputy Captain guided us out and we didn’t sound any whistle until dropping the pilot off.
It’s a nice touch they kept her Island Princess plaques.
Our steward Tony has been working on here since 2000! The room was freezing, despite turning the heat up. I reported it at 6.10pm and someone turned up at 7.50pm! He said he would be back while we were at dinner. The safe then wouldn’t re-open so we reported that before joining the queue. Our table companions were nice, though we were on a table for 4 instead of 8 as we’d requested. It was okay though. Our waiters were great, as was our head waiter Eric, who would be doing my dietary requirement. Or Doctor Eric as he called himself. Like Cunard though, it was a pen to choose so we’ll see. Afterwards, we joined Alan and Trish for the quiz, which was great. A lot of fun, not taken too seriously, unlike on other lines.
Had a wander later and the cabin was still freezing when we returned after midnight. The bloke at reception gave stupid excuses for the safe not being seen to, such as embarkation, despite the fact we’d told him we reported it before dinner. And he didn’t seem that keen on asking someone to look at the aircon, offering a spare blanket instead. I suffer sinus headache from cold air so that really wasn’t good enough. He phoned later and said someone would come in the morning after 9am.
Well no one turned up before 1pm on the Sunday. It was a sea day. No phone calls either and it as like a freezer in the room. The bathroom was lovely and warm! After lunch I wandered on the deck and saw AIDAluna sailing towards Hamburg.
After returning the the cabin, I found a fan heater!
That’s REALLY safe, isn’t it? No explanation of why we got one. The sea got rougher so that would be a major fire hazard if it fell over. The cruise so far has been great but this whole attitude is putting a dampener on it. I had to get out because I was getting a headache so went to the card room to enjoy the sea.