Well here we were. My first Connie cruise from Southampton since they changed her itinerary for refit and added one from the 25th-30th April 2007. My second cruise, first solo and just had a fantastic time. My love affair with Connie continued in 2010 when I finally went back, having done Equinox and Eclipse between, and had another wonderful cruise from the 9th-16th October. Despite such a long absence, it was like I’d never been away when I boarded. Now it was time for my fifth time on her (third in 11 months!) and I become an Elite member of the Captain’s Club – wooo! She was docked in the QEII Terminal because Eclipse was in City. Now on the 13th October 2006, I sailed my first cruise (QE2 from QEII) and 41 cruises later I was going on another favourite. Arcadia was in too, and had been that day in 2006! I was glad she was in QEII because it made for better photos as I sailed by on the ferry. 😀 We also had Aurora and Balmoral. I had actually been booked to go on Aurora that day but cancelled it for my fabulouso Connie. Well, Aurora’s here all the time while Connie is only thanks to yet another change of itinerary. But first the arrivals! Because Connie and Eclipse were annoyingly always early birds, I got them from the window then we went down to the marina for the other two. Aurora, the bitch, beat us so I couldn’t get her passing Connie!
Home and back to bed for a couple of hours before heading over for my shippy! I was meeting Mark and Marie Kennedy, who had a visit to Aurora planned for the 15th but came early when I told them there would be five ships in. Due to timings and their train being late, we went straight to the terminal after they arrived. They have a new addition – a model of Capetown Castle! After dropping my luggage we went to get some photos but it bucketed down! Lasted quite a while but then eased.
I put them both into the taxi to take them back to Town Quay then went to check in. QEII is my favourite terminal but I hadn’t sailed from here since I last left it on the 27th October 2008. I was so pleased to be back and that it hadn’t changed a bit inside. The observation area was open – wooo! So a couple of pics before boarding. Without the cranes it’s so much better. Then on and we boarded the opposite way to the QE2. My cabin was 2134 so a window after three insides and a balcony.
Then it was time to find the Maitre ‘D. I had spoke to him a month ago asking if there was any chance of being on Loreto’s table once I found he was still here. Loreto had been my waiter in December and is absolutely amazing. There was a queue but unlike other lines, they take your cabin number and call you. When it was my turn, I said I spoke to him last month and he said, “I remember. You wanted to be on Loreto’s table.” They had changed the numbers but he managed to find which was his and add me to table 122 from my original 100. I also pre-ordered my dinner while I was there. Muster was 4.15pm and my muster station was the casino. Thank goodness they finished before anything was really happening. After quite a wait for the lift, got up to a windy deck 11 as Aurora was off. Once she passed, Eclipse moved away then Balmoral and us but Arcadia pulled out so Balmoral would be last. I thought Eclipse wouldn’t blast to us but did when she was by our bow. I hate the windscreen. Why couldn’t it have been like Radiance class??? Or, better still, revamped with this ‘Solsticizing’ to remove the top half???? Well as the light began to fade I went back in.
Dinner was great but with there being no table numbers, no one knew if they were on the right one or not. One couple weren’t. I ended up with three older couples but they were nice. I was too tired to do anything so went to bed only to spot a huge mass off lights out of the window – QM2!!! I had hoped we would pass as we sailing to Le Havre and she went to Southampton but you never knew when it would be.
Then bed since it was an early start for our Le Havre arrival and that of the new Celebrity ship, Reflection!
Well our arrival was 7.30am with Reflection half an hour later but you know ships! We were docked almost 30 mins early and Reflection was already coming through the breakwater. Usually on cruises, I’m where Reflection would be so this was different. The forecast had been rain ALL day so I was glad it was merely cold. That bloody windscreen made it impossible to get decent pics of her passing our bow so I had to keep moving, as I had for every other ship I’d stalked from Connie. Reflection was docked almost by 8am.
I had booked a train to Rouen so went to take some photos of the ships to pass the time before getting a taxi to the station. This terminal was much nicer than the other, which is more of a shed.
After a natter with the Belgian crew member from Reflection directing people, I shared a taxi with a Canadian couple from Quebec who were on the new ship but then met some Brits from mine who were also going to Rouen. Now in France you have to validate your ticket before you travel, but the online booking didn’t tell you that. If you print off your tickets you don’t have to because the bar code is scanned. Well he didn’t check them anyway. I met Marie Mariani from Facebook while they went to find the old town. We had a very nice few hours wandering around and as we were having lunch in a Creperie, it rained! Still slight drizzle as we left but stopped fast.
At the station was that couple. My train back was 4 minutes after Marie’s so she led us to platform 1 then she went to platform 8. It was packed with barely a place to sit. Then there was a 20minute wait for a taxi. Despite a queue, people were pushing in. One of the photography crew from Reflection asked if it was the queue for the shuttle so Alan suggested she share our taxi. Back on the ship one of Celebrity’s fabbo curries then a nap before dinner. Reflection was due to sail at midnight so I went to wait and it bloody started pouring at that time! Thankfully, by the time she finally buggered off just after 12.30am, it had stopped but I was still having windscreen problems – ARGH!!!!!!!!!!
Then much needed sleep and I didn’t get up until 1.40pm! Spot of light lunch then about 3.20pm, my steward Romeo appeared saying he had just come back on duty and couldn’t do the room earlier because of the sign. So I left him to it. That’s really good since most lines don’t until the evening/morning if they miss one. Got the internet package then killed time until curry time! P&O are known for their curries but the chicken has bones, beef fatty. Ugh! Celebrity’s are spicy, boneless, fat free, no gristle andhave a choice of three each evening with different condiments. LOVE THEM!