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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Transatlantic Cruise 2015 Day 3

Day 3 Sunday, 9/6/2015

Today we enjoyed an absolutely wonderful buffet breakfast at the hotel. There was so much to choose from and many different styles than we would get in the US. Here's a shot of what I tried for breakfast and it was all good, especially the croissants with raspberry preserves.

Our choices included:

Waffles, pancakes, mixed fruit, sliced and peeled oranges, or sliced and peeled grapefruit, 3 types of yogurt, scrambled eggs,mushrooms, fried potatoes (like tater tots but larger and in a triangle shape), sausage, thick bacon slabs, 4 types of instant cereal including museli, croissants, 2 types of other pastries, thick white or wheat toast, slices of cheese and ham, coffee,tea, 4 types of fruit juices.

After breakfast we headed to the Sea City Museum which is divided into 3 parts: the Titanic exhibit in terms of how the tragedy affected the town of Southampton since the Titanic left from here and 500 families lost a family member in the disaster, the history of Southampton going back thousands of years, and a dinosaur exhibit. We didn't do the dinosaur exhibit but our favorite part of the museum was the Titanic part. We were surprised that there wasn't actually more from the ship itself displayed at the museum. We saw a lot of items that were from the Titanic's sister ship, "The Olympia" and saw more from the Titanic when we saw the Titanic exhibit when it was in Las Vegas. There were some items displayed that belonged to people who were on board the ship, some items belonged to people that died, but more belonged to survivors. One of the most poignant exhibits was hearing actual voices of survivors and their retelling of the events as they remembered it. Here are a few pictures from the museum.

After we were done we had tea and lemonade in a cute cafe attached to the museum while we waited for Chuck's friends George and Carol Crowe to pick us up. They actually live in Norwich, England and drove down to take us to lunch. We had a wonderful time and learned a lot about England during our lunch at a nice Italian restaurant. After they left us we came back to the hotel room and took a nap. We haven't adjusted yet to the time change.

Dinner was at McDonalds as it was also in the parking lot of the hotel. They had no salads here so I was disappointed. But the ordering process was fun. You can actually order from a screen in the lobby and pay with your credit card which speeds order along. They do things a bit differently here though and my grilled chicken wrap had a mayo and ketchup sauce on it. I missed the ranch sauce I get in the US. The fries were yummy though.

After dinner I decided to try out the small pool and get some laps in. I felt as though I was in a spa and because I was by myself, it was great. And the water was quite warm as well. Perfect way to relax before bed. Chuck used the workout room which is behind the pool windows that you can see in this picture, but he said it wasn't very good. Nothing like the workout center at Big Canoe, but we are spoiled!

It is now Sunday morning and we are getting ready to take our taxi to the ship. We are SO excited to board. Although we have been on the Royal Princess before, it is always exciting to board a ship at the beginning of a cruise and to know we have a wonderful 2 weeks ahead of us on our transatlantic cruise! More to come in a few days...

Transatlantic Cruse, Days 1 & 2 of Our Adventure

Day 1, Thursday 9/3

On Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 we left Atlanta, GA by plane to begin our journey on our long awaited transatlantic cruise. The flight left at 10:00 pm and we settled in quickly. I was originally going to get some sleep as soon as dinner was over but was too tempted by the free in-flight movies, as was Chuck. He watched The Godfather, while I preferred to watch movies I had never seen before, and knew if I didn’t watch them that night, probably wouldn’t get a chance to see them at all. The first movie I saw was Aloha, starring Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone. I enjoy all of their talents and enjoyed them in this movie as well. Then I watched Far From the Madding Crowd, which was filmed in England, to prepare me for the few days we would spend in England. Since I am a hopeless romantic and this movie was about a young woman in England who tried to remain independent while being courted by three different men, I loved it. The Princess fleet of cruise ships shows wonderful movies on board and I just hope they don’t include these because I want to catch up on my movie watching on board the ship too. I don’t have a lot of free time to watch movies in my regular everyday life.

Day 2 Friday, 9/4/2015

We arrived in England at 11:45 am which was really 5:45 am GA time. Chuck only got about 1 hour of sleep while I think I squeezed in about 3 hours. Chuck got a chuckle out of my reaction when I woke up and thought we had slept through breakfast. Ha, if you know me, you know I don’t want to take a chance on missing anything FREE, and since breakfast was included in our flight, I didn’t want to miss it! They gave us a small breakfast of coffee, juice, yogurt and bagels just before landing. We took a taxi from Heathrow airport to the Novatel Hotel in Southampton.

The hotel room is small, but adequate. I was surprised at how modern the rooms are here. We have everything we need, including a small love seat, but there are only 2 drawers to keep things in, unlike in the US where the hotel rooms have actual bureaus. The bathroom situation is rather odd. As soon as you walk in the door, to the left is a very narrow room with a toilet in it. That’s it, just a toilet. There’s a tiny closet across from that, then you walk into the main from which includes a bed, desk, love seat, TV and the doorway to the rest of the bathroom which includes a tub, shower and sink. There is also a cute set up with a frig with cold water, and above it, an electric kettle with your choice of instant coffee or tea, including herbal tea. I have already had some peppermint tea. After all, when in Rome, uh, er, I mean England in this case.... What's England without a "spot of tea?"
Accessible from the lobby are the bar, restaurant, workout center, and a really wonderful yet fairly small heated pool. We settled in, took a nap, and got up for an early dinner at TGI Fridays which is adjacent to the parking lot of the hotel. We were too tired to be adventurous! Chuck ordered a lemonade and when it arrived at the table it was a lemonade by Schweppes which was really lemonade soda, which tasted surprisingly like Sprite! I had a cheeseburger and Chuck had salmon. Both were fine, but Chuck’s mashed potatoes left a bit to be desired and the vegetables were al dente. Below is the view from our room, with the TGI Friday's straight ahead, in front of the IKEA store!
Too tired for dessert, we headed back to the hotel room and after a bit of time on our computers, we went to bed around 11 pm England time, which was really 6 pm US time. We woke up wide awake at 4 am due to lots of yelling and shouting in the parking lot which had been going on intermittently throughout the night. We had read online that this hotel has no air conditioning so we had left the windows open. We weren’t used to the time change yet so got on our computers till 6:00 am and then tried to go back to sleep. Instead of voices, this time we heard very loud sea gulls outside the hotel room window. Southampton is a sea port and we are very near the cruise ship dock so there are lots of sea gulls around. We finally decided to get up and go for breakfast.

That's it for now, because we have to run, but I will add more exciting things soon, including a description of the wonderful breakfast we had, with a picture! Stay tuned!