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Early: We’re back in Southampton, and things are going pear-shaped. We were a little late getting away from Rouen yesterday, nearer 7pm instead of 6:30. We reached the Channel sometime around 11pm, and within an hour or so the ship started to rock. We haven’t been told yet if that’s what caused further delay, but at 7 o’clock this morning we were still off Newport, IoW, and it was 8:30 before we tied up at the QE2 terminal. Our problem is that we are booked on a train at 09:47, and at the moment the chances of us making it are looking slim.

Later: we didn’t make it. We were actually called to disembark – by deck – at pretty much the moment the train would have been pulling out of Southampton Central station. After that, of course, everything went very easily: Val found our bags in the baggage hall quickly, we walked to the taxi rank and got one straight away, and we got to the station without any holdups. All too late, of course…. Then came the truly painful part. Two singles from Southampton to Sheffield, for travel today, cost £174. I’m being philosophical and regarding it as a learning experience. So what have we learned:
A) try to make your travel arrangements as flexible as possible
B) cruises in Winter are more likely to feature delays than cruises in summer.

Other observations: the administrative arrangements on the Fred Olsen ships – well, certainly on Black Watch on this occasion – seem less good than on P&O. For example, there didn’t seem to be any evidence that self-disembarkation was possible. Also, Fred Olsen don’t use CPS for car parking. Whichever company they do use brought big cabinets on board at about 08:45 holding all the parked passengers’ car keys, so there was a huge queue in the Neptune lounge and out into corridors. This took almost an hour to clear; Val suggested that a cynic would say that disembarkation would inevitably not start until all the car keys had been handed out.

One Response to “Black Watch – disembarkation”

  1. […] Advance tickets. We have done this to and from Southampton in December before, and experienced an expensive disaster on the way home. The return tickets this time will give us reserved seats on specified trains (well, to/from St […]

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