Happy to announce that I'm on a lounge chair by the pool, enjoying sun, ocean breezes and a mango smoothie.
The trip from CT to Southampton, though long, was much better than anticipated. Car picked us (3 traveling up on Wednesday at friends and me) on Wednesday at noon and got us to JFK in just under 90 minutes. In fact, too early to check in. After a 30 minute wait, we checked our bags and headed for the treaded TSA security check - having been advised to allow 4 hours for this ordeal. We were though and at our gate in 20 minutes! Even though the lines seemed endless, the agents really had their act together--we actually felt like we were trotting to keep up at some points.
Now, with time on our hands, we had a nice leisurely lunch at a cafe, checked out the stores and finally boarded our Virgin Airlines flight,
This being my "bucket list" trip, I'd sprung for extra leg-room seats and VA delivered: we had over-the-wing exit row seats and almost 5 feet of space in front of our seats. Heaven.
Each seat was pre-loaded with a pillow, a wrapped blanket, and a little pouch with ear plugs, eye mask, sox, pen and toothbrush. I'll be bringing that loot home for someone's grandkids.
The third person in our row of seats was a 30-ish English guy with a great sense of humour who'd managed to forget his 3 bags of duty free liquor and chocolates until he was strapped in. At least he provided one of the flight attendants the opportunity to up her FitBit steps for the day as she ran back to the terminal to collect the loot.
Shortly after takeoff we were served the ubiquitous pretzels and drinks, followed by a meal that I would have needed two days to finish: green salad, crackers and Alouette cheese, dinner roll and butter, and a choice of entrees: chicken curry, beef burgundy, or stuffed shells. we had one of each in our row and declared them all very good. And the wine was pretty good, too. :-)
Watched a movie on the personal screen, then dozed for a couple of hours before a quick breakfast of yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, juice and coffee was served.
We arrived 40 minutes ahead of schedule and cleared immigration quickly. The private car we'd hired was waiting and whisked us off to Southampton -- a 90 minute ride along highways that could have been in New York, Texas, or Indiana. No scenery, but the driver was cheery and full of good advice of what to see and do.
Finally we were able to board the ship and promptly sat down to a fabulous buffet lunch (yes, this is going to be a food , folks). Hot and cold entrees, salads, desserts, and everything in between.
We sailed at 6, aided by a couple of tugboats.Tom
Since we'd been up for over 30 hours by that time, we opted for the buffet dinner rather than dressing up for one of the formal dining rooms or restaurants. Not to worry, I still managed to have chicken veloute with cauliflower, Alaskan crab claw, grilled lobster, grilled shrimp, a fabulous porcini and wild mushroom timbale with Gran Pandano cream sauce, and a cheese plate (goat, camembert, Tomme)for dessert. That alone will require 30 laps around the deck to work off.
Our suite is roomy and nice. Actually, our closet is the size of a small room! And the bathroom had both a soaking tub and a separate shower with a rainhead. Also a private veranda.
Today we're "at sea" just lounging and relaxing although there are activities scheduled at all hours: Texas hold'em, bingo, dance lessons, art lessons, cooking lessons, violin recital, shuffleboard, and even napkin folding demo. Me, I'm just lounging although I may exert myself for the bridge game.
Tonight is the Captain's reception followed by dinner at one of the "specialty" restaurants -- Polo, a steak house. Stay tuned for the calorie count.
Tomorrow is Newcastle and I'll be taking an excursion to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, an old monastery accessible only at low tide.
Check in tomorrow vicarious calories and a travelogue. And maybe by then i'll figure out how to load the pictures!