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Old 27 Oct 21, 01:08 PM  
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Melanie R
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Anthem Adventures with Andy - Day 1 Travel and Embarkation

So, you left us trying to get some sleep ready for a really early start this morning – in hindsight we really should have requested those extra pillows, but although neither of us had the best night’s sleep, we were at least awake when the alarm went off and were soon up and about, packing up the few things we had needed for the overnight stay and were down in reception ready for the 6:30 shuttle I had booked to take us to the station.

The journey to Southampton was a reasonably straight forward one, we had to change at Crewe, then again at Wolverhampton and we were due to arrive at Southampton at 11:42. I had sent Andy a screenshot of the journey and we had a little time at Manchester Airport station until our first train arrived, so we headed into the coffee shop for a latte (me) and a tea (Andy).

The train arrived right on time and was reasonably quiet, so we took a seat, found space for the luggage (no dedicated racks) and sat back to enjoy the first part of the journey – we were due to arrive at Crewe at 7:42 and our connection didn’t leave until 8:01 so we had plenty of time. We chatted to the train manager – a Geordie who had relocated to Manchester and the time quickly passed, and we were arriving into Crewe.



At Crewe, I checked the boards to find the platform for our next train and spotted a train waiting which was going to Birmingham New Street via Wolverhampton – I checked with a crew member this was the Wolverhampton train and he confirmed that it was, so we got on. Luggage was sorted and we found a seat, then Andy noticed the information board on the train stating it arrived into Wolverhampton after 9am but our connection from Wolverhampton to Southampton was at 8:42 – that was when I realised we were actually on the wrong train!



We quickly got off and checked the boards again and realised the correct train was due in to a different platform so headed over! In my defence, we would have been heading to the right place, and could have caught a later connection, but I didn’t live this one down for quite some time!

Once we were on the correct train, and we had checked several times 😂 we settled down for the quick hop to Wolverhampton so we could make our final change of the day.

I’ve done this journey several times now alone and never had any issues – I think because I was travelling with someone this time I was paying a little less attention, so didn’t hear any of the announcements made by the train manager telling us there was a small delay and that our connection at Wolverhampton would now be very tight – they were advising us we would need to be ready to get off and head straight over to the correct platform in order to make the connection.

Luckily Andy was listening, so we were ready to get off and we made it over to the correct platform with literally a minute to spare! We were soon on the final train of the day and managed to find a seat with a charging port so we could both charge phones, and we settled back for the long stretch down to Southampton.



The further South we headed, the better the weather became which was a promising start to the trip as I had been expecting showery weather for most of the cruise according to the weather apps I had been checking, so to see blue skies was very encouraging!

We arrived into sunny Southampton right on time and without any further incidents, and headed over to the taxi rank to get a taxi over to the cruise terminal – it’s a very short trip and within minutes, our luggage was being unloaded and I headed over to the porters to collect some luggage tags for the luggage. There was quite some disparity in the amount of luggage we both had – no prizes for guessing which was which!



We headed over to the check in desk - due to delays in renewing his passport, Andy was travelling using his driving license as ID (we had already checked this was acceptable as the cruise does not leave the UK!) and so had been unable to complete the online check in process, so we headed over to the desk to complete.

We were checked in by James – I can’t say he was actually unfriendly, but his manner was not the most welcoming, and I was having issues accessing the NHS app to provide evidence of my vaccinations (I had taken screenshots previously but he would not accept those!)

Eventually I was cleared and he turned to Andy to finalise his check in – this included taking a picture via the webcam which he could not get to work! He called over IT support, and it turned out to be a lead which had disconnected from the back – I’m no IT expert (although Andy is) but even I had figured out that would be the first thing to check! We were soon both checked in and given a printed document to act as a Sea Pass (although I had one on the app) and we were soon heading up the walkway onto the actual ship!

We had a final hurdle at the entrance when the bar code on Andy’s seapass wasn’t working, but a supervisor quickly sorted for us and we were finally onboard!

My usual first stop (not surprisingly!) is to head to the pool bar for a cocktail, but we due to the early start and tight connections, neither of us had eaten much that morning and we were both hungry, so in a break from tradition, headed to Sorrentos on the Royal Promenade deck for pizza!
We both had several slices and ordered a coke each, then we headed to the Sky Bar up on the pool deck where we ordered a cocktail each – a pineapple guava sangria – it was as delicious as I remembered!



In one of his first messages to me when I was still on-board my first cruise of the year, Andy informed me he was Irish and could outdrink me – I felt we needed to put that to the test, so the Irish Guy v Glowtini Girl cocktail challenge was officially launched!

We had just taken our first sip when the announcement came that the staterooms were ready, so we headed down to check it out! We had been upgraded to a spacious veranda cabin (I’m assuming lots had put in bids via the Royal Up scheme to pay a small fee to upgrade from inside to balcony, so I think we benefitted from that!) and we did indeed have a very spacious balcony!



We chilled for a while drinking our cocktails and enjoying the sunshine, then decided to complete our muster by signing in at our station and heading to a bar for another drink.We also needed to find a crew member to sort out WiFi as Andy was getting an error when he tried to connect - we both had WiFi on our package and mine was working fine 😊

We completed our muster very quickly, so headed out to find a WiFi expert to sort Andy’s connection. I would like to point out at this stage that Andy works in IT…….

The crew member quickly spotted the issue - he had entered his name incorrectly when registering. I believe this piece of idiocy surpassed mine earlier in the day when I put us on the wrong train, but we would continue to have this debate throughout the cruise 🤣🤣

We then headed to Boleros bar for our next cocktail – this is where I started to claim victory very early on in the challenge – I ordered a coconut mojito and Andy opted for a shandy.



Yes, I’m not sure on what grounds that can be classed as a cocktail, but even if I was kind and counted it, he hadn’t finished before I had my third of the day – a Dark Cuba Libre – and goodness was this strong! This one I’m afraid went straight to my head and I could definitely feel the effects given I hadn’t eaten much yet today!



I took this back to the cabin with us and as we arrived I noticed our luggage had been delivered, so got the unpacking out of the way (it took me considerably longer than Andy!) and we checked out the app to book in the theatre shows for the rest of the cruise. This was quickly done, and we checked out the menus for dinner and made a reservation for the evening as we had My Time Dining. As we had been up since 5:30 and had a long train journey, we decided that we wouldn’t do any shows that evening (it was a comedian I hadn’t enjoyed on my last cruise, so we weren’t missing anything!) and we planned to have a reasonably early night so had booked a 6:30 dining time so we could watch the sail away from Southampton.







We watched this from the balcony – it was lovely to watch in the evening sunshine and enjoy the whole “start of cruise” feeling, it was also really nice to experience this with someone again – it had been a few years since I had enjoyed company on a cruise ship so I was looking forward to spending time with Andy and getting to know each other better 🥰

It was soon time to get ready to head to dinner, and so we made our way to the restaurants on deck 4 – tonight we were seated in the American Icon dining room and we had Manuel as our waiter. He was fantastic – the service was superb and he ran through the menu items with us, checked for any dietary issues and then took our drinks orders.

Mindful of the challenge still underway, I ordered an Appletini, Andy ordered a coke – he doesn’t like to drink alcohol to a meal, so by my reckoning I was now well ahead in the cocktail challenge!



We placed our food orders, I had crab cake to start



Steak in Guinness pie



Hazelnut chocolate cake and a cappuccino to finish – all of which were delicious!





Apologies, I’m so used to solo travel I forgot to make notes of what Andy ordered, but I know it was all good and he enjoyed it!

Following dinner, we headed to the other end of the ship to the Music Hall for another cocktail – I ordered an 8 Ball



and Andy had an Ice Ice Baby (basically a non glowing Glowtini!) which were both delicious and at this point the resident live band started.

I say this as a total non-singer, but the singer in the band wasn’t the best, so we decided to cut our losses and headed back to the bar we had been in earlier (Boleros) and I ordered my final cocktail of the evening, another coconut mojito, Andy opted for the Dark Cuba Libre which he declared way too strong and did not finish!



I had definitely had my quota of cocktails for the day and was feeling the effects – I fully admit to being tipsy, but I claimed victory in the cocktail challenge so all was good – I think my membership of the Glowtini Girls would have been up for discussion if I had lost this one!

We headed back to the cabin at this point and I will admit to finding it very challenging to put my dressing gown on! For some reason I couldn’t work out which way round it went (and yes the various cocktails I had consumed may have had something to do with this!) which Andy found hilarious 😱

Once I had managed to fight my way into the dressing gown, I made a cup of tea and we headed out to the balcony to chill for a while



it was very sheltered due to the size of it, but there was a definite wind blowing and the movement of the ship was very definitely felt this evening, but once wrapped up warm, it was actually very pleasant to sit out for a while.



Eventually we were both too tired to stay up any longer – it had been a long day, so we decided to call it a day and headed for bed. I’m not sure whether the room was spinning from the choppy sea or the cocktails, but either way it took me a little while to actually get to sleep because of it!

Today had been a fab start to what I was hoping would be an amazing cruise ❤️
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Old 27 Oct 21, 01:55 PM  
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Lizzim
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Great start, was the band in the music called The Dukes? If so, agree the singer was ‘different’ and definitely not to our tastes either.

Edited at 06:31 PM.
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Old 27 Oct 21, 01:56 PM  
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Melanie R
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It was the Dukes 🤣
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Old 27 Oct 21, 07:30 PM  
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Jings - More train drama! You are so right about not listening to announcements when you are with others.

These cocktails all look so great. I would end up with 2 legs down the same pyjama leg!
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Old 27 Oct 21, 07:46 PM  
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Melanie R
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Originally Posted by Disney_time View Post
Jings - More train drama! You are so right about not listening to announcements when you are with others.

These cocktails all look so great. I would end up with 2 legs down the same pyjama leg!
I wasn’t far off that 🤣
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Old 27 Oct 21, 08:55 PM  
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Lovely travel day and those cocktails look fab I'm so glad comfy dressing gown got to go with you again it looks so snuggly
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Old 27 Oct 21, 09:33 PM  
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Melanie R
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Originally Posted by P&S View Post
Lovely travel day and those cocktails look fab I'm so glad comfy dressing gown got to go with you again it looks so snuggly
Thank you - it was genuinely the first thing to go in the case 😂
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Old 27 Oct 21, 11:44 PM  
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Despite the potential for train mishap, sounds like it was an easy trip down! great first day!
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Old 28 Oct 21, 02:43 PM  
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Great day, you did well with all the train journeys. Love the cocktails
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Old 28 Oct 21, 04:18 PM  
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Melanie R
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Originally Posted by margyloveswdw View Post
Despite the potential for train mishap, sounds like it was an easy trip down! great first day!
It was a relatively painless journey down 😊

Originally Posted by dismamx2 View Post
Great day, you did well with all the train journeys. Love the cocktails
Thanks - the cocktails were so good!
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