The horns are blowing. The big band is playing below and people are waving goodbye to them. There is excitement from all the balconies. The ship is pulling away from the dock. The Grand Princess has just embarked on a 14-day journey through Europe, and my husband and I am amongst the many fortunate passengers to be a part of it. I just gave my goodbye wave to the band as we depart from the Southampton, England docks.
It's eerie to think that 97 years ago, the passengers on the Titanic were doing the very same thing , all excited for their long journey which was just beginning. But I'm not worried about our cruise meeting such a demise… rather just very sad to think of their excitement which then turned to such a tragedy. For many on this ship, it is their very first cruise, and they must be over-the-top excited. For us seasoned cruisers, the fun in exploring a new ship, leaving and arriving in new ports, and meeting people from all over the world, is just as fun on our umpteenth cruise as it was in the beginning.
This trip is my biggest ever challenge in terms of packing for a 26-day trip. We'll see what type of ‘smart woman traveler' I am! I have already blown the fuse in our hotel room in Scotland after plugging in a hand blender into a US-to-UK power converter. But I have achieved the status of expert driver in the UK (ok, ok… so ‘novice' might be a better term), with renting cars in two UK cities and returning them with only scraped tires from hitting a few curbs. I have a new admiration for drivers of the double-decker busses who navigate so well amongst the narrow two-lane roads.
We're off on a journey through several European ports (Spain, France, Italy), and I'm so excited to be seeing new countries and learning about different cultures and languages. That's what is so fun about travel. I'll send updates later from my balcony on the 9th deck. I'm off now to explore the ship and say adieu to Southampton for a couple of weeks.