Embarkation and Our First Evening

Friday 20th Aug

We set off at 09:30 for a leisurely drive down to Southampton where we’d booked lunch in a pie and mash shop. It all started really well with light traffic all the way to the M25. It didn’t take long to change, by the time we reached Leatherhead it was stop start, nose to tail and didn’t get any better until we pulled off onto the A33 into Southampton. Lunch, late but excellent, once eaten, we headed off to the Mayflower to be tested.

The entrance to this was on West Bay Road and not at the Mayflower Cruise Terminal. The process was simple enough, check your Covid certificate details against your passport. Check phone details once done take a swab and send you on your way to Dock gate 4 and Ocean Terminal. We received a text confirming your phone number. Once we’d handed the car over to CPS, it was time to drop our suitcases off and head into the terminal. As we walked in we got a ping with the welcome news we were both negative. Everything else went like clockwork, we were ushered into the priority line, but there was no real need as it was quiet, did the rest of the paperwork and we were in our cabin 45 minutes after arriving at the Covid test centre. 

It’s masks everywhere outside the cabin so far.

While we waited for our bags to arrive we popped down to the Royal Court Theatre to register for the Muster. This just involved scanning our boarding cards.

 We arranged to meet John and Bess in the Commodore Club at 5pm not realising the Sailaway was happening at 16:45. We had a couple of drinks there organising our evening before heading back to the room to finish unpacking. I had Doombar and Jane started the cruise with a QE cocktail. 

Dining on the second sitting is now “Anytime” dining, you book your dining time and table size via the myvoyage website. They’ve also changed the dress code to no jacket required on none formal nights. Needless to say the were some right states at dinner last night. Time will tell but I really don’t see the reason for anytime dining, there are still queues of people waiting to be seated and  the tables don’t seem to be any more spread out that on previous cruises. A different table  every night means you’ll never create a rapport with the waiters if they change every night.

Dinner as usual was excellent, the menu has returned to the old version of Starter, Salad, Soup, Main and Dessert. John who hadn’t eaten all day started with a mushroom risotto followed by huge cob salad, a main of turkey ballotine and cheese and biscuits. 

We took a little too long over dinner so never went to the show, instead we went up to the Garden Room where there was an excellent fiddle/guitar duo, Shane Moran and Cameron Ross who appealed to Bess and her Irish heritage. 

After that it was time for bed. It’s so nice to be back on board and here’s hoping we find some much needed sun.

Queen Elizabeth Sun Voyage 20th – 27th August 2021

It’s all starting again, last week Queen Elizabeth set off on her first post-covid cruise, now it’s nearly our time. It’s two days before boarding and getting very exciting. All paperwork has now been completed and printed off. All the packing has been mostly done, just waiting for a couple of items to be returned from the cleaners. Our departure is slightly different this year, normally we’d head off to the New Forest to stay the night at Jane’s Dad’s place and get dropped off by him at the terminal in the morning. This year John and Bess are travelling with us, so instead of trying to squeeze the four of us, with luggage in a single car we have decided to travel separately and use CPS to park the cars. This was a cheaper option than getting cabs as this cruise is only seven nights. It also has the added advantage that if, in the unlikely event that any of us test positive for Covid on embarkation then the holiday is not spoiled for all.

The documentation for these first Cunard cruises has changed slightly from previous trips, the checklist is slightly different from normal. The major changes are:

  1. Ensure you have appropriate travel insurance cover for the duration of your voyage

The documentation emphasises the following points need to be checked and to take your policy with proof of this to be checked on boarding

  • When travelling with us, your insurance must include medical cover of £2 million minimum and cover for emergency evacuations and medical expenses related to Covid-19.
  • Ensure your policy includes cover for repatriation, cancellation and curtailment
  1. Ensure you have proof of your Covid-19 vaccination Printed in case of connectivity issues at the terminal
  2. Read our latest health protocols information
  3. Complete online check-in

This involves clicking on a Check-in link in MyCunard and entering your details again. Once in there are 3 sections to complete.

  • Check passport details again
  • Enter a payment card for spending on board
  • Upload a passport style photograph – These are not mandatory as they will take a photograph at the terminal

Once the Passport checks and Payment card are completed you can download your boarding pass

  1. Plan your travel to Southampton to arrive at the specified time on your e-ticket
  2. Three days prior to embarking, complete your Health Declaration on My Cunard

This again is a link on the MyCunard site, accessed via the Before You Sail tab and very similar to previous health questionnaires just Covid specific this time. Once completed you can print it off and you will be emailed a copy of the Health Declaration saying you are now cleared to travel.