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Bittersweet; like finishing a great book

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View RussRaff Crossing on paulej4's travel map.

RUSS_RAFF_crossing.jpegChampagneCaps.jpgLeaving the ship at the end of a cruise—or in this case a crossing—is always bittersweet. It is also complicated. And, take note: the more you pay the earlier you are allowed to leave.

On QM2, a representative of British Immigration Service was aboard for the entire journey and guests were requested to pre-clear immigration and have their passports stamped during posted hours on most days during the voyage. Wonderfully convenient and a great idea, I would say. That means arrival is free of government involvement.

Bags are to be placed outside your stateroom door the night before arrival. On QM2 that is to be done between 6:00pm and midnight. Cunard provides new colored identification tags for this purpose. If you don’t want to pack dirty clothes, Cunard always seems to do a “laundry sale” a couple of days before the trip ends offering laundry for all you can cram into their bag for $40.00. For us, I simply went down to deck 8 and used the self-service laundry. It is free and usually busy. (there are six washer/dryers on deck 10 and a pair of them on deck 8; both launderettes are equipped with an iron and board)

After navigating the English Channel between England and France in the dead of night, the ship arrives at Southampton about 6:30am. large_SouthamptonInTheDark.JPG

Disembarkation is highly organized as follows:

8:00am Queens Grill Guests (Cabins types Q1-Q4) Light Blue 3 Tags Champagne Bar, deck 3
8:05am Queens Grill Guests (Cabins types Q5-Q7) Aqua 3 Tags Queens Grill Lounge, 7
8:05am Diamond Guests CWC Purple 4 Tags The Verandah, 8
Cunard Coach Transfers Royal Court Theatre
Group Transfers
8:45am Princess Grill Guests Deck 10 Tags Chart Room, 3
9:10am Deck 13 Deck 13 Tags Carinthia Lounge, 7
9:10am Deck 12 Deck 12 Tags Carinthia Lounge, 7
9:20am Deck 11 Deck 11 Tags Carinthia Lounge, 7
9:30am Deck 8 Deck 8 Tags Golden Lion Pub, 2
9:40am Deck 6 Deck 6 Tags Queens Room, 3
9:50am Deck 5 Deck 5 Tags Queens Room, 3
10:00am Decks 4-3-2 Deck 4-3-2 Tags Queens Room, 3

There is another option: Self-Help Disembarkation. “If you wish to disembark early prior to the main disembarkation and are able bodied and capable of carrying ALL of your own luggage, you can apply for Self-Help Disembarkation” and roll both yourself and your baggage off unassisted.

You must settle your on-board account (pay your bar and spa bills) by 11:00pm the night before arrival. If you presented a credit or debit card upon boarding, this is done automatically with the bill--usually much more than you realized or had expected--arriving in an envelope overnight. BritanniaStiarcase.jpgBritanniaWall.jpeg

Early breakfast is served in the Kings Court Buffet from 6:30 until 9:30 and in the Queens Grill, Princess Grill Britannia Club and Britannia Restaurant from 7:00 until 9:00; there is no room service. Note: I was in Kings Court to see if coffee was available at 6:00 and it was a busy place with people already having their breakfasts.

So, for B4 and me, the process is to set an alarm—something we have not done this week—and leave 9028, backpack in hand, for Queens Grill breakfast just before 7:00 to be ready to make our way a few steps to the Queens Grill Lounge at 8:00 to be escorted to the gangway deck at 8:05.

Once off the ship, we will locate our baggage which was whisked away last evening. Baggage is neatly arranged by luggage tag color on the pier. The problem is that one of our friends from the ship inadvertently took our large bag so we could not find it. Once he realized his mistake, he returned it, apologized and we were, thankfully, on our way out of that mayhem. Advice: Do Self-Help Disembarkation if possible. Trust me; do it.

We are shipping one large bag—almost 50 pounds—home so we must hand it off to “The Baggageman” from the Luggage Free company to whom I have pre-paid a rather large fee to return our evening clothes safely to Kansas City as we spend a few days not needing them in Ireland. He is hard to find because he stationed himself outside the building, away from everyone else who was meeting people with a sign with their name on it. BaggageMan.JPG

We roll our other two carry-on bags to the meeting place where Nick Young, our pre-arranged driver, awaits to speed us off for a tour of Stonehenge before returning us back to the Southampton airport for our 3:05 flight to Dublin. NickYoung.JPG

There awaits the beginning of the next chapter of our adventure.

Posted by paulej4 05:17 Archived in England Tagged queen mary 2

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Sounds like a great trip so far. Have a great time!


by Linda Fraschilla

I agree, bittersweet is the right word. So glad you have a wonderful time and BTW, I agree sailing from S. Hampton vs. New York sounds like the better plan. Next time...... Enjoy Ireland.

by Ray stuart

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