Boarded the Queen Mary 2 - 07/14/19
15 July 2019 | English Channel
The alarm woke us up at 7 am. We got dressed and finished packing up. Mark took our gym towels and key back to the front desk. Loaded our bags into the car and we were off before 8 am. We drove about an hour before stopping at a rest stop and had some breakfast. Mark kept noticing people wearing F1 shirts, as they were most likely heading to Silverstone for today's British F1 Race. Mark asked someone if they were going to the race and they said yes. Then he asked how far was the track and they said they didn't know. I guess they were using Google Maps or their GPS to get them there. We later heard that there were 130K people in attendance. It was a cool morning, or at least I felt cold walking outside. The sky was very overcast at times. It drizzled some as we headed towards Southampton. Our drive time was around 3 hours. There were plenty of cars on the high ways. Some of the major high ways were closed with the F1 race today. We passed thru green hillsides, some filled with sheep and others with crops like wheat and something that I didn't recognize. We headed towards London before branching off to a different M high way. We were thankful for the car having a good gps. The only issue was the way they mark the exits on the round abouts, or should I say the lack of markings. It would be so very helpful, if they could better identify each of the exits as some did not match the gps. A few of the round abouts had traffic lights in-between and also printed the high way number on each lane. That was the better ones. We had to go around one of them twice as the high way number was included on two different exits and Mark missed the first one. We arrived early in Southampton, so we checked into the recommended tourists locations. We decided to check out Bargate. These ruins were left over from the original stone gate and wall around the city from hundreds of years ago. I got a lot of good visions from touching it. Then we walked a block or so away and found Tudor House and paid 5 Pounds each to get in. They gave us an audio device so we could hear the history on each room and . Watched a movie for a while and then did the tour. The gardens were beautiful. We loved all the canons and artifacts from years gone by. Lots of royals visited this house. They also had stone walls which gave me a glimpse of life a long time ago. They even had a bunker in the basement level, which was used during WWII. We cut our stay short as it was getting after lunch time and we had to return our rental car by 1 pm. We drove to the hotel that was storing our one suitcase and picked it up. Then we drove to the Eurocar location, but it was closed today. We dropped off the car and Mark arranged an Uber ride to take us the short distance to the ship. It was 1 pm when we arrived at the Queens Elizabeth II Cruise Terminal. We dropped off our two big suitcases and kept our small bags as we headed to the line. The line was huge wound around and all the way outside of the terminal. We didn't realize that it was going to take us two hours of inching in their queues to get to the check in area. None of the passengers were happy. I posted some queue pictures on Facebook. Even the Queen Mary II Captain mentioned it in his welcome speech prior to the Safety Drill. He did not offer an explanation of why it took so long to get aboard. We located our cabin on Deck 4 and our luggage was already there. We met our cabin steward, Lito. Then we headed to Deck 7, Lido, for a very late lunch as it was already after 3 pm. We had a quick bite as we knew that our Mandatory Safety Drill was coming up at 4:30. Mark was happy to see the self-serve ice cream! We had to carry our life jackets with us. We got there early and were able to find an empty seat. Then there were multiple ship announcements about delays. We really don't know the reason for the delays. Several elderly passengers showed up and had to stand as there was no more seats available. Mark donated his seat to an old lady, who was very grateful. We took our life jackets back to the cabin and started unloading our suitcases. We didn't get finished as our 6:00 dinner hour was rapidly approaching. We got dressed and headed to Deck 3. Two other couples joined us. John & Nancy were from north of Toronto in Canada, and Terry and Sheila were from England. The Canadians arrived a couple of days ago while the Brits took a 9 hour bus ride today. We didn't eat much for dinner, as we had eaten lunch so late. After dinner, we headed up to the highest decks to take some pictures of our ship heading out the Solent. We stopped by our cabin, briefly and then headed to Deck 2, to watch the Beatles Experience. It was lots of fun with all familiar songs performed. Then we walked around a little bit, but I wanted to get back to our cabin as my nose was starting to run. Not sure where I picked this up. We are not seeing people using the hand sanitizers, like they did on the Sea Princess. As soon as I finish this blog, I am planning on heading to sleep. We have gotten to the end of the Solent and are heading out into the English Channel. We have tomorrow as a day at sea before our first port stop in Liverpool, England. Thanks for the many emails and messages. Have a great rest of your day!