We arrived at Southampton Docks, Mayflower Terminal ready to board our luxury, child-free cruise liner for a two-week holiday to celebrate 25 years of marriage.
My first impression was, "Oops, I'm a virtual teenager compared to this lot" . . . the average age appeared to be about 70 years . . . but I needn't have worried. Once on board, with a sea breeze, they soon turned into mad young things . . . staying up late, dancing the night away, playing all the deck games and hogging all the sun loungers round the pool.
We are shown to our cabin - D2 on the Fifth Deck - it's lovely; gold brocade curtains on the balcony doors and front window, champagne in the cooler, flowers, fruit and chocolates on the table. I'm speechless There's a knock on the door and the cabin boy enters; he's come to introduce himself and check we are happy with the room and that all our bags have arrived. They have and I quickly unpack so we can watch our departure.
Our cabin with the flag
We take the lift to Deck 10 and are met by a waiter in tropical whites with a tray of champagne, in which we indulge. Well, it IS a special occasion; our first-ever cruise.
We stand about chatting and I thought I felt a slight vibration in the ship . . . hmm . . . that'll be the engines starting, I naively thought to myself and carry on chatting. Then I saw a boat passing us and as I watched it I began to think that we were passing it. Impossible; there's no engine noise, no sense of movement. By now, four of us are looking about: Yes, we are - no, we're not - but eventually we had to agree that we were gliding like a swan through Southampton Sound towards the English Channel.
The sun was shining, a warm breeze was blowing and the champagne was flowing. We stayed on deck for as long as we could, taking in the sights and the disappearing land; then it was time to change for dinner.