On June 26, 2019, Cheryl and I embarked on our 11th cruise together. I have +1 as I cruised once BC. (before Cheryl). This post tells of our journey to get to Southampton, England. The cruise had an 11 day itinerary which sailed in a counterclockwise direction around the United Kingdom.
Day One – was embarkation day. I recall the process to go aboard as being fairly quick and simple. We always try to arrive early, around 11 am or 12 noon. They take all your luggage from you at your vehicle and you walk on with just a hand bag or backpack. We went straight to the buffet and staked out a table with a view of the harbor. We enjoyed some food and played some cards whilst waiting for the rooms to be opened.
Day Two – was a sea day. The ship was sailing north in the North Sea off the east coast of England. I got a run in on the deck, and we entertained ourselves with food and shows and activities.
Day three – brought us to Edinburgh Scotland. We took an excursion which took us to two destinations. The Falkirk wheel and Sterling Castle. The Falkirk wheel is an elevator, of sorts for boats. It seems Great Britain, and I believe most of Europe is criss crossed with ancient canals. These were built as boats were the most efficient way to get goods to the places where they are needed. If the canal needs to go uphill, locks are typically involved. But in this instance they needed a bigger elevation change and came up with a rotating, water and boat carrying lift.
Next we traveled to Sterling Castle. This castle sits at a narrow point on the Island and thus was a strategic place over the centuries. If you controlled Sterling, you controlled travel to the north, to Scotland. It was the first of many castles we would see on the trip. Of course it, and they are beautiful. In addition to seeing the castle, we went by some interesting horse statues and spent a few minutes visiting a 15th century Sterling Parrish, the Church of the Holy Rude.
As the ship prepared to sail that evening a group of bagpipe players came out to the dock. They played for 15 minutes or so. It was a touching send off.