When I looked up what there was to see and do in Southampton, the major event was the arrival of the Oasis of the Seas. Locals were invited to Mayflower Park to see it docked and get free coffee and bacon sandwiches. We had no idea where Mayflower Park was, but did have a general idea which direction the ocean was from our hotel and started walking. By the time we got to the pedestrian mall, we could see the ship looming over the IKEA. It is taller than nearly all the buildings in Southampton. We kept walking and finally there it was. We were too late for the bacon sandwiches, but this may be our only chance to photograph it docked, since we only have there is only one port of call before we arrive in Fort Lauderdale.
A quick cab ride brought us and our bags to the port and then the nightmare began. There were mobs of people standing around the entrance to the check-in building. No signs, no queues, just mobs. At 12:30 the boarding was scheduled to begin, but no one moved. My back has not been all that happy with some of the soft beds we've been sleeping on the last three weeks and after over an hour of standing, my muscles began to spasm. We left the mob and found a place to sit far away, out in the fresh, cool air and slight drizzle. After waiting about 45 minutes we checked again and the doors had opened, but the mob was just as huge as it was when we left it because more passengers had arrived. Every so often a handful of people were let in. Long, long story short, we started waiting in line at 11:45 and were inside the ship about 3pm. I was in so much pain I could hardly stand it, but there were no alternatives. Even people in wheelchairs had to wait. Thinking back on it, a major log jam was caused by the security people. There just weren't enough of them to handle the number of people who came on board today. We're guessing about half the passengers got on yesterday in Rotterdam and we heard they had an equally delightful experience.
But now that we are onboard, these bad memories will fade. We had a fine meal and went to a great Cirque d'Soliel type show. After a good night's sleep on the very firm mattress in our cabin, a smile will be back on my face.