Departure port: Southampton
Destinations: Falmouth, Cobh, Akureyri, Isafjordur, Akureyri, Reykjavik, Qaqortoq, Nanortalik
Cruise Line: Princess Cruises

As usual, we have stayed overnight in Southampton so that we can get to the port with plenty of time before sailing. This time we have opted for a cruise parking package at the Holiday Inn Express Southampton. The hotel itself is pretty average, but the bed is comfortable and there’s a kettle in the room, so it’s perfectly adequate for a one-night stay.

Breakfast at the hotel is a hectic affair, but there is plenty of food so it’s a good start to the day. The automated pancake making machine is awesome – we need one at home.

After breakfast we get a taxi to the port (included in the cruise parking package). The transfer is relatively quick and smooth and we arrive far earlier than intended. The traffic in Southampton city centre isn’t too bad today because there are just two ships in.

This time we will be sailing on the Island Princess, one of the smallest and oldest ships in the fleet. Once aboard, the differences between Island and the other ships we have been on is obvious – the decor is completely different for starters.

Looking back along the Promenade deck towards the Bayou Restaurant

We had a few concerns about this ship prior to boarding; Facebook forums are full of gripes and moans from disgruntled cruisers (fancy that!). We were worried that:

  • The ship would be falling apart
  • We had made a mistake in booking a basic balcony cabin
  • We were on a lower deck than normal
  • We were at the back of the ship

All of these concerns were completely unfounded. The ship is in great shape although the decor is a little bid mad in places.

Our cabin stateroom is on Deck 7 promenade at the rear of the ship. But we are far enough away from all the major entertainment highlights to be unaffected. We can hear the rumble of the engines in our cabin stateroom but I am sure we will grow accustomed to it soon enough.

One the plus side, our cabin stateroom, PR723, has no neighbours on either side – it is flanked by two cupboards. Better yet, the balcony is absolutely massive, almost as wide as the deck elsewhere on the ship. And by opening the dividing door we can double the size of our outdoor real estate. Winning!

The rest of day 1 onboard follows the usual pattern; lunch in the main dining room, drinks before dinner, dinner in the main dining room. Island Princess is already growing on us.