After checking out of the Premier Inn, it’s a short drive down to the Mayflower Terminal where we will be boarding the Sky Princess. We’ve booked with CPS who meet us at the terminal, take a few pics of the car and then drive it away for safe keeping as we sail around the North Atlantic.
Check-in for the cruise is relatively smooth after showing our passport, Covid pass and proof of a negative test (taken yesterday morning). Princess is one of the few cruise lines still demanding travellers hold a valid Covid pass, vaccines and pre-boarding tests – hopefully they follow the rest of the industry and quietly drop these requirements in the very near future. Security is (as always) a pain. But then we’re scanning our Medallions and boarding the ship.
Top tip: DO NOT arrive before the embarkation time specified in the Princess Medallion App and in your email confirmation. You just screw up the boarding process for everyone else.
We’ve booked a mini suite on Deck 15 (Marina!) and it is well appointed, as we have come to expect from Princess. There’s plenty of room around our king size bed and a separate sofa to sprawl on when we’ve had enough sprawling on the bed. The balcony is quite small, but we mostly lean over the rail to watch the world/sea go by, so that’s no problem.
Top tip: You cannot hear the ship’s announcements in your
cabin stateroom when the door is closed. But if you select the ‘Bridge Cam’ channel on your TV, you will be able to hear the announcements perfectly.
Sky Princess is the cruise line’s flagship, but it varies little from the other Royal-class ships in the fleet. That’s not a bad thing though – the place is immaculate with an army of staff to clean and to cater to the needs of the guests.
Overnight we will be sailing to our first destination – La Rochelle in France. This gives us time to take lunch and dinner and do a whole lot of nothing. Especially as the ship’s clock moves forward one hour overnight to synchronise with the local time in France.
Top tip: Until Princess drops their pre-departure testing and Covid pass requirement, you can get 30% off the ‘medically observed’ tests at DocHQ using the code RETURN30 at the checkout.
Bonus tip: You can make your medically observed test even cheaper by buying your own tests in advance. Superdrug sell the ‘approved’ Flowflex tests for less than £2 each.