Departure port: Southampton
Destinations: La Rochelle, Bilbao, A Coruña, St Peter’s Port
Cruise Line: Princess Cruises

Today we’re heading off on our fifth cruise – a trip around the Bay of Biscay with Princess Cruises.

It has become a tradition that we now overnight in Southampton before each sailing. Linda says it is ‘less stressful’ if we drive down early because there is no chance of getting caught in a traffic jam and missing our ship.

And given that the drive from Essex took more than three hours, she’s probably right.

So we’re checked in to the Premier Inn Southampton West Quay. We’ve stayed here before and it’s still nothing special. The beds are decent however, which is a bonus seeing as hotel rooms in the city are trading for £140+ tonight.

After parking in the West Quay car park (£5 per night – bargain) and checking in, we head over to the shopping centre for some dinner. Lin says the cocktails are good at Bill’s so we manage to snag a table on what seems to be a very busy Saturday night.

Dinner turns out to be decent – lobster and seafood linguine for Lin, truffle chicken two ways for me. Washed down with a Peroni (me) and a Pimms-type cocktail for Lin.

After dinner we don’t mess around. It’s been a long day – and tomorrow will probably be longer still. Bed.

Top tip: The West Quay car park is good value – and right next to the Premier Inn (and the Moxy). We’ve never yet had a problem parking there.

Bonus tip: If you don’t mind walking a potentially significant distance with your suitcases, the West Quay car park is a far cheaper option for cruise parking than any of the “official” services at the docks. Or you could get a taxi.