Off To Sea

Aug 21, 2012: This is where it gets exciting. Standing on the quay looking at the soaring hull of a grand old lady of the sea – as we salty dog types like to refer to ships. Cunard check-in is the opposite of your typical airport experience. Porters rush to take our piles of luggage with a cheery: ‘Five pieces – that’s nothing!’; stewards are friendly and helpful like they actually want our custom, everyone says hello to the dogs and the dogs bark back with their typical ‘Don’t come near me!’ response and no-one seems to mind. We wait an hour for Jojo the kennel master to come and collect us and take us to Deck 12 where the kennels and dog deck are situated. We have to put the dogs in the kennels until we’ve been at sea for two hours. Our two are used to total freedom so it’s hard to see their little bewildered faces pressed against the bars.

Out on deck crowds are gathering for the promised ‘Sail Away’ party. We’re all given Union Jacks to wave while Jerusalem and Land Of Hope And Glory plays over the tannoys. A large P&O cruise liner passes on its way out to sea and gets a rapturous farewell cheer. Emotions are high. Waving is getting frantic. Camera lenses are whirring. Then… there’s a technical hitch. We won’t be leaving for another hour. The Sail Away party is put on hold. Bugger.

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