Astoria - Springtime Break & River Seine Experience
I popped back out around 6.30pm, the time we were due to dock, to see we were almost there and passing a grain loader which made you choke.  Another quiet evening and dinner in the buffet then back to the cabin to watch EastEnders and some telly.
Morning.  We went to breakfast early to avoid the crowds getting off the ship for a day in Rouen.  It rained and was quite windy.  Back to sleep but was woken by a call for the doctor to go to the terminal at 10.15am and a short while later crew drill cancelled.  Went ashore after lunch when the weather had improved and saw the gangway was now on deck 4.  You could see two past names on the bow; Italia Prima (1994-98) and Vultur Prima (1998-2002).  Before returning to the cabin, I took my dad to see the beautiful chapel.  My dad had a nap then we had food and a pre-second sitting drink with Stephen Macey and some people he'd met during his tour.  Departure was 8.30pm so we went out but were already moving.  We had been warned about more bad weather from 3am when we entered the open sea.

Woken up about 5.30am due to the weather, which became steadily worse.  We pitched, rolled and corkscrewed.  I'm usually fine but corkscrewing gives me head pressure like a migraine and nausea.  My dad, being fine on the way over, packed his seasick pills and Sea Bands just when he really needed them.  I went to get him some fruit, since he said he couldn't get to breakfast and was being sick.  The buffet was closed, lift throwing me in and out of it.  Breakfast was on Deck 3 in the restaurant so me and the neighbour (whose wife was unwell) went down.  There weren't many people about unsurprisingly.  I was thrown into every surface imaginable, which is no fun with two huge parastomal hernias and a dodgy knee.  I was so glad of the window ledge to grab hold of while lying down.  You really feel the motion on a baby ship.  A while later both lifts were closed down for safety so I had to go down three decks to get the free seasick pills from Reception.  We had been due out of the cabins by 9am but the stewards were really nice to those with mal de mer.

When my dad felt better, we went to our disembarkation lounge.  Our 10.30am arrival ended up being 12.15pm then they took a while to get the luggage belt working.  I was getting deja vu over missed coaches due to lateness (though the other time was due to medevac and Tilbury) since we had a coach for 1pm.  Disembarkation began then, with us being the second colour called.  I went to meet Alison Hallett, who was waiting to embark, before calling for a taxi.

Because we'd missed the coach and there was a long wait for the next, we decided to get the train. Got to the station only to be told there are no trains between Poole and Bournemouth due to fallen trees, but buy a ticket and they'll pay for a taxi to Bournemouth.  Fine only then the platform 1 train we got on didn't go anywhere and we were told to get on the one that pulled up on platform 3.  It was such a bad day.

Another cruise on this fabulous ship over but I'm beginning to think Poole is cursed since we've had transport issues twice now (trains strikes to in September).  I have to admit, I'm not keen on Poole as a turnaround port.  No airbridge for those with mobility issues.  After getting the luggage, the way out near the road had a very narrow pavement on one side with cones along it.  With everyone rushing, my dad tripped over the kerb because he couldn't see it and went flying.  The staff turned up eventually, after a couple had helped him back onto his feet.  Thank goodness the next two trips are not from there.


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© Patricia Dempsey 7th-10th March 2019
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