My Mediterranean Cruise

Who could resist this?
   Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Transfers
Travel in classic style between London and your Cunard ship in Southampton. Gaze at the English countryside from the elegant, meticulously restored umber and cream 1920s and 30s  Pullman railcars of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, enjoying first class food and wines.
The instructions with my Orient Express ticket said   "Meet at 10 am under the clock on Platform 2, Victoria Station."  What a wonderfully romantic way to start my adventure!
Boarding the Orient Express
Orient Express has its own waiting room on the station (well - hardly a normal station waiting room - more like an elegant living room with attentive staff!)  My first sight of the train was a bit of a disappointment; from the outside it is very ordinary, but once inside it is everything one could wish for.  The seats are all plush armchairs, the table linen heavy  damask, the silver cutlery and crockery monogrammed.
On each table a little red-shaded lamp and a silver vase with fresh flowers.  The food was delicious and beautifully presented, and all the way to Southampton we were plied with champagne.
The luxurious interior

The Menu
Embarkation Card
The train drives right onto the QE2 dock, and stops beside the enormous  ship!  I was interested to find that there were no customs or immigration formalities - if one held an EU passport, all that was necessary was a security and embarkation card which one showed on leaving or returning to the ship.
It was a bit disconcerting to find everyone running around with life jackets on as we boarded!  The train was late so they had got on with the drill before we arrived.

And so began sixteen days of pleasure, interest and excitement.

Map of the Mediterranean

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