My Mediterranean Cruise
Who could resist this?
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!
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
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 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.
Come with me...