In June 2017 we took our second cruise aboard Crown Princess operated by Princess Cruises. And for the second time we would be cruising out of Southampton. This trip was described as a Baltic Heritage cruise and would be taking us to many new countries. The previous cruise had been to the Norwegian Fjords (see: Crown Princess: Norway) and photos of the ship’s interior and exterior spaces can mostly be found there as there seems little reason to duplicate pictures here.

There were a few differences, though. Firstly, we’d taken advantage of a loyalty perk that came into play through cruises on P&O (since discontinued) and become Platinum level passengers. In addition to free internet time on board ship this meant we could skip past the queue of people waiting to embark. I have to admit that this was a wonderful experience. I would guess we bypassed at least a hundred people in order to get priority boarding. The second difference was that we’d selected an aft balcony for this cruise as we hadn’t done one before. Our cabin was D735 and was no different from any other Grand-class cruise ship we’d cruised with but the balcony was considerably different. While it is described as “obstructed” as you can see from the photos and video below the obstruction (the metal beam) is barely worth mentioning; the depth of the balcony was enormous, though. We measured and you could get my wife laying down twice with room to spare.

With our balcony furtniture looking a little lost in all the space available our table was swapped out for a larger one and we were given foot rests over the course of the next couple of days by our cabin steward.

The muster out of the way (nice and short, just how we like it, P&O take note please) we dropped off life jackets back in the room and I took the opportunity to snap a few shots as a tug boat, the Svitzer Bargate, moved into position to help the Crown Princess disembark Southampton.

There was a brief delay as we waited for the Ventura to pass us by.

The tug was then able to resume its job of helping our ship away from the dock where it could turn around and head away from the city.

We took advantage of our new Platinum level status to attend Skywalkers nightclub not long after that where some finger food and a discounted cocktail of the day were available for us and Elite passengers. While there the ship passed Portsmouth on its way towards our first stop of Belgium. A group of Americans nearby remarked that it appeared that we were passing between France and England; I felt obliged to be helpful and indicated that the landmass they thought was French was in fact the Isle of Wight. They then asked questions about the English Channel that I corrected them again on, letting them know it was the Solent we were still in. They persisted in pronouncing it So-lont despite numerous attempts to get them to listen to me before they became distracted by “The White Cliffs of Dover”. After I once again explained that we were nowhere near them, probably wouldn’t pass them until it was dark, and what they were seeing were the chalk cliffs of Portsdown Hill to the north of Portsmouth they decided to head off somewhere else. I like being helpful.

We returned to our room to shower and change for the evening and caught a lovely bit of sunset from our aft balcony view.

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