The last night of our voyage on the Queen Mary 2 was a big celebration with a dance contest and a balloon-drop. We toasted our journey at dinner (our assigned second sitting) with a $4.50 glass of Malbec for me to pair with my aubergine (eggplant) delicately dressed with a light tomato sauce and a $4.00 glass of Pinot Grigio for Lucy (who loves being legal drinking age) to pair with her fish. Happily, we had charming table-mates and enjoyed our meals and quiet conversation.

After the balloon-drop (which Lucy loved until people starting popping them on purpose), we headed back to our cabin to try to get to sleep in anticipation of our busy day getting from Southampton to Cardiff, our final destination. As we slogged up the stairs (I only took the elevator twice on the entire journey and gained just two pounds), it occurred to me that we might be in sight of land. We’d passed into the English Channel earlier in the day.

We climbed up three extra flights of stairs (working off that dessert pictured above) to the promenade deck on seven. As soon as we came out onto the deck, we saw lights to port.

A British gentleman in black tie leaning on the rail nearby overheard our gasps of excitement and said, “Ah, your first sight of English soil?” Not for me, we told him, but for Lucy, yes.

In the distance, a very few lights shone on what we surmised was Cornwall. We planned to visit Cornwall to see old friends, so this was quite a thrill. We lingered on deck for a while, but it was chilly and late, so we forced ourselves to go to bed.

It was tough getting to sleep with all the excitement and it was well past midnight when I finally dropped off. Five hours later, my eyes popped open. I’d been waiting for a decent sunrise the whole trip so I went out on the balcony (free upgrade) in my nightgown to check the weather. The horizon was not only visible (after several days of heavy fog)

but dusty pink and lavender.

I took a record-breaking speed-shower, dressed and was out on the top deck (nine flights up) just as it got light enough for pictures, leaving Lucy to snooze. At least one of us would be rested.

Hard to beat the thrill of coming into port after seven days at sea.

And such a gorgeous port Southampton is. A beautiful start to the rest of our adventure.

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