Note: I’m writing my posts ahead of time, and posting them as I get a chance. If it sounds like I’m playing catch-up, I probably am. – Marlene
Sunday, April 8, 2012
It’s boarding day and I am all nerves. This is my first cruise, and I have only a general idea of what will happen today, based on TV, movies, books, and first-hand reports from others who have done it. My own experiences with airports, bus stations, and subways also provide a basis to build upon. But I remain uncertain.
This will all be solved by the end of the day, of course. In an hour or so, we will leave our hotel room to hail a cab and present ourselves at the Ocean Terminal. We have repacked our luggage and adorned the handles with the tags provided by the cruise line, announcing our names and cabin number. This will be the only time during our trip that I will surrender my laptop into the hands of… handlers. But it’s my understanding that we have to leave all our luggage with the staff, who will deliver them to our cabin in due time. So the carry-on bag containing this machine will be out of my hands.
I feel something like the little heroine in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, leaving my soul behind to catch up later.
My nerves are stretched further with the knowledge that this is not just Any Cruise. Recent intelligence has it that the dock will be littered with public notables such as Southampton’s mayor and council members, well-wishers such as various Titanic Societies members, possibly a celebrity or two (from the film), and of course, the news crews that will tell you All About It.
Within this bigger picture is also the knowledge that none of this is about me. There is some relief to that thought. Sure, I want to get the word out about my book, but in the end, I am simply a participating spectator. I expect to be overwhelmed by procedure, crowds, and pomp. My empathetic nature will soak up the excitement, leaving me giddy and somewhat unpredictable.
My poor husband.
When Titanic left Southampton’s port one hundred years ago, she was the star of the day, the largest ship ever to sail. Her send off was grand.
It seems we will repeat that experience.
A word about logistics. Titanic left port on April 10, 1912. We are leaving on April 8, which is a rather obvious departure from Titanic’s timetable. This is necessary because, ironically, the Balmoral cannot sail as fast as Titanic could. So in order to be over Titanic’s resting place on the night of April 14 (the date she struck the iceberg), we have to leave earlier.
A great deal of conjecture has been made regarding Titanic going “too fast,” in order to set a world record, so I’ll just let you ponder that at your leisure.
I’m not sure when I’ll be able to post this, but I will try to give you updates every day or two. Please pass the word around. This promises to be an exciting adventure.