Disembarking Iona

A First-Timer's Guide to a Smooth Send-off

by Paul Hadley

As Kim and I stood at the edge of our majestic vessel, the Iona, staring at the serene landscapes of the Norwegian Fjords during our September 2023 adventure, a teeny question buzzed in our minds – how on Earth do we get off this massive boat at journey’s end? If you, dear reader, have shared this puzzlement, then fear not. Grab a cuppa and let’s journey through the surprisingly streamlined disembarking process of P&O Cruises.

The All-Important Notification

As the cruise neared its conclusion, approaching DAY 8 in sunny Southampton, a timely notification arrived in our cabin. This wasn’t a bill (phew!) but a guide, detailing the disembarking process tailored for that specific day. Talk about efficiency!

Carry Your Luggage or Let it be Carried?

Apparently, there are two avenues to tread here:

  1. DIY Disembarkation: If you’re feeling sprightly, and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t after spending a week aboard the Iona, you can carry your own luggage. In our case, our exit window was a bright and early 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. slot.
  2. VIP(ish) Exit: If you fancy having your luggage handled, then there’s a meeting point to be at. Ours was the swanky clubhouse, between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. Now, to avail this, there’s a minor task. The day prior to departure, by 2 p.m, pop your suitcase outside your room. Trust me, it’s a touch more organised than it sounds. Your luggage will be whisked away, prepped for a grand exit the next day.

Kim and I, being the ever-adventurous duo, chose the DIY route. And, fair warning, so did most passengers. As a result, the next morning felt like the Black Friday of suitcase-tugging, with a side of lift-hunting. Note to self: early risers have the advantage here.

Finding Your Luggage (If You Chose VIPish Exit)

Your cherished suitcase will await you ashore, neatly organised under a cover. Finding it is less ‘needle in a haystack’ and more ‘follow the breadcrumbs’. It’s segmented by deck number, then by cabin number. Before you know it, you’ll be reunited with your belongings and ready to head home.

The Final Leg

Once you’ve rescued your luggage from its short stint of independence, it’s a straightforward jaunt through to wherever you’re heading next – be it a car, coach, train, or maybe even another cruise (I wish!).

In Conclusion

Disembarking the Iona was a breeze. But be warned, if you’re like Kim and me, you’ll be left with a sense of longing – the landscapes, the sea breeze, the luxury, and oh, the splendid queues for lifts in the morning. It’s all a part of the unforgettable experience of cruising through the Norwegian Fjords. Safe travels, and remember, it’s not goodbye, but see you soon, Iona!

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