This year we spiced up our annual trip to Europe with a two week mediterranean cruise. Even though it's just a brief taste with port stops, I was extremely excited to visit France and Spain, two new countries for me. This was a mega vacation, that didn't just include my two step-children, but also Dan's parents.
Six people + a two week cruise = a ton of luggage.
Who am I kidding, it was mostly mine. I'm the least traveled out of the group and I've not yet mastered the fine art of packing. Those large purple cases? Mostly my stuff. I brought eight dresses, including three for formal nights. I even brought my wedding dress, which was very non-traditional, yet still bulky.
To ease the stress of getting to the port, we left a day early. Dan's parents arranged for a car service to pick us up and they treated us to a night at the Premier Inn at Southhampton, just a stones throw from the docks.
My only other experience at a Premier Inn was a few years ago in Blackpool. Everything in Blackpool seemed a bit scummy and I was left with a negative impression. Well, that impression has changed. The Southhampton Premier Inn was very clean and inviting. Dan and I stayed in a family room with the kids.
Although considered an economy hotel, the Premier Inn offers a lot of extras and they have a "Good Night Guarantee." Basically, if you need anything or have a problem, they will go out of their way to fix it. The rooms come with a range of extra pillows in various firmness levels, which was appreciated. We also took advantage of the free wifi, which is a huge perk that not even many of the fancier hotels offer.
The Premier Inn is not only super close to the port, but it's walking distance to a huge mall. This was perfect, as we had a last minute shopping emergency when we learned that my step-daughter didn't have PJ's.
The hotel is flanked by several restaurants, an Ikea and a movie theatre. There is even a maritime museum with a Titanic exhibition, just in case you want a cautionary tale prior to embarking on your own cruise journey.
We ate both dinner and breakfast at the Premier Inn. Dinner was full service with a range of choices, including steaks, pizza and curry. The breakfast was a self-serve buffet, with both cold and hot choices. Good food at a good value.
We woke up refreshed and ready to head to the port for our cruise.