My first experience of cruising!
I. Am. Blown. Away! Another bucket list thing ticked off!
Hello, everyone. How’s your weekend going? I got back from my first ever cruise about an hour ago and I had the most unbelievable time. I knew that I’d either come back thinking “Well, that was an experience but perhaps it’s not for me” or I’d be wanting to go again and, without doubt, I’m a complete convert to cruising.
It was a 2 night cruise from Southampton to Zeebrugge on P&O Ventura where my friend and Ellie day a day excursion to Bruges and perhaps I’ll tell you about why I’ve come back so happy!
Growing up, I spent a lot of time in airports, hoping that the flight wouldn’t be delayed, sitting on uncomfortable seats in the departure lounge after a walk to usually the furthest gate, etc. But on arrival at Southampton on Friday, we very quickly went through check-in where we handed over our bags and boarded the ship. Although people with health needs could go straight to their room, the majority of us had to wait but that was a great opportunity to have a look around and grab a drink. When the PA system said that we could go to our cabins, our cases were right by our door. So, this all helps you to start your holiday straightaway.
We had a booked a suite with so much room. The bathroom was split into 2 with a walk-in shower and bath in one section and then an interconnecting door to the other part where the loo and basin were. Our lounge was spacious, the twin bedroom pretty and a double balcony looking over the sea. And we had some super touches like champagne, Belgian chocolates and canapes. Yes, we also had butler, Andrew, whom we didn’t meet until last night but he did little things around the turned down our sheets, tied up, made sure we had the daily newsletter with details of all the entertainment. We could also phone him at any time if we needed anything…..but we didn’t need to.
Attentive staff and fabulous food
Everyone, and I really do mean everyone, was so courteous and helpful. In the restaurants and bars, nothing you could ask for would be too much which was especially great for my friend who can’t eat certain things. The food was unbelievable and there were seven restaurants!!!! We opted for ‘freedom dining’ as we could choose when we ate and although we were asked if we’d share a table with others, we asked if we could just have a table for 2 and that was no problem. The food was stunning that was beautifully presented. You don’t have to dress up on ‘formal night’. My friend and I did and there were lots of people in long evening gowns, cocktail dresses, black ties, etc. but one of the restaurants was left as completely informal if dressing up isn’t your kind of thing. As well as the restaurants, there was a pool side eatery, a pizzeria, a coffee shop, etc. and lots of bars serving late into the early hours.
Entertainment and facilities
With cruising, you really can choose how much or how little you want to do. Everyday, you have a newsletter sent to your room with details of everything going from, such as shows in the massive theatre, casino, performers on the smaller stages, afternoon tea for solo travellers, children’s clubs, bingo, karaoke night, craft sessions, knit and natter, etc., etc. We went to a show on our first night that was music from the musicals and it was a talented cast. And as well as this, there’s an art gallery, gym, 4 swimming pools, lots of shops, casino, library, etc. I managed to resist the Radley bags…but only just!
There are lots of day excursions you can do which are best booked in advanced as they were all sold out by Friday. We did the day trip to Brugge and the coach met us at the end of the gangway where it then brought up back at the end. I’ll blog about Bruges itself tomorrow which is a UNESCO site but, again, it was hassle-free and super organised with our tickets brought to the cabin the night before. With other holidays I’d like to go on, I just love the fact that I can wake up each day in a different place and explore!
Sun rise and sunset
Well, in a moment, I’ll add some photos to my photography bucket list. Friday night was unbelievably misty where the fog enveloped the whole ship but I woke up in the early hours of Saturday to find the sun rising over some cargo ships leaving Zeebrugge. But last night’s sunset was unbelievable and it drew a crowd. The sun slowly set whilst lighting the sky around it and it was stunning.
So, yes, I am a HUGE cruise convert! The next one I’d love to would be 12 nights around Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany. Estonia and Russia. One day. Hopefully not too long away. And definitely with my hubby who I’m sure will love it ♥