Saturday, 12 January 2013

Christmas Cruise Part 1

Now that my blogger issues seem to have sorted themselves out and I can add pictures I would like to try and show you all our trip over Christmas.  If you have never tried a cruise before it may be a holiday option that you could consider.
The beginning:
It all started about 16 months ago when my in-laws suggested that we all go on a Christmas trip.  We were flabbergasted when we were told where and despite offering pay our way were told no it was on them!!
Little did I know that a few days later I would have a very upsetting phone call and four months later my Dad would pass away from Cancer in September 2011, so I was very torn between Mum and going away in 2012.  The intention was for my parents to come to Cornwall for Christmas 2011 but everything happened so quickly we never even had the chance to offer this.
Christmas 2012
I finished work at 1pm on 21st December and we drove to Southampton and stayed overnight in a hotel.  The reason for doing this is that the weather can be bad with either snow or flooding and we wanted to make sure we got to the ship in time.  The hotel is about 5 mins from the cruise port as they have their own area of the harbour, due to their size I should think.
Boarding the ship was very calm and the only awkward thing is having to take so many items off to go through the scanner.  I realise it is for our own protection and normally I do not mind but in the winter you tend to wear more in the first place.
So I struggled back into my fleece top to then be asked by a P&O photographer if we wanted an embarking picture!  We did it but when we saw it later we all looked like we had just got out of bed and dressed without brushing our hair, so we did not buy that pic.
The cabin was much bigger than we were expecting and plenty of room for three.  Sophie had the upper bunk and even a pink duvet cover!  A lovely large window and it was so clean.
Lots of information, you always knew what was going on and which activities were taking place.
Once we had unpacked it was about 4pm so we decided to spend the time until our dinner sitting at 6.30pm exploring the ship.  Of course we took our cameras with us.
How about this for a Christmas Tree!  We were on level 5 and I am looking over a balcony to level 4.  You should have seen the look on Sophie's face, it was a picture.  It was not real but I would have liked to have seen them bringing it into the ship.
This picture gives you the three levels and is in the centre of the ship.  It is all very large and is quite difficult to get into a picture.  The long bit in the middle is one of  several lifts and is large enough to turn a wheel chair and accommodate quite a few people with a glass panel so that you can see the levels as you go up and down.  The Christmas tree would be on your right as you look at this picture.
The sweeping stair case is mirrored on the other side is is where I was stood when I took the picture above this one.
This is the ceiling and you can see the two lift shafts.  It was amazing and goes up to level 6 and I am standing by the Christmas tree to take this.
This shows a ceiling which is just underneath the balcony above.  It is tricky to describe but it is split level but open as well.  It was beautiful really as on the outside of the ship you would never have thought that this was what it would look like inside.
The tables by the tree would have a display.  Up the stairs were two shops selling books , souvenirs, watches, jewellery, makeup etc.  So you could buy a really nice present but some of it was veeeerrryy expensive.  Our cabin was up the first set of stairs where Father Christmas is and round to your right.
So we did not have to walk very far to the restaurant, just as well with a painful hip.
Our meal was excellent and exceeded our groups expectations!!  This is my desert and typical of the standard all week.  There must have been at least 500 people in the restaurant, although it felt much much smaller yet everything was like this and there was a choice.  It just proved that large scale catering can be done brilliantly if tried.  I take my hat off P&O in this area as I have had some awful restaurant food in my time and I  do not think I am  a fussy eater.
Many people were taking picture so their plates, it was quite funny to watch but everyone was so impressed.
Each night had a different dress code and the first night was casual but no jeans or trainers.  It was fun to dress differently during the week and basically make an effort.

 On our way back to the cabin to get the intinery sheets for the evening we saw the chefs setting up the display by the Christmas tree.
They were constructing the most impressive Ginger bread village I have ever seen!
 There were so many of them and decorated with everything you could think of.  It was for display only and despite one collapse it remained in place perfectly all week.  They used green spray and spread on white icing over fabric to build up the snow.  Someone said that they wondered if they had had a children's craft lesson as passengers had been boarding since 11am but we never actually found out if this was the case.  Whoever made them they made an excellent display.
We then went and watched a show in the starlight theatre put on by the ships entertainment and it was excellent.
The first few hours promised that the rest of the week would be very exciting.
Back with more hopefully tomorrow.


Ali said...

Your cruise sounds and looks wonderful. It's not something I would have considered but just seeing the food would change my mind. Can't wait for the next instalment.
Ali x

Lynne said...

wow! What a terrific offer! It all looks fabulous, and actually Christmas onboard with friends/family is probably the only kind of cruise I could cope with...normal cruises just don't appeal, I'd have to take so much stuff to keep myself occupied! Wandering endlessly round the deck just doesn't cut it for me...but a Christmas celebration with a firm focus is a great idea. Look forward to seeing the rest of your photos Lx

Tatkis said...

I enjoyed your cruise photos and story very much!
Both times we had such a journey on board we didn't have a window in our room :)) but it was great to walk and breath fresh air. But both times it was summer ;)

Glad you had such a wonderful Christmas!

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