In just under three weeks Ill be boarding P&O Ventura for a four night mini cruise so I thought it was high time to dust off the blog and write (what is rather shamefully) my first post of the year.
Weve not had the pleasure of cruising since October however we did manage to squeeze in a couple of city breaks to London in February and Madrid in April. Both were lots of fun but cities with a small child can be far from relaxing and we spent far too many hours walking the streets of the Spanish capital in search of a decent meal. Im therefore looking forward to a cruise from Southampton with its kids club and shows and being spoilt for choice with gastronomic delights.
This will be our first time with P&O although weve cruised with most other lines including RCI, NCL, Carnival and MSC and our first two holidays afloat were actually on the P&O owned Ocean Village – the cruise for people who dont do cruises – and thats definitely where my obsession started. Ive fond memories of our first ship although I suspect having now cruised on more luxurious liners I might be slightly disappointed if I boarded today.
Back in 2010 it was common knowledge that the two ships were being sold and so we attended a future cruises presentation which was promoting Ventura as a replacement option for Ocean Village fans but decided at that point that P&O was possibly a little too formal for us. Five years later and having experienced ten further cruises across a range of lines I think weve grown to enjoy getting dressed up for the occasional formal nights.
We love the ease of sailing from the UK so when looking for a Whit week school holiday break P&O Ventura seemed like a good choice for us. Well be taking my Mother in Law and her husband, both of whom were keen to try cruising but a little nervous to go it alone. My seven year old son Finn is delighted at the idea of showing his Grandma how cruising works and weve even been shopping for new dinner suits for both Finn and my husband.
Anyone who has read this blog knows I’m a fan of Royal Caribbean however the ridiculous prices of Anthem of the Seas and the fact it was such a similar itinerary to last years Independence cruise made me re-consider our options. Booking with P&O has made me reflect a little on the difference between American and British cruise lines and many of my fond Ocean Village memories stem from the amazing Union Jack filled sailaways, the familiarity of mostly UK based passengers on board, British entertainers, back bacon and paying your bar bill in sterling (less scary than dollars!).
I do hope Ventura lives up to my expectations as weve taken a leap of faith and booked our first ever Christmas and New Year cruise on P&Os brand new ship Britannia around the Caribbean. Im beyond excited as we’ve splurged a little and gone for a suite. The itinerary and ship look stunning and Ive even heard that Father Christmas will be arriving down the funnel!
Elsewhere for 2015 weve got a two week cruise on the MSC Opera in August heading out of Venice to Sochi in Russia, Romania, the Greek Islands and Dubrovnik. In October well be back in Venice for a 5 night sailing to Barcelona on NCL Jade taking my dad and his wife as its a big birthday year for him. All in all weve got some very special sailing adventures planned for this year and I look forward to sharing them with you here.