Christmas Cruise 2018 Part 2

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Jan Rosser
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Christmas Cruise 2018 Part 2

Post by Jan Rosser » 17 Jan 2019, 18:32

Next day we arrived at St. Kitts - went ashore but came back to ship for the rest of the day - the girls have made friends at the kids’ clubs and they are not allowed to stay on board without parents so if we haven’t anything planned we return to the ship. We had an announcement that night from the captain that our visit to Antigua the following day was cancelled due to high winds and a tricky docking so we were diverting to Martinique.

I couldn’t remember whether I had been to Martinique before and this turned out to be our favourite port of the cruise. We went to the beach by taxi and had a lovely day - the snorkelling was very good without going too far from the shore - the family loved it.

Next port was St. Lucia where people were embarking the ship. We were berthed alongside Pointe Seraphine but took the water taxi across to Castries as the family hadn’t been there and soon decided they wouldn’t want to go back to that area - being a Saturday it was market day and very busy. I find this one of the poorest places and the girls in particular found it rather intimidating and didn’t feel safe. Needless to say we didn’t stay long and returned to the ship. This was weather-wise the worse day of the entire cruise - it rained almost all day - some heavy showers but funnily enough didn’t stop people enjoying the karaoke in the Rum Shack.

Grenada was next and we took the water taxi across to Grand Anse beach - got the usual soaking going across from the spray but we had a fab day swimming and sunbathing - loved it.

New Year’s Eve was at sea - few showers but okay. Early dinner again and this time didn’t seem as rushed - my youngest granddaughter pooh poohed the menu and she ended up with a sirloin steak while my son enthused over the haggis (well truthfully he loved all the food). Oldest granddaughter had an extension on her “returning to cabin time” - you can imagine the scenario “I’m the only one who has to be in at midnight etc.”. We went up on deck for the midnight chimes to ring in the New Year and could hardly move with so many people up there but again lovely atmosphere.

Next day we arrived at Curacao - the family hadn’t been there before so we went ashore and walked into Willemstad via the Rif Fort and waited for the floating bridge to close so that we could walk across and have a look around. It is such a pretty place - pastel and brightly coloured houses and shops - vast contrast to some of the other islands. It was very hot however and we returned to the ship for lunch and a lie down after our late night celebrating the New Year.

Bonaire was next island we visited - once again very pretty although not on the scale of Curacao and Aruba. We were amazed at the fish around the dock - very unexpected to see them so close to the ship although this island has a reputation for the best scuba and snorkelling of the island group.

We were at sea the following day and all went to the Peninsular Caribbean lunch - my son and family are not at Caribbean level but the way in which we booked the cabins meant that all the family could attend and we were hosted by Giovanni the Entertainments Manager. He hasn’t been with P&O very long - previously been with RCI and NCL - very amenable but bit low profile around the ship - he is from Costa Rica - speaks several languages and is a very keen photographer, loves cooking and visiting new places. Not sure he is suited to the bigger ships - said he is keen to try river cruising where he can get involved in the tours etc. The meal was well attended and the food was very good - generous with the wine much to my son’s delight and afterwards it was time for a lie down before the formal evening that night.

And so back to Barbados where there was a changeover of passengers but as we were Saturday flyers we went by taxi to Carlisle bay - spent the day there before returning to the ship - we found a good spot by the Copacabana beach club - purchased beds and umbrellas and were given menus and drinks lists - they came around taking your orders - not too busy unlike the Boatyard which was absolutely heaving - no beds available from about 9.30 am but people still turning up - you could hear the music across the beach - not surprised it is so popular with the younger crowd - my eldest granddaughter met some of her friends over there. She has had a wonderful holiday - met old friends and new and really didn’t want to go home.

Entertainment:

The usual Headliners shows - all seen before including the new Astonishing magic/singing/dancing show which I had seen in October on Azura. Without spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it yet there is audience participation and it is quite clever. We saw Zoe Tyler (ex Loose Women and a voice coach and judge) she had a good voice and Eric Clapton (not the real one obviously) was outstanding - my son and I are big fans and my son is a guitarist and was really impressed. The pianist in the Crows Nest was very talented - nice background music you could still chat to. We went to see the Christmas pantomime - really enjoyed it especially as the Captain took part - he loved it - usual audience participation - great fun. There were other acts including a comedian who did a late night “blue” show and a few regulars like Jimmy James but we didn’t see them.

Last thoughts:

The majority of people made an effort on the formal nights and people were turned away from the restaurant for not being dressed properly. Some of the children particularly the young boys looked so smart in their suits and one of the babies on board had a white babygro with a jacket and bow tie embossed on it - so cute. The decks were patrolled and notices left on beds that had been unused for a while - a few protests but good to see something was being done. We didn’t have problems getting sun beds. Some women were put off the ship for fighting but generally behaviour was good particularly amongst the youngsters. For the first time we took the tips off however a print out of our spending a few days later showed it still there - joined the queues at Reception to sort it out - every time I passed Reception there were people waiting to be seen. Although we were on Freedom dining we had the same table every night so this made tipping the waiters and wine waiter easier and of course Camilo our steward.

We had booked a cabin for the Saturday so that we could dump our stuff and shower and change before leaving for the airport - good flight home but not easy to sleep so when we got back we all went to bed for a few hours. Bit of a shock to the system coming home to such a drop in temperature but not as bad as we thought it would be - I drove home on the Monday morning - surprisingly again a good journey thank goodness but it has taken me all week to get back into a proper sleeping pattern - the only drawback as far as I am concerned.

We had a great time - what’s not to like about the Caribbean islands - it was all pretty laid back and it was as usual lovely to spend time with the family - that’s what made it so special.

Next cruise is in March on Oriana down to the Canaries - last cruise on the first P&O ship I sailed on with my late husband in 2001 so some special memories. Our family summer cruise this year is to the Baltics but with RCI - a first for the family - the girls are looking forward to the extra facilities on the ship like the ice rink and climbing wall.

If you made it to the end - well done - hope you enjoyed.
Janis

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GillD46
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Re: Christmas Cruise 2018 Part 2

Post by GillD46 » 17 Jan 2019, 18:58

Thank you such a comprehensive review, it certainly reads as though you had a good time.

Happy 2019 to you x
Gill

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Kenmo1
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Re: Christmas Cruise 2018 Part 2

Post by Kenmo1 » 17 Jan 2019, 19:02

Jan Rosser wrote:
17 Jan 2019, 18:32
If you made it to the end - well done - hope you enjoyed.
Yes, Jan, I made it to the end and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thank you.

Maureen


Ray B
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Re: Christmas Cruise 2018 Part 2

Post by Ray B » 17 Jan 2019, 19:46

Pleased to see you had such a lovely time and with he family. You are correct, what’s not to like about the Caribbean islands . A nice review Jan.


rita17
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Re: Christmas Cruise 2018 Part 2

Post by rita17 » 17 Jan 2019, 21:16

Thank you for your review. Enjoyed reading and pleased you had such a good time.

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Dancing Queen
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Re: Christmas Cruise 2018 Part 2

Post by Dancing Queen » 17 Jan 2019, 22:07

Great review as always Jan.
Jo


colin parry
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Re: Christmas Cruise 2018 Part 2

Post by colin parry » 17 Jan 2019, 22:58

Sounds like a good time was had by all, particularly your elder granddaughter. Thanks for the reviews.. I still have you to thank for encouraging me to cruise alone following the loss of my wife. I have had 8 cruises in the last 3 years with 2 more booked this year. I have made a number of new friends who I cruise with. Well over 30 cruises now in total. Once again, many thanks Jan.

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Jan Rosser
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Re: Christmas Cruise 2018 Part 2

Post by Jan Rosser » 17 Jan 2019, 23:22

colin parry wrote:
17 Jan 2019, 22:58
Sounds like a good time was had by all, particularly your elder granddaughter. Thanks for the reviews.. I still have you to thank for encouraging me to cruise alone following the loss of my wife. I have had 8 cruises in the last 3 years with 2 more booked this year. I have made a number of new friends who I cruise with. Well over 30 cruises now in total. Once again, many thanks Jan.
Thank you Colin - I am so pleased you found the courage to try a cruise on your own - it is a big step I know but so rewarding meeting new friends and doing something you enjoy so much. Here's to many more - cheers :thumbup:
Janis


Whynd1
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Re: Christmas Cruise 2018 Part 2

Post by Whynd1 » 18 Jan 2019, 13:09

Thank you for the report Jan. Pleased you and the family had a good time.
Hopefully you will give us some feedback on RCI .

I am on Oriana in June.
Lindsey


Ilovemygarden
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Re: Christmas Cruise 2018 Part 2

Post by Ilovemygarden » 18 Jan 2019, 16:13

Thanks for your report. I did this cruise on Brittania in March - only second time solo and it was great. I too had cruised many times before I was widowed a few years ago and found it surprisingly easy on my own.

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Gill W
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Re: Christmas Cruise 2018 Part 2

Post by Gill W » 18 Jan 2019, 16:39

Thanks for your review, which I enjoyed reading. Sounds like a good cruise.
Gill


Whynd1
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Re: Christmas Cruise 2018 Part 2

Post by Whynd1 » 18 Jan 2019, 18:06

I think that's one of the lovely things about cruising making lovely friendships.
I met two ladies a few years ago who are now two of my closest friends.

Lindsey


Whynd1
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Re: Christmas Cruise 2018 Part 2

Post by Whynd1 » 18 Jan 2019, 18:08

Oh and by the way all three of us must have upset P and O as none of us have received our calenders !!

Lol


CaroleF
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Re: Christmas Cruise 2018 Part 2

Post by CaroleF » 19 Jan 2019, 11:04

A really good read about some of my favourite places on this dismal January morning!
Thank you.

Carole

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