N932

Ventura cruises in 2019
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MicheleW
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N932

Post by MicheleW » 04 Nov 2019, 21:54

So a week today sees the start of a week of celebrations for mums 90th birthday! Next Monday we will be going out for coffee, but she doesn't know that I have invited several of her friends to join us for tea, coffee and cake. Then on Wednesday (her actual birthday), we are traveling to Sussex to stay at a hotel near to my brother and nephew - a trip we make this time every year to enjoy a nice celebratory meal out with them. What she doesn't know is that we have hired the function room at the hotel and invited friends, family, old work colleagues and neighbours from when we lived in Kent to a surprise Afternoon Tea Birthday Party! There will be about 70 people in total, some of whom she hasn't seen in ages - it took me hours to go through her address book when she was out and get in touch with everybody! Several of our family are also staying at the hotel, so we could be celebrating into the night!

Then on the following day we are staying with my godmother in Basingstoke before the 3 of us travel down to Southampton on Friday 15th for a cheeky 2 nighter on Ventura! (She does know about this part). We are sharing a deluxe balcony cabin, which will be fine just for a couple of nights.

Can't wait to see her face when we get to the hotel!!

Will do a brief report on the cruise in when we get back.

Michele

PS. Some tricky packing to do - one lot for the first couple of days and one lot for the cruise - and of course shoes for both :D

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GillD46
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Re: N932

Post by GillD46 » 05 Nov 2019, 07:03

That all sounds a wonderful way to celebrate your mum’s 90th. Hope you, and more importantly she, both have a fabulous time x
Gill


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Re: N932

Post by Whynd1 » 05 Nov 2019, 07:59

That sounds lovely Michelle, she will be so suprised. What a nice thing to do for your mum.

My mum is 90 on Thursday,she is in a nursing home but the family will be there to help her celebrate.
Have a lovely cruise.

Lindsey

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david63
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Re: N932

Post by david63 » 05 Nov 2019, 08:20

Just hope she is not like my mother who would probably refuse to "play along" - however she has just turned 99 (the biggie next year!)


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Re: N932

Post by CaroleF » 05 Nov 2019, 11:52

Sounds a lovely plan. We planned a surprise for my parents Ruby Wedding - a long time ago now - but invited relatives down and when they thought they were coming to our house for dinner with us and my brother when they walked in and saw their relatives the picture on their faces is something that I will treasure for ever. Have a wonderful time.

Carole

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90th birthday

Post by MicheleW » 18 Nov 2019, 14:28

So - what a week. After the coffee last Monday morning the next part was Mum's actual birthday. We left at 9.30am for the journey to Sussex and I was updating my brother on our progress. He only had 2 things to do - organise the birthday cake and get it to the hotel (tick), and then make sure that none of the guests were in the vicinity of reception when we arrived. So, when we arrived the only parking space available was right next to his car, but I wasn't too bothered, as I knew Mum wouldn't have a clue it was his. But as we entered the hotel and got to reception, through the glass doors leading into the lounge ahead, I could make out my brother and nephew sitting chatting to 2 people! Trying to make myself as big as possible, I nudged Mum towards the desk to check-in and luckily out of the corner of my eye, saw 4 figures scurrying off! We got to the room and I told Mum I was just going to get another bag from the car. I found my brother and the 2 other people he had been talking to turned out to be my cousin and his wife from Australia - a total surprise to me!! I went back to the room to find Mum had the kettle on ready for a cup of tea, so I told her that she had to get changed into something nice as Mike was taking us out for Afternoon Tea. Leaving her to get ready I told her I would see if he had arrived and started to usher people into the function room. Leaving my brother to get everyone else in there, I went back to the room and told Mum that it was time to go and then as we were walking along the corridor, I said to her "You have got to come and see this first", and took her into the function room! To start off with she thought she was crashing in on a private do until she recognised people. So we had a fantastic afternoon - so nice to catch up with so many friends and family on a special occasion instead of at a funeral! 14 family members were staying at the hotel too, so we were catching up all night and then all 16 of us sat down for breakfast the next morning! Mum and I then had a nice leisurely drive to Basingstoke the following day to stay with my godmother for the night prior to the next part of the celebration - our 2 night cruise on Ventura.

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N932 review

Post by MicheleW » 18 Nov 2019, 15:25

Friday morning we left Basingstoke at 11.00 and arrived at the Mayflower Terminal by 11.45. We parked the car, dropped the bags off and entered the terminal. This was my first cruise since attaining the heady heights of Caribbean tier and upon presentation of our e-tickets we were directed to the priority check-in, straight through security and on to the ship! I asked about the priority lunch and we were directed to the Cinnamon restaurant - a lovely relaxing start to the weekend! We went to the Glasshouse for coffee before they announced the cabins were ready. We made our way to D232 and found our bags outside already. We unpacked and had a cup of tea with our Deluxe cabin chocolates! Our cabin steward came to see us and told us there would be no turn down service that night, but she would make up the bed settee when we were at the muster. After muster in the Arena theatre (without lifejackets), I rushed up to the lido deck for my free glass of sailaway fizz and then we prepared for the first night - smart casual. We were on freedom dining and the card in the cabin informed us that we could go to either of the restaurants. We went to the Glasshouse for a drink and then made our way to the Saffron restaurant at about 7.15pm and found there was a bit of a queue. We were told we might get served quicker in Cinnamon, so we made our way there and were told we could eat straight away if we shared or wait about 40 minutes for a table on our own. We shared and ended up on a table of all women and had a great evening meal. Afterwards I went to the casino for a short time whilst Mum and Godmother went up to the Waterside to get some hot chocolate. The clocks went forward an hour, so we decided to have an earlyish night.
Saturday: we arrived in Zeebrugge to find Oceana berthed behind us! We went to breakfast in the Bay Tree restaurant and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before heading off the ship. We were directed to a port authority bus which took us to a cruise terminal at the port entrance where everyone got off. I presume that you could then get a shuttle bus into town if you wanted, but there were no buses in sight. There was a desk offering bus transfers into Brugges for 20 euros per person and several taxis waiting outside. In the end, we bought tram tickets and got the tram into Blankenberg were we had a short walk along the promenade followed by a lovely hot chocolate topped with cream! We headed back to the tram stop but could see the shuttle buses by the church, so decided to take one back, as the walk from the tram stop was quite long for Mum. The shuttle bus dropped us at the cruise terminal, where we all had to get off and head through the terminal to get onto one of the port authority buses for the short hop back to the ship. One thing that seemed totally silly to me, was that they were operating different buses for each ship, despite the fact that they were moored about 50 yards from each other. So we waited whilst 3 buses came for Oceana passengers and then eventually one came for Ventura passengers! Why they couldn't drop Oceana passengers off first and then carry on for a few yards to drop Ventura passenger off I don't understand! We were back on board by 1.00 and found another half bottle of champagne waiting for us - another of my Caribbean perks! After lunch in the Saffron restaurant we had a very lazy afternoon in the cabin, packing a few things, before getting print outs of our statements. Just as well we did, as I thought we had OBC of £25.00 each, when in fact it was £30.00 each! So that meant a more expensive bottle of wine with dinner! I wet up to the Lido deck to see the Oceana off - as you can imagine there was much tooting of ships horns! And then we get ready for the formal night. We went down a bit earlier this time and after drinks in the Glasshouse again went to the Saffron restaurant where we went straight in and had a table for just the 3 of us. After dinner we to the theatre for the show Paradise City. After another brief stint in the casino I made my way up to the buffet, where they were enjoying their hot chocolates before retiring to bed. We were up early in the morning for breakfast (smoked salmon and scrambled eggs) in the Bay Tree Restaurant at 6.30am. We did self-disembarkation and were off the ship by 7.45 and back in Basingstoke by 8.30 - a lovely end to the 90th celebrations.

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Kenmo1
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Re: N932

Post by Kenmo1 » 18 Nov 2019, 16:39

MicheleW wrote:
18 Nov 2019, 14:28
To start off with she thought she was crashing in on a private do until she recognised people. So we had a fantastic afternoon - so nice to catch up with so many friends and family on a special occasion instead of at a funeral! 14 family members were staying at the hotel too, so we were catching up all night and then all 16 of us sat down for breakfast the next morning!
How lovely - I bet your Mum's face was an absolute picture. Has she recovered yet from the wonderful surprise, Michele ?

Maureen


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Re: N932

Post by cruisin_duo » 19 Nov 2019, 11:24

What a lovely way for your Mum to spend her 90th birthday.

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Re: N932

Post by MicheleW » 24 Nov 2019, 17:06

Maureen,

Mum has just about recovered from it all. Unfortunately, she had a cold most of the week, so wasn't feeling 100% - but she made the best of it and we have some lovely photos to look back over! (And quite a bit of cake to finish up!!)
Michele

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GillD46
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Re: N932

Post by GillD46 » 24 Nov 2019, 19:13

Sounds a lovely celebration for your mum.
Gill

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