Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: P & O Cruises
Sailing Date: August 21st, 2005
Itinerary: Western Mediterranean
This was our first cruise, we departed from Southampton, and sailed around the Mediterranean. There were four of us, me(13), my brother(10), and my mum and dad.
We left our house in Bristol at about 11, and the drive down to the cruise terminal was very smooth, not much traffic until we got within 2 or 3 minutes away from the building. Our car was driven to the carpark for us, and our cases were taken to our cabin. When we first entered the terminal building, we were checked in using our boarding cards, and led to a very comfortable lounge (the chairs were all taken up downstairs, but we discovered that there were plenty of spare seats upstairs, where you could see the ship), where you could buy drinks and snacks. We were given our boarding cards, which were organised alphabetically, and then went to go and have a look at the ship. Once they had got to about 'd' in the alphabet, there were spare seats and we sat down, waiting for our letter to be called. The whole procedure was easy and hassle-free, and the staff were very friendly.
We went up to our cabin, and our bags were already outside the door. We stayed and unpacked. We had an outside stateroom with a balcony. Overall, the cabin was of a good size, and the balcony was spacious too. There was a table and two sunloungers which we used mostly in the morning. It was well worth having the balcony, especially as there were many calls about sightings of whales and dolphins throughout the cruise. We had a king-sized bed, which was made of two singles. Our cleaner came in and separated them for us whilst we were out on the balcony. There was plenty of storage, with 2 bedside tables, a large chest-of-drawers, and a spacious wardrobe. There was room to put suitcases under the bed, which was a plus. There was also a fridge, and a kettle which enabled us to have hot drinks whenever we wanted. There was tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and also biscuits. The bathroom was spacious and had a bath with a shower over the top, and Molton Brown toiletries. We heard no noise from other cabins which was great.
We had the late sitting for dinner, and were very pleased that we did. We didn't eat in 'Le Jardin', as we enjoyed the Peninsular restaurant so much, we didn't see any need. We ate breakfast in the Conservatory every day, as we preferred the buffet option to sitting down with a menu. There was two themed dinners, one was black and white, and the other was a Hawaiian beach theme. There was also themed menus, Italian, French etc. We had 4 formal nights, 3 smart-casual, and casual nights on the days that we were in port.
All the waiters were very polite and friendly. They were also funny. We didn't know what to expect from the shops, and they were a little smaller than we'd hoped and there wasn't a magazine or packet of chewing-gum in sight. We did not use the gym, but our dad went for a hot-stone massage one morning and thought it thoroughly worth it.
The entertainment was very good, and we were often torn between going to the theatre and the quiz.
The last thing i shall recommend is a trip by taxi up to the Rock of Gibraltar, which included a look in the caves, and a chance to see the Gibraltar apes.
Overall, i would definitely recommend cruising, and we are now addicted. We have booked a trip on the QM2 for this summer, and are very much looking forward to it.