After much much convincing, Julie decided that our next holiday would be in the form of a cruise. Our usual trips are based upon travel to different countries to gain experiences and enjoy different cultures where we can, whilst journeying on local transport. So being on a floating hotel with 1,800 other British people isn’t what I would consider my usual type of holiday.
The Aurora disembarked from Southampton and we were greeted with a champagne reception ( 7.95 a glass) we declined. Julie had had the foresight to pack 3 bottles of our wedding champagne. 6 glasses free. Thanks for the gift.
The ship itself isn’t as posh as I had imagined, however the majority of the quests certainly are a pretentious bunch.lots of bars restaurants and entertainment. We have booked ourselves into some complementary fitness classes, but after the champagne, I am not sure if we are going to make the early start.
Today we explored the ship. To be honest I am not as impressed as I believe I am supposed to be.There are plenty of restaurants and bars catering for every palet. Busy rooms, quite rooms, all decorated differently and all very nice but once you’ve eaten and had a couple of drinks, we a struggling to fill the day. We made it to the fitness class which was occupied with people, generally large people, pretending to be interested in their health after consuming 3 different types of breakfast in one sitting. We’ve all done it. It’s available therefore we eat it. And go for seconds….so breakfast,gym, walk explore, avoid similar aged people looking for new friends, Knapp ,dinner , comedian, drink ,bed,Feeling fat and slightly inebriated….sleep. I fear I am giving a negative view regarding this cruise ship experience…….well I am desperately trying to find something positive. Our evening meal, approximately 4 hours after our lunch, was in a smart restaurant where we were seated with 6 other quests. Fat couple with no teeth, retired posh couple and frail old boy with younger wife. As dining commenced and small talk grew, we all soon realised that we had absolutely nothing in common. They all compared past cruises,ship sizes and destinations.Julie and I were clearly the newbies. I am not sure I see the fascination in this type of holiday.maybe my attitude will change as the blog matures.Tomorrow we will research more of the activities on offer (finger painting, bingo,dieting lessons and maybe try a different restaurant, ignoring the last class.
Is that all it is day 3? So after breakfast we walked back to the cabin and readied ourselves for lunch. Seriously the sun shone today and we are headed swiftly towards our first stop Cadiz on the Spanish coast. We did a gym routine with the misguided understanding that it would counteract the 3 breakfasts and large lunch we were bound to succumb to later in the day. Julie went off to listen to a seminar on how to walk properly where as I had perfected my walking over the 54 years of my 55 on the planet so I practiced laying on a sun lounger.lovely relaxing day aboard ship. This evening everyone is expected to dress formally in black tie and evening dresses for the ladies. I must admit it was nice to dress up but I am still not sure why. We gained a free glass of red and a G &T so worth the trouble. At dinner we were seated with 4 other fellow guests, pissed old woman with moaning husband with massive ears and shy couple from Liverpool….who new? After the usual “how many cruises have you done” telling new table friends massive untruths is so tempting. Todd gave us some great ideas. Tomorrow I shall be Mr freshly released from prison and Julie the 3 times married, criminally obsessed widow. Julie cringed at my under cover piss taking. I am beginning to think we are the only normal people on board.
Today we docked at Cadiz. Very nice typical Spanish port. Plenty of bars and restaurant’s. Each selling realistically priced beers and tapas, unlike the over priced alcohol on board. G&T, rum and coke £14.50. Good day in Cadiz lots of markets and cobbled streets to explore. Back on the boat in the afternoon to mix with the old people. A good 70% are over retirement age, some have no right still being alive. Tonight I played numbers, we watch a 1970s comedian telling jokes first heard in the 1960s to a group born in the 1940s. After we buy a pint and half for £8.40 we retire at 10.30.
It’s dawned on me…….Prison this is basically a posh expensive prison…..genius….who ever tried to sell this must have been best salesmen ever.
Right so we invite loads of people on a ship. Give them a very small room to live in.tell them what to wear and when. Give them regular meal times. Keep their spirits up by offering seminars about all aspects of life. Offer amenities like a gym or dancing classes. We encourage an aged generation to take part, whose memory is undoubtedly failing, so they’ll believe they had a great day yesterday and want to repeat it. Give an exercise areaThe only difference with this and prison is no work to do and the memory loss is due to drugs.
Oh yeah and who drinks UHT milk by choice?????
Similar to yesterday except Julie can now walk and we dined as a couple. Both sick of making small talk with strangers competing with each on how many cruises and different ships etc. I will always come last as this is my one and only cruise.
Tomorrow we reach Messina, Italy.
In Messina we decided to climb aboard the hop on hop off sight seeing bus. As we have little less than 5 or 6hours it seems a sensible way to familiarize ourselves with the area and at €15 each it seems a fair price. Compared to walking aimlessly in temperatures of 30+. The bay itself is very pleasant with lots of interesting facts attached to it. None of which I can remember nor wish to share.
Italians are probably a nice race , but I didn’t get that experience. Considering ships dock here all the time very little English is spoken. We walked around the streets popping in and out of various shops to sample the air conditioning rather than purchase. Of course we stopped at a Back street bakery and enjoyed a traditional freshly cooked doughy pizza and a local messina beer. Bloody lovely. During a wonder round the local supermarket we found some Corona beer on special €1 a bottle. Nothing unusual there, I hear you cry. Well it’s £3.50 a bottle on ship. We loaded our bags and now we have our day time drink sorted around the pool. Same brand ,cheeky saving, happy chappy.
On a side note, of all the aged, overweight people on this ship, I am trying to work out which comes first,stick to support being overweight, or becoming overweight due to stick support. Either way they all have a good bad back story.
Venice. 1030 and we treat ourselves to our first beer on the beautiful stunning oldy worldy narrow streets of Venice. The cities bridges and the maze of of streets make for some brilliant photo opportunities……however it was so hot, frankly I couldn’t be asked.
Sebenic. Croatia. Hot again 33 predicted. Had breakfast. Made rolls for lunch nicked from cafeteria. Got tender to shore with load of pensioners complaining about the wait and being cramped. Got on coach with same said pensioners complaining about lack of air conditioning. Got dropped of at port walked had an earned beer.€1.50 happy. Heat now 37 wow hot hot !! More walking, back to coach and tender all complaining about heat, lack of air conditioning and being cramped. I am doing the old people proud. I might even fake an illness to tell everyone about. Be part of the team.
Dubrovnik. We had been to Dubrovnik before and had really done the old town to death. On our previous visit we found a really nice unspoilt cove flanked by cave bars offering free sunbathing and inexpensive food and drink. We both commented on what a real gem we had found.Two years on, we revisit to find a massive 5 star hotel has taken over the bay and the cave bars.The sun loungers are now £24 each for the day and the drink and food prices had risen to the price 5star guests like to pay. Just before the waters edge there is a small wall, the other side is a small area, of this tideless beach ,for mere paupers to sit on the pebbles. I still have the pebble imprints on my buttocks.
Back on board we sun bath and eat and its becoming increasingly boring.I have read 2. books. Unheard of. That’s double my life’s book reading to date. Not including Janet and John. The only saving grace is alcohol.we have brought local beers whist ashore and drink them by the pool. It’s gives me a great sense of satisfaction, knowing I am drinking a bottle of beer that cost a Euro rather than the £4.20 the ship charges. I also purchased a bottle of rum and a flask. My evening drink costs me £1.25 per half a Pepsi. Julie has taken a fondness to gin and tonic. I wished she had mentioned this earlier.
Saturday 5th. Three more days.
The sell. I put you in a hotel with 1800 people. 70% Over 65. And lock the doors. During your stay. I will supply you with as much food as you can eat and serve it at a very high standards. Your servants will all be mainly from India and will address you as sir or ma’am, so you can feel very superior. During you stay you will have access to alcohol at inflated prices. Daytime, you will be encouraged to attend seminars, talks and demonstrations about general life,Followed by a sales pitch. and of course sun bath to your hearts content. . In the evening we will offer a variety of activities,from a 1970s comedian, to a boy band tribute act ,to our own entertainment team singing and dancing. Cinema, casino, food plus drink at inflated prices are always on offer..I will tell you what to wear and when to wear it. Accept during the day. Every other day I will let you all out of the hotel. I will drop you off , leave you to roam, but you must be back by the time I specify.
At sea today heading towards Gibraltar. Breakfast, sun,snack, sun swim,lunch , sun swim, knap.evening meal. Watch tribute act.highlight of today was seeing various schools of dolphins majestically jumping from the water by the side of the ship. Really was fantastic to see. Lots of close sightings during the day. Julie wasn’t impressed as there was no ball balancing involved.
Gibraltar. We have arrived in Gib, as seasoned travellers refer to it. We are allowed of between 8am and must be back on board by 1pm. Otherwise the captain gets angry.I so want to break the rules. Gibraltar is a bit surreal,in that it clearly emulates the british shopping streets with major stores such as marks and Spencer, debbenums etc but you are served by ,mainly,Spanish assistants. The main shopping area revolves around the purchase of cheap tobacco and booze. It was very tempting,even as a non smoker to take advantage.We did purchase a couple of bottles as Julie has succumb to the trappings of gin.
Back at sea today ,leaving the weather behind it seems. . We are reading and crossword in one of the ships quite rooms. Actually quite nice.
Monday. As we head home, we have left the good weather behind us.
So cruising, good way to see snippets of different places, if only day time. If like doing nothing but eating and drinking then cruising great. If you like mixing with older people telling you about the past cruises,then great. Don’t get me wrong I love old people, but they do come with certain smells and habits.Dribbling for example.
It wasn’t all bad, if our aim was to put on half a stone ,we done well. Maybe in another 10/15 years I will give it ago. By then we can mix more and discuss knee and hip replacements and conquer the quick step. What’s next? Watch this space