My mum had been threatening to take me on a cruise for ages so, with me having never been on one before and the Caribbean just a little out of our price range, we decided to hop on board the luxurious P&O Britannia for a two night taster cruise to Guernsey.
We had roughly a two hour wait in Southampton, following probably the most incomprehensible queueing system I’ve ever experienced, so that wasn’t the best start ever to our holiday. P&O, if you’re reading it, you guys might want to work on this one. Two hours is a pretty long time when you’re only on the ship for 48. By the time we finally made it through to the ship, I was feeling pretty grumpy.
Naturally, this evaporated within about three seconds of actually getting onto the ship and I immediately started squealing, photographing everything in sight and drinking.
The Britannia is beautiful. Obviously, I’ve never been on a cruise ship before, so I don’t know if this is par for the course on a cruise but everything was absolutely stunning. Everywhere I turned, I was faced with opulent silks and chrome so polished I could retouch my lipstick in it. The central staircase spirals through the heart of the ship, following the patterns of a dazzling chandelier. I made a mental note to run down it pretending to be Kate Winslet at every available opportunity.
We grabbed some lunch and the obligatory glasses of prosecco when we boarded, before heading to the cocktail bar at the back of the ship for sail away.
Those of you who know me well will know that I’m a total water baby. I might be a Capricorn but that’s only because I jumped the gun and arrived two months early…I suspect I’ve got a good chunk of Pisces in there. There is nothing that doesn’t seem better to me after a few hours of staring at the sea or wandering along a canal. So watching the sun set over the churning water, cocktail in hand, while Southampton melted into the distance was pretty near bliss for me.
We were feeling pretty sleepy after the early journey to Southampton to decided to retire to our BALCONY ROOM and get ready for dinner at a leisurely pace. With more cocktails. Obviously. We were tired, not dead.
We got dressed for dinner, I nearly peed my pants when I remembered that all the food was already paid for so I could have steak with absolutely no qualms and we headed off in search of some entertainment.
After a brief stint at the casino, which saw me win exactly nothing on the roulette wheel (must have used up all my luck in Australia), we found ourselves in the Crystal Room – the ship’s sumptuous onboard ballroom. The band were incredible, working their way through a gorgeous range of covers, including a soulful Material Girl, which was probably my favourite thing ever. But what I loved about this room were the dancers. Every so often, a young couple would get up and strut their stuff and I love watching people who can dance. It makes me so very jealous. More often, though, an older couple would take to the floor and put us all to shame. I was bawling my heart out.
At this point, we were both flagging a little, so we decided to hit the hay, rocked to sleep by the motion of the ship.
By the time we woke up, we had dropped anchor at Guernsey. I woke up before my mum, so dragged my duvet out onto the balcony and watched the shuttle ships taking people to and from the island. To be honest, I think I could spend two days doing that and be happy. Once mum woke up, we enjoyed a leisurely room service breakfast on the balcony, because we so fancy.
After breakfast, it was time to go see Guernsey! Again, the queue to get onto the shuttle boats was a bit of a nightmare. P&O, my darlings, you are bad at organising and queueing. You are very, very good at everything else, but the actual logistics were a bit of a nightmare. Fortunately, Guernsey was worth the wait.
Having grown up on the rocks at Troon, I’m a sucker for a gorgeous harbour and Guernsey certainly didn’t disappoint. The stunning seaside disappears into beautiful, chintzy lanes, a lot like Brighton.
We started at the sea front where, I’m not even kidding, there was a DOG FESTIVAL on. There were dogs everywhere. I nearly signed a lease then and there. Then, to avoid me being arrested for foisting myself on innocent dog owners, we wandered up to the stunning Candie Gardens.
The gardens were an absolute eruption of colour – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so many beautiful flowers in such a small space – and if you climb to the top, you can look all the way down to the sea. Seriously, I’m so moving here.
All too soon, it was time to head back to the Britannia. We bid Guernsey a fond farewell and promised to come back again soon. At this point, we realised that it had been at least 10 minutes since our last cocktail, so we found some ridiculously comfortable bucket chairs and had another.
I’d just like to point out the perils of taking someone like me on a food-inclusive holiday. I literally couldn’t stop eating. I was so overcome by all the options and so excited that I wasn’t being charged for any of it that I had a slice of pizza, a burger and a box of chips for my lunch. And I’d do it again.
The second night was formal night, and I jumped at the chance to get all dressed up in my Cinderella dress from the White Party.
Dressed in our finest finery, we headed back to the restaurant for an utterly magnificent dinner. Between courses, we were treated to a champagne sorbet palette cleanser which literally made me giggle in delight and I even managed to tick off an item from this year’s bucket list – eating my first ever baked alaska!
After winning yet more nothing at the casino, we wandered up to the Crow’s Nest to listen to the ship’s pianist play a variety of film and musical tunes. Sitting there, watching the sea go by, with a glass of champagne in my hand and genuinely fantastic music…I don’t think I could have wanted for anything.
I genuinely don’t know why cruises are an old people thing. They are awesome. I plan to drag Niall on one as soon as I have the available funds. The Britannia was absolutely brilliant and P&O looked after us like royalty. If you get the chance, get on this ship.