He’s loving the ambience of the restaurants and the friendliness of the waiters and can’t believe how alive the ship is after dinner.Spoilt for choice what to do: shop, go and see a show, visit the casino… we plump for the coffee bar:The Tazzine. And the Metropolis - right at the top of the shop. The sea is calm as milk – Mr C can’t actually believe we’re moving.He’s heard too many stories about force 13 gales but the ship is rock-steady, the sun is blasting out rays – we could be in the Med rather than heading towards Zeebrugge
Obviously I buy chocolates – in a traditional shape as I’m not sure my dad would appreciate chocolate reproductive organs.
Mr C – bless him – thought that everyone walked around in tuxedos during the day as well. Ah the myths there are on ships! He now realises that you don’t need horribly expensive ball-gowns and Moss Bros suits on cruises. One black frock with a different necklace does me for at least two posh nights. He decides to fit in a few catalogue poses - I feel obliged to assist.
and then a pear tarte with vanilla pod ice-cream
Then we are off to the cabaret lounge to watch a comedian. If you would have told me that I’d be fascinated by a bloke standing on a stage making noises like trains, I would have laughed you out of town. But I am amazed. So – never say never.
We have a lovely walk to the Trocadero to take pics and sit by the fountain where my son made us all v envious by jumping into the water because it was so unbelievably hot.
Then we take the Metro to Tuileries so I can drag everyone to Angelinas for the best hot chocolate in the world.
A great plan – except that we are wilting in the heat and only want beer, very cold beer. So I can’t show off the chocolate, but I can show off the ice-cream.
Their ‘Marron’ ice-cream is to die for.
I don’t know who switched on the weather but it’s absolutely gorgeous. When we retire to the cabin, the lads are peckish (what!!!?) So they decide to order some pizza and pasta from Room Service. Mr C volunteers to pay. It's free, laugh the lads. Mr C thinks they’re joking – they aren’t! (my son sneaked out on the balcony with his!)
We have a lovely walk around, but it’s too English for me with all those shop names: Monsoon, Boots, C & A (C & A!!!!). It’s too much of a reminder that I’m near home and I don’t want to be because it’s all been too nice – again. And any cruise I’ve ever been on ‘could have been a bit longer.’
Today has been easy and relaxed and I think his favourite day because he didn’t have to get up early to get on a trip. He stretches out on a sunbed with his drink and I feel his bones sighing.
As a taster this cruise has whetted his appetite and he wants more because the ship-magic has worked. It’s lived up to all my hype. (We’ve only been back two days and he’s bought a bow-tie).
then watch a comedian, walk around the deck with the stunningly gorgeous backdrop of a glass-like sea and a pink sun.
Our bags are packed and left out at night to be taken ashore. Posh breakfast the next morning in the restaurant to send us on our way and we’re back to earth with a bump stuck in traffic jams after a fatal crash on the M1. Some poor sod isn’t going to be booking any more holidays – that makes me extra keen somehow to get home and whip out my brochure.
The main myths dispelled for Mr C are that a cruise is for 'old, posh people'. The Ventura is a family ship and there's loads to do for people of all ages. That people have to spend a fortune on designer gear for the night - and the day. Prada and Primark mix quite beautifully. And you won't find anyone walking around in a ballgown during the day - it's comfort first and bugger the designer names. That people don't spend half their holiday being sick over the side because the boat is rocking like newlyweds in a caravan. The ships are fully stabilised - but yep, when there are high winds, there is movement (a jab in your bottom from the onboard doc will sort you out - it's bloody fabulous). This cruise was as steady as a plastic surgeon's hand. That you're going to be cramped. There's LOADS of space on board so Claustrophobics won't need extra meds. And it's SAFE. You might be 19 storeys up and looking over at the sea but the only way you're going to end up overboard is if you deliberately climb up over the barriers and throw yourself into the briney. You can't 'slip' through the railings (even if you did lay off the cream teas). And it's nigh on impossible to be bored. If quizzes, swimming, theatres, gyms, comedians, live music, dancing, shopping, lectures, the spa, scoffing, port visits, the cinema aren't enough for you, then good luck finding a holiday that does 'float your boats.'
Thanks to P and O Cruises as always.
For anyone who wants to read my book about fictional women on a real cruise in the summer slip 'Here Come The Girls' in your holiday luggage. A few people have written to me to say that they've booked their first cruise after reading it - if that's happened to you, I'd love to know about it :)
AND if you want to win a free copy of Here Come The Girls - just tell me which your fave P & O ship is and why. I'll ask the lovely Michele Andjel there to help me pick. Competition ends on 10th September.
Follow P & O on Twitter - @pandocruises