Day 2 of The Holiday

Sooooo …… we woke up in the Premier Inn and had a cooked breakfast which was ok, indeed the sausages were good, the tomatoes were anaemic, the water glasses were, as in every hotel, tiny but the staff were enthusiastic and friendly. I chatted to a fellow passenger to be by the toaster, you know the one where it takes 2.5 turns to be perfect so it will never be so. Ever the optimist I asked this chap what he thought of cruises. Apparently they were great, he had been on at least 20 cruises and the situation of being delayed was a rarity. Gosh, if he has been on over 20 then they must be fabulous so my faith was restored. I rushed back to the table where Beth, Ruby and Rachel were finding amusement by piling plates on top of each other and moving them around the table. There wasn’t a lot to do to and we find entertainment anywhere. Having shared my good news we realised we had at least 3 hours to kill before being loaded into holding pen number 3, the coach back to the port, so we had a great time walking to Sainsburys and back. Our biggest concern was whether we should buy food supplies following our terrible time the day before where we experienced hunger. Hope prevailed and we didn’t buy snacks just in case, we bought swimming costumes instead. Oh foolish foolish decision.

IMG_1663A reminder of the first holding bay

Back to the holding bay that was the reception of the Premier Inn, we sat on our cases and waited for the coach to arrive. Oh the joy of the passengers as it turned the corner and negotiated the tiny carpark. The happiness as we all climbed aboard and made our way to the port. The glee as we saw the pink bunny eared hens inside the next holding bay. The fantastic cruise had started and we couldn’t be happier. We joined a queue and shuffled through security, we used our passports because of course we were going abroad to Guernsey and Bruges, ooh exotic. In the distance I could hear the faint sounds of the hens singing “We’re all going on a Summer Holiday” enthusiastically.

We trotted onto the ship now, looking forward to luxury and wonderfulness. Beth and Ruby were on the other side of the corridor to us so we split up and found our cabins. They were perfectly adequate, two single beds a couple of feet apart and a toilet which had the tiniest shower I had ever seen. It looked like it had been designed by the people that had designed the Premier Inn but was half the size. Cosy but functional. We had a newspaper which outlined the days activities and gosh weren’t there a lot. There was karaoke, a show with singers and dancers and pyrotechnics, different bars with different themes, a selection of restaurants and places to get snacks plus the sail away party we decided to attend. First of all we had to go to the muster station where we were shown how to put on a life jacket. This took a long time. We were tired and hungry (is this a recurring theme) but we listened carefully until Rachels phone went off.

IMG_1666

Rachel taking the muster talk very seriously

After the muster talk, and feeling so much safer as a result, we mosied off to the sail away party. In my mind I was thinking of Pathe News reels of ships leaving the harbour, brass bands playing on the docks, ladies with white gloves waving on the deck, men in smart blazers saluting as we left. Our optimism seemed to be realised as we came to the door and could see, through the glass, waiters holding trays of full champagne glasses. Yes, this was indeed the start of the holiday. The doors opened, we saw the price list for the glass of ‘fizz’, it wasn’t complimentary, and then we heard it. Yes the singing. A song we all recognised, indeed many were singing along. And doing the actions. Our ears were being assaulted with the song that is YMCA. This was the first moment when we wondered if we should actually get back on shore immediately. However the ship was already at sea/channel, clever move! We were trapped. To be fair we hung about for quite a while watching everyone sing and do the actions and after 3 minutes we legged it. Fast. This too was a recurring theme of the ‘holiday’.

Dinner, this would salve our emotional distress, this after all is what the cruise was about. Whoop whoop. We strode to the restaurant in a very determined manner. This, remember, dear reader, is our first ever meal on board our first ever cruise. Expectations are high, hope is not quite at maximum. The restaurant was massive, hundreds of tables and lots of waiting staff. All of whom appeared to resent us being there. We were seated resentfully, when we asked for water they sighed. The only starter I can remember is Beths which was prawn chowder but which actually appeared to be a brown weak sludge with ONE tiny shrimp and ONE tiny cube of potato. She couldn’t eat it. Every time I write that something couldn’t be eaten you need to understand that this is serious as we eat everything. Including each others food. Not this time, Beths broth was virgin, unsullied, no one wanted it. Next the main course, I was having beef with red wine sauce, roast potatoes and vegetables. What came was a slice of beef, one small roast potato and one very small broccoli floret. I thought this was the prelude and they would be bringing the rest of the vegetables over but my hope was dashed. This was it. Every one else’s helpings were just as tiny. It was if they thought I was a very very old person with a very tiny appetite. I looked around. I felt very young. There was a sea of grey hair, people who were definitely enjoying themselves and satisfied with their helpings. Hmm.

Pudding was a pineapple slice for Beth with a little bit of ice cream in the middle, I am thinking that they found a special sort of baby pineapple, possibly a rare delicacy I hadn’t heard of although Beth’s face didn’t seem to show her appreciation. I had a huge mound of 3 small profiteroles. Sigh. Every course was served with resentment and irritation. Our very presence was annoying to the staff. We slunk away to search for entertainment.

There was so much choice for the evenings fun we decided to work it out carefully. First we went to the Karaoke bar for a cocktail. All of our party except me are very talented musically so we thought this might be fun. We ordered a cocktail each and thought about what they could sing. The problem was that there wasn’t a list of songs so we had to think of something and see if they had it and the girls weren’t up to that after such a huge dinner. Ahem. We sipped our cocktails. We sucked very hard on the straws. Desperately. Then Ruby shouted, ‘yes, I have found a little pocket of alcohol!’ She was wrong. This is when we decided to Pollyanna the whole holiday. This means that we found something positive about everything. The dinner was good as we didn’t feel bloated (or sated). The cocktails were good because our livers benefited. We thought of a song the girls could do, Valerie by Amy Winehouse. The compère announced that she needed names as no one had come up but in the meantime she would sing a song, yup you have guessed it, Valerie. We finished our cocktails but not fast enough so huge apologies to the man who started to sing a Billy Fury song and wondered who the four ladies with red hair giggling uncontrollably as they passed a foot in front of him were. We are so sorry.

Oooh well at least we had the singing and dancing show with pyrotechnics to look forward to. Even better the hens with their pink rabbit ears came and sat behind us, hurrah!

The show. How to describe this. OK well the dancers/singers were very enthusiastic. Umm the seats were really quite comfy. The hens behinds us were very entertaining. The entertainers came in all shapes and sizes and abilities. One we thought may have been the squeeze of the producer but she tried hard, another was very talented but possibly had a bit of trouble fitting into her costume. They hit loads of the right notes, over 70%, and had the most interesting costumes. Both the pyrotechnics were umm well a bit bangy. They sang snippets from James Bond films and then a random assortment of snippets of other songs. Well, we laughed a lot. In fact over the whole holiday we laughed a lot and I was thrilled beyond measure that I was with people that I love who all laughed with me. Or at me. Behind us the hens were getting into it all so we joined in and then it was over. Time to check out the evening snacks in the bufferteria on the top floor. I will be honest, we were just a little bit excited by another course of free food. We got there. There was a bit of a range of Indian type food which included chilli (?). The chilli was very very salty, actually inedible, the rest was leftover stuff. We trudged back to our cabin.  The good thing is that we didn’t overeat.

More to come tomorrow x

2 comments on “Day 2 of The Holiday

  1. Well Leila – very interesting. We have been on 2 RC cruises – 1 to the Med for 2 weeks and a one-week cruise out of Dubai. Admittedly these were 3 and 4 years ago but we had a really great time both times (hence why we went the second time) so this could have changed I guess.
    We were very sceptical when we set off on the Med one in the school summer hols tbh but did our own thing much of the time and were surprised how much we enjoyed it.
    Am thinking of booking the new P&O Britiannia to the Fjords next year for our wedding anniversary – but maybe not…..

  2. Well Leila – very interesting. We have been on 2 RC cruises – 1 to the Med for 2 weeks and a one-week cruise out of Dubai. Admittedly these were 3 and 4 years ago but we had a really great time both times (hence why we went the second time) so this could have changed I guess.
    We were very sceptical when we set off on the Med one in the school summer hols tbh but did our own thing much of the time and were surprised how much we enjoyed it.
    Am thinking of booking the new P&O Britiannia to the Fjords next year for our wedding anniversary – but maybe not…..

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