I have just returned from what I consider to be my worst ever holiday.Ã‚Â EVER.Ã‚Â Worse than the time my husband to be went camping at a festival with only an industrial tub of instant potato with a loose top, a 2 man tent with holes in it, 2 friends (one who was 6ft 4) and a very rainy storm.Ã‚Â True story.Ã‚Â Or our first foreign holiday involving a 2 day coach trip to Cap D’Agde camp site with James, our first child.Ã‚Â We were young, poor and foolish.Ã‚Â The coach trip was horrendously long, everyone appeared to have digestive issues and we were sat near the coach toilet.Ã‚Â We ran out of money 4 days before we came back and looked for money in the sand so that we could eat.Ã‚Â I say sand but actually it poured there as well so it was more a matter of digging in the mud.Ã‚Â We also stumbled on a beach of naked people which took some explaining to James who was very curious about what he saw.
None of the above can compare with my holiday this week.Ã‚Â Just to set the scene I am one of 6, 5 girls and a boy, and we regularly get together.Ã‚Â One of my sisters, Beth, and I decided that we would take a daughter each on a short luxurious cruise.Ã‚Â P&O came up with a great deal, a 4 night cruise to Guernsey and Bruges, which looked ideal.Ã‚Â Not exotic destinations but it was the traveling that was the thing.Ã‚Â We had heard about cruises, researched the food (we care very much about good food) and fell in love with the idea that we would be able to swim and have cocktails and room service and wonderful entertainment.
Tuesday came and Rachel and I were dropped off at Southampton with HUGE suitcases (we don’t do anything by halves).Ã‚Â Tony went to pick up Beth and Ruby from the station then drive back to an empty house, two dogs and a fridge full of M&S ready meals.Ã‚Â We were early and excited and didn’t have a clue what to do.Ã‚Â Unfortunately neither did anyone else including P&O.Ã‚Â The high winds had caused the Oriana to stay out of the port and we couldn’t embark for another day.Ã‚Â OK not the best news but we are troopers, we can stiffen our upper lip and make the best of the situation.Ã‚Â I even managed to do a few tweets telling the world how generous P&O were to give us a refund of 50% and sort out a hotel for us.Ã‚Â We were told to go to the Grand Harbour which I had hoped would be a good hotel and where lunch and drinks would be laid on.Ã‚Â By now we had joined up with Beth and Ruby and were in holding pen number 1 with a lot of other customers.
More background is that I have a broken arm and SIBO which causes malnutrition and fatigue.Ã‚Â Hang on to that information.
So whoop we got to the Grand Harbour hoping to chill in our room to find out it was indeed another holding pen.Ã‚Â With lots of other people.Ã‚Â No one appeared to be able to tell us anything except that a hotel would be sorted out at some point.Ã‚Â By now we were pretty hungry and thirsty so Beth bought us a round of drinks and crisps which came to Ã‚Â£34.Ã‚Â We settled in the lobby, I sat on the floor, eventually lying on the floor only to realise we were sat in front of the electric piano and pianist who decided now was the time to start his set.Ã‚Â Various jolly tunes played behind me, I was sat 2 feet in front of the piano with my back to him, not as rudeness but supporting various bags etc. surrounded by my family who were laughing more hysterically with every song.Ã‚Â The problem is that they are both high end professional musicians so muzak is hard for them to listen to.Ã‚Â However they are not snobs and when the 20 strong hen party with rabbit ears at the bar started a group song of ‘We’re all going on a summer holiday’ we laughed and joined in.Ã‚Â The hens proved to be a great part of the trip and we will hear more of them later.Ã‚Â This was holding pen number 2
After a few hours, pleading with various flustered (understandably) P&0 reps we found a good one who took pity on the old bag with a broken arm and sat us down in the bar to have food and drink.Ã‚Â Beth and I had fish and chips which were ok, Rach and Ruby had pasta with prawns and chorizo which was amazing in that ALL the flavour had been removed, it was almost magical.Ã‚Â We also had some olives which had received the same treatment.Ã‚Â You may have guessed from this that, quite a few hours from arriving, we were flagging a bit.Ã‚Â Groups of people were being called to various hotels from Portsmouth to Bournemouth and our hearts were sinking.Ã‚Â I was holding out for The Pig in the New Forest but their plan worked.Ã‚Â By the time they told us it was a Premier Inn Travel Lodge we were just grateful for anything.Ã‚Â We got our own cab and arrived at a bog standard motel advertised by Lenny Henry, we were tired, depressed and trying to keep our spirits up knowing that this was a brief interlude and we were getting 50% of the holiday cost back.Ã‚Â Yay.Ã‚Â The good thing was that the food at the Beefeater was actually ok, better than at the Harbour Grand and had taste and flavour.Ã‚Â If only we knew what was to come!
This gave me another chance to assess the suitcase situation.Ã‚Â Rachel had bought a huge suitcase including FIVE bags, each inside each other like a Russian Doll set.Ã‚Â She also had 3 coats and 3 swimming costumes.Ã‚Â This was a four day cruise, just to remind you.Ã‚Â Seemed reasonable to me as I also had the same size suitcase that I use for a month in Thailand.Ã‚Â Only Ruby had a small case and she always looked impeccably dressed with perfect make-up.
We drifted off to sleep – to give you an idea of the dynamics the rooms were made up of a double bed and a camp bed.Ã‚Â Beth and Rachel had the double beds and Ruby and I ended up with the singles.Ã‚Â More on the dynamics later.Ã‚Â For now we are going to sleep happy that this is a brief interlude before our fantastic, luxurious, fun filled, fantastic food centred cruise on The Oriana………Ã‚Â Ã‚Â to be continued
Please note all these opinions are my own!!