"I have just returned from the wonderful experience of a luxury cruise for the first time and I would like to tell you all about it. The Cruise was for four nights on the P&O Ship Azura, which is absolutely huge and really lovely to travel on. We travelled first to Zeebrugge, Belgium, where we went ashore and visited Bruges, which was very pretty. We walked around the town and visited a couple of lovely coffee shops. We even bumped into some friends from Eastbourne which was nice. My sister and I bought one or two chocolate gifts for friends: you can’t go to Bruges without buying chocolate! We then sailed to Guernsey where we anchored out to sea and were taken ashore in small boats, which was great fun and I really loved this.
Why is a cruise good for families?
Although the ship was very big I felt safe and when I eventually found my way around it, it was nice to have the freedom to wander around without worrying about getting lost. If you did ever lose your way there was always someone friendly close by to help you find your way. There is so much choice on board and children can try different things all the time. Parents will have a relaxing time knowing the kids are safe and keeping themselves amused. And my grandparents loved it too.
What is there to do on a cruise ship?
The first thing I did when I got on board was to book the spa to get my finger nails painted. I had to get my priorities right! The spa was lovely but there is so much to do on a cruise ship and I wasn’t able to try it all during this short trip, but there is plenty for families, parents and children: there is something for everyone. Every day, an agenda is delivered to your cabin telling you about all of the activities for the day. It is different every day so it is really exciting to plan your fun for each day. Although the weather wasn’t very nice during our trip, I still managed to use the swimming pool which I really enjoyed, mixing with and meeting other children. There were four pools and one was right next to the outdoor cinema, which was really fun. For activity choices, there is a kids club which is really popular, plus tennis and bowling, deck games, movies, games rooms, dance lessons and much much more. The evening entertainment was brilliant and the shows were really high quality. Singer and fellow Les Misérables actor, Alfie Boe was performing during our trip, and I got to meet him backstage before the show. He was really excellent, and completely out of the blue asked me to come on stage to sing to the audience! I have forgiven him now...
How can you have an adventure on a cruise ship?
I think the cruise was one big adventure. Just exploring the huge ship there are so many turns and corners you can always find something you have not seen before. You can walk for miles and know that you will always find your way back to your cabin or your family and it is really nice to feel safe but free to roam around. Another thing I loved was the adventure of waking up and looking out of our window and seeing a different view and being in a different country. That is really exciting. I also liked going ashore in Guernsey where we visited the house of Victor Hugo who wrote Les Misérables. This was really special for me, of course, but it was also especially exciting getting on to a small boat and being taken ashore. I loved this!
What is the accommodation and food like?
The cabins are amazing. We stayed in a family suite at the front of the ship which was really lovely. The beds were really comfortable and the rooms were quiet all of the time. We hardly ever heard any noise at all which was amazing when you think of all the things happening on board. We had a bath and showers and fridges, television. It was just like a luxury room in a hotel with a big balcony and a changing view! The staff were always friendly and if you needed something you just had to phone and they were there very quickly.
I can be a bit of a fussy eater but the food on board was really tasty. There were so many restaurants to choose from and so much choice to eat, so I knew I would always find something I liked. Sometimes my parents ate in the more formal restaurants and my sister Amelia and I would go to the self service one. It was nice for my parents to know we were safe and enjoyed eating nice food even though we were not in the same place as them all of the time. I did eat with them in a couple of the fine dining restaurants. Seventeen restaurant was really posh and we all dressed up for it. It was right at the top of the ship and had amazing views out to see. All the dishes looked so pretty on the plate. Sindhu restaurant is by Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar and has Indian-British fusion food. I love rice and the food wasn’t too spicy so it was really really nice. But I think my favourite was the self service restaurant as I like to help myself.
What were the best bits of the cruise?
The best bits of the cruise for me would have to be watching the shows at night. They were all so good and entertaining. Some shows we all went to as a family, but one in particular which was a ventriloquist I just went to with my sister while my Mum and Dad watched another entertainer in one of the bars. It is lovely to have the choice and freedom to do things with and without your parents knowing everyone is having fun. I loved the swimming areas and if the weather had been better I would have loved to have spent time sunbathing and swimming with the ship sailing along. I would love to go again sometime to one of the hotter places in the world, and for longer so I get to experience everything there is on board."
P&O Cruises offers a range of two, three and four night cruises for families. A two night cruise to Bruges on family friendly Azura departing October 13, 2014 starts from £129 per adult and £85 per child, based on a family of four sharing an inside cabin. The price includes full board meals, daily afternoon tea, round the clock kids' clubs and entertainment on board. To book, visit www.pocruises.com, call 0843 373 0111, or call your local travel agent.
P&O Cruises offers a range of two, three and four night cruises for families. A two night cruise to Bruges on family friendly Aurora departing November 16, 2014 starts from £159 per adult and £105 per child, based on a family of four sharing an inside cabin. The price includes full board meals, daily afternoon tea, round the clock kids' clubs and entertainment on board. To book, visit www.pocruises.com, call 0843 373 0111, or call your local travel agent.
Note: Some amenities, including drinks, fine dining and shore excursions, are extra.
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