“We sail, we sail, back home, ‘cross the sea …’
Singing their way to boarding, I am caught in the excitement of the jubilant couple in front of us. Attached to Britannia and audibly elated, they are delighted to finally be able to sail again.
I too am guilty of a spring in my step, maybe even a buzz, but the containment has been long and I am delighted to embark on a Cornish coastal adventure with P&O Cruises. Do I have any concerns? No. Do I feel safe? Completely. My traveling companions, like my husband and I, are fully vaccinated and underwent a quick driving Covid test before boarding, which was just confirmed negative by text message.
Duly reassured, we make a stress-free and well-organized check-in to our cabin to watch a pre-recorded safety video instead of the rally exercise. A quick download of the new My Holiday app while enjoying Southampton from the balcony and that’s it, we’re in ship shape. No complications, no fuss, just good times on the horizon and full steam ahead.
Since our first Baltic cruise on Britannia six years ago, we’ve been hooked. After all, who doesn’t love gourmet dining, sunset cocktails, West End-worthy shows, and ultimate relaxation in the floating haven of what is essentially a six-star hotel. But would the exciting and carefree cruise vacation we love be the same after lockdown? The only way to find out was to try …
Thursday – we are sailing
It’s 2pm, we unpacked, explored, and – having always wanted to try The Retreat, a scenic sanctuary at the helm of the ship – we settled into robes, enjoying a light lunch of crowning chicken salad. With two invitingly bubbling hot tub spas and just a wall of glass between us and the ocean, this could be the best seat in the house.
We bought a three day pass and lying on sun loungers drinking in the fresh air and the freedom felt like we had money well spent. Despite a capacity of 3,650 guests, Britannia sails with only 1,000 people to ensure a smooth return to sailing. Our three-night adventure will be purely at sea, non-stop, with mandatory masks in inland areas, social distancing, and a neat one-way system around the ship. We barely noticed our membership and as we get ready and make our way to Deck 16 for a drink to the sound of soul music, the vibe around us is as exciting and intoxicating as ever.
After a great day of swimming, line dancing and an audience with the godfather of British cuisine Marco Pierre White and master pastry chef Eric Lallard at the Headliners Theater, we now have the chance to have an aperitif with them at the Sunset Bar.
The presence of the famous Food Heroes was a treat with guests awaiting the return of the duo to the ship’s Cookery Club for lessons, masterclasses and more. But for now, Eric’s delicious offerings can be enjoyed at the Market Café and Epicurean Restaurant, while those sampling Marco’s gala night menu at Peninsular Restaurant will be greeted by the main man tonight. -even.
I listen with interest to Marco reveal that he became an avid gardener during the lockdown and that he has “grounded” himself, walking barefoot on the lawns of his hotel to relax and become one. with nature. Having met him once in 2015, he definitely mellowed. Captivating and laid back, he’s an engaging conversationalist, nothing could tear me away from… ohh, dolphins!
A cry of ‘dolphins’ from one of the crew interrupts us and I run towards the gates, delighted to see a group of four playing in the wake of the ship. Moments later, feeling honored, I return to my seat knowing that this is a rare treat, not something you experience every day. Again, spotting a dolphin either.
Saturday – snack at sea
I am in food heaven. Eric Lanlard has just placed in front of us a tray of afternoon tea of colorful temptations in Epicurean Restuarant. It’s an exquisite taste sensation, with ingredients from around the world ingeniously whipped into delicacies like porcini pancetta and eclair, crab and yogurt curry tart, orange blossom and pollen scones. bee and Eric’s favorite, the Caribbean dark chocolate tart infused with Caribbean spices.
On Thursday night, we enjoyed beef tenderloin accompanied by a palate-pleasing flight of wine at Olly Smith’s Glass House, while last night’s delight was Marco’s five-course gourmet gala banquet, featuring lobster from Half-split New England with Mornay sauce and champagne sorbet to refresh the palate. At Sindhu tonight, we promise you an aromatic ambiance and authentic Indian cuisine with a British twist. Marco is a fan and on his expert recommendation we are going to try the Gosht Ki Chaapein which is made with roasted lamb chops, Feta cheese and eggplant chutney.
Sunday – farewell … but not for long
As my feet reluctantly move towards the landing, the essence of dessert cocktails to soft piano music in the ambiance of Crow’s Nest lingers. Every second in Sindhu was special, especially those mouth-watering lamb chops, and The Sound of the Underground’s electric performance in Headliners got us going until after midnight.
With 26 bars and restaurants, four pools, Jacuzzis, spa, ballroom, ocean-view gym, casino, shops and more, we savored our days at sea – and our nights – and had a fantastic time, we ‘I booked the same cruise again for the next month on board. We’re sorry to leave, Britannia, but you’re in charge… see you soon!
P&O Cruises is offering a three-night cruise on Britannia (B116R) starting at £ 249 per person for an inside cabin, departing from Southampton on August 19 and returning on August 22. The price includes full board meals and all entertainment. To book, visit www.pocruises.com, call 03 453 555 111 or visit your local travel agent.
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This notice was published: 2021-07-19 17:29:21