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Cruise for 2013

Bookings for P&O’s 2013 programme opened this week, and we’ve made our booking. We’ll be back on Ventura, on a 14-night cruise to the western Mediterranean. It will call at Valencia, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Civitavecchia, Ajaccio, Gibralter and Corunna, and three of those will be new ports for us.

There are always discussions when the brochures come out and the booking season starts as to whether it’s better to book early, or wait until nearer the time and look for discounts. We’re firmly in favour of the first approach – this is the third time, I think, that we’ve booked the day bookings opened, for a cruise more than a year away. Last year, of course, there were the P&O Grand Event cruises to book – they were very popular and you had to book them very early – but I think we also booked the Venice cruise more than a year in advance.

We’re both still working, so for us it’s more important to get holiday dates into our respective work diaries rather than looking for savings. That said, we’re happy to take advantage of the early-booking offers such as free parking at Southampton and on-board credit, both of which we’ve obtained. Also, by booking this early we’ve had no difficulty in getting the cabin of our choice (literally – we’ve booked C324, which we had for the Venice cruise) and the dining arrangements that we prefer. Over the last year or so we’ve seen a number of posts on Cruise Critic along the lines of “We just booked a really cheap late deal but we’ve been given a poor/noisy cabin and we can’t get the dining arrangements we want”. If we’re spending a lot of money on a holiday, we want to get these issues right; I think being in a bad cabin, for example, would spoil the holiday for us regardless of the price.

Of course, in five or so years’ time when we’re retired we may think differently….

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