Perhaps we’re suckers – we’re going to book another cruise on a Vantage fare. But we have our reasons….
The other day we worked out that in 38 Christmases as a married couple, we’ve spent just one away from home, and that was our first. This means that Val has spent the last 37 Christmases in the kitchen cooking for a variable number of people. For most of the early years it was just the four of us, while more recently it’s varied between two (just me and her one year), three (us and one of our daughters), four (us and both of our daughters) and six – us, our daughters, Val’s brother and her dad. Throw in the fact that one of our daughters is a vegetarian for whom turkey and trimmings is a no-no, and you can see that it’s been a lot of hard work for Val. Enough! she has been saying, for a few years. Not especially loudly, I hasten to add, but it’s been increasingly obvious that recently she’s not been enjoying Christmas as much as the rest of us.
So what’s the alternative? Well, we did look at the idea of Christmas dinner up at the local pub. They do this and apparently it’s very popular – about 50 covers last year. But that’s just one meal – there’s still the risk that the hordes will descend and require feeding for the rest of the holiday. No, we need to go away. And look at that! – cruise J422 offers seven nights on Arcadia from 20th to 27th December 2014, including calls at Bruges (OK, Zeebrugge), Copenhagen and Oslo, and then Christmas Day and Boxing Day at sea. Yes, it’s the North Sea and the Baltic rather than the Caribbean, but it’s a cruise, and we enjoy them. And even if we don’t enjoy this one, at the very least Val will be away from the kitchen. (I think it will in fact take a lot for her to not enjoy this one…) But 2014? – well, we are already committed for this year – there will be five of us for Christmas dinner – so 2014 is the first year in which we can do this.
So later this week I shall book an obstructed-view outside cabin (who needs a balcony in late December in the North sea?) on Arcadia for this cruise, and being so far in advance it will have to be a Vantage fare. We don’t want to run the risk of not being able to book because we’ve waited for a cheap Getaway far and then find that (because it might be popular) they’re not offered on this cruise . So we’ll book now and leave the ‘No Upgrade’ box un-ticked, and perhaps the upgrade fairy will visit us. And as I say it’s an outside cabin and not anything grander, so even the Vantage fare price isn’t too expensive.
This is quite a significant change for us – up until a couple of years ago we would have automatically thought that Christmas = Home. Now all we’ve got to do is tell the rest of the family.