One day – well, one year – we will book a cruise via a late offer, or go on a fly-cruise. But not in 2017….
The brochures have been out for a few weeks, and I did my usual preparation by drawing up a spreadsheet of cruises that looked interesting. We were looking at June 2017 only – Val’s job is very largely project-based, and June next year should be a quiet-ish time in the project she’ll be working on. It’s also the case that it’s Val’s job that drives us down the early booking route – it’s much easier for everyone if she already knows her required holiday dates whenever a new project starts (they run for between 9 and 12 months). That way the project manager knows from the start when she won’t be available and can request additional resources well in advance.
In the list I drew up were several Celebrity fly-cruises, from Barcelona and Civitavecchia; the P&O fly-cruises on Oceana; a few other P&O cruises from Southampton; and a couple of Fred Olsen cruises, from regional ports. In the end it came down to a choice between A716 on Azura, 14 nights to Norway, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Northern Ireland; and L1711 on Balmoral, 11 nights to various ports in Sweden including two nights in Stockholm. (This cruise was described as ‘Swedish Waterways’.) Both of these attracted us because they largely feature ports that we have never visited, or if we have, that we’d like to revisit.
In the end we decided to go for the P&O cruise. I suspect that having just finished watching the TV series ‘Trapped’ (set in north Iceland, of course) might have been a factor. Another more germane reason is that we genuinely like that class of ship – we’ve already done four cruises on Ventura and two on Azura, and we like the facilities. We have a worry that we would find the absence of facilities on a Fred. Olsen ship limiting. I speak from experience here; we have done a couple of short cruises with Fred. and we kept exploring the ship looking for the other entertainment deck that subconsciously we felt had to be somewhere. And we do enjoy our balcony cabins, and they’re expensive with Fred.
So that’s it – back to P&O for the 13th time. We have booked, and we have one of our preferred C deck balcony cabins. In fact, it might even be a cabin we’ve been in before, if not on Azura then certainly on Ventura.
So that’s us sorted for 2017. Maybe when Val retires maybe we’ll do some last-minute bookings for lazy fly-cruises in the Med.