Spoilt for choice!
Friday 15 April 2011
Today was an early start mustering the shore excursions - luckily for us Captain David Perkins was able to dock early in our first port of call, Gibraltar. There were over 200 passengers going on tour today with excursions ranging from Top of the Rock, with sights such as the playful local monkeys, to luxurious afternoon tea. After all tours were fully mustered it was back to the office. Barbara and I have been inundated with passengers booking itineraries from our new 2012/13 brochures and it was time to get the paperwork sorted, as well as the first of our two Portunus Gold Luncheons.
After a lovely afternoon in Gibraltar it was time for the Great British Sailaway - passengers were out on deck in their droves enjoying the sounds and singalongs of Rule Britannia and classics such as Rod Stewart’s “We are Sailing” whilst waving their Union Jack flags into the Mediterranean evening breeze. Unfortunately I was unable to attend due to work commitments but it did not stop me from getting into the spirit and sporting my Union Jack Headband at the desk with my uniform, much to many a passenger compliment.
Later when we were finishing up from another successful day at the Loyalty and Cruise Sales desk, who should walk by but the glamorous former star of Coronation Street and one of the hosts on ITV’s lunchtime hit show “Loose Women”, Sherrie Hewson. Barbara Campbell and myself had a lovely chat with Sherrie and she even signed a copy of her autobiography for me “Sherrie – Behind the laughter”.
Sherrie was absolutely charming and I can see why P&O Cruises decided she would be a great asset for the final cruise. Barbara and myself went to see Sherrie in an interview with Cruise Director Christine Noble later that evening in the International Lounge - Sherrie kept the full house entertained with the wonderful tales of her days at RADA, experiencing the Royal Variety performance and meeting Princess Margaret, an impromptu date with movie legend Steve McQueen, her days on Coronation Street and current role on Loose Women to name a few. It was an absolute pleasure to listen to the stories that she had from the years she has spent in the world of showbiz and I would recommend for any passengers to go and see her if she is on a P&O Cruises holiday you are taking in the future. After a quick photo opportunity with Sherrie Hewson, passengers then flooded to Starlights to see the renowned Pavão Quartet, who treated them to a spellbinding concert including work from Puccini and Smetana. There is so much choice on board for entertainment, from classical to jazz, from celebrity interviews to dancing with the lovely Leighton and Gloria Jones, the dilemma of this cruise is choosing what to see or do next!
Saturday 16 April 2011
Today we visited the beautiful port of Alicante, with the sun shining and plenty of shore excursions to choose from - passengers enjoyed tours from days out in Benidorm to the picturesque views of Guadalest. I would have liked to have escorted a shore excursion with passengers myself today, however we are very busy on board at the moment and also due to In Port Manning commitments (which is where certain members of the ship’s company remain on board in pots of call, in case of an emergency), I was unable to leave the ship. This was not completely to my disadvantage as I did get to enjoy some time in the sun up on deck enjoying a book.
Later it was time for the Swinging 60s party. It had been announced that this would now take place indoors rather than on deck as it had become a little breezy, however this was not to deter passengers in the slightest with everyone joining in, manning their best 60s clobber from platforms to beehives! This evening saw passengers being spoilt for choice once again as Starlights lounge hosted ‘A grand night for singing’ and it turned out to be just that! John Wilson provided a solid piano accompaniment as vocalists Yvonne Howard, Nicky Spence and Tim Connor performed highlights from Gershwin’s ‘Porgy and Bess’, Bernstein’s ‘West Side Story’ and Rogers & Hammerstein’s ‘South Pacific’ to name a few. The show was rounded off with an amazing a cappella ‘doo-wop’ version of the 1950s song, ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’. After that excitement passengers then danced the night away to the sounds of the swinging 60s with DJ Keith in Horizon Club who kept everyone in the party spirit until the early hours.
Sunday 17 April 2011
Today we are in the lovely port of Palma , we have been very lucky with the weather and yet again the sun is shining as passengers make their way down the gangway for their shore excursions. Once all passengers were safely on shore it was time for all the crew to come together to take part in a photo of the entire ship's company on the aft end of the ship, it was very moving to have everybody come together for one last time and really made me feel a part of something, you could feel that everybody was so proud to be there talking part and we even broke in to a Mexican Wave which proved to be great fun.
I decided to stay on board - my colleague Barbara and I have been very busy, with this cruise being so popular with our most travelled passengers, we have had to throw most of our efforts into forward planning our future events and paperwork to ensure that our passengers get the best out of the Farewell Cruise as they deserve. However, we did manage to take the time out to enjoy an amazing lunch at the ship’s Conservatory buffet restaurant, overlooking Palma harbour where I have to confess I was daydreaming of owning a yacht.
Into the evening passengers were then treated to P&O Cruises favourite Tom O’Connor, I have watched Tom on TV since an early age and have to say after meeting him on board he is an absolute gentleman, always taking the time to engage and chat with passengers and was an absolute treat to watch, his act had me in fits of laughter and I would recommend to anyone to go and see him should he be on another P&O Cruises ship in the future.
So concluding the past few days on board if I can say one thing about the experience, it is that we have been absolutely spoilt with great weather, ports and truly exceptional entertainment. This is certainly a cruise I am thoroughly enjoying and I am sure the feeling is mutual from the passengers travelling on board with us, if the wonderful comments and feedback at the Loyalty and Cruise Sales Desk is anything to go by.
Until the next time, Always Remember Every Moment Is Special. From the little Ship with the big heart,