Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
DamianG

Live On-Board Ventura N921

Recommended Posts

24 minutes ago, Kendo44 said:

I love those lunches I usually start off with I’m not talking about previous cruises but there’s always one that can’t help themselves.

your diary of your cruise has been superb and very comical at times.

a complete breath of fresh air.

 

I know what you mean but zero chance of that today with our host (chief security officer) starting proceedings by asking how many cruises we'd all done!

Cracking lunch, great company, plenty of refills & 2 hours slipped away in no time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope your wife is fully recovered now.

Regarding that lady on the bus whose cruise card you found - how rude! I would have been so grateful! Some people ...!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vicariously cruising through your beautifully written blog, Damian, and loving it. Thank you! Hope your wife remains well for the rest of the cruise. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again for the kind comments, Mrs G is now fully recovered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tuesday 13th August

 

Another sea day then the Peninsular Club Cocktail Party this evening.

 

I’m very much a creature of habit when it comes to waking times so having been up early on Sunday, I was wide awake at 7:30am yesterday. I laid in bed a while, got up quietly (I’d like to think so anyway) dressed in a t-shirt and shorts and was out of the cabin, washing bag in hand, just after 8am. The launderette had just been opened and I was first in (sad man). I then decided to go out on the promenade deck to do a few laps and you might know it, the only other guy out doing laps was going the opposite way around to me (typical). I was frustrated by the closed outdoor staircases forward (still windy and the ship was moving around a fair bit) which meant that the only way to complete a lap was to cut through indoors across the ship past the Arena theatre. A few smokers were starting to appear on the starboard side as well so I gave up and decided to take the 16 flights of stairs up 8 decks to the gym instead. As I walked into the gym still panting, I immediately spotted Stuart Pearce gliding along on a treadmill making it look easy. No headphones, TV or distractions for Psycho, just 100% focus on the sea view ahead. I didn’t fancy the treadmill myself as I had visions of falling off it with the ship’s movement and in any case, I was still feeling legless after all those stairs. Instead I settled for an exercise bike and completed a solid pre-set “hills” exercise programme. I’ve no idea what I was thinking but I then decided that it would be a good idea to try a rowing machine. I managed just over 1000 metres but perched on a small seat moving backwards and forwards combined with the movement of the ship soon had my stomach churning so I quit the programme. In any case the washing cycle should have finished by then so I had a duty of care to go free up the machine for someone else to use. That is how I justified it (quitting the gym) to myself anyway.

 

We headed down to the MDR breakfast well inside the 10am cut-off and I took my breakfast dining to the next level with a starter of dried fruit with cardboard (I think they call it “Fruit & Fibre”) followed by Eggs Benedict. Horror of horrors 2 out of our 4 eggs were hard boiled! Not to worry, my wife and I both got the hard version out of the way then enjoyed the runny eggs which were cooked to perfection. One extremely strange thing we noticed was a lady (I’d guess in her 60’s) who stood at a table for 2 for the whole service. She had her napkin tucked into the neckline of her blouse and was reaching down to the table for spoonfuls of porridge then lifting the spoon all the way up to her mouth, carefully trying not to spill any. She did all this whilst supporting herself with a crutch in the other hand. Completely odd and we’ll probably never see anyone do that ever again. Presumably she had some problem with sitting and I hope to never be seated behind her in the theatre!

 

After breakfast my son wanted to explore the ship and I was more than happy to show him around. I then stupidly suggested that we had a look at the gym forgetting his preference for stairs so this time I had to traverse 18 flights up 9 decks. I eventually arrived on deck 16 and my legs were by now positively ruined. Psycho had finished his marathon and already left so no cheesy excuse to get chatting by asking for a picture of him with my son. I gently tried my son on a few pulley machines but his favourite was by far the cross trainer which he took 2 turns on. He made it look far easier than I ever did, his long legs contributing to an easy but effective stride. He wanted to keep going but I dragged him off and as soon as we left the gym (and his motivation) he became tired and grumbled about the long walk back to the cabin (typical kid!). He wanted to get the lift down but I refused and though I am probably a bit soft on him most of the time I insisted that we used the staircase. After all, I needed to get those easy, downhill steps recorded on my iPhone. What a selfish dad.

 

We had some cabin time then at 11:30am the in-laws arrived for the 2nd pre-booked child sitting service whilst my wife and I attended the Caribbean Tier luncheon. Much as we love our son this is always a precious treat for us and one of the things that we like most about P&O (it is by far the best reward for our ongoing loyalty). Our son always receives an invite but chooses not to go and given that he does not use the kid’s club onboard it is probably a good thing that he gets a break from us and vice-versa. We were seated on table 97 but the host had not yet arrived. At our table there was another (older) couple and a family where the parents were of similar age to us and with a 12-year old boy. Eventually our host arrived, Chief Safety Officer Kristijan Novosel from Croatia.

 

The waiters started us off with a glass of champagne but missed out Kristijan so we had an amusing few minutes while he tried to catch the attention of every waiter nearby without success. Eventually he got a glass so we raised a toast then the waiters took our order. My wife and I both chose a chicken and mozzarella starter followed by fillet of roast beef. Kristijan asked how many cruises we’d all been on and immediately the chap on my left proudly announced that they’d done 257 nights onboard. I immediately thought “competitive dad alert” but in reality, he was nothing of the sort and I enjoyed speaking at length with him about all sorts of different things. I am certainly glad that I didn’t try one-upmanship with him (we’ve done more than that) and when they asked us how many cruises we’ve taken we answered vaguely “20-something”. I thought I overheard the older couple mention Leeds and so I asked them where they were from and they replied “Roundhay in Leeds” which is very close to where I grew up. Small world! Kristijan joined in the conversations here and there but probably found it a bit tricky chatting about things other than cruise related subjects. The older couple came out with a few cringeworthy comments, such as telling Kristijan that because of his name they didn’t know whether to expect a man or woman at the table. The older gentleman said a few things that seemed provocative but nobody was biting fortunately. His wife proudly said how he had been able to retire aged 57. I responded that this was great (and I really mean that) but that there is a whole generation coming through like me who have been bumped off final salary pension schemes and would need to work a whole lot longer. They were genuinely shocked by this and fortunately the subject quickly changed to questions about a career at sea with Kristijan encouraging the 12-year old to consider it. The 12-year old was impeccably behaved and eventually we managed to get him talking about things he liked such as rugby and football. All the while I had one of those magic self-refilling wine glasses that never needed topping up no matter how much I drank (with full credit to our stealthy, unobtrusive wine waiter).

 

The chatter on our table kept getting interrupted by positively raucous laughter from those on the table behind. One voice in particular kept booming out, a foreign lady who was the life and soul of their particular party and who also kept interacting with another table as well. It seemed that the other guests were just there to enjoy her routine but none of them seemed to mind and the laughing seemed to continue none stop. Midway through lunch Captain Gray came into the restaurant and spoke to guests at each table individually. This is not something we’ve known before and thought it a nice touch. He was humorous and witty as usual. Eventually the restaurant was emptying so Kristijan excused himself and we all said our goodbyes. 2 hours had passed really quickly and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

We spent the afternoon in the cabin as usual. Before becoming parents, we would mostly be out and about around the ship but our son likes being in the cabin, watching films, reading and playing with his toys. We don’t use the balcony much but appreciate the natural light so an inside cabin wouldn’t really be for us (though we have had them in the past). We went to dinner at the usual time and without asking the restaurant manager directed us to table 5 in the same corner as our other regular tables and with the same waiters (I really must make a note of their names). Our son gave French fries a miss so they brought him 2 platefuls of pasta but he couldn’t quite manage to clear both. My wife an I both enjoyed a turkey dinner though as usual she was very naughty and didn’t eat a single sprout. Desserts were delayed as usual but after a heavy lunch we weren’t too bothered.

 

We were struggling to remember what was on in each venue but our son was adamant that we weren’t going to The Tamarind Club again. We ended up in Metropolis where The Waves were set-up ready for 2 performances (bad luck son!). They played a series of easy listening melodies and were as tight and professional as ever. It would have been nice if they had played some numbers from the 21st century (or even close to it) but at least there were no Vera Lynn songs! We left around 10:20pm and we read a bit whilst our son watched a film. Next thing I knew he was shouting at me again for snoring and disturbing his viewing! That was the signal to turn off the TV with lights out just after 11pm.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Wednesday 14th August

 

 

Benvido a A Coruña (we love Galicia so I thought we’d use their “Galego” language for a change)

 

 

Yesterday I managed to sleep in a little later (not much) and I went out on deck around 8:30am. I managed a couple of ¾ laps of the promenade deck but the starboard side smokers were getting the better of me so I bailed out and headed up to deck 15 for a wander around. There was some commotion around the main open-air pool area where it seemed that the deck crew had put out loungers without taking into account the barbecue taking place later. I watched with some sympathy as they had to move a few passengers who were actually on loungers, whereas ironically there were dozens of “towel-reserved” unoccupied loungers that weren’t affected. I felt sorry for one dad in particular who was there with his small daughter and after being moved couldn’t find anywhere else to sit. It’s just ridiculous isn’t it?

 

We went to MDR breakfast as usual and it seemed very quiet. My wife spotted standing lady again but only told me after we had left so I missed out. Vin Diesel and Pink were sharing a table nearby (well, they were the best lookalikes we’re likely to see on this cruise anyway). The only reason that they caught my attention is because Vin requested some vinegar to go with his cooked breakfast. This caused a little commotion amongst the waiters and I’m not sure if they were able to accommodate his request. I’ve been wracking my brains trying to work out what the vinegar was for. Pickled egg or maybe just a dressing for a grilled tomato? Or maybe I’m overthinking things and it is just the latest Hollywood diet trend? Answers on a postcard please (to which younger readers respond “What’s a postcard?”). Entertainments manager Tom made his 10am broadcast detailing all the day’s events for those who cannot be bothered to read the Horizon. It was incredibly loud and just before the end a toddler with his hands over his ears shouted “Shut up!” Well said young man, I totally agree!

 

The rest of the day passed uneventfully and we had arranged to meet the in-laws earlier than usual for dinner at 6pm so that we could attend the Peninsular Club Cocktail Party in Havana at 7:45pm. This coincided with the ship’s clocks moving forward 1 hour at 2pm on to Spanish time so effectively we went to dinner 2 hours earlier than normal. We therefore decided that a very light lunch was in order so I just picked up some sandwiches and snacks from the afternoon tea service and took them back to the cabin. For once the Waterside restaurant was a little quieter than on my previous visits and I didn’t feel hassled whilst choosing our food.

 

On the way to dinner my wife spotted Psycho walking down the corridor of deck 8 as we passed on the staircase. I asked if he was dressed for dinner and she replied “No, he still had his football kit on.” I now have a vision in my head of him wandering around the ship at all hours wearing a full Nottingham Forest red and white kit at all times. (Yes, I know he played for quite a few clubs in his career but that is what comes to mind for me, even above his England appearances). When we arrived at the Cinnamon restaurant we were immediately allocated table 8, again without asking. Our usual chatty waiter (still don’t know his name, shame on me) wasn’t there but the other regular waiter Ishrael was and he took the lead in the service. I was surprised how busy the restaurant was with it being so early in the evening. Our son decided to skip a starter and just chose a pasta main. This was delivered with our starters and he soon devoured it. Our other regular waiter (the more chatty one) arrived mid-service and insisted on bringing our son another portion of pasta with the mains. My wife chose duck for her main which she described as “okay” whilst I had spaghetti bolognaise which was quite sticky and salty due to a hefty amount of parmesan cheese that was already mixed in with the ragu. I wish that I’d chosen rillette of beef instead (“My bad” as my son would say to annoy me). At least I didn’t choose the pork steak which came as a thick, dry, huge slab of meat and easily defeated Grandad.

 

After dinner we headed to Havana for the cocktail party and there was a huge queue to get in. We skipped the line for photos with the Captain and went in the other entrance to be greeted by various officers and crew. I’m glad that we did as we bumped into our Caribbean Tier dinner host Chief Safety Officer Kristijan Novosel and I was proud to introduce him to my son who shook his hand firmly. We easily got seats but initially didn’t get any drinks as we requested sparkling wine and both waiters patrolling our area didn’t have any. Credit to them though as they both returned to our seats with sparkling wine so we went from zero to 4 glasses in no time. When the 2nd glasses arrived, we did politely say that we now had drinks but the generous waiter insisted that we take another glass each anyway. Don’t mind if I do, thanks very much. There was the usual spiel from the loyalty manager then he introduced Captain Derek Gray who put on a 20-minute show just as good as any set you are likely to see on “Live at the Apollo” on TV. He was extremely funny, commanded the floor and held the audience’s attention throughout. It was a million miles away from the dull and dour speech delivered by Captain Evans Hoyt when we were on Azura last year. When it came to the prizes Captain Gray announced that the passenger with most days on board (1200+) hadn’t bothered to attend so instead he gave away that prize as part of the lucky draw. The main prize was a very nice photo album (the perfect gift in the digital age as Captain Gray sarcastically suggested!) and a bottle of champagne. There was another bottle of champagne as a lucky draw prize as usual and when that had been drawn Captain Gray requested another drum roll and surprised us all by drawing another invitation ticket and promising another bottle of champagne. He then repeated this several more times, each time teasing the audience saying “We’re not finished yet, I can’t think of a better way to hand in my resignation.” One of the loyalty managers then dashed on to the floor behind him and ran off with the bucket full of invitation tickets so that he had to stop. No doubt this was a well-practiced routine but all the same it was really funny. The party ended at 8:30pm to coincide with 2nd seating fixed dining and Havana quickly started clearing. We weren’t in any rush but were soon ready to go ourselves and as we tried to get out passengers were jostling to get in ready for the “Adele” and “Ed Sheeran” lookalike performers who were scheduled later. One chap in particular was pushing past people and grabbed one of our seats pretty much as soon as we stepped aside.

 

We decided that a quieter venue would be nice for a change so after the party we went to the Red Bar on deck 7 port side of the Atrium. You can probably guess who was playing in the Atrium on deck 5 (The Waves) but honestly, we hadn’t realised beforehand. Their music easily carried up to deck 7 and this time they played a series of upbeat numbers. They only played one set then made way for the ballroom dancers and their music was considerably gentler and quieter. The loos for the Red Bar are in between that venue and the Tamarind Club so on one visit I spent a few moments in the latter’s entrance watching the Ventura Orchestra who were performing a show called “The Glen Miller Story.” There was a lady narrator telling the story and introducing the tunes which were superbly played. I listened to a fair amount of these growing up so I recognised the 2 songs being played whilst I watched and my dad would have loved it. We stayed a long time in the Red Bar whilst our son happily played on an iPad. We stayed until 11:30pm which felt about right considering the time zone change then retired to our cabin. Our son still insisted on a bit of TV time so lights out was at midnight.

 

 

Footnote: On the photo (taken at around 8:45am) below the unfortunate chap in the blue baseball cap is just about to be evicted from his lounger along with his young daughter

 

 

 

IMG_0927a.JPG

Edited by DamianG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Im not an early riser on holiday, so never seen all the towels laid out like that before, but that is shocking!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should send this photo to P & O, so obvious that no one is using the sun beds, and that they have been merely reserved. How the staff have the temerity to evict the man and daughter is shocking. I would have thrown off the possessions from other sun beds and said it was due to the bbq. 

Am on my first cruise on Saturday, sadly during school holidays as daughter is a teacher. Can’t be bothered with the sun beds wars so will attempt to get into the Retreat (which should delight P & O as I fork out more money). Embarkation time is 1.30pm, do you think I have a chance of getting Retreat tickets if I go straight to the Spa?

As an aside, I would just like to that everyone who takes the time to post on this website with their knowledge and experience. For a first timer it has been invaluable and should hopefully make the cruise more enjoyable as I now know the pitfalls and strategies re where to go and what to do. Shall be avoiding the Britannia buffet at 2am, but must did out my old clown suit...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no desire whatever to lie on a sunbed away from the balcony, but if I had, and encountered this, the offending towels would be placed elswhere and the sunbeds used for their proper purpose - for people, not towels. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I can't see the attraction of lying out cheek by jowl with hundreds of others. We always manage to find quiet areas away from the pool, or, of course, use our balcony.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"My wife spotted standing lady again but only told me after we had left so I missed out."

Have you thought that maybe the lady stands for a reason. I recently suffered sciatica in my left leg for 6 weeks leading up to my last cruise. It was extremely painful and I was not able to sit for longer than 10 minutes at a time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Chill Pill said:

You should send this photo to P & O, so obvious that no one is using the sun beds, and that they have been merely reserved. How the staff have the temerity to evict the man and daughter is shocking. I would have thrown off the possessions from other sun beds and said it was due to the bbq. 

Am on my first cruise on Saturday, sadly during school holidays as daughter is a teacher. Can’t be bothered with the sun beds wars so will attempt to get into the Retreat (which should delight P & O as I fork out more money). Embarkation time is 1.30pm, do you think I have a chance of getting Retreat tickets if I go straight to the Spa?

As an aside, I would just like to that everyone who takes the time to post on this website with their knowledge and experience. For a first timer it has been invaluable and should hopefully make the cruise more enjoyable as I now know the pitfalls and strategies re where to go and what to do. Shall be avoiding the Britannia buffet at 2am, but must did out my old clown suit...

 

I can't help you with the retreat but there are plenty of places to sit around the ship, especially if you don't want to be in the central pool area. We prefer the stern which is generally quieter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Palaceman said:

"My wife spotted standing lady again but only told me after we had left so I missed out."

Have you thought that maybe the lady stands for a reason. I recently suffered sciatica in my left leg for 6 weeks leading up to my last cruise. It was extremely painful and I was not able to sit for longer than 10 minutes at a time. 

 

Yesterday I commented "Presumably she had some problem with sitting...." 

No offence was intended by my comments yesterday or today but if I have offended anyone then please accept my sincerest apologies.

Edited by DamianG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regards all the sunbed reservation comments believe me I wasn't courting controversy or playing devil's advocate, rather I was just sharing what I had come across by chance.

Looking at the photo again today in more detail I spotted the 2 dining table chairs that had been moved and carefully placed near the pool. Much as I would not like to get involved in any sunbed war I now wish that I had spotted this yesterday when I could have brought it to the attention of the deck crew (who could have justifiably moved them back to the table where they belonged and created space for the blue baseball chap):

 

 

 

IMG_0927a.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Complimentary sailaway drinks which we've saved until the last port.

IMG_0999.JPG

Edited by DamianG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, DamianG said:

Complimentary sailaway drinks which we've saved until the last port.

IMG_0999.JPG

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry DamianG, having trouble with my quotes! You show such restraint! I make sure I have both mine and hubby's complimentary bubbly on first night. That says a lot about me!😂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Danamis said:

 

Those are much bigger complimentary sailaway drinks than we have ever been given.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damian, have loved reading  your blog, we were on Ventura the week before and I thought the captain very amusing. Some people are easily offended but please dont let that put you off, cant wait for your next blog. When is your next cruise???????????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/4/2019 at 11:39 PM, MrandMrsCoz said:

We are on our first cruise in a few weeks so new to the cabin layouts etc. After reading that you have a sofa-bed for your son, i'm slightly jealous as we have balcony cabin which apparently has a bed for our son suspended from the ceiling meaning my husband and I have to have the beds on the floor made up into two singles.....not idea. I think if we are to cruise again, I will make sure I stipulate the bed layouts. I just assumed that a couple plus child would be in a cabin with a double bed and sofa/childs bed!

 

We had that layout once when our girls were younger and we were not comfortable having them in a different (inside) cabin.  I preferred it to the sofa bed set up.  I usually got up first and by having both suspended from the wall, I could move around the cabin without waking up the rest of the family.   It really kept the beds out of the way.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Enjoying the blog by the way.  I have a P and O booking but so far have only been on RCL, NCL and Princess.  It is nice to read about a cruise and know that I will be quite at home.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another great blog entry - very enjoyable.  Good to hear that perhaps P&O are getting a little more generous.  On Coral Princess last month, the top three most travelled pax all got a gift plus champagne and then there were three invitations drawn for a bottle of Champagne - one of which I won!  We were told by the Loyalty Manager on board that we were in the top 10 most-traveled (thanks to cruises with P&O!) so I did wonder whether the draw was rigged 😄

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Teabelly69 said:

Damian, have loved reading  your blog, we were on Ventura the week before and I thought the captain very amusing. Some people are easily offended but please dont let that put you off, cant wait for your next blog. When is your next cruise???????????

 

Britannia B017 18th July 2020 - a mere 338 days away!

We can only afford one (school holidays) cruise a year these days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thursday 15th August

 

Final sea day.

 

Yesterday we had arranged a room service breakfast again and it was delivered at 9:35am. We had requested 4 boxes of cereals and tea for 3 so they sent us an unopened carton of semi-skinned milk which we think is much better than just having an open jug. The in-laws telephoned at 10am asking for our shore plans so we arranged to meet them at Pulpeira María Pita in the Praza de María Pita at approximately 1:30pm. My wife had a difficult time trying to explain to her father how to find the restaurant using the very basic P&O map even though it is very near to the port and we have all been there before.

 

For ourselves I had planned a walking route that took in 3 toy shops for our son (and me I suppose) on the way to the Science Museum in the Parque de Santa Maria. We could have taken a shorter route to the latter but I know from experience that our son would have rushed us around the science museum in order to get to the shops quicker. We got ready, easily disembarked and were at the first toy shop Din y Don on Rúa Real in less than a quarter of an hour. It is a pretty good shop and our son soon found the Pokémon collectables. After we left Din y Don, we bumped into the in-laws who were already heading towards the meeting place. They were about 10 minutes-walk away and it was only 11:30am!

 

We easily found the other 2 toy shops and as we walked the drizzle turned into light rain. It was still warm (22 degrees according to an electronic billboard) and after we passed through Praza de Pontevedra we hit a steep uphill section. My legs began to feel tired and pretty soon our son was grumbling. The hill became even steeper but eventually we arrived at Parque de Santa Margarita where the Casa de las Ciencias is located. The park itself is quite hilly so there was one last climb before we entered. By now our son was complaining bitterly saying that he wished that we hadn’t decided to come here.

 

Admission was just €4.00 each and our son got in for free. Once inside he soon got into the habit of trying out the interactive exhibits on display. I don’t think that it has changed much since my wife and I visited in our pre-parenting days several years ago but we still found it interesting as well. An hour soon passed and we were all satisfied that we had seen enough. We exited and started the walk back through the park where we saw some outdoor exercise equipment. Our son loves trying these but there was a sign stating no under-14’s so we restricted him to a quick go at some parallel bars which he is used to as he takes gymnastics classes back home. All the time an old gentleman was watching us so we didn’t push our luck and try anything else.

 

As we left the park our son said that he liked the science museum and would give it 8 out 10. Believe me, that is like getting a score of 8/10 from Craig Revel Horwood in the opening week of a new series of Strictly Come Dancing so I was delighted to hear him say this voluntarily. The walk back downhill was a lot easier and no complaints from our son as he was motivated by our agreement to call into Din y Don again as it was on our return route to Praza de María Pita. We’ve been to A Coruña several times but it struck me how much of it we hadn’t seen and I took lots of photos. I probably got a few strange looks photographing random things like the inside of Deli’s but I will enjoy looking at those photos and reminiscing back home. In particular, we happened upon one alleyway filled with café bars that seemed popular with the locals so we’d probably look into eating there next time we visit.

 

We called back into Din y Don then I also had a look in the club shop for Real Club Deportivo de La Coruña (to give it the full title) which was nearby. I came away empty handed from both shops but our son got a good haul and was happy. We then bumped into the in-laws on Rua Real again and made our way to Praza de María Pita. Once there we saw that the square was set-up with seating and a stage for the María Pita music festival which is on throughout August. After a quick bit of research, I now know that there are daily performances covering everything from traditional folk music, Flamenco and classical through to rap and rock. I would have loved to attend any concert and wished that we were staying overnight.

 

We’ve been to Pulpeira María Pita before but have always sat outside in the square. On this occasion they didn’t have tables outside (not sure if that was due to the earlier rain or the festival set-up) so we sat inside on benches. Their signature dish octopuses (pulpeiras) could be seen hanging on stands while they marinated in paprika. We ordered a small portion (ración) of pulpeira, mussels, calamari and a pork with potatoes dish. We also got a small beer (caña), coca cola, Fanta orange and “dos copas de vino blanco” which I am sure you can translate. I was delighted to see that the wine was Albariño, locally produced and one of our favourites having had it recommended to us way back in 2007. The pulpeira was quickly delivered and was very meaty. The paprika was very strong and though everyone tasted it I pretty much had it to myself as no-one else wanted any more. Thank goodness we didn’t get a full portion. We did have a fishing boat’s worth of mussels and even my average palate could taste the freshness. When both dishes were finished, they brought out the calamari and pork dish. Our son commandeered the calamari but we did get to share a bit and they were quite salty but tasty. The pork was tender and well-seasoned but the whole plate was swimming in garlic oil with big chunks of garlic clearly visible. The bill came to €65.60 including wine refills and it was worth every cent.

 

After lunch we strolled back to the ship with a few photo stops on the way. Once we were through port security, we called into the duty-free shop which was doing a roaring trade. Our son wanted one last souvenir so seeing that we had to queue up to pay I thought that I might as well buy some Albariño, and I was really pleased to get a nice bottle for €7.50 that I know is at least £10+ back home. All the while I didn’t notice that Stuart Pearce and his partner were in the checkout queue behind me and only found out when my wife told me as we exited. The shop was full of P&O passengers and at the doorway one lady was having a loud mobile phone conversation. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have been the only ones to overhear her saying “Yeah, we’ve just finished in the last port. Where? Oh, I don’t know, La Coq or something….”

 

Back on board we spent the rest of the afternoon in the cabin. Just before departure I went up to deck 15 to cash in our complimentary sailaway champagne drinks. A barman happily took my vouchers then poured half a glass of champagne each. Remembering last year when we only got half a glass each I wasn’t sure if he had finished or not so I waited to see what happened once the bubbles had settled. The barman turned away, topped up a pint for a waiting customer, then returned, smiled at me and filled both glasses right to the top. I’ve still no idea if last year’s short measures were policy or if I had just got lucky this time, but I wasn’t hanging around to find out so I graciously thanked him and made my exit. We also had a half bottle of complimentary champagne in the fridge so we opened that as well and I enjoyed my drinks out on the balcony watching the sailaway in the light drizzle. It had become a little misty and A Coruña was soon out of sight, though we did spot a nice looking beach a few miles outside the city.

 

We went to dinner at the usual time and without asking were allocated table 5. Wasim (chatty waiter, got his name at last) was soon in attendance to take our orders and there was a mix-up over my wine order which was (menu number 96) Wirra Wirra Australian red blend (Cabernet Sauvignon / Shiraz / Merlot) but was delivered as (77) South African Sauvignon Blanc (white). I definitely asked for “96 Wirra Wirra” and pointed to it on the menu so I’ve no idea how he picked 77 on his tablet and he didn’t know either. Anyway we both laughed it off and the wine bottle was quickly replaced (and sods law I didn’t like it though thankfully my wife did!). Our son skipped a starter so Wasim insisted on bringing him 2 pasta main course dishes instead. My wife and I both had roast beef with Yorkshire pudding which was very good. After dinner Wasim presented us with souvenir menus which you don’t always get on freedom dining so it was much appreciated.

 

After dinner we went up to Metropolis on deck 18. We tried to guess the city on the (daily changing) video wall and think that it was Hong Kong. We did ask a waitress but she didn’t know, though she did return to our table to say that the bar staff thought that it was Hong Kong as well. Pulse were scheduled to play and for the 1st set there was just a female vocalist and piano player. Good as they were they weren’t really holding passengers’ attention but when they were joined by the drummer and guitar players for the 2nd set things livened up and they got much better responses to their numbers. It’s the first time that we’ve seen them and they were very professional, even managing to make one particular song that I dislike sound decent. We stayed until around 11am then returned to the cabin for our usual routine of reading and some TV time.

 

 

IMG_0928.JPG

IMG_0975a.JPG

IMG_0976.JPG

Edited by DamianG
Font issues!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Britboys said:

Another great blog entry - very enjoyable.  Good to hear that perhaps P&O are getting a little more generous.  On Coral Princess last month, the top three most travelled pax all got a gift plus champagne and then there were three invitations drawn for a bottle of Champagne - one of which I won!  We were told by the Loyalty Manager on board that we were in the top 10 most-traveled (thanks to cruises with P&O!) so I did wonder whether the draw was rigged 😄

 

Nice one Andrew, rigged or not your prize was well deserved!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...