Drove down to Southampton, easy 3 and a bit hours from our home. Little bit of a wait to unload our cases and then into the huge hall. First time ever we have not had to queue to go to the registration desk. Then straight through to checking hand luggage and persons through with just a little queue.
Our cabin was ready for us in a relatively swift time, soon followed by our cases. Then unfortunately for the boring but essential part of the safety drill. Unpacked our cases and job done!
We had travelled on Ventura previously so knew what to expect. We had already booked the White Room and East and looked forward to the Glass House as we had sampled this on Azura the previous Christmas.
The staff on board are second to none. Everyone is very friendly, courteous and knowledgeable. Have to give a huge thanks to the Jumping Jacks staff. We couldnt keep our 8 year old daughter away they did such a good job of looking after her.
Our trip down the Bay of Biscay was the gentlest one we have ever experienced. Sailing through the straights of Gibraltar was beautiful, saw many dolphins.
Our first port was Valencia. Went to the huge beach just a stroll round from where the boat docked, unfortunately it was rather windy. Hubby enjoyed seeing the Grand Prix circuit.
Next stop Barcelona. Amazing place, architecture fantastic. The infrastructure left over from the Olympics has made a huge impact. Did an open topped bus tour which was the best way of quickly seeing the sights. Wouldnt have like to have been on the ground as it was packed.
Then Monaco, truly stunning. Went to the aquarium and can highly recommend this. We were the only ones in!. Then went on the little train and again a good way of seeing the sights. Walking round the harbour is a must, oggling at the hugely expensive craft. This stop was by tender and love that way of getting to the Port.
Next was Rome, again masses of tourists, did a trip to the Colloseum which was dumfounding and had some free time in the afternoon so explored the Panthenon and Trevi Fountain - both a must.
Next stop Ajaccio and if there is one place we would like to return to its Corsica. Beautiful, French and not packed with tourists. If it is a lovely day, hop off the boat and 10 minutes to the left you arrive at a beautiful clean beach with clear water.
Next to Gibraltar. Did the Secrets of the Rock Tour which was highly informative. Up on the cable car to the top of the rock, saw the apes and watch out for these, they will steal anything and don't rustle in your handbag! Our guide was hugely enthusiastic. We went down into the caves and then visited the tunnels used by the soldiers. We were absolutely pooped at the end but it is well worth it and the history behind the rock is amazing.
There were loads of dolphins as we entered and left the harbour in Gibraltar.
Unfortunately the weather turned a bit travelling back through the straights and up the side of Portugal and there were a few green faces the next day.
Last stop was La Corunna and we decided to stay on board having visited here before. We would have gone to the Beach our 8 year old wanted a day off from tramping round as she called it!
Excellent, especially the White Room and East. Can highly recommend experiencing these. We loved the Glass House although expected it to have had a makeover to distinguish it from Las Ramblas as was previous. The only let down we felt with regard to food was the Freedom Dining Cinammon and Saffron restaurants. The quality seemed less than previous. However on the Gala dinner night it was superb (Marco Pierre White menu) - wish it had been like that every night. Breakfasts are fantastic, every option catered for. Room service was bril too - never had to wait too long which was lovely after a tiring day in Rome.
Had a lovely chat with Charlie Carr the Captain when he was doing his rounds. He stopped while we were eating to say hello and we found out he lives only a short distance from us with his relatives just down the road - small world.
Didnt do any of the shows so cant comment on these although judging by how packed the venue seemed to be perhaps speaks for itself.
Best event was Olly Smith's wine talk, hugely informative and what a thoroughly nice chap he seems to be. He is very enthusiastic about his wines and food and can highly recommend this.
Also did the Marco Pierre White talk. Pretty much the same as the one we had done previously.
Passengers - OMG was there anyone apart from us younger than 50!? Well there were a few but have to say this was the oldest group of fellow passengers we have come across.
If we had any gripe it would be that we didnt appreciate finding a previous passenger's underpants and socks behind the small cupboard at the side of the bed.
Will definitely return one day and a big thumbs up to the crew and staff for their unstinting customer service.