Christmas Cruising

Home at last!

It was almost four years to the day since Hubby and I had taken a longing glance back at the Emerald Princess in Miami – not knowing if/when we would be back.
Ironic though it seems, since I set up my travel agency as a result of all of my travelling, I had spent the last four years not travelling but working to build up the business instead. Now though, something of a watershed moment. Time to take that big step and leave ‘my baby’ for a while in the capable hands of colleagues. Hubby and I were off on a pre-Christmas Mexican Riviera Cruise from LA.

I had read and heard quite a bit of feedback from my customers regarding Princess since we had last been and I must admit to a little trepidation as to what I would find.

Early onto the ship (just the way I like it!), “Tradition” dictated going straight to the Horizon Court – THE FOOD – of course. A huge beam came over my face as I read – Italian Three Bean Soup. Tick. (that was always first lunch on board!). Then glancing over to the bread counter. Rolls so fresh they were still warm from baking. Tick. And finally the all-important sweets counter. Chocolate chip cookies. Yum and tick. Well so far so good. No change there.

Back to the cabin, new luxury beds. Now there is a change that was long overdue. Tick.
Princess have gone in for Speciality Chocolate I read. Oh a huge tick. Another good change.
Maybe this was going to work out just fine after all.

Settling back to watch Il Divo on the Movies Under the Stars, as everyone started filtering on board I allowed myself ‘A moment’. I am sure in life we can all equate things we have done to the song My Way and getting to this point was one for me.
“Yes there were times… I bit off more than I could chew” “I ate it up and spat it out”, “And did it My Way”.
As I munched my third cookie and supped my Strawberry Mocktail, the emotion of it all was just a little overwhelming – for a brief second anyway.

All too soon, Muster and then Sail Away.
We were off.

It had been an easy decision as to which cruise.
Princess of course.
The only problem had been fitting it into our strict dates.
“But there is a Celebrity Cruise from Fort Lauderdale dear,” Hubby tentatively suggested. “But I do not want a Celebrity Cruise,” came my insistent reply, “only Princess”.
And why?
Well all those little things. I know where the sock draw is, Hubby can unpack because he knows where everything goes, I have my favourite seat by the pool, I even know how to get out of bed at night and find my way around the cabin in the dark.
The familiarity – I just….. – like it.
Of course I won out in the end. There was just the one Princess cruise on a seven day itinerary for the dates we wanted. Sailing from Los Angeles. A further 3 hour flight to Fort Lauderdale. But who cares.
To be honest, the itinerary was irrelevant – it just had to be WARM!
We had done this exact trip a few years earlier and were not intending to get off of the ship anyway. We literally just wanted a hassle-free trip with plenty of food and sun.
And that is precisely what we had.

After two days at sea though it was clear most other passengers were just itching to get off in Mazatlan. As the ship emptied we settled in our ‘usual spot’ by the pool to watch the Daytime Movie in peace. Cookie and coke in hand.
Ah Heaven!
It really was wonderful. For a brief time you could just imagine this multi-million dollar cruise ship, with 1200 crew, was all “just yours”. With no-one else in the pool, Hubby and I took a dip. Perfect. No-one else really around, Grease the Movie blaring out some old favourites on the big screen, 80 degrees, sun shining and clear blue sky.
This really was the life.

And so it continued.
For those who got off (most of the ship!), there were plenty of things to see and do at all three port stops. Whale watching, ziplining, historic sight-seeing, you name it. This was a great cruise for getting out and about, either exploring the sights or enjoying the many activities available.
The passenger mix on the cruise ship also very much different to that of previous cruises. Generally younger (or maybe I am just getting older!) and being so close to Christmas a lot more families than we were used to. But to be fair, this did not cause any problems whatsoever. Provided they all disembarked at the ports of call (which they duly did!), I was happy!

In the evenings there was always the entertainment in the Theatres and Show Lounges. As well as music in the Piazza, the bars and even a Deck Party on our evening from Puerto Vallerta. The ship just seemed to have a real happy buzz about it.

All too soon though time to leave.
As I struggled with what I wanted for my Farewell Dinner (as on every other cruise – Meatloaf or Mussels???) I had to admit, I was looking forward to mum’s Christmas Turkey Dinner.

As for the cruise itself, oh it really had been amazing. I was a little nervous as to whether this would live up to our expectation and also the memories we had of our previous cruises. But despite our fears, we had been able to live in this ‘bubble’ for the week – no grief, no worries, great food, lovely weather and most importantly just the two of us. Given how hectic life had been for us both in the past few months and years it really was pure bliss.

And next year?
Well, this had been the other part of the fear. I had for so long supressed my travel instinct by simply going Cold Turkey (no pun intended) and not travelling abroad at all. For four years I have planned trips for others all around the world whilst managing to bury my own instinct deep – somewhere.
But it is as if the monster is once again rising. I can feel the feet start to itch.
As we left our beloved Ruby Princess there was much discussion between Hubby and I as to another cruise v the big adventure.
With a tear in my eye, I said goodbye to the ship – for now at least.
As for the rest of the world. Well it had better watch out. All I can say is – I can feel the urge although for now anyway, I have no idea where it will lead…….!

When to go
The 7 day Mexican Riviera Cruise with Princess departs most weeks between October 2018 and April 2019. Cruise prices start from just £499 per person. International flights and pre-cruise packages can be added to provide a complete ATOL-Protected Package.

The ports covered on the cruise include Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallerta and Mazatlan.

This and any other cruise can be booked through Andrea Powell at Idelo Travel.

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