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Well, having been cruising since, oh, 2005, and having done the grand total of 3 cruises, I thought I had my likes and dislikes sorted out. I like smaller ships (which I define as under 100,000 tons or less than 2000 passengers), and I dislike sea days – I get absolutely stir crazy. (I was prowlng the decks all day on Galaxy last June on the run from Sicily to southern France – couldn’t relax at all.) Oh, and if you want to cruise somewhere warm, e.g. the Med, then it makes sense to fly there first rather than waste time sailing there on the ship from a UK port. Which means that our decision to book a 12-night cruise on P&O’s Ventura to the Canaries in September 2008 goes against all these preferences.

(For information, Ventura will be the same size and class as Princess’ latest big ships, e.g. Emerald Princess – 113,000 tons, and somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000+ passengers, depending on how many cabins have more than two passengers. The cruise, which departs from Southampton, will feature between 4 and 5 sea days: almost three days at the beginning, another one between the Canaries and Lisbon, and a final one for the last part of the cruise, from Vigo back to Southampton.)

So why the change of heart? Well, my wife has indicated to me that while she found our recent short holiday in Rome very beautiful, she also found it very unrelaxing – she says she came back more tired than when she left. (I was in seventh heaven, of course). And she’s also suggestd that having to get up at 4am in our Heathrow hotel, in order to check in at 5am for the first flight to wherever so we can be absolutely sure we’ll get to our embarkation port before the ship leaves, is not the best way to start a holiday.

So in September next year it will be a leisurely drive from Yorkshire to Southampton, arriving at our scheduled embarkation time. And, seeing as we can take as many bags as we can fit in the car, I can take a whole load of books to read instead of just one or two (one of which I’ve usually read before the end of the first day). Hmm – I shall have to see: perhaps I can the advantages of this after all.

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