Today I’m finally announcing something extremely exciting. I’ve been waiting to announce this for some time – anticipation levels are high and I feel a bit like a kid waiting for Christmas.So first, a little context. When I was asked to go a couple of months back, I absolutely jumped at the chance. Some of you may remember that back in May, my second mother Sally was sadly diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. I wrote a post at the time (click here if you’d like a quick recall). Since then, Sally’s nearest and dearest have been trying to help by supporting her through treatment and tackling her bucket list.
One of her checklist items was to go on a beach holiday. Well, this November, we will be going on a cruise! The cruise ticks all the boxes; no flying, multiple locations, lots of free time for resting and chilling out, plus all that quintessential cruise glamour and glitz! I was honoured, and obviously absolutely delighted to be asked along. I’ll be joining Sally and her husband (who are like my second set of parents), and my beloved and much-cherished little sister, Charlotte. It’s going to be a totally once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip and I can’t wait! Apart from a couple of ferries to the Isle Of Wight, I’ve hardly travelled anywhere via boat. During the days we’ll be joining activities on board or visiting various ports, and in the evenings we’ll be fine dining and joining the entertainment. In my head, it’s a cross between a Dirty Dancing-esque holiday park, a RuPaul couture catwalk, and The Suite Life On Deck.
Cruises obviously have a bit of a reputation for being popular amongst the older generations, (Charlotte and I have been joking that we’ll bring the average age down by about 30 years), but actually, I suspect we’ll be grateful to be in a children-free zone. Kids are fine, but not when they’re staying in the room opposite you, y’know? We’re also on a ship which claims to showcase the best in “old-school cruise glamour”. Immediately I have visions of stunning 1940s women in floppy hats with a fleet of matching luggage. As well as art deco interiors, there are all sorts of intriguing areas: a casino, a cards room (?), a nightclub, an art deco cinema, and a theatre. We’re required to pack our cocktail dresses! (And in my case, buy some cocktail dresses!). There’s also an onboard music festival as part of a special thing the cruise-line is doing; all 4 of us are musicians, so that couldn’t be more perfect.
Given all the above facts, I think I would have been happy enough just staying on the ship for three weeks hanging out with my favourite people. But no… we’ll be stopping at a whole host of destinations. Some of the spots we’re stopping in have been on my dream travel list for a long time. First, Cadiz, Valencia and Barcelona in Spain. Next, in Italy, we’ll visit Catania (near Mt Etna), La Spezia, close to Pisa and Florence, Cagliari in Sardinia, and Naples. As well as Italy and Spain, we also visit Gibraltar, Malta, and Toulon, in the south of France. With the exception of Barcelona, these are all completely new places for me. Obviously, I’ve made a board and yes, that is Cruise Line Barbie.
I wanted to ask if any of you guys have been to any of the above? As it’s a cruise, we won’t be staying overnight in any areas – but anything you could see in a day would be great to know. The cruise has organised excursions we can join but it’s quite nice exploring at your own pace too! I’m also wondering if anyone has any tips for what to pack. I am a seasoned traveller, but most of my travels have been to a specific place for a set amount of time, so multi-tasking items is not my forte. It’s come to light I don’t actually own any large suitcases as I’m such a hand luggage only pro (I may quite literally be that woman with 3-4 small suitcases in a fleet). You can do laundry on the ship, but it’s holiday, so the less time spent sorting whites the better.
We won’t have wi-fi on the boat, and anytime I do have access to the internet means catching up with work. I will be scheduling a fair amount of content! Charlotte and I have been considering vlogging the whole event. Ideally, I’d like to blog about most of the cities we visit, and I’m wondering if you’d like any cruise-related posts as well? Being vegan on the cruise, what I end up packing, what it’s like on deck? Let me know your thoughts!