Co-founder & Director at Strawberry Holidays, Kate is an avid cruiser with a passion for cruise holidays; here is a diary from summer 2014, when she and her family sailed for the very first time.
The Holroyd’s sailed the Western Med on-board Norwegian Epic on a Barcelona round trip…
Day 1 – Smooth boarding
There wasn’t too much time to check out Barcelona as we jumped in a taxi from the airport to the port. It was very cheap and so easy even with all the family luggage! We hadn’t got out of the taxi and the porter had taken our bags – so relieved we kept our swimming gear with us, Abigail loved cooling off in the pool once on-board!
Day 2 – Day at sea – Splashtastic!
We spent the day enjoying all that the ship had to offer, Abigail joined Splash Academy and had her week planned out before lunch. Ant and I hit the gym before we ate lunch as a family at The Garden Cafe. For an international buffet the food is delicious and has superb options for all of us. Later we joined the Captain for drinks and Abigail insisted on having a selfie for her friends at home.
Day 3 – Put on my dancing shoes
After the day in Naples, visiting Pompeii and taking a tour of the coast, we arrived back at the ship, freshened up and headed to the pool for the sail away party. Abigail and I twirled in the evening sun to the live Cuban band – something I will never forget. We twirled and twirled, her blonde curls fanning out as much as her dress and as wide as her smile.
Day 4 – Rome in a day
My favourite port of call, thunder, lightning and torrential rain just added to the drama of the Colosseum, a short walk to the Piazza Navona where we indulged in lunch including the most amazing Truffelata. Our ‘Rome on your own’ excursion was fantastic. I loved wandering through the city at our own pace, seeing the mesmerising Pantheon and finishing our tour at the Vatican. After the long day, Abigail needed an early night, so we escaped the noise, lights and chatter of the public areas of the ship and chilled out on the balcony to the most fantastic sunset.
Day 5 – Date night
We made an early dart to Pisa, walked around the famous landmarks, took the obligatory photos holding up and pushing over the Leaning Tower. Abigail loved the market stalls around the squares, souvenir shopping was fun! She was so excited for the Princess Parade at kids’ club, and Ant and I enjoyed a meal at Cagney’s Steakhouse, great food, amazing service and the company was okay too!
Day 6 – Feeling blue
Although the ship tendered in Cannes, we stayed on-board and enjoyed the empty ship! It was nice to relax for the day after a hectic few days in port. We messed about in the pool, in the arcade and Abigail spent some time at Splash Academy. Before we knew it we were grabbing an early dinner before heading to the theatre to watch Blue Man Group. The show was superb, Abigail was mesmerised and she still giggles when re-living the show.
Day 7 – So many memories.
Another chilled day, with a morning at sea and an afternoon on-board the ship. Abigail went to kid’s club for one last time, when we picked her up, she hugged her new friends goodbye. Our last dinner on-board was Cirque de Dreams and Dinner, a 3-course meal with circus entertainment, a spectacle I’ll never forget. After a late-night stroll across the pool deck, we headed to bed – what an amazing holiday it was.
Cruise holidays are an amazing way to see the world. You can wake up in a new destination every day without the hassle of packing and unpacking all the time, catching trains or flights or hiring a car. You can completely indulge in your own luxurious floating resort, and explore in a fun, effortless way!
A cruise holiday is also incredible value for money. While the cost varies by cruise line, you can holiday with everything included from an amazing £100 per person per day. The restaurants, bars, entertainment and service on board are rarely beaten by the top hotels on land.
The cruise lines design itineraries and visit destinations when it is the absolute best time to go. And from action-packed culture experiences to sun-kissed tropical escapes, itineraries vary massively, and no matter what type of holiday you’re looking for there is something for you.