Sorry I didn’t tell you all about my little weekend away on Aurora, but originally it was to have been a surprise Wedding anniversary present for Mr C (2 years this year) but as someone who shall remain nameless (clue – begins with C ends in A) found out some how and decided to announce it to all on WLC, so lets just say it was a bit of a sore subject with me! I mean, come on, Hubby would never have guessed that I would dare to buy him a cruise for a wedding Anniversary pressie just 9 days before one cruise and 10 days after the previous one lol.
Oh but it was fab! I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. We had the most fantastic company and that made it even better than we could have hoped for.
I didn’t keep a diary/write a report this time as I was too busy enjoying myself, but I will try and give you a brief summary.
Friday 15th December
We took the train from Coventry to Southampton which was, errrm lets just say, not my cup of tea. Arrived at Southampton slightly late but nothing major. We came out of the station and walked across to the Holiday Inn which only took a few minutes. I stayed her a few years back and I thought it was a bit grubby, but it had obviously had a refurb as it was very clean and tidy. We had a room on the second floor overlooking the park, which again I would say had been recently refurbed.
Downstairs was a nice bar where we enjoyed a couple of drinks before being joined by Kath & Dave Hellon, which of course meant we needed another drink, hic!
We took a walk into town and ended up in the German Market drinking mulled wine with rum which knocked me sideways! We got back to the hotel room and I zonked out and if it hadn’t been for my son ringing me later I would have probably slept through the night.
We ate out with Dave & Kath at Cuccinis on the Quay. Highly recommended, excellent meal. We were going to go and find Cruisa and Co after dinner for a drink but the light weights had all gone to bed lol.
Saturday 16th December
I spent a restless night tossing and turning and kept getting up to see if my ship was coming into port. At 4 minutes to 6 she sailed slowly past the park all light up and looking superb.
We had a very good breakie in the hotel restaurant and then lazed about for an hour reading the morning papers.
At 11.00 we couldn’t stay calm for much longer and decided to get a taxi to the Mayflower. There it was all laid out in front of us. An empty, Gold Portunus carpet leading to the Goldies desk! The Hellons seemed to enjoy their first ever walk on it lol. I quite enjoyed the wait, doing the people watching and watching the queues build very quickly.
We were soon checked in, and in the lounge enjoying a drink, but only the one as Goldies were called to board. We headed straight for Goldie drinks in Andersons this time. Drinks flowed nicely and sandwich’s were plentiful.
But I had a nail appointment at 1.30, so I departed and chilled out with Kim in the salon who had done my nails before and she comes highly recommended by me. Mr C kept me supplied with drinks and by the time I got back out on decks the ship was full of equally excited people. The place was buzzing.
We unpacked and made our way to Crows for sailaway. A nice table by the window, with Dave & Kath, Karen and Steve was very pleasant as we watched us turn in the basin and head down Southampton water.
Dinner this evening was at our usual table in the Medina. We hadn’t had these waiters before and they did their job but we weren’t getting a lot of response from them. But no complaints on the food. Prawns, chicken and sweetcorn soup, roast turkey and I know I had a pudd but it escapes me what it was!
After dinner we headed for Champions to listen to Caravan and I seemed to be in and out of my seat every 5 minutes saying Hi to everyone that recognised me.
Carmens never really got going tonight as the show in there was busy and then they all left for other venues. So we headed to Masquerades which was very busy and people were making the most of the party time. I headed for my bed just after 2 and left Mr c having one for the road. I wasnt best pleased when he rolled in at 10 to 6 as I knew I wanted to make the effort for once and get into Bruges.
Sunday 17th December.
Mr C knew he was in the dog house and was up and dressed a couple of hours after getting into bed! We had breakfast in Medina which I always enjoy as its so much more relaxed.
We took the shuttle bus into Blankenburge and from there got the 10 past 10 train to Bruges for €3 each. We only bought single tickets as were weren’t too sure what we were doing for transport back to the ship.
Bruges was lovely and it was my first actual visit as every other time we have been there I have stayed onboard ship! We had a pleasant few hours wandering around, doing our own thing. Had some mulled wine at the ice rink. Then nipped into a pub for more mulled wine and beer, visited the chocolate and beer shops, ate some scoobies and then headed back for the train which leaves at 34 minutes past the hour. This time it was cheaper at €2.90. The journey is only 11 minutes and I don’t understand why more people don’t try it. The ships tour department must be making a killing at £22 each and they drop you yards from the train station so you still have the same distance to walk into town.
We got back to the ship and just chilled out with a quiet drink in Crows before heading for a little snooze.
Big night tonight as its Formal night and Captains Cocktail Party. Captains couldn’t make yit as they were busy on the bridge but it didn’t stop us taking advantage of their hospitality. Their officers did a very good job of looking after us and kept us well entertained for the full 30 minutes or so.
We were joined at dinner by 3rd Engineer and what a fantastic host he was. We had such a good time at the table it was brilliant. He even tried to wake our waiters up for us but they were in their own little world, bless em. I don’t know who was the more honoured? Us, to have the only officer in attendance at dinner or him to have some fantastic passengers to dine with lol. Tonight I had smoked salmon, soup but I don’t recall what flavour, champagne sorbet, roast beef, chocolate soufflé with grand marnier sauce plus the trio of Lemon deserts!
Im a very people watchy person and I didn’t see many envelopes or tips being handed out tonight and we left the restaurant quite late but I hope most did tip the lads as we did.
We missed Dave and Juliets grand performance in the karaoke but we were already enjoying the party in Carmens and it was full Christmas party atmosphere in there. We enjoyed a few dances, lots of people watching and plenty of drinks.
All in all we had a fantastic time on Aurora and wouldn’t hesitate to do this party weekend again. It wasn’t full of ‘corporate types’ hen and stag weekends or people who wanted to cause trouble. I never seen any trouble or any out of hand behaviour and I don’t know why some people are so hell bent on painting such a bad picture of these cruises?
The ship looked superb. The decorations were being put up as we boarded and I didn’t see anybody swinging from them,. stripping the trees, or falling into them! The ships company were working flat out to give the passengers a good time and it was good value for money when you consider what you would pay for that sort of break on land at this time of year.
We met some great people. Thankyou to all of you for introducing yourselves to me – seems Im more famous than I knew lol.
The dress code was upheld and even though the first night was smart casual the vast majority seemed to hedge more towards informal. There were some beautiful dresses about on formal evening which all added to the ambience of the evening.
To anyone who has ever been put off by the comments of others who had pre conceived bad ideas about these party cruises, I would say don’t listen. Take note of what we have all said about this cruise this weekend and go ahead a book because I don’t think you will be disappointed.
Finally Thanks to Dave & Kath Hellon for your fab company. You made the weekend for us.