Ever wanted to go on a Strictly Cruise? The lovely Marisa (@TeamClifton) on twitter recently returned feeling sparkly and reinvigorated following a Strictly Cruise. She kindly agreed to review her experience for you all. Here is what she thought of the whole cruise in her own words:
Going on a Strictly themed cruise was something I had wanted to do since I had become Strictly mad. The only problem was that I had to convince my mum it was a good thing to do. Unfortunately, my mum didn’t have the same desire to go on a cruise. After two years of persuasion, my work finally paid off and the cruise was booked. Nothing like the excitement of seeing Jo and Giovanni in a showcase. The thought of going to places we had never been to in Spain, France and Italy was the final point of persuasion. So we arrived and, after gasps of “that ship is huge”, we boarded the ship and bumped into Joanne Clifton who had the same thought as me – get the Wi-Fi sorted – not cheap though.
Then it was time to explore the ship. It soon got a bit awkward as we kept bumping into Jo everywhere we went. Maybe the ship wasn’t as big as we thought! 🙈
Our cruise got off to a bit if a rocky start as the Bay of Biscay was particularly choppy but that didn’t stop us working out what we could do. As well as the Strictly Q&A, photo sessions, dance lessons and showcases there was also the usual cruise entertainment. I needed a PA (my mum!) to plan it all out. Of course, we treated ourselves to a spa treatment and found the gym – needed to work off the good food and, as we headed south the weather improved and got warmer, the sunbathing started. Then the dolphins came, at first we weren’t sure, but there was no mistaking the second time as there were about 10 in a pod.
After three days we started to look out for our first port, Alicante. Everyone seemed to be surprised at how nice it was as it was mostly known for Alicante airport. Apart from the occasional plane taking off you would not have known that there was an airport at all. What we did see was a beach, a Marina, a castle, pretty promenades and lots of coffee shops.
Back on board, we got ready to see the first Strictly showcase starring Jo and Giovanni. It was amazing and a good chance to see them show off their skills and to see that amazing Jive again. Sadly this time it was performed without Ore but we did have the world record holder for number of Jive steps in a minute to replace him. Giovanni was keen to remind us of that achievement!
Next Stop Barcelona. We had an excursion booked so had to be up and ready to go by 9.30am. But it was a good way to see a lot in a short time. Sadly this was where we said goodbye to Jo and Giovanni but where we said hello to Neil and Katya, AJ and Chloe who kicked off their cruise with a Q&A.
Sadly due to the choppy sea, we next stopped at Marseille instead of Cannes where it rained. A lot. We tried to see as much as we could but as I was wearing flip flops the squelching eventually got too much so we went back to the ship for lunch. It was then off to Italy, Pisa and Florence first and then Rome, where we had booked excursions as we wanted to see a lot. Tip if you want to go to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel book an excursion that has a fast track as the queues are can take more than two hours to get in. The other advantage to booking an excursion is that the ship will not go without you and at the port for Rome we needed lots of time so this was useful for us. Leaving this port meant that we started the journey home heading back towards Spain. So we had to make the most of our time left on board. Evening Entertainment included Lance Ellington known for being a Strictly singer, notably singing in Korean for Gangnam Style when Ed and Katya danced their salsa. Other singers included really good tribute acts for the Beatles and Michael Buble. The cruise has its own company Headliners which did a really good tribute to the musicals so it’s worth checking it out. This is in addition to the Strictly entertainment which at this stage of the cruise included AJ, Chloe, Katya and Neil. This was a nice opportunity to see more of what the professional couples could do and we were given the opportunity to see the dance that AJ and Chloe performed for BGT and one of Neil and Katya’s amazing showdance. One more stop at Cartegena in Spain and then onto Gibraltar our final stop.
As we leave each port, the entertainment team hold a sail away party. The Ventura put on really good sail aways with, in my opinion, a really good James Corden lookalike leading it. Even Craig Revel Horwood, who joined us at Gibraltar, joined in! Another Q&A session, this time, with Craig who was brutally honest about his past and made sure the audience was kept up to date with the recent announcements that Natalie was leaving and that the new judge, to replace Len, had been announced. Then we started getting ready to watch the final showcase, the Passengers Strictly Competition! With Craig, AJ and Richard, one of the ship’s crew, judging and Chloe presenting it was a lot of fun. Another Q&A with the Strictly production team which was very interesting and revealed a side to Strictly you don’t get to know about.
Now nearing Southampton, suitcases were packed up again and put out for collection leaving us an opportunity to fully enjoy our final night on board. One last quiz, we never did win one, a last evening meal and then it was soon time to say goodbye to the amazing staff on the Ventura as we arrived at Southampton. It was an amazing experience with memories I’ll never forget. P and O’s motto is: ‘This is the Life’. And it certainly was for us. Don’t be surprised if you see us on another Strictly cruise next year!
Thank you Marisa for reviewing your cruise experience. *persuades her husband to book a cruise next year* If you’ve been on a Strictly Cruise we’d love to hear what you thought of it. You can either tweet @scd_support or comment below this post to let us know. We look forward to hearing from you.