Posted by sean on September 13, 2019 at 10:00 pm in Holiday with No Comments

Now on board Ventura. The drive down to Southampton went smoothly, although it was a tight squeeze into the car, as we had to contend with all our luggage, various medical equipment and a mobility scooter.

Whizzed through check-in on my scooter, almost literally. Apparently it is not uncommon to have to queue for hours before being allowed into your cabin. One of the few perks of being disabled is that P&O allow you to bypass the people with working legs and head straight for security.

The only trouble I encountered, was from a baggage handler, who commented negatively, but in jovial fashion, on the fact I was a Leeds fan – presumably upon seeing the football club’s badge on my scooter. Make a mental note to remove badge before going ashore, as some locals may not be quite so friendly about the crest.

When aboard, discover our captain is named Martin Allen. No confirmation as to whether or not he is the football manager of the same name, who also goes by the identity “Mad Dog”.

The cabin is adapted for scooter and wheelchair users, and is very nice. Already been onto our private balcony. We are facing the opposite side to what we did on previous cruises. This pleased the historical geek in me, as the quayside which we are looking onto, is the one which Titanic set sail from. The same bollards which the ill-fated ship remain and are painted orange. This excited me, but was of no interest to Claire.

With a few hours to kill, before departure, Claire and I decide to start early, by visiting the buffet and making use of the fact we had unlimited free* food for 11 days.
* food which came free, after spending several thousand pounds on a luxury cruise.

Currently in bliss and relaxing on the bed in our cabin. Sadly, the serenity will soon be broken when we are dragged kicking and screaming from our room to a ‘muster station’, where we will sit alongside hundreds of other cruise makers, who would rather be elsewhere, while some poor ship staff lumbered with the job of ‘teacher’, show everyone how to put on a life jacket. One thing’s for sure, if the ship goes down, I’m going down with it, so poorly I rate my chances.

Discovered another perk of being a scooter-user, which able-bodied cruisers do not have. A private lesson on how to use a life jacket – AKA not dying like Jack in Titanic. This allowed us to get away from the classroom before everyone else, like naughty school children.

During the lesson, “Mad Dog” Martin Allen sounded the ship’s emergency alarm. A siren which you will only hear if something really bad happens – like hitting an iceberg or getting taken over by pirates.

Captain Allen, which is how I will refer to him from now on, reminded everyone that in the event of the alarm be sounded, it must not be treated as an instruction to abandon ship. I can safely predict that should the emergency alarm ever be required, half the cruisers will run around in a blind panic, jumping overboard. The other half, in their stubbornness and gluttony, would refuse to leave the buffet. Instead opting to get one final sausage down their gullet, despite being up to their knees in seawater.

We opted for an early night. We were very tired after the travelling and preparations for the cruise. It appeared everyone else had the same idea, as the queue to get into the restaurant was huge. Checking the menu, it didn’t appear too appetising, so instead chose to try the buffet.

This evening’s buffet reminded me why, on our 2017 cruise, we avoided the place. Just like on our 2015 honeymoon, the buffet was hell.

I was left livid by the lack of courtesy, rudeness and selfish behaviour of some travellers. Claire and I entered an empty lift, which took us up the many decks towards the buffet.

Naturally, the lift stopped on occasions to let people on. Fair enough – I take no issue with that. What I did take issue with, was upon reaching the top deck, everyone pushing their way out – as if it was every man, woman and child for themselves.

Not wanting to mow anyone down, and being taught good manners by my parents, I waited for the mob to leave. At this point, the doors immediately closed and with no time to alter the situation, the lift descended all the way to the bowels of the ship.

We eventually found our way to the buffet, and with me still muttering and wishing ill upon certain cruisers, started to collect our food.

I wasn’t too impressed with what was on offer. I was even less impressed with the minority of diners, who barged past me. Look, guys – it’s a mobility scooter, not an invisibility cloak! Look where you’re going. Didn’t God give you eyes?

My first evening meal onboard Ventura consisted of some bread, butter and vegetables. Yum yum! Seriously, things will improve. The dessert was lovely – a kind of custard pastry slice.

We are now back in our cabin. I am writing this blog from bed, while Claire unpacks her clothes and huge shoe collection. Just to confirm – she has lots of shoes in her collection. She does not have a collection of massive, clown-style footwear.

It’ll be Take 2 for the restaurant tomorrow. We are at sea all day, but will be getting up early, to be winded and dined at breakfast.

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