Posted by sean on September 23, 2019 at 10:00 pm in Holiday with No Comments

The final day of our cruise and my last blog post of the holiday – I’m not planning on writing anything for Day 12, unless we have any unexpected drama.

Go to the restaurant for our final breakfast of the cruise. We could, in fact, visit again tomorrow, but are hoping for a fast, stress-free disembarkation.

The usual high level of service, which we have experienced whenever we have eaten in the establishment, was provided to us yet again.

As we ate, Captain Allen’s voice boomed from the speakers within the restaurant. “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. You may have seen the news this morning…”

At this point, I thought to myself “What the heck’s happened? Clearly something big and bad. Has The Queen died overnight? Has London burnt down? Has Marcelo Bielsa left Leeds United?”

It transpired that the travel firm, Thomas Cook, have now ceased trading. Captain Allen was on hand to reassure those who have booked future cruises through the agency, that P&O would be in touch shortly. As I said to Claire, he didn’t confirm that those unlucky enough to have done business with the ill-fated firm, won’t lose their money.

After we had eaten, I made a terrible mistake. Something I have been trying to avoid doing all cruise. I ran over Claire with my scooter!

My scooter was having problems getting out on my scooter, from between the dining table and a wall. As I reversed, I would either become lodged on a chair or stuck on part of the restaurant wall.

Claire intervened, by trying to maneuver the scooter out of its trapped state from behind. Not fully aware of the situation, I hit reverse on the controls, only to fly backwards, into my wife, hurting her toe and arm. I was mortified.

Thankfully, there was no need to take a trip to the medical bay, as the worst of any injuries was tissue damage to her arm, plus 3 penalty points added to my scooter driving licence.

I still felt terrible, despite assuring myself that Claire was ok, and knowing that I wasn’t the first husband to run over his wife by mistake. The former football manager, Harry Redknapp, famously ran over his wife, Sandra’s leg in his car – presumably causing more damage to her than I did to Claire.

Made one final trip to the amusement arcade. Claire was keen to have one last go on the claw machine. As I happily blogged a few days ago, Claire had already pulled off a miracle and won a soft toy.

They say that lightning doesn’t strike twice. After this morning, I would now strongly advise my wife to avoid going outside during a thunderstorm, as for a reason that only the claw gods can answer, Claire won again! This time, instead of a mutant raccoon parrot, presumably from Chernobyl, the prize was a large, soft green crayon. Not freaky at all…

In the main atrium of the ship, members of the managerial team were hosting a competition as to how fast a cabin bed could be made. Captain Allen had a go and performed predictably poorly.

Given her job as a nurse, I suggested to Claire that she should enter. She modestly declined, saying that she wasn’t that good at bed making. I later overheard a much older woman telling anyone who would listen that, “I’m a nurse! I would win this!”. Of course you would, love. Of course you would…

Approached by a lovely couple, who I would guess to be in their sixties or seventies. The lady, with a West Yorkshire accent, had spotted the Leeds United badge on the back of my scooter. She seemed pleased to see a fellow White *
* a name for a Leeds fan, because of the team’s white kit, and not a term used by supporters of Nigel Farage.

Leeds fans are a strange breed. They are some of the most loyal supporters in the country. If they spot a fellow White, while out and about, they will almost always approach them, with a friendly “hello”. I don’t know why there is this bond, maybe it is because the club and fans have been through so much together.

We talked about Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Derby. She appeared happy with the result. I told her that it could have been better.

I was given some good advice by my fellow fan “That’s Leeds United for you”. It reminded me of what my grandma used to tell me “Leeds have always been an up and down team”.

Maybe I shouldn’t take negative Leeds results to heart so much. Sometimes, if they lose, not only does it ruin my weekend, but I take the negatively into the following week!

Hakuna Matata. We are Leeds.

Returned to our cabin. Our first task was to locate Laurence. He has been so good throughout our stay on Ventura; always friendly and smiling, while making us feel that nothing was ever too much trouble.

Laurence was certainly the best steward I have had on all the ships I have crused on, and the previous two were excellent.

We met Laurence and paid him all the thanks he deserved, as well as giving him a tip, as a sign of our gratitude.

He seemed generally touched by our thanks and said he would clean our cabin next. Bless him – we weren’t trying to bribe the man, although if I knew if we could pay for a priority service, we would have done so from the first night!

Mr Micky Arison, if you are ever looking for your next CEO for P&O Cruise Lines, remember Laurence.

Made use of room service one last time. After all, we won’t be able to get food hand delivered to us when we are back home – apart from Deliveroo, Ubereats, Just Eat, One Delivery…

One of the items ordered was soup of the day. According to the menu, this is supposed to be suitable for vegetarians. Today’s soup de jour was that much-loved favourite of all vegetarians, Beef and Mushroom. I did enquire into a veggie alternative was available and was pleased to be told that tomato soup was on the menu as standard. I duly ordered some.

Five minutes later, the telephone within the cabin rings. I answer…
“Good afternoon, ma’am, this is room service. I am afraid that the tomato soup is unavailable”
“Oh, that’s ok. Don’t worry”
“Would you like us to send you the other soup that I mentioned, ma’am?”
“No thank you”

No soup for me then. Oh, and I did originally tell them that I was a veggie. I can only assume that the woman on the phone didn’t understand me, because of my over-feminine voice. I should have called her “Sir”.

Left our cabin and went in search of a very sentimental place – cabin D628, where we stayed over four years ago, while taking our honeymoon on Ventura. We may have only seen the cabin door, but for me, to make this pilgrimage, felt special.

Went to the Headliners Theatre this afternoon for the matinee performance of the much acclaimed show, Astonishing.

The production is the creation of Stephen Mulhern (the guy on almost everything on ITV), and is a mix of magic, illusion, dance and music.

Claire’s parents have seen the show on a previous cruise of their own and were so impressed that they insisted that we attend.

I am bloody glad that I did. The show was fantastic. Ventura’s theatre has clearly been updated and now boasts a huge screen at the rear of the stage, capable of displaying amazing 3D graphics, which the excellent performers from the Headliners Theatre Group are able to interact with.

The magic and illusions are as good as anything I have seen performed on the ITV talent show, Britain’s Got Talent. I especially enjoyed the audience participation trick, where everyone becomes the theatre is involved! The dancers and singers, who link seamlessly into the magic and illusions, are incredible.

Having now seen Astonishing myself, I must echo my in laws comments in saying that should you ever find yourself on a P&O cruise ship and the show is being performed, you must attend. In fact, if you haven’t got a cruise booked, you should buy one, simply to see this one show.

After that very generous plug, I fully expect to be contacted by Stephen Mulhern, or even the top dog himself, Micky Arison, and be offered a free cruise.

Met the lady Leeds fan, who I had first seen this morning on the way out of the theatre. She was the only person from a crowd of cruisers to let me and my scooter out. I guess being a Leeds supporter has some perks.

Our “last meal”, as Claire so wonderfully described it, was spent in the buffet. The theme – Country and Western. Lots of coleslaw, beans, wraps and best of all, corn on the cob.

After eating, we took a leisurely stroll and ride to the Metropolis Bar, which we had been planning to attend all holiday. Once we found our way to the bar, located in what felt like the crows nest of the ship, we realised that this was one venue we would be unable to attend. It was rammed and looked like half of Ventura’s passengers had decided to go for a drink at the bar. As a couple who very much enjoy each other’s company, but less so that of people we don’t know (and many people we do know), we chickened out and took the lift back to a much lower deck.

Now in bed, finishing off this final blog post of the cruise. Claire is asleep and given the time it is now and when we must both vacate our cabin – 8am – I should really be doing the same.

The ship is really rocking tonight, as we cross the English Channel. You can tell it’s now autumn. The air feels wet and there are low clouds everywhere, making visibility at sea poor. We spent a final half hour on our balcony, looking out across the vast expanse of water, occasionally seeing a light from a smaller vessel. Ventura keeps making her presence known, by sounding the fog horn.

I assume that this is the reason for using it. Maybe it’s like road rage, but at sea, and a ship from a rival cruise firm, Royal Caribbean (regularly featured on those Cruises From Hell documentaries), has cut Ventura up, or pulled up in front of us. I bet that Captain Allen is fuming!

All these blog posts will be uploaded to WordPress and will be online asap. This may take some time, as I haven’t proof read any of them. Plus I need to pick which photographs to use – although you don’t need to know any of that, because as you are reading this, it means I’ve already done all of that stuff.

Well that’s it. Until next year. Yes, we are crusing again. Where we’re going, when and on what ship, will remain a top secret for now.

Good night. Roman, we’re coming home to you, baby.

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