Are you tempted to set sail on a cruise but don't know if it's right for you? Then fear not as local Midcounties Co-operative Personal Travel Agent Richard Slater and his wife Lynne have stepped aboard Britain's biggest ever cruise ship to give you the lowdown on life out on the ocean, and why there's something for everyone.
Richard has worked in the travel industry for 27 years and sells a wide range of holidays, from short breaks to worldwide cruises. Richard prides himself on the personal service he offers to all his customers. "I can be around when my customers need me to be and not just during normal high street opening hours. I'm also finding that as part of a truly independent co-operative I have access to a great variety of suppliers, which means I can find my customers the very best deals on their holidays.
By Richard Slater:
"My first overseas holiday was on a cruise, and I enjoyed it so much that I immediately caught the travel bug and I've been working in the industry ever since. So naturally, I was thrilled to set sail on a two-night preview cruise on-board P&O's new ship Britannia .
The ship was docked in Southampton, easily accessible through either a direct flight from Manchester, or a train from Macclesfield. My customers can book both these options with me, meaning everything is organised in advance. On this occasion Lynne and I drove down from the North West which took approximately four hours.
Our first port of call was to head to our cabin and check out our new living quarters, followed closely by the crew who very kindly dropped off our bags! The room was contemporary and spacious, with an en suite bathroom and all the mod cons needed for a comfortable stay, such as a TV, hairdryer and a safe. We even had a personal steward who provided 24-hour room service. That wasn't the only luxury, our bed was made with Egyptian cotton sheets.
Reviewing a cruise can of course be hungry work, so Lynne and I headed to the ship's main dining room. With so much on offer and with all food included in the price of the holiday, we ate like royalty in the main restaurant with amazing food such as lobster. There are also a number of speciality restaurants on the ship that offer different varieties of food at a small cover charge.
Letting our food settle we decided to visit the cruise's theatre, which has an impressive LED backdrop, and enjoyed a mini West End-style show featuring professional actors and dancers.
Refreshingly, entertainment isn't just limited to adults as there's a boatload of activities available for those aged 18 and under through Britannia's children's club, The Reef. Those who attend are split into age groups so that they can meet new friends, as well as play games and sports, or watch films.
For younger children there's a complimentary night nursery which is open from 6pm to 2am, providing a quiet area for infants to sleep; or should they wake, parents are contacted via a pager.
Britannia's 2015 programme of events looks impressive. Strictly Come Dancing fans will be able to perform in front of Craig Revel-Horwood, as well as professional dancers from the show, on some of the itineraries. There will also be a chance to enjoy the finest cooking inspired by the likes of James Martin, Marco Pierre White and a host of other celebrity chefs. Even better, on selected dates you can learn from the masters themselves in the first British cookery school at sea.
Lynne and I really enjoyed our stay and have decided to take our two children, Laura and Tom, on a P&O Cruise this summer. P&O's Britannia will be operating a selection of itineraries from two days to 14 nights in the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and Scandinavia over the summer, before heading to the Caribbean from October 2015 to March 2016, featuring a selection of fly cruises direct from Manchester. I am sure it's going to be a popular choice for both couples and families across the UK."
If you're interested in a cruise then why not have a chat with Richard, he'll be able to talk through your specific holiday needs and is available at a time that's convenient for you.
For more information, advice, or to book your holiday, you can contact Richard by phone on 0800 567 7470 or 0750 430 3088, by email: [email protected] or visit his website:www.mypersonaltravelagent.co.uk.