On Tuesday 30 January 2018 I went back in time! It was only the 2nd time I have been back on board a cruise ship since leaving Queen Mary II in 2009. I set off early in the morning, collecting Kevin of San Safari’s and Shannon and Heyden (fellow travel consultants) and headed down to N Shed and the passenger Terminal. We passed through immigration with ease and waited eagerly along the quayside with several other travel representatives.
The first thing that strikes you once onboard the vessel is the absolute friendliness of every staff member we encountered. Right from the security to the stewards we passed in the hallway. We started our morning with champagne and orange juice whilst we were shown a presentation on Fred Ohlsen Cruise lines and the various vessels in the fleet – all of their names begin with the letter “B”.
We split up into 2 groups and our lovely hostess Olivia, who is a dancer onboard, proceeded to give us a tour of the vessel.
The three formal restaurants, Heligan Room and Tintagel Restaurant to port and Four Seasons Restaurant to starboard, are on Deck 6, the Lounge Deck. There is a common buffet servery for breakfast and lunch. There is also an informal, buffet restaurant amidships, the Secret Garden.
The main show lounge, the Neptune Lounge, sits aft and contains a stage and dance floor. In the daytime this lounge is used for lectures.
Between the Neptune Lounge and the various Restaurants are lounges and bars for reading and conversation. Finally, right at the back there is open outside decking and the main swimming pool, plus a poolside buffet which is used when weather permits. We witnessed many patrons basking in the hot Durban sun and I wondered how many would be regretting that decision later.
The Lido Lounge, an alternative show lounge for cabaret-style performances, is aft on Deck 7, Lido Deck. Also on this deck are the Bookmark Cafe, card room and library, as well as cabins placed centrally and towards the bow.
The Observatory is forward on Deck 9, Marquee Deck, with its own bar; it provides excellent views. The Marquee Bar and a smaller pool are aft, with suites between the two. Above lies the Sun Deck, Deck 10.
The shop, reception and shore tours office are in the centre of Deck 5, Main Deck, and Atlantic Deck 4 contains the fitness centre and Atlantis Spa. The shops were well stocked with name brands and logoed gear, as well as a supply of basic toiletries and trinkets.
All artwork onboard is owned by the Royal Family – and what an amazing collection it is.
My fitbit clocked me as having walked over 13500 steps and I was quite pleased when we arrived for lunch in the main diningroom. We all opted for a buffet lunch which offered a vast array of salads, starters, mains and desserts. We were also very happy with the fantastic selection of South African wines on offer.
At 14h00 we bade farewell to our hosts and returned to terra firma wishing we would could stay and sail onwards to the United Kingdom instead of returning to the hussle and bustle of daily commute and hum drum phone calls.
A big Thank you to Esther Currie for inviting us and to Triton Cape for hosting. Mv Boudicca is a grand old lady of the sea and I thoroughly enjoyed my few hours onboard. I can only imagine that a full voyage would be an absolute deli