Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Our First Escape Of The Winter.

Again on P&O Cruises, and again on Oriana - this time a two week cruise around the Mediterranean, and an excellent time was had. Having cruised four weeks on Queen Elizabeth's world cruise earlier in the year, we do find P&O Cruises to be a much more relaxed atmosphere with very little difference in the quality of their offering.

As is usual these days we used an Intercruises coach on the 30th October to get us down to Southampton in a luxurious and relaxing way, arriving in time to catch our Caribbean loyalty tier welcome buffet with drinks, which was by invitation only in the Oriental Restaurant.

Then in the late afternoon, and in unusually pleasant weather we were off down towards the Isle of Wight and towards the notorious Bay of Biscay, which as it happens was quite calm on the way down.

After three days at sea, our first port of call was Alicante. We have visited this lovely town before, and find the old town in particular a lovely place to visit. Most people of course only get as far as it's airport to move on to their respective beach resort.

The next day it was on to Barcelona - one of our favourites, and as a result of what was reported to be happening there earlier, our visit was looking a little doubtful. As it happened we made it, and had another lovely walk around this beautiful city with no sign of demonstrations on the day.

Next port was supposed to be Marseille, with a tour booked to taste wine at Chateauxneuf du Pape followed by lunch. However, due to the high winds caused by the Mediterranean Mistral our visit had to be bypassed for safety reasons, and we went straight on to Livorno, where we had another visit booked - transport only to take us first to Pisa to see it's leaning Tower, and then on to Florence for a four hour visit, which was a first time for us, and we found it to be a stunning historic city.

After Livorno it was across to the French Island of Corsica to visit the lovely town of Ajaccio, birth place of one Napoleon Bonaparte.

Then, again due to the Mistral wind, we took a slightly longer overnight alternative route back to Gibraltar where we spent the afternoon through to 11.00pm ............

.......before departing for Cadiz, our final port of call. Morrisons in Gibraltar was, as is usual for us, used to obtain our duty free allowance of spirits to put towards our Christmas celebrations.

The last time we visited Cadiz this time last year, we again used transport to visit Seville. This time we decided to explore the city itself and what an absolute gem it is, being able to cross the road from the ship and find yourself straight in town.

As for Oriana herself - we found her to be in immaculate condition inside and out after her recent refit. All carpets and interior furnishings had been replaced and she was immaculate.

All in all we had an absolutely fabulous cruise and spent much of our time in the lovely company of old and new friends.


  1. Lovely photos Peter sounds lovely, not as warm as I perhaps thought by what people are wearing in the photos not tee shirts and shorts weather.
    I do like the idea of a cruise but not interested in wearing suits for dinner and find foreign visits daunting, perhaps though a quick day out and back to familiar ground would be the way to do it. With knowledgeable people about to help you avoid the hassle we normally end up having being self guided.
    Cheers for the post

    1. Hi Ade. We find a cruise is by far the easiest and safest way to visit foreign countries - view it as an open top bus tour across Europe, or the world, with a day to have a look around a new place, always having the sanctuary of the ship to return to anytime you want.
      As for dressing up for the evening, P&O Cruises have significantly relaxed their evening dress codes and mostly a smart polo shirt and slacks will suffice, with a couple of formal dress evenings a week, which we love, but you can opt out if you wish - just don’t visit the venues on board that insist on dressing up to go in. On the other hand there are cruise lines such as NCL and Thompson for example that don’t have a dress code at all, so choose the one that suits you best.
      As for a short “try out” cruise as a first time try, we wouldn’t recommend that. These are often boisterous party cruises and don’t give you the best view of what cruising is all about. We would suggest at least 7 days to get the best idea, then you can decide whether you love it or hate it and take it from there.
      We love it, as when you walk on board you can just forget everything and just wander around the different countries of the world.

  2. Thanks for the info there Peter, something to ponder and I can see what you say makes perfect sense.

  3. One assume by now you and Margaret are on first name basis with the crew :-)


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