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Tuesday 12 September 2017

My Mini Cruise: #1. Cruizin' Cuzins A-board

Ahoy there, me hearties!
Junior Rating Pout reporting back for duty, Sir M'am!

OK, nuff of the sea-jargon, I think I've reached my limit anyway.

Life on board a cruise liner.  Wow!!!
I recently thoroughly enjoyed a mini cruise from Southampton to Brugge.
Just two nights on board but enough to give me a little taster of cruise life, this being my absolute first cruise.

But let's start at the very beginning, that's a very good place to start ...  Julie Andrews was definitely on to something there, it really is a good place to start.

Our journey started with a plane trip to Southampton, from where we would board our cruise liner.
Four cousins from Guernsey, one being my Sis,  met up with two from the IOM the day before embarkation, so had an overnight in the lovely city
What fun, what catching up chat was to be had!  Cousins, eh?


I'd just like to give Southampton a mention.  I love it!
It's a Star Trek beam up from Guernsey, so I really don't know why I don't go more often.  The place keeps getting makeovers and is looking lovely, so tastefully modern.  Everything we needed was near to hand from our lovely Premier Inn - restaurants, shops ... Ikea :-).  The atmosphere is nice, the place is nice, everything is near to hand.  Love it!


We ate two meals at nearby Bill's before we boarded ship.  It's a chain, but it doesn't feel like a chain.  We don't have one on our island ... maybe we should , eh Bill?  Yes, I enquired and there is a Bill!
I learned from our waiter that Bill keeps a personal and meticulous eye over their interiors and it shows.  So nice.

I liked the lamp.  I attempted to get it in a selfie.  Second attempt seems to have worked.

And I would just like to say that Bill's served me the best Red Thai Curry I've ever tasted. And that's  EVER!


Whilst shop-mooching after brekkie next day, I saw these pineapple glasses and thought of Andrea (Living on Cloud Nine).  She loves anything pineapple.  Cheers. Andrea!

My mini-cruise to Brugge

Day 1


I have to admit that as this was my first cruise, I was more than a bit apprehensive about the sheer scale of the thing, the cruise liner, the number of people ... but I have to say that from embarkation point onwards, there were only a few occasions when I had a real sense of size and the numbers on board ... and, indeed, of being on a ship at all.


Wow!  I was like a country cousin in the big city for the first time. Mouth a-gape!
Everything's so HUGE!

On arrival we headed straight for the bar elegantly enjoyed a celebratory glass of wine.  See that light fitting.  HUGE!


The cabins.

The peeping Double Cuz.
We didn't have much time to enjoy our balconies, we were busy, busy, busy!

Life on board

Essential "admin" and waiting time ate into a disproportionate amount of our time on-board this mini-cruise, it's fair to say.  But, hey, it's gotta be done, no matter what length of cruise you're on.
Arrival admin done, we pootled around getting our bearings on board, then spruced ourselves up and headed to our first night's choice of restaurant.  The food and service were fine but the waiter, though charming, did make it clear that there was a long line of people outside waiting for our table.  

A different show each night.  Here, a superb performance from Jimmy James.  He sang a lot of fine Temptations numbers.  Most danceable.  And yes, I danced in the aisles for most of it!  I shouldn't have.  But  you cannot keep an arthritic Pout on her Perch for long if the music is so good.

Our IOM cousins showed us how to play cards and roulette in the casino.  They actually came out with more than they went in with!

What a long day for a The Pensioner Who Pouts.

Day 2

One of the downsides about a mini cruise is that you're up with the lark seagull.

One of the upsides is that you're up with the seagull so get to see beautiful sunrises from your balcony.

We awoke in Zeebrugge.  After an early brekkie, we boarded a bus to ...


Such a pretty place.  I'm doing a separate post on the town, it deserves it. 

Afternoon tea

After a comprehensive guided walk through the town, a canal cruise and, yes, a little shop mooching, we returned to the ship.  We freshened up, then Sis and I reflected on Brugge, life and the universe out on our balcony.  Then we mustered for the afternoon tea, for we had been told it is a MUST do.  

Well, tea was a bit weird.  There was a salad bar (superb) and little cakes (superber).  As I wandered round the swarming buffets I saw rows of hot food, like cottage pies, roasts etc etc.  But no little finger sandwiches.  No scones.  Surreal afternoon tea, we all agreed as we tucked into healthy salad and mini carrot cake. 

One Cuz returned to the salad bar for a top up and came back with a filled bap (bun/biscuit) and excitedly told us that the buffets were now re-stocked with baps and fresh cream cakes - errr, that sounds like afternoon tea stuff.
 I looked at my watch.  Only 3.10pm.  Yup.  Our "afternoon tea" had been the tail end of the lunch serving! 
Of course, we had no room for the real tea.  So that was a must-do not-done!

What's a girl to do after that disappointment?

Why, have a pina colada at the pool party on deck, of course!

Leaving Brugge and the party had already kicked off.
Amazing music.  Amazing experience.  But a bit weird.  I had to remind myself that I was on a boat.


We dolled ourselves up and had our OOTDs professionally taken.
And without collusion we'd all done our dolling up within in the black and white spectrum, cousins eh!

We dined in a superb Marco Pierre White restaurant.  The food was amazing, the service was amazing and it was amazing that we were allowed to stay at our table for just about as long as we wanted, no waiter pressure whatsoever.  

In fact, so much did our waiter want us to stick around after dinner, he laid out toothpick brain-teasers to keep us there!  So different from our first dining experience.

Here's one:

Without touching the cheese, move two toothpicks so that the cheese is outside the glass.

There followed another visit to the Roulette wheel, then a show which my Cruizin Cuzinz said was A-MAZ-ING.  
I instead drifted along to the Kareoke bar and OMG, some of the "singing" ... !

It was midnight when Pout Head hit Pout Pillow.

Day 3


And up with the seagull again!

Because of rigid baggage pick up rules and a solitary one hour slot for breakfast window for all on-board and the resulting lift demand, the last day's first hours were, er, "challenging". This can surely be done better.  We then had two hours downtime, waiting for our slot to leave the ship, but that was fine by us because we Cruizin' Cuzins hung on to those last moments of chatting time before we went down the gangplank.  We hugged and said our goodbyes to our IOM mates.  The Guernsey contingent then went on, onwards and upwards, quite literally!

And that, dear reader, was my mini-cruise experience.

Post-cruise reflections.

Although I packed expandable waistbanded clothing as advised my reader Susan (OOTDs post coming up too), it was not put to the test.  Our eating and drinking was most restrained.  I simply can't over-endulge these days.  Age, huh!  Should have cruised when I was younger - the cruise all-you-can-eat experience is wasted on The Retired!!

So, a mini cruise, what are my tips, on reflection?

Pack light, you can re-wear for the few days on-board.
Pack mix and match and have fun with it.
You need a solid timetable to experience all you want in just a few days.
There's little downtime to enjoy the relaxing aspects of cruising, like spas and just chilling on deck, so book a full cruise if that floats your boat (see what I did there?!).
You are constantly on your feet, seagull-dawn to Cinderella-midnight, so pack tried-and-tested comfy shoes.
Go on-board with the spirit of a pioneer, try new experiences and keep going, you can re-charge back home!
Choose cruise companions you love; I loved being with my sis and cousins and that added hugely to the experience.  To quote one lovely cuz: "I'd go anywhere with you lot.  Anywhere".  How nice is that?!

So that was my cruise taster.  Am I ready for a longer cruise?
Ask me another time, I'm still re-charging!

A la perchoine.


  1. It's lovely spending time with cousins - I love mine!

    The cruise looks amazing and two nights sounds just about right for a beginner. I've never been on one. My daughter went on her first mini cruise to Amsterdam this year and loved it.

    Hope you're recharging nicely!

    1. Hi Vronni, yes, I've recently met a few of your cousins via your blog, such a pleasure to spend time together, eh. Think I've just about 're-charged now!
      Thanks for popping in. Hugs, x.

  2. That pineapple glass is definitely something Andrea would love! Isn't that funny, whenever I see anything with pineapples I think of her too! Ahhh, the world of blogging.
    I am so happy you had a good time on your cruise, sounds like you DEFINITELY need to book a longer one with the cruizin cuzins. You ladies are up for it I can tell just by looking at the Pina Colada party. I laugh when people complain about cabin sizes on ships because you honestly spend very little time in your cabin there's so much to do and see.
    The picture of all of you in your black and white is lovely and I know you'll enjoy all the memories it evokes. Seems like you ladies need to make this an annual adventure!

    1. Hi Mrs R, funny how Andrea has got to us, eh?! Annual event? By Day 3 we had made plans for Majorca next year!
      Funny you mention small cabins, I live on an island which I believe has the smallest living space square footage per capita in Europe, so it felt luxurious to me !

  3. Gorgeous story of a fascinating journey. They look forward to going. You look very elegant in your evening dress.

    1. So glad you enjoyed my story, J-M, and thanks for your kind words, I did so enjoy wearing the jumpsuit though it's not clear in the pic that that is what I'm wearing! x.

  4. Oh Pout, I am so glad you enjoyed your mini-cruise. How fun to go with your cousins! We love cruising, even though my husband gets seasick easily. I just make him wear a band, and drag him along anyway. Speaking of cruises, loved hearing about Southampton. We are doing a river cruise to Holland next spring and it leaves from there. Can't wait to hear about the rest of your adventure.

    1. Thanks for popping in, Susan. I hope you noted that I didn't need the expandable waistband after all! Yoor hubby but those bands do really work, I hear. You will love Amsterdam, but do allow time to unwind first in Southampton, it's a great place to eat and mooch and a great start for your cruise. The Premier Inn is very central and v. popular with cruisers. Hugs, x.

  5. Lucky you! I have never been on a cruise before...but it's on my bucket list!

    1. Hi Amy, well keep it on the list and hopefully it will get a big fat strike-off one day soon. Hugs, x.

  6. i have never been on a cruise! my family and friends think i'm crazy bc they love them. they've never appealed to me and i don't know why. i think the closed in feeling? and the food has never appealed to me. but maybe it's time for a change! you've inspired me to take a 2nd look. xoxo

    1. Well, I was apprehensive for the same reasons but I didn't feel swamped by people or claustrophobic and I ate with thought. Go on Janet, give it a try ! Hugs, x.

  7. Ooooo this looks such fun you lucky ladies! You all look wonderful on the more formal shot and the jumpsuit looks fab, it really suits you. Thanks for all the cruise tips, Pout, I also have never indulged...but think I will now!!!

    1. Hi missfish, long time no hear ! Yes, we are lucky on so many counts. Glad you liked us "scrubbed up" so to speak! Before leaving, I was daunted about the posh dress code but you really wear what you enjoying wearing, just
      no jeans when dining! Hope you do give cruising a go and hope you will find my tips helpful. Hugs, x.

  8. Bha ha ha, how sweet you thought of me when you saw the pineapple glass! So glad you did this, you look so happy and cute! Cheers dear friend, Cheers!!

    1. Hi sweetie, Kellyann and I agree, we've have got you and your pineapples under our skin. Try singing THAT to Frank's song! Thanks oodles for your loveliness, x.

  9. Looks like a fun time was had by all. I too like to go to Southampton have they still got that big lkea store there?

    1. Hi Tarquin, so nice to hear from you again. Oh a fellow Southampton fan ... and a fellow Ikea fan too maybe? Yes, I'm pleased to report that the Ikea store is going well there, and it was sooo close to my hotel too. 🙌 What's not to like about Southampton, eh?! Hugs, x.