Where in the world is Britannia? Well, today we are at sea, heading back home towards Southampton. I am not quite ready to leave this rather large beauty yet, but we have another sea day to enjoy, so no tears are allowed, only smiles and of course, a catch up.
After leaving Barcelona we made our way towards Monte Carlo (one of my favourite ports) where I had an afternoon tour booked to the medieval town of Eze and the town of Menton. The tour was good, although we barely had any time in Eze, which was quite disappointing as it is a beautiful place with a lot to offer – including incredible views! After a quick 30-minute stop we boarded the coach and made our way towards Menton, here we had approx. one hour to enjoy the cafes and shops. It was a beautiful town, it really was, and I imagine during the summer months it would be alive with people enjoying the restaurants and cafes that lined the shore. Definitely a place I would like to go again!
Britannia was at anchor in Monte Carlo and by the time we arrived back to the ship the sea state had changed quite a bit. All I can say is that the tender operation was an experience and a half! Massive credit to the crew as the circumstances were incredibly challenging but they handled it perfectly! The crossing itself from shore to ship was relatively calm, but once alongside Britannia, it got a little hair raising. I enjoyed the experience, me being weird and all, but I know a few people felt quite unwell because of the bobbing and the crew really did take risks with their own safety to ensure every passenger got back onboard safely. We were due to leave Monaco at roughly 5:30pm, but the tender operation didn’t finish until almost 8pm!
Once the anchor was raised, it was back to business as usual and on to our next port, Civitavecchia in Italy – the gateway to Rome. I had no tours booked here, I had quite fancied doing the ‘Taste of Tuscania’ excursion, but sadly both the morning and afternoon tours were fully booked – one to add to my list for next time! I left Britannia early afternoon and took a walk into town, 95% of the shops and cafes were closed by this time but I didn’t mind, it was nice to just stretch ones legs and an obligatory stop was made at Mc Donalds! Rather than take the shuttle back to the ship I opted to walk as the shuttle drop-off point has changed. You are no longer dropped at the gates, instead you are taken quite a way out of the city centre – a good 10 to 15-minute walk away to be precise – and by the time I got to where the original drop off point was it seemed silly to then walk all the way back to the shuttle point to then come back on myself. If you are fit and able, then I would advise you just take the walk into the city.
We left Civitavecchia and sailed for Ajaccio in Corsica. I had another afternoon tour booked here, ‘Vizzavona Forest and the Corsican Countryside’, which didn’t quite go to plan thanks to Mother Nature. We made our way up into the mountains and by 800 feet you could barely see a hand in front of your face because of the cloud and fog – it almost felt solid in some places. We stopped at a mountain top Chateau where we spent 45-minutes eating pork and cheese. I wasn’t a huge fan, I’m not big on cured meats, so I ate my way through 3 slices of baguette instead. From here we were supposed to stop at a mountain village, which I was very much looking forward to, but sadly the itinerary was changed and instead we made our way back down the mountain and towards the port. Our guide took us on a 45-minute city tour to compensate, which was nice but not really what I had hoped for. Such is life, we can’t do anything about the weather and it was nice that they offered an alternative. I would definitely do the tour again, but maybe in the summer months. I imagine the views would be spectacular, but sadly we couldn’t see beyond a few feet. The below was the extent of my Corsica photography – you literally couldn’t see ANYTHING!
Our day in Ajaccio ended with warm sunshine and a lively sailaway party, I really did enjoy it and it was fantastic to finally see Britannia’s open decks jam packed with people simply having a good time and enjoying the break in the weather.
A stop in Cartagena swiftly followed, as did the rain. Again I had nothing planned for this port aside from a stroll into town. I do like Cartagena, but it is not quite the same in the pouring rain and I was soaked by the time I made it back to the ship. That evening I dined in Sindhu again, I really do like the food in there! To start I went with a dish called ‘Karara Kekda Aur Avocado’, which was crisp fried soft shell crab with avocado panna cotta and apple salad. It was so full of flavour, definitely the best starter I have tried in there by a long mile. For my main course I went with the ‘Murgh Kesari Korma’ – saffron infused chicken korma with raisin pilau rice. This was my second korma experience, so it’s fair to say I am a big fan of that too.
Our final port of call was Cadiz and Mother Nature blessed us with temperatures reaching a high of around 21 degrees Celsius in the city centre. Perfect sailaway weather and what a sailaway it was! One of the best I have experienced aboard a P&O Cruises ship. I think almost every passenger was out on deck waving their flags, singing along to the music and loving every single moment of it. It was a great sight.
We are at sea today and tomorrow, and will sadly have to say goodbye to Britannia on Saturday morning. I am going to miss this ship, I have definitely fallen for her charms, but I know I will be back one day. I actually feel like I have been on the ship for a lot longer than 2-weeks! Don’t you just love it when your holiday doesn’t fly!
I have so much more to share with you, so watch this space because although the cruise may almost be over – my Britannia blogging is not! ;)