I have been on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Boudicca for a few days now, so it’s time to let you know what has been happening and where in the world we are, but first, let me tell you about the lady herself. There are a few interior similarities between Boudicca and Braemar (I cruised on Braemar last year to the Baltic), but Boudicca definitely has a little personality all her own – she really is a beautiful ship and I am charmed by her traditional features. I love the Secret Garden Café, her open decks are my kind of ideal and the crew are absolutely fantastic. I have an outside cabin on Deck 5 and it is pretty much perfect for two people. There is plenty of storage space, a vanity area, tea and coffee making facilities and a bathroom with shower.
Our first day was spent at sea, so I had a bit of a lazy morning and then went exploring before having a Black Jack lesson in the afternoon. I never go into casinos at home, only when I am on a ship, and I had been dying to know how you actually play Black Jack. It was fun, there were only 5 of us at the table and we had a few games to help us understand “doubling-up” and “splitting”. I am definitely not an expert, I may need to carry the rules booklet with me if I did decide to have a flutter, but I’m glad I now know the basics.
Portsmouth was our first port of call and I jumped on the shuttle bus and had a walk around Gunwharf Quays. I had thought about checking out the Historic Naval Dockyard, but decided I would save that for a day when I am visiting my friend in Southampton – that way we can combine a bit of history with shopping and food, and make it a real girly day out.
Next, we found ourselves in Falmouth, Cornwall, and it was absolutely beautiful! My plan had been to do an excursion to the Lost Gardens of Heligan, but after having a chat with the shore excursions manager about Falmouth, I decided I wanted to stay a little closer to “home”, so I cancelled my tour and instead explored the harbour. It was a typical, English seaside town and I loved it. I bought fish and chips from Harbour Lights – an award-winning fish and chip shop – and sat on a bench at the waterfront to eat them and watch the little sailing boats come in and go out. I walked right through town, stopping at some wonderful little craft shops, and then made my way towards the Oyster Festival. The town was very busy and it had a great atmosphere. Falmouth is definitely a place I would like to visit again.
Today we find ourselves in Cobh, which is actually pronounced Cove, and my day began with a city tour and then a visit to the Old Jameson Distillery. The city tour was quite nice, but my main reason overall for booking the excursion was to visit the distillery. It was absolutely brilliant, I really did enjoy it and it was fascinating to learn all about the whiskey making process, quite literally, from beginning to end. The best part of the guided tour, for me, was the end. We walked through a dark cellar like type space and it was full of barrels of whiskey, I think the girl said there were 1,500 there in total (although Jameson actually have 1.5 million barrels at present in all) and the smell was incredible! I was also fascinated by the “exchanging” of barrels. I always presumed that the distillery made their own barrels for their own use, but apparently Jameson have barrels imported from the U.S.A and Iberia, barrels that have previously been used by the companies they buy them from to distil their own spirits (bourbon and sherry), hence the unique Jameson flavours. I was very tempted to buy a bottle from the gift shop – the one I wanted was the 12-year old blended whiskey – but it was 55 euro per bottle! Basically, they distil some of the alcohol in one of the barrels from Spain/Portugal and then some in the barrels from the U.S.A., then, when ready, they marry the two together. Apparently you can only buy that particular blend in the town of Midleton, where the distillery is located.
We sail today at approx. 5pm and our next port of call is Dublin. I will update you all again very soon with my Boudicca British Isles and Ireland cruise adventures!