Northants Nutters at Sea (2024) โ€“ 29th June (Day 1)

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Welcome to Day 1. Here we are, aka The Northants Nutters group – and we’re all at sea!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜€.

Rhonda, Geoff, Nicki, Richard, Sue, Paul, Ann and yours truly!

In fact, we’re building up quite a travel record together…

Northants Nuttersยฎ Tour Dates

Our first Warner experience
Warner Weekend 2019 โ€“ Littlecote House Hotel
(March 2019)

Our second visit to Warnerโ€™s
Warner Weekend 2020 โ€“ Holme Lacy House
(March 2020)

Our third visit to Warnerโ€™s
Warner Weekend 2021 โ€“ Gunton Hall
(August 2021)

Our fourth visit to Warnerโ€™s
Warner Weekend 2022 โ€“ Alvaston Hall
(January 2022)

โ€ฆand then we went abroadโ€ฆ
we flew to Cyprus!!
Northants Nutters abroad
(November 2022)

…and then we were all at sea!
Northants Nutters at Sea
(August 2023)

Last year, in August, we decided to try cruising as a group for the very first time. We enjoyed it (and each other’s company) so much, that we agreed we’d do it all again! So, with the bookings made, here we all are aboard the good ship Ventura for a 10-day affair taking in Spain, Portugal… and Guernsey! ๐Ÿ˜€

3,078 Passenger Capacity, 1,205 Crew and 8 Nutters!
The itinerary

Unlike our last Cruise together where our cabins were all pretty close to each other, this time we’re all over the Ship! We’re on Deck 8 – Cabin e330 – with a partial view of a lifeboat. whilst half of the Nutters are a few decks above! Ah well, it’ll help with my daily step-count! ๐Ÿ˜ตโ€๐Ÿ’ซ

A few days before we left, P&O sent out an email informing us to all arrive TWO HOURS LATER than planned. All very mysterious, but it turned out to be ‘more of the same’ (from a few months back) where back then, Ventura required a ‘deep clean’ after a nasty outbreak of Norovirus! Oooo err! as they say! And no doubt, the full facts about this latest incident will emerge once we’re on board! ๐Ÿค”. In fact, we didn’t have to wait that long as the ‘mystery’ was revealed, making the BBC News HERE.

It wasn’t quite what ‘unique cruise’ conjured up, but it was too late to turn back now! ๐Ÿค”

Elsewhere, just to make things even more challenging, no-one had told our ‘meeters and greeters’ who were taking care of our car about the suggested later arrival – and they were closing at 3pm! We had been told not to get there until the revised time of 2.45pm (but that was a bit close for comfort in my book) so we ignored the official advice (like many others, as it would turn out) and left with plenty of time to spare.

9.30am: We’re off! It was a good journey overall, but we hit pockets of congestion along the route. All things considered, though, pretty uneventful – that made for a good start!

But things were about to change!

Queuing! Not advertised in the brochure

2.35pm: When we arrived to drop the car off, the car-park was absolutely manic, and all the staff we spoke to, appeared VERY stressed! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ. However, despite the volume of cars and people, we were soon ‘meeted’ and ‘greeted’ with ‘EVie’ taken care of in double-quick time. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

At last, we were on our way to the Departure Terminal! Without doubt, this was the busiest we’d seen the Mayflower Terminal in many, many years, and it all looked a little disorganised and chaotic, with queues for dropping off luggage and more queues waiting outside for the doors to open (literally). Clearly, like us, a lot of people had ignored the ‘arrive two hours later’ email and all turned up around the same time.

2.45pm: After a few WhatsApps, we worked out that we were the first pair of Nutters to arrive with Paul & Sue closely behind, then Rich & Nicki and finally, Geoff & Rhonda. Queues, queues and more queues still seemed to be the order of the day – and whilst we waited, it brought out the best (and worst! Yes, ‘gobby Scots woman’, we’re looking at you!) of human nature whilst we all enjoyed ‘the outdoors’ a little earlier (and longer) than planned! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜Ž

From dropping-off the car and getting on board took us just under an hour, but others weren’t so lucky. It wasn’t the greatest of starts to the break – but queueing is a national sport for us Brits, isn’t it? ๐Ÿค”

3.40pm: With all the challenges now behind us, we were finally – officially – onboard. Whilst we waited for our fellow Nutters to join us, we headed for the Buffet for a quick nibble. Next stop? – our home for the next ten days – Cabin E330.

Jessica introduced herself as our Cabin Steward and explained the essentials – at last, after the fiasco of waiting to board, some order and calm had finally arrived! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜

By the time we were ALL on board, it was gone 5. We all agreed to meet up for our first evening meal, at 6.30pm, in the Baytree Restaurant.

6.30pm: It’s all go! Here we are in the Baytree Restaurant as we (eventually) set sail down the Solent out of Southampton, with a day at sea ahead of us before our first stop in Santander, Spain. The tannoy reminders for two guests (and then three) who clearly hadn’t checked-in properly (or had gone AWOL) – err, HOW? – became a constant reminder that even simple things can sometimes go wrong. I’m not sure whether they found them, but after about 30 minutes, the announcements fell silent, leaving us to enjoy our meal and head for sunnier climes.

The service was a tad slow (as it often is on ‘first night’) but we enjoyed our food, our serving staff were all smiles and politeness whilst, of course, it was good to all be together with our fellow Nutters after the initial chaos.

9.48pm: We ended our evening in the Bar (The Glass House) – one of eleven Bars onboard – where over cocktails and other beverages, we planned tomorrow’s activities. There’s the England match showing onboard tomorrow and for some of us, that’s a must-see, for others – a must avoid! Ventura feels busy, but there are plenty of staff too! Since we were last here in 2013, the Ventura has had at least one makeover, and looks all the better for it.

Ahh, a calm and relaxing end to the day (and after today’s shenanigans, just how it should be). Tomorrow, we have a day at sea, heading for Santander!

See you Sunday!

10.22pm: A late for us these days! Nighty-night! ๐Ÿ’ค๐Ÿ’ค

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