This month I would like to give details of a cruise I have recently taken. It was reasonably priced, even allowing for the controversial fact that travelling alone attracts a single supplement which though less on this particular cruise, can add up to 50% of the advertised cost.
Travel agents can offer coach transfer, with collection points on the way to Alicante - the port of embarkation.
The ship was Horizon, being one of four vessels operated by Permantur Cruceros.
A plus on this particular company's vessels is that the cost is inclusive of a free drinks package. Not all cruise lines offer this as inclusive.
Horizon is a medium sized ship with a capacity of 1800 passengers - some difference to larger vessels with a capacity of 6,000 plus passengers, which in my experience, are floating theme parks with many types of rides and experiences of a typical shore based resort, which are ideal for families that seek this type of holiday.
I booked an outside cabin with a window, which was very comfortable and service from the steward was excellent. The ship, with me safely ensconced on board, following security checks at Alicante terminal, departed on Saturday afternoon 1st April on an overnight passage to Malaga at the commencement of this 8 day/7 night cruise. I may say that the food and entertainment on this ship was top class with little dress formality, although it was requested 'no shorts and t-shirts' for evening meals in the main restaurant which was largely adhered to over the time on board.
Arriving in Malaga early morning on Day 2, organised tours were available to be booked on board, though of course there was the option of making your own arrangements on shore which I chose, walking around the town and harbour. The terminal here is very central.
Departing Malaga early evening, the next day (Day 3) was at sea, destined for Porto Torres, Sardinia and arriving mid-afternoon on Day 4. Tours to various points around the island were available and I booked a wine and cheese tasting excursion into the city of Alghero, (a 30 minute coach journey), to a restaurant overlooking the Marina. This is a historic and wonderful city to visit, with one surprise - a visit to a 'Coral Museum'. I was mistakenly under the impression coral reefs were mainly to be found in tropical climes. One benefit of cruising is that there are many surprises to be experienced and wonderful countries to visit.
We departed that evening for Civitavecchia, (for Rome), arriving at 09.00 the following morning and as I had visited Rome previously, I decided to discover the sites within Civitavecchia itself.
Departing at 19.00, we arrived at the Port of Livorno the following morning where organised tours were available for Florence and Pisa. I chose the latter, a city of course that not only offers the Leaning Tower as an attraction, but a number of wonderful historic buildings that surround the tower. Pisa is a wonderful city to visit.
The following day was at sea, obviously giving the opportunity of relaxation or enjoying facilities and entertainment available on board, including shops where fashion accessories, toiletries, souvenirs and duty free goods etc are available. On the upper decks is the swimming pool, gymnasium, jacuzzi, solarium, spa facilities and a buffet restaurant offering an alternative to the main restaurant (on deck 7).
There are a number of bars throughout the ship; some with live entertainment and a casino together with a theatre offering spectacular presentations.
Unfortunately all too soon the cruise was concluded by arriving at Alicante the following morning, Saturday 8th where a coach was waiting for our return to Torrevieja.
In summary, it was a great experience for seasoned cruisers and an introduction to cruising for those not having cruised previously, where excellent service was provided by efficient and helpful staff, cabin stewards, waiters, reception and excursion staff alike.
This cruise is thoroughly recommended when the opportunity arises.