OK .. it has to be said that I’m going on this trip with a lot of preconceived ideas… all of which I am quite prepared to have smashed to pieces once I get on the ship. These preconceived ideas are not completely without foundation. Over the thirteen years I have lived in Madrid I have met up with Mum & Dad on various occasions when they have docked in Spain and Portugal. I’ve picked them up from the quayside as the masses queued up, seemingly endlessly (it takes a while for 3000 people to get off a ship in more or less single file), to then board buses to take them to the English Bars on the sea front. I’m not saying anything, but you know when a cruise ship is in town in Alicante just by the flora and fauna of Brits that populate the bars ‘en primera linea del mar’, they don’t blend in well with the Madrileños who have their second homes there.
I did spend a couple of hours idly assessing the on-board amenities (and trying not to have anxiety attacks at the same time). I went into the FAQ to find out the possibilities of jogging around the deck.. partly out of curiosity to see how many kilometres a full circuit would be and partly to see whether I will be able to run round fast enough to reach escape velocity and fly away from the confines of matching bar stools, programmed entertainment and glitzy spas for a while (90 f*****g quid for a facial!!.- I’m coming from poor Spainland and only have my 50 quid early booking voucher to redeem in the whole trip.. and I have to pay for my wine!!).
I really don’t buy into this ‘everything designed to make your stay the perfect experience’ thing .. as I really don’t like being told what ‘perfect’ is.. I’m sure my idea will not coincide with the other 2999 passengers, but ho hum. It seems that jogging round the deck is actively discouraged as there is a wonderfully conditioned gym to do my physical jerks in, and it is suggested that perhaps the deck might be a little too narrow for jogging round, (these guys clearly haven’t run around the streets of your average Spanish pueblo)!! But what if I want to suck up some sea air whilst exercising? I personally don’t want to be sweating in a hermetically sealed box looking out to sea when there is a possibility of a seagull shitting on my head as I clock up my kilometers. Weird I know, but hey.. I’ve got a shower in my billy no mates bunker.
I’m sure it will be a weird sensation to be standing on the balcony and watching quayside gradually get smaller and smaller, just as I have stood and watched from the quayside as mum and dad turn slowly into little dots on many occasions. I’ve never quite got my head round just how big these ships are, and how small we look when up alongside them. And I’m sure my worries about claustrophobia will be unfounded.. so long as I can find my quiet corner.