So the final scores have been counted and verified.
Roll of drums and big pause....... but you can see this coming a mile off. It's like Anne Widdecombe not winning Strictly.
If money were no object it would be Cunard Princess Grill every time. In fact if money were no object it would be Queens Grill. P&O suite sized cabin and even better grub.
But this was a special treat and money is usually a consideration. So yes, we'd look out for the deals, but generally the Grills might be out of our reach. We've been looking at some cruises ahead speculatively and we were talking nearly £10,000 for the two of us in Princess Grill on QV on one we fancied. Bearing in mind we did the Britannia Maiden for £4,000 for the two of us in a Superior Deluxe Balcony cabin, a similar space, albeit 4 years ago, that's a big difference.
We loved to be able to push the Deck 11 button in the lifts and escape the comparative crowds down below, even if I was bit self conscious sometimes putting the cruise card in the slot. I often waited till everyone else got out at Deck 10 and then did it quickly.
The Queens Room dancing is a big draw, and we loved the flexibility of dining when we want at the same table. Maybe a fall back would be Britannia Club, but that would mean a standard balcony cabin again. That's what we have on QM2 next year (not even the Club version) but we have got used to the extra space. Price wise we could usually book a suite on P&O and pay the extra to eat in Epicurean every night and still be winning. And lycra apart we do still like Azura and her sisters.
The experience made us think about Saga again and their new offering, Spirit of Discovery. Their prices have always seemed expensive to us, even when we take into account their included chauffeur service and drinks. So we thought we'd look again at them too. And then their latest offers dropped through our letter box and our jaws dropped through the floor.
14 nights Baltic later this year.
P&O Arcadia: Balcony £1,999; Suite £3,379.
Cunard Queen Victoria (same sized ship of course, same basic hull, but very different inside): Balcony £1,899 (yes, less than P&O!); Princess Grill £4,799; Queen's Grill £5,593
Spirit of Discovery: Balcony £2,999; Deluxe Balcony (not as big as a QV PG and none of the frills) £6,066; Suite £7,308
We may continue to give Saga a miss!
And of course we still have Princess Cruises Club Class to put into the mix. Not Grills standard but a step up from Club or Freedom in the MDR.
So there is it. We've loved our look at life on the other side and would love to do it again. But it will very much depend on what's around at the time. Our next trip is QM2 in 2020. Not sure what we're doing in 2021. Might be land based or grab a late bargain. 2022 will be P&O because we plan to take our daughter and grand-daughters and (a) think the P&O kids' clubs look better and (b) want to put the three of them into a Superior Deluxe sized cabin and I'm not sure the Grills are ready for a 9 and 10 year old (or indeed my wallet!
But after that, who knows? Though we do suspect we may be growing into Cunard passengers.