Happy mid-week everyone – we’re half way to the weekend again! Things have been super busy since I came down from my cruising cloud just over a week ago and it’s been taking a while for me to readjust and catch up with everything. Not a minute has passed when I haven’t wished I was back in the Caribbean – and the British weather certainly isn’t helping the situation!
I would like to use this opportunity to thank you all for your wonderful comments and feedback I’ve received since coming home, it’s truly humbling and I can’t begin to describe how much I appreciate it. My Facebook page is fast becoming a friendly community and I hope you all continue to enjoy my updates and future blogs – both cruising and baking!
With this post comes a little bit of exciting news. As those of you who have followed my musings so far will probably know, inclusion and accessibility to all is a topic which is very close to my heart. Therefore, when I’m onboard any ship I always like to look at the facilities onboard from this perspective. Indeed, recently onboard Britannia one of my ‘Live Blogs’ was related to this. However, although I’ve had a lot of experience with various disabilities and special educational needs, there is nothing better than hearing from someone’s first-hand experiences. So I am pleased and privileged to welcome Zoë Escudier-Davies to my blog who has kindly let me be the voice to her cruising experiences! Zoë is a courageous and determined woman who doesn’t let her health issues and disabilities define her. She has a passion for cruising and is the perfect person to bring accessible cruising to the forefront. I’ve been inundated with positivity recently and I’m sure you will all keep this going for Zoë.
Every once in a while I will be posting a blog that will be informed by Zoë, providing a mini-review of the ships which she has sailed on. Last year Zoë took a 2 night cruise across to Bruges, Belgium on none other than P&O Cruises Britannia! Therefore, given the Britannia theme running on my blog at the moment, it seemed a perfect place to start! However, before we launch into her mini-review, I feel it’s important to tell you a little bit about the lady herself.
Zoë suffers from several life threatening conditions which has left her extremely unwell. A rare condition known as hyperadrenergic postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) has left her at constant risk of a stroke, whilst Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) affects all her joints, which dislocate daily. These are just two of many conditions that Zoë lives with and has made her a full-time wheelchair user. This is only a small part of Zoë’s story, but I feel it is enough for me to say that she has been through, and continues to battle a lot and is a strong and inspirational personal. Despite her struggles, Zoë describes herself as cheeky, stubborn and full of fun and laughter, and of course, loves to cruise! She cruises with her partner, Carl, who she recently married on Waimanalo Beach, O’ahu! Every day is both a struggle and a blessing but she’s determined to make most of life!
Zoë’s motto in life? ‘Everyday may not be good, but there is something good in every day’
I‘m sure you will all join me in welcoming the inspirational Zoë to our blog and community. I’m truly touched that she has chosen my blog to share her views with the world. So, without further ado…let’s talk about P&O Britannia with Zoë.
Itinerary: P&O Cruises Britannia – 24th March 2017 – 2 night Belgium break.
The ship: P&O Britannia is a large ship with a capacity of 3647 passengers. Given how she is modern and spacious the ship is very wheelchair friendly and accessible. There are hoists in the pool areas, which is not often seen on ships, so was a clear sign that some thought had been given to accessibility onboard. The atrium on this ship was very light and airy it’s square and modern and getting around is easy. We went on this ship to try it out, we have done a few of these just to see what the ships are like and whether we would want to sail on them for a longer period. Britannia certainly is a beautiful ship but personally we do prefer ships a little smaller.
The Cabin: We had a wheelchair accessible balcony cabin – B713. It was lovely, spacious and modern and suited my needs well. The only down fall was the balcony. The newer ships tend to have very narrow balconies and forget about wheelchair users and accessibility. This makes it almost impossible to enjoy the balcony comfortably, with little space to manoeuvre with a wheelchair as you can see from the photo!
Also, we were located at the aft end of the ship this time and would not choose a cabin in this location again. This was because the vibrations from the engines are more prominent all of the time and it can feel like you’re in a washing machine, which I found quite uncomfortable. So for us we will not stay at the back again.
The Food: The food was great throughout. Speciality restaurants (at extra charge) Sindhu, The Beach House and The Glass House were well worth the money and would definitely go again. I have some dietary requirements and I am pleased to say this was never an issue. The buffet was good but you need to eat quick as it goes cold fast! Unfortunately, I found trying to find a seat to be hard, unless you don’t mind sharing, bearing in mind some tables are too restrictive to use my wheelchair at. They offer a grab and go service which is great, is very convenient and tastes good!
Excursions: On this cruise there wasn’t much to offer for excursions but we took one to a chocolate shop and it was not bad for the price to be fair. Bruges is a very beautiful place but unfortunately is all cobbled making it very uncomfortable being in a wheelchair. This is probably worth bearing in mind for wheelchair users.
Conclusion: Overall, P&O Cruises Britannia is a beautiful ship. She has lots of places to go, relax and eat and drink and is very geared up for wheelchair users and accessibility. Though we prefer smaller ships, we would definitely sail on her again with the right itinerary.
I would like to thank Zoë for this fresh perspective on P&O Britannia and accessible cruising and I can’t wait to share more from her in the future. But for now that’s a wrap! Don’t worry, I haven’t finished with Britannia yet. Coming soon I will be posting my final summary and review from my time onboard so stay tuned for that one!
Don’t forget to ‘Like’ my Facebook page or follow me with the links below to stay updated! For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, I am currently running a competition to win a cruise themed mini-hamper!! So don’t miss out and for your chance to win head over to my Facebook page for more info!
All that’s left for me to say is thank you again. Your messages of love, support and encouragement have meant more than words can describe. My life is literally all over the place at the moment, but this blog has become a small piece of sanctuary for me and the amazing community growing around it has inspired me to keep pressing forward! So thank you. I truly hope you continue to enjoy my thoughts and writings.
As always, keep smiling and happy sailing 🙂