Well yesterday (11th January) my good lady and I were up early, and were soon on a train bound for London to go to The Telegraph Cruise Show held a the London Excel.
Since I left the IT industry some 10 years ago, I do not now need to travel for work purposes, so its some time since I have been on a train, bound for London.
But we soon reached Stratford, with its imposing Westfield Shopping Centre , but no time for shopping today, and we were soon boarding the Docklands Light Railway (another first for us) to Customs House station near Docklands, to arrive a few minutes later at London Excel.
Having never been to this part of the world before, even though I was born in the eastend of London, (I had moved out long before the building started here) I thought the Excel was very impressive, and along with the cruise show, there was a wedding show and a boat show, but more of that later.
Now during my years, I have been many a trade exhibition, but never a cruise related one, so again another first for us.
The cruise show was held in hall N5, most if not all of the major players had stands there, the largest of which went to P&O and RCI.
P&O's stand was majoring on the Britannia, and yes I did get a P&O bag with Britannia on it.
On talking to a P&O representative on the stand, she said a lot more details would come out in February, which I think is fairly common knowledge, but also said you will be able to book a cruise on her in March. Assuming she meant this year, that was news to me, so we will have to wait and see, as we would not mind doing the maiden cruise.
River cruising was also covered at the show, with Viking etc, but also companies I had never hear of such as American Steamboat Company, and Tauck River Cruising.
There were two areas at the rear of the hall for talks on "Destinations" and "Cruises", and there was also and area in the middle of the hall for live bands.
I think the synchronization between the band and talks could have been a bit better, as the speaker had to try and overcome the band sometimes.
We listened to a couple of talks, one on Turkey, and one given by a travel writer from the Telegraph (well it was their show) on the Baltic and Fjords, which I though was excellent.
We visited most of the stands, and even had a very pleasant chat with one of the Captains from Cunard, who did his best to convince us to try a Cunard cruise.
Well, it is on the list, but we are full up until March 2105, and if we do the Britannia maiden, it will have to be after that, plus we are hoping to get away for Christmas / New Year 2105, as we will both will have just retired, so it could have to be 2106, but I can't think that far ahead at present.
So we then decided to pop into the boat show as we also had complementary tickets for that.
Well cruise ships they are not, but some of them still had the WOW factor, and were slightly more than a cruise would cost
So now we can look forward to our next cruise in March as we go up into the Arctic Circle to hopefully see the Northern Lights