Blackbeard concludes his reports on his first cruise, an Iberian adventure on board Spirit of Adventure, with some final thoughts about the ship
I had many preconceptions at the beginning of the week and an overwhelming sinking feeling that I was about to encounter a Butlins at sea floating town with passengers crammed aboard like sardines.
There may well be ships like that, but Spirit of Adventure is certainly not one of them. Small it may be, but it is big enough to cater for all 350 passengers comfortably and it is more like a luxury yacht than an imposing megaship.
Not surprisingly, I was one of the youngest passengers on board, and it was frequently assumed I was a member of crew or part of the entertainment – perhaps I should have brought my guitar along and I could have accompanied the flamenco dancers who performed one evening.
Most of my fellow travellers were from the UK and many had taken advantage of Spirit’s all-inclusive travel package direct from home to the ship. My nearest cabin neighbours, however, were from New York. They were cruise ship regulars, but this was their first time on board Spirit and they were as enthusiastic as I was.
That might have had something to do with the fact they were staying on one of the most luxurious suites, but I couldn’t be too envious because I had a de luxe cabin complete with a butler who will even unpack and pack your cases.
On Spirit there’s no need to worry about how much to tip the butler or indeed any other member of staff – like the travel to the ship and the excursions in port, gratuities are included in the fare.
I had been told that meals are a highlight of any cruise and my voyage was no exception. There was freshly-prepared food in abundance, much of it bought ashore by executive chef Gavin Baxter, who also gladly leads tours of the galley.
At the end of my week on board I left the ship in Malaga right in the middle of a local air show. As I walked away from the ship I almost thought that the roar from the Typhoon Eurofighter overhead had been specially arranged to welcome, such was the degree of organisation I had grown accustomed to.