Milly misses the boat, but still finds there is something to smile about

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millyj.jpgBest-selling author Milly Johnson (left) is trying to live down the embarrassment of missing the boat during her last cruise – she and her two young sons returned from a stroll around Malaga in time to see P&O’s Azura sailing without them.
The self-confessed “daft old bag,” who triumphed in a round of Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me, and earlier this summer was suspended over the studio audience of Keith Lemon’s Lemonaid, had to make arrangements to rejoin the ship at the next port of call.
But that was not until three days later, in a different country, as she relates on her entertaining blog, Witterings of a Barnsley Novelist Bird.
With limited knowledge of Spanish – “Mi shippo, gonn-o,” was the best she could manage to explain her plight – she struggled to get in touch the P&O port agent. Even after they had made contact, her repatriation to the ship was not all plain sailing.
It was a Spanish holiday, which made the search for clean clothes a more difficult task than anticipated, until she found the perfect emporium, “the ideal shop for idiot women who have lost their ship,” as Milly describes it.
“It had everything a hapless traveller could need – undies, socks, shorts, toothpaste, deodorant (tension makes you very unfragrant) and a dress that I, Pavarotti and Demis Roussos could have easily all fitted in together and still had room for a party. That emergency wardrobe cost me £30. We aren’t talking catwalk but when you’ve got your hands on emergency drawers, you don’t care if they’re Prada or Primark.”
With passports provided in a hurry by the British consulate and wearing outfits, she and her sons flew first to Barcelona, where they spent an uncomfortable night in an airport cafe, and then on to Dubrovnik.
From there it was a two-hour bus journey to pick up a ferry to cross to Korcula where another uncomfortable night beckoned – there were no hotel rooms available – until an apartment was found.
“The rep who picked us up had to fill in forms for the police and arranged to meet us the next morning,” says Milly. “The evening was free for us to wander around that gorgeous island and soak up the first pressure-free night in what felt like months. After a shower which felt like rain from heaven.
“We found a café overlooking the sea, ordered icy drinks and three spag bols. We sat and watched the world go by, the moon rise, holidaymakers shop in the markets. It was bliss. I think I slept the best sleep of my life in that little apartment.”
Taking a tender to the ship next morning, Milly hoped to slip quietly back to her cabin, unnoticed among the passengers returning from their excursions.
She had reckoned without a loud greeting broadcast across the ship’s Tannoy: “The Johnson family are back on. I repeat, the Johnson family are back on.” She’s still not sure whether it was cruise director Neil Oliver or Captain Paul Brown who was responsible for that particular embarrassment.
Milly, whose book Here Come the Girls is about four women friends taking a cruise together, said: “That’s my little adventure. It was daft, it was careless, negligent and bloody expensive. But I’m a believer in things happening for a reason and I have a lot to take away from that little diversion.
“I saw parts of Croatia I would never have normally seen and they were beautiful. And I spent a night in Korcula – something I really have wanted to do for a long time (though next time I’ll do it on a more organised basis). I experienced how kind people can be to others – even if they do consider them berks of the highest order.
“If you find yourself on the shore waving to your ship – at least I know the recovery system works. I found out that you might make mistakes but it’s how you resolve them that matters. I discovered how bloody fantastic a cheap Croatian house white wine can taste when it’s enjoyed al fresco. I found out that you might make mistakes but it’s how you resolve them that matters.”

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:44+00:00 5 September 2012|Cruise fun, Cruise people|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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