Sailing down a moonbeam at midnight is never guaranteed.
But from the moment you step aboard the Britannia you sense this is going to be a magical experience, a transcendent journey that will take you into the heart of the Caribbean and beyond.
This majestic ship – the jewel in the crown of P&O’s cruise fleet – oozes sophistication with its plush five-star surroundings.
The spectacular Star Burst sculpture, the centrepiece of her atrium, signals the magnitude of her beauty.
And yet the ship underplays its excellence in a restrained and very British way.
Under the steady command of Captain Wesley Dunlop, the 143,000 tonne vessel was to be home for my mum and I for 14 nights.
Our sea passage was to take us a distance of 2,142 nautical miles, departing Bridgetown, Barbados, and on to Curacao, Aruba, Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua and St Maarten.
Within an hour of embarking the ship, warmed by the legendary Barbados rum punch, our cares blew away in the breeze as we chilled out for the sail away party on the lido deck, soaking up the heat beneath the Caribbean sun.
It was very easy to get our Caribbean groove on thanks to the talented Lady B and her band, Steele, who had the sun-lounging crowd singing along to the classic hits of the late, great reggae maestro, Bob Marley.
When it comes to choosing the right cruise line company to travel with, I’m looking for great value, great destinations and even greater food.
And I can confidently say you would be hard pushed to find any to top this one.
Britannia serves up the ultimate posh nosh.
No matter where you choose to dine on board, whether it be the ultimate fine dining experience in the art deco-inspired Epicurean or the self-service Horizon buffet, the selection and quality of food and produce on offer is first class.
From dining at Sindhi, where east meets west, with just the right twist of spice, to the lighter bites and hearty mains in the Glass House, the gastronomic experience is varied but always sublime.
But you don’t have to take my word for it.
Three-times Michelin star chef, Marco Pierre-White is patron of The Cookery Club, and when on board he hosts cookery masterclasses.
The waters of the Caribbean Sea are warm and welcoming.
Is it any wonder that Aruba, where it never rains, is known as the happy place? Grenada, with its lush green forests, is the island of spice,
On rugged but picturesque St Vincent I found myself dipping my toes in a blue lagoon where the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise is filmed, while – you guessed it – sampling again some very good rum punch. Hiccup, me hearties!
Next stop was St Lucia, one of the Caribbean’s little treasures with its secluded beaches and colourful fishing villages.
These are places to pick up a bargain from bustling markets, sample seafood delights, and stroll hand-in-hand along white sandy paradise beaches.
Caribbean, 14 nights, £1,362pp
P&O Cruises is offering a 14 night cruise on Britannia (B932) from £1,362 per person for an inside cabin. Departing November 22 2019 the price includes flights from selected UK airports, kids’ clubs, full board meals and entertainment on board.
Departing from and returning to Barbados ports of call are Curacao, Aruba, Grenada, St Vincent, St Lucia, St Kitts, Antigua, St Maarten.
To book, visit www.pocruises.com, call 03453 555 111 or visit your local travel agent.
On the ship there are numerous leisure options – designer boutiques, swimming pools, deck tennis, a state of the art gym and cookery club, live music, karaoke, big screen football in one of the many bars, cinema shows and the chance to have a flutter at the casino.
The entertainment on board is pretty impressive, too.
Gareth Gates headlined the bill in the Limelight Club and the ship’s theatre shows could easily give the West End a run for its money.
There are also great clubs for the kids, so parents can have the odd guilt-free night-off.
My mum, who has difficulty walking, made her own magical discovery on board. In the Spa Retreat she met acupuncturist Craig Bryson, who has close to 40 years experience in perfecting the ancient and traditional holistic treatment.
Craig’s healing powers certainly helped to put a spring back in her step, which continued long after our Caribbean golden sunkissed tans had faded away.
That the journey aboard the Britannia was in itself magic is no surprise. P&O have been perfecting their craft for close to a century. They are true magicians of the high seas, conjuring a glorious travel experience from the finest destinations.
To be gazing across the ocean as the Britannia follows the reflection of a moonbeam on its surface, drawn on by some celestial guiding light, is to feel immersed in the moment.
Britannia, indeed you are cool.
You are not a drop in the ocean.
In fact, I would confidently go as far as to say, the ocean is a drop in you.