I was only 5 the last time we cruised and so I was very excited to be going again. This year I was 13 two days before we sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam from Venice. We had one night on the ship in Venice and we walked for hours on end around the stunning city. The weather was amazing and I loved the orchestras in St Mark's Square. Of course, we also had to buy the Venetian masks for the masquerade ball on the ship a couple of days later. Sailing down the Grand Canal with Tom, our "On Location" guide telling us all about the history was amazing and so was standing right at the bow of the ship.
Some days were spent just swimming and sunbathing, others exploring the ruins and sights in Ephesus, Acropolis and Istanbul. My favourite place on the ship was the Cabana Club.* We would go to our own private cabana where with butler service we would be transported to a world of relaxation and no school! Having refreshing lemonade, chocolate covered strawberries and a whole fruit platter just to ourselves. Most days, once I'd had too much sun or if the Cabanas were closing, I'd run to the amazing, almost private, cinema downstairs. Free popcorn, huge comfortable chairs, plenty of leg room and all the new movies that hadn't come out in England yet. I also loved the big shows in the main theatre. What more could a budding 13 year old actress want?
Istanbul surprised me the most on our holiday. I didn't really know what to expect but the beautiful skyline of mosques and bridges was so pretty that I didn't know where I was.
Although I have never seen a place so busy and with so many people I really enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the spice market as long as you make sure that you don't get lost. My sister, Mica and I bought lovely hand bags and Mummy bought some scarves.
Back on the ship the crew were fantastic. They all had genuine smiles on their faces and they always worked so hard and nothing was too much trouble, they worked magic most of the time. It was so good not having to make my bed or set the table everyday. I think Mummy thought so too!
Most evenings we ate in the main restaurant as we loved the atmosphere and the smiley waiters but on Mummy's birthday we ate in the Pinnacle Grill, amazing steaks and a birthday cake for
Mummy. The Tamarind restaurant was my favourite, we used chop sticks and I loved the smell of the Thai spices. We also went to Canaletto, the Italian restaurant, one night.
One day Mica and I did a cooking class in the Culinary Arts theatre. We had great fun making pancakes and adding different toppings to them.
On our last night we went to the Show Lounge to watch "Dancing with the Stars" which was like Strictly Come Dancing, they even had Len and Bruno on a video screen
This holiday really made my summer and it is one I will never forget as there was something for everyone. I doubt my friends will forget it either because I've told them about it so many times but it really was something special. I loved being with my family and I would love to go on another Holland America Line Cruise!!
Find out more:
· Request a Holland America Line brochure