Lou Hannan, co-presenter of BBC Radio Solent’s mid-morning show steps into paradise for the day
If you've been listening to our BBC Radio Solent show recently, you will have heard we were lucky enough to go on board a cruise ship for a few hours just before it left for a week-long trip around the British Isles.
Incredibly, it was the first time Alun had ever been on a ship – the Isle of Wight ferry doesn't count.
So it was interesting seeing his reaction as we went on board. I’ve never seen him lost for words before – he gazed in wonder at the lavish lobbies, chandeliered casinos, Michelin starred restaurants and 2,000-seat theatres.
I’ve been fortunate enough to experience a cruise from Southampton to Amsterdam via Bruges and back – so I knew the opulence of these floating hotels.
The concept of eating what you want, when you want was what got both of us. At 4pm families were wandering around, plates piled high with pizza and hotdogs and it was only two hours since they’d finished lunch. It's no wonder many passengers take home a ‘cruise belly’ as a souvenir.
Even though we were working, we couldn’t help but feel the pressures of day-to-day life drift away. There are so many activities – from bingo and chess, through to watching shows direct from the West End.
On wandering up to the top deck, there were couples sunbathing in bikinis and the skimpiest of Speedos, sipping cocktails in a paradise surrounded by Southampton docks and a view of Ikea. It all felt a little surreal!
If you’ve never been on a cruise ship and you get the opportunity, go and have a look.