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What to expect from a Sky Princess seven-day European cruise – and it starts from just £139pp a night

I ONLY know three things about sailing the ocean.

Avoid icebergs, pirates aren’t like they are in the Disney films, and starboard means right . . . or is it left?

The Sky Princess takes you on a belt-busting culinary adventure in the Bay of Biscay
Aboard the 19-deck sea giant, holidaymakers have their pick from world-class restaurants, trendy cafes and sumptuous snack bars

What I wish I’d known before my first ever cruise was that an elasticated waistband is essential.

I’d boarded the Sky Princess for a belt-busting culinary adventure in the Bay of Biscay on the northern coast of Spain.

This gastronomic gulf offers the finest coastal cuisine — and it’s just a day’s sail from Southampton.

This isn’t the only foodie hot spot we were ticking off, though.

On our seven-day adventure, we’d be stopping in Guernsey and La Rochelle for fresh seafood and local wine and Bilbao and A Coruna for traditional tapas and world-renowned beer.

But none of this would compare to the grub on board the luxury Sky Princess, a floating mecca of food and entertainment.

Aboard the 19-deck sea giant, holidaymakers have their pick from world-class restaurants, trendy cafes and sumptuous snack bars.

For an ultra-lavish treat, the French-themed Bistro Sur La Mer has been created with Michelin star chef Emmanuel Renaut and offers a classic menu split into land and sea.



The beef fillet mignon is a must-try while the exquisite lobster bisque was better than any I’ve had back on shore.

If Italian is more your style, then award-winning Sabitini’s won’t disappoint.

Showcasing treasured family recipes, this chic trattoria offers Italian classics complemented by an exciting wine and cocktail list that will have you swaying more than the waves.

The jewel in the Sky Princess’s crown is the aptly named Crown Grill.

With an open kitchen, piano lounge vibe and premium steakhouse menu, this elegant chop house epitomises quality dining at sea.

The Maine lobster tail and 8oz filet were exceptional.

Anyone who loves a tipple should book a table at Soleil.

It was here that we experienced the Wine Maker’s dinner — an intimate five-course meal with wine pairings selected by the sommelier.

Never before has gluttonous Monty Python character Mr Creosote resonated with me so much — I’d have been happy to go out that way.

And for the drunken sailor in you, the Sky Princess has a plethora of bars throughout the ship, meaning a signature cocktail, cold pint or glass of wine is always only a moment away.

Vines was a particular favourite.

With its extensive wine list and selection of tapas and sushi, cruisers can while away hours, watching the world float by.

For a more raucous affair, the Vista Lounge has a nightclub, all-day entertainment and an extensive drinks menu that will keep you partying until late into the night (I can vouch for the Hurricane cocktail).

Of course, cruises aren’t just about eating and drinking to excess.

Waddling off the ship on occasion offers a chance to burn off some calories sightseeing, explore new cities and cultures and, if you’re greedy like me, stuffing your face more.

Our first port of call was Guernsey, with its mix of quaint British charm and flashes of French influence.

The town of St Peter Port is the heartbeat of the island.

Tourists are treated to a range of waterfront restaurants that serve fresh fish and local produce, while the artisan market provides a leisurely stroll for those rediscovering their land legs.

FOODIE PARADISE

Make sure to visit Castle Cornet, the 13th century fortification that overlooks the bay, and has been the site of many English/French squabbles.

A cannon is still fired from its ramparts daily at noon, though fortunately our cruise ship wasn’t a target.

Sky Princess intact, we then sailed on to the French city of La Rochelle.

Famed for its trio of historic towers and bustling fresh fish market, this architectural gem is a foodie paradise.

Its cobbled lanes are flanked by Medieval and Renaissance architecture and you are only ever a few metres from a packed-out bistro or bustling patisserie.

If you don’t fancy plotting your own itinerary or roaming the streets unguided, Princess Cruises offers a huge range of excursions for each port of call during your trip.

Classy travellers that we are, we opted for the Estrella Galicia beer factory tour during our day trip to Spain’s stunning A Coruna.

After a whistle-stop tour of the gorgeous city, we were taken on an educational journey through the brewery’s proud family history.

The tour culminated in a beer and cheese-tasting experience, which although a strange take on the traditional wine tour experience, was incredible.

Naturally, we came home laden down with boxes of their incredible lager.

Back on board Sky Princess we were suited and booted (with a squeeze) for one of the cruise’s two formal nights.

At the musical extravaganza in the ship’s theatre you’d be forgiven for forgetting you weren’t in London’s West End.

After the show, cruisers can find a quiet spot in the Take Five jazz bar or grab a cocktail in the Live Lounge which offers even more entertainment.

It was the on-board casino where we spent most of our evenings, though.

And I have my girlfriend’s Blackjack skills to thank for coming home with some extra cash in our pockets!

After luxurious dinners and glamorous shows, my first cruise experience was topped off with a hot stone massage at Lotus Spa.

As the oily stones eased out the little remaining tension in my muscles, I reflected on a five-star week that had fully converted me to a cruise-lover.

At £979pp for a simple interior room, prices may seem steep — but when you consider all the on-board entertainment and port calls, it really is cracking value.

And with no weight limit on luggage, the only thing you need to worry about packing in are the calories.

The ship also boasts a huge pool to lounge in front of
There’s also a musical extravaganza in the ship’s theatre where you’d be forgiven for forgetting you weren’t in London’s West End
The town of St Peter Port is the heartbeat of the island
La Rochelle is an architectural gem and a foodie paradise
At La Rochelle you can indulge in fresh seafood and local wine
The Crown Grill on-board is an elegant chop house epitomises quality dining at sea

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