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A cruise to remember

24/05/2016

Guest Caroline Morgan reports back on her family’s fantastic cruise on Britannia during the filming of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

The set of Saturday Night Takeaway on Britannia

The set of Saturday Night Takeaway on Britannia

My husband Lee and I, along with our two children, five-year-old Charlie and seven-year-old Jamie, arrived in Southampton on Easter Sunday for the much anticipated Saturday Night Takeaway cruise on Britannia. The moment we stepped into the cruise terminal, we knew it was going to be a unique and amazing two-week holiday – there was a camera crew filming and Charlie and Jamie even spotted little Ant and Dec from the show in the queue.

 

Once on board the excitement continued. As soon as we entered our cabins we watched the video message about the show from P&O Cruises Marketing Vice President Christopher Edgington and read the letters about the set up and arrangements. We were also pleased to discover four very welcome Easter eggs on our bed!

 

As we set sail, we knew we were going to be in for a fairly rough couple of days due to Storm Katie in the Bay of Biscay. Finding a quiet spot in a restaurant on the second night allowed us to watch the waves crashing against the window. It was quite a sight while eating our steak, as I had never seen the waves go above those windows before. But I know from my years of cruising (I have been cruising since I was four years old – the wonderful Canberra was my first cruise ship) that this is extremely rare. In the first couple of days I also enjoyed a lecture from the Saturday Night Takeaway locations manager in the studio theatre. It was very interesting finding out how much effort had gone into the show.

 

The excitement builds

Arriving in Cadiz was lovely. The sunshine and warmth were especially welcome after what seemed a long winter back home. The preparations for Saturday Night Takeaway were in full swing on board. It didn't cause too much disruption as only a few areas of the deck were closed. It was actually very interesting watching the set up – I couldn't believe the staging, lights and people required for one show.

 

The build up was immense. Huge television screens kept popping up around the ship with television cameras in areas like Brodie's. Once we reached Barcelona there were broadcasting vans all the way along the ship, and we even got glimpses of Ant and Dec when they got on and off the ship. My boys became friends with little Ant and Dec, too. They were lovely boys and their parents were very friendly, not minding that their boys were having their photos taken with the other guests.

Caroline and her family with little Ant and Dec

Caroline and her family with little Ant and Dec

The show begins

P&O Cruises did a great job keeping us informed about the show and invited us all to a gala party where we had a surprise visit from Ant and Dec themselves – they even did a 'selfie' with us all in the background. In Barcelona, on the night of the show, we were asked to keep our cabin lights on and curtains opened to illuminate the ship.

 

I was worried my children wouldn't be able to enjoy the show due to age restrictions on deck, but the children’s club had their area all decorated with balloons and banners, and they enjoyed the show with popcorn and a celebrity band. My husband and I were extremely lucky to have received wristbands to watch the show live on deck. It was fascinating, and as I’m a fan of the programme I enjoyed getting involved with all the clapping and cheering. We had a warm-up guy who got us singing and dancing at the beginning of the show and during the adverts. It was all great fun. The fireworks at the end were amazing.

 

When filming stopped, Ant and Dec took time to speak to the audience to thank us for taking part, apologising for any disruption to our holiday. They were such genuinely nice people. After being safely directed back inside, we enjoyed a delicious curry in the Horizon buffet.

 

The cruising fun continues

Over the next few days the ITV crew worked extremely hard dismantling the staging. It was like the Christmas decorations going down. The ship felt back to normal very quickly and the Arena was opened up for the rest of the cruise, which was very much welcomed by my children and the teenagers who wanted to have a kick-around with their new FC Barcelona footballs. There was also a book signing from Food Hero Marco Pierre White during the cruise – talk about a celebrity trip.

 

We couldn't believe that after all the build-up and the excitement of the show we still had another week to enjoy visiting Rome, Ajaccio and Gibraltar. The weather was wonderful and we enjoyed some fantastic entertainment, including the children's entertainer Malcolm the Magician, who put on several shows entertaining and wowing the children (and the parents). The Reef staff were amazing and our children enjoyed the children’s club so much that it was difficult to get them out at the end of the day.

 

On our last day, our amazing Cabin Steward Pramila gave us a signed picture of Ant and Dec as well as a lovely letter from P&O Cruises thanking us for taking part in the cruise.

 

I feel very privileged to have been part of this cruise. It was certainly a trip we will never forget.

 

 

SATURDAY NIGHT TAKEAWAY™ and © ITV Studios Limited 2015. ANT & DEC is a registered trade mark of Anthony McPartlin & Declan Donnelly. All rights reserved

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