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A world of wonder


Nine-year-old Katie Sharp and her mum Linda Cunningham, 42, from Troon in Scotland, enjoyed a cruise on Oceana last year and another on Britannia this past spring. Here, the pair reflects on the highlights of both and why cruising makes the perfect family holiday

Katie Sharp and mum Linda Cunningham enjoy formal night

Katie Sharp and mum Linda Cunningham enjoy formal night

Daughter Katie says…


I’ve now been on two cruises – one on Oceana last year and one on Britannia in April. I can’t choose a favourite, but if I were to compare Oceana to Britannia I would say Britannia is a lot bigger and maybe a bit posher.


On Oceana, my mum and I cruised around Italy and Croatia for a week, and on our most recent cruise on Britannia, we visited the Canary Islands and Madeira. My favourite ports are Livorno, Naples, Venice, Dubrovnik, Madeira and Tenerife. My favourite excursions were to Florence and Pisa. It was great to see the leaning tower of Pisa. I really liked the tour to Playa de las Americas in Tenerife as I played minigolf and beat my mum, and I also got to go to the beach. Going to Capri from Naples was great, and so was Dubrovnik – I’d love to go back there. 


Some of my favourite memories on the ships have been when my mum and I went to the cinema and when I have made new friends at the children’s club. I also love going to new places and buying key rings from each place to keep as a memory.


What I love about P&O Cruises is that there are lots of child-friendly things to do. There are lots of activities and you are mixing with people of all ages. I got a balloon and jellybeans in the cabin and a special mermaid bed cover and a bag from the children’s club with crayons and a soft toy. I now use the bag for school. The food is great, too – I like to eat spaghetti at the children’s dining area, and gammon with roast potatoes and broccoli at the adult dining area. I also enjoy the entertainment, especially the show Gravity and Dean Richardson as Freddie Mercury, and seeing Paul Sinha from The Chase as I watch him on the telly. I took part in the table tennis championships too, but the ball went in the sea. I also did all the quizzes at Brodie’s bar. 


I think cruising is so good for children as you meet lots of new friends to write to. You get to make things at the children’s club and win prizes. My favourite thing I made was a tie-dye t-shirt. You speak to lots of people from all generations from all over the UK. You get to see lots of amazing places in one trip, too.   


I know my mum likes cruising because it gives us lots of mummy and Katie time. On board, my mum and I enjoy watching shows and sitting by the pool together, and her favourite place is the Promenade deck and shops.

Katie Sharp in La Palma, with Britannia in the background

Katie Sharp in front of Britannia, docked in La Palma

Mum Linda says…


As a mum with a young daughter, there are a number of reasons why cruising makes such a fantastic holiday. Firstly, we can tick off lots of great new destinations all in one trip, and it provides a great history and geography lesson along the way. It’s also great value for money. But most importantly, my daughter, as an only child, gets to spend time with other children her own age, and I find it much easier to engage in adult conversation on a ship environment. Everyone’s very friendly and this is so important to me.


One of my favourite cruising memories with Katie has to be seeing the sheer excitement on her face when she first glimpsed a cruise ship last year. Before we saw it, I knew she had no concept of their size or life on board. We also have great memories of experiencing new places for the first time together. I love teaching her there is a whole world out there and I feel fortunate to get to show it to her. She’s certainly learning – while in Florence, I was excited to hit the shops when Katie quite sternly said, ‘Not until we’ve ticked off Il Duomo, Michelangelo’s David and Ponte Vecchio!’ I was so impressed and humbled that my young daughter had in fact more sense and thirst for culture than her mother.


On board, Katie and I love the quizzes. We make quite a good team – Katie is a whizz on famous landmarks and flags. We also like visiting The Studio for a movie, and attending the nightly shows with our cocktails in hand (mocktails for Katie, of course!). We like to be up on deck for arrivals and Sail Away parties, and we also love getting dressed up on formal nights and posing for pictures.


For me, the best thing about Britannia is how easy it is to meet people on board. I did initially worry that the ship would be too big and I would never meet the same people twice, but thankfully this was not the case. It didn’t take long before I couldn’t walk the length of the ship without stopping several times to chat to new acquaintances. I met people from my Oceana cruise last year and even people local to my hometown.


The children’s clubs are a big reason why I have returned to P&O Cruises. The staff are enthusiastic and friendly and pull out all the stops. Katie wants to spend all her time here – I’ve had to beg her to come and spend time with me! Crucially, the club is a safe, secure area where I can leave her knowing she is very happy and being so well cared for. It gives me peace of mind, plus a bit of time to work on my tan by the pool!


Katie and I have already booked a cruise to Spain, France and Italy on Britannia next year, which we’re very much looking forward to.