A proper swanky launch

To look at this blog anyone would think that all I ever do is go to maritime-themed book launches. A mere two weeks after attending the Tenacity launch on a submarine, there I was walking up the gangplank of the Royal Princess, a luxurious cruise liner on Southampton docks for the launch of Chrissie Manby’s latest book, A Proper Family Adventure.

It has a wonderful streak of warmth and affection running through it.

Actually I wasn’t walking, I was limping. I had some crazy idea that a cruise ship required glamorous footwear and had forced my feet into a pair of insanely high heels. Note to self: deck shoes next time. They’re called that for a reason.

Still, apart from the ocean-wave aspect the two book-launch vessels couldn’t have been more different. There were no cramped living quarters here and no steampunk cranks and tubes. Instead think luxurious marble trims, glistening chandeliers and sweeping staircases. The ship was enormous – 19 decks catering for 3,560 guests (we all goggled in amazement when the chef told us they get through 40,000 eggs on each trip.) Facilities include a kids club, a spa and a “movies under the stars” screen on the main deck.

Check out the spangly ship, and the lovely Chrissie.

spanglyship montage lores
Unlike Chrissie, who’s fantasised about going on a cruise for years, I’ve never really fancied it. But after my tour (and now I have a small toddly person in my life, which means the words “kids’ club” have a magical power over me) I could definitely see the appeal of being ferried around the world and dropped off in interesting places. The only thing that spoiled the magic of the day was the weather. Put it this way… this is what the sun deck looks like when the ship is sailing the Med:

And this is what the main deck looked like during our visit:

deckStill the fabulous company and three course meal at Sabatini’s restaurant soon gave us that cushioned-in-luxury feeling you should always get on a cruise.

It was a great scene-setter for A Proper Family Adventure, which is Chrissie’s third book about the loveable, chaotic Benson clan. This time Granddad “I’ve won the bloomin’ lottery” Bill actually wins the bloomin’ lottery and takes the clan on a Mediterranean cruise to celebrate. Like all the Family books it’s funny and has such a wonderful streak of warmth and affection running through it. It’s a pleasure to read and makes you want to rush back to your hometown and hug your own family. You can read my rundown of it on the Cosmo Summer Reads page.

This is probably my last nautical themed book launch for a while (unless there are any yacht invitations out there… anyone?) but more book reviews on the way, I promise.

A Proper Family Adventure is out now.

And for better cruise-porn pictures and detail than I could ever provide, try Princess Cruises.

PS: here’s a glimpse of the shoes, looking down at the water on the ship’s famous SeaWalk deck. Ow. Ow. Ow.