Cruising the Baltic with the professionals of Strictly Come Dancing

I’m back for my Strictly encore! Cruising the Baltic with the dancers of the hit BBC show

Dance stars: Strictly professionals Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec 

Dance stars: Strictly professionals Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec 

If you’re a fan of the TV programme, then joining a Strictly Come Dancing-themed P&O Cruise adds an extra frisson. 

Seeing the sequined costumes worn by contestants such as Daisy Lowe and Louise Redknapp in Britannia’s stunning atrium is exciting.

And sitting close to dancers Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec in one of the ship’s bars or exchanging a cheery ‘Hello’ with Craig Revel Horwood while passing on the stairs is also pleasantly surreal (the scathing judge is disarmingly friendly in the flesh).

I’ve been on a Strictly Come Dancing-themed P&O cruise in the Med before, but loved it so much that I came back for an encore.

I thought that I wouldn’t be so wowed second time around but, just like the programme – currently in its 16th series on BBC1 – there is always something new to enjoy.

I hadn’t seen Janette and Aljaz perform live before and it was interesting to hear insights into their lives as dance stars married to each other.

Heading for an overnight visit to St Petersburg, home of the Mariinsky Ballet, added even more of a spring in our steps. 

It was needed for the on-board salsa and ballroom classes, though I wasn’t brave enough to enter the passengers’ Strictly dance competition.

An early start sees the cruise enter St Petersburg, home of the Mariinsky Ballet

An early start sees the cruise enter St Petersburg, home of the Mariinsky Ballet

Our early rise for the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg was worth it to beat the queue that snaked around the Winter Palace by the time we left such gems as the Peacock Clock and Kolyvan Vase behind. 

We still had a whistle-stop tour of Yusupov Palace; the onion-domed Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood; a Neva river cruise; the Peter and Paul Fortress, and even a whirl on the subway to look forward to. The next day’s trip was to the dazzling Catherine Palace.

Leaving St Petersburg, we sailed to Tallinn and Stockholm.

Sashaying shoulders with celebrities, bedazzled by the glitz, glamour, fine dining, city jewels, and glitter-ball shows – no wonder we all felt we were dancing with the stars.

TRAVEL FACTS 

P&O (pocriuses.com, 02=345 355 5111) offers a 13-night Strictly cruise to the Canary Islands and Portugal on Britannia departing Southampton on April 7, 2019 from £1,100pp. A 14-night Baltic cruise aboard Britannia departing Jul 6, 2019, starts £1,312pp. 

 

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