“What’s so great about cruising? Won’t you get bored onboard” asked a friend who thought he was being funny… and had obviously not cruised before.
“Are you kidding?” I replied. “Cruising is one of the most relaxing or adrenalin filled, interesting ways to see the world that I know of.” You will all be pleased to know that I gave him the following crash course in cruising.
Cruising 101 is for all of the Newbies and Experienced Cruisers alike, showcasing the essential experiences of cruising. I have sailed on many a cruise ship, to many a port, so satisfying my particular requirements for a holiday is now a snap. Let me share a few of my favorite’s with you, including…
1. An Umbrella Cocktail
Nothing says holiday like a cocktail/mocktail with a tiny pink umbrella and a giant piece of pineapple. Until that appears in my hand, it’s all “Which floor are we on? Is the cabin down this aisle? Should we sit here and wait for the suitcase or take a stroll on deck? What’s the weather like? Too soon to get our swimmies on? Do you think the spa will be free? Is the buffet ready to go? Can we book our shore excursion yet?” (And that’s just the first 5 minutes!!) Take my advice and grab a cocktail as you wave the shore goodbye.
2. Meeting New Peeps
Meeting, chatting and bonding over a Trivia contest or a Bingo card with a complete stranger is a no-no on land, however when you are cruising for a conversation a new friendship forms easily, even when you don’t know the answers to any of the Trivia questions! In fact, if you can laugh about the wrong ones, and it’s a surprise when you get one right, this is the formula for lifelong buddies. Well… at least for the duration of the cruise anyway. Suddenly you are a popular people person, with friends to chat with, join for dinner, drink cocktails and sing karaoke with and more. Beware the winning of a Trivia trophy – after all who will get to take it home after the cruise?!!!
3. Exceptional Cuisine
Don’t wait up to 6 months or more to eat in a fancy celebrity chef’s land-based restaurant, you can dine on superb cuisine every night while onboard any number of cruiselines. Tantalize your taste buds with Carnival’s mouthwatering burgers at Guy’s Burgers (Chef & BBQ Master Guy Fieri’s signature restaurant) or the luxury and inclusive Oceania Cruises’ Marina and Riviera, where you can experience modern French cuisine at Jacques or get onboard Sirena for Jacques Bistro (the creation of Jacques Pepin). Seabourn’s all-inclusive and complimentary steakhouse The Grill (Michelin-starred American Thomas Keller) is well received by diners, and you can step up for one free dinner at Nobu, (famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa) while onboard Crystal Cruises.* If you’re into Michelin-stars, celebrity chefs and fine dining, you can’t go past these and more onboard restaurants!
4. Formal Night in the Main Dining Room
The real joy of Formal Night in the main dining room, and out on the dance floor, is people watching. Who does and who doesn’t dress up. We’ll bet you won’t recognise that guy who has never been seen without his flip flops and shorts, eating lobster in a suit and tie. Or the Rubenesque woman who insists on a bikini, when she really shouldn’t, has on a floor length velvet gown and all her sparkling jewels on display. Even more amazing, the previously loud and annoying kids have had their hair slicked back, cute little dresses with frills and bow and shiny shoes – they look positively angelic. It’s a smorgasbord of humanity to delight in alongside the delectable dishes you’ll dine on.
5. Work out or Chill Out
All that food is making me think about our waistlines and staying healthy. Should you indulge while onboard or stick to salads, fruit and veges? It seems a shame not to try the rich and flavoursome Lobster Bisque or a delicately poached chicken breast smothered in cream, shallots and mushrooms. Or indeed my favorite dessert in all the world… a Vanilla Crème Brulee, which I don’t think can be resisted under any circumstances by anyone.
And so, we head to the gym. It’s a state-of-the-art, well equipped fitness center for all of those gym-junkies and those who need to atone for that little indulgence the night before. Yoga, aerobics, rock climbing, ball games, stretch and spin classes are all available as you enjoy the gorgeous sea view. It’s also for those who simply want to chill out and relax in the warm bubbles of the spa before they partake in the sparkling bubbles of champagne later on. My hand’s up for that one.
6. The View from the Balcony
Imagine your own balcony to enjoy the sea breeze, destinations, sea views and simply watching the world go by. A little space of personal privacy where you have the choice to interact with other passengers, or not. And while some will tell you that an inside or oceanview cabin is simply a place to sleep, or recharge before setting the night on fire, many others will tell you that recharging with a glass of wine on your own balcony at sunset is a MUST HAVE.
7. Sunsets at Sea
Speaking of balconies, is there anything more special than watching the sun set (or rise) from your own balcony. The magic of deep azure blue developing streaks of orange, pinks and gold before subsiding into velvet purple hues. As the night falls and the diamond brilliance of the stars come out to play, just reach up to touch them… just heaven.
*Specific information researched and sourced from supplier cruiselines and article: “The Best Cruises Ships for Food”, M Kay, ESCAPE, SMH Oct 2016
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