Top ten reasons why a cruise is the best way to travel
For some, the mention of a cruise conjures up images of being stuck in a poky, windowless cabin, swaying from side to side and suffering with sea sickness for days at sea and nothing to do but wait until you’re next destination, while fellow cruise-goers in expensive tuxedos party the night away a few decks above.
Now, those people might have it a little bit right, yes, there’s a call for a tuxedo if you wish to get involved in formal evenings and there are certainly a few parties to keep you entertained (is that so bad? Er no!), but the rest of it? They’re wrong! Cruises are THE way to travel. Forget long waits at the airport or hours stuffed on a train or even tedious car journeys where you are desperate for a pee and arguing over who ate the last cheese and pickle sandwich.
Want to know the best way to get from A to B? Cruises. And here are my top ten reasons why…
1 – You only have to unpack once – Yes, that’s right, pack for hot, cold, formal, casual, include your gym gear, swimming costume and all those moisturisers you fancy as, once you are on board and your suitcase is delivered, you only have to unpack once then you can enjoy your trip without worrying about following the same process in a new hotel room in every destination.
2 – You get to see so many countries in such a short space of time – I visited 6 destinations on a 12 day cruise (I’m not counting my home turf but plenty of non UK travellers shared my cruise and they might call it 7) from Bruges to St. Petersburg and Helsinki, Oslo, Tallinn and Copenhagen in between. You’d be hard pushed to visit such a rich range of cities in that time for the price, and did you see my point about not having to repack and pack in every place?
3 – The journey itself is a holiday – On the way to your next destination you can chill in one of the jacuzzis or pools, play basketball, enjoy the arcades, treat yourself to a luxurious spa treatment, relax in one of the many bars gazing out to sea or eat in an array of good quality restaurants – all those things you’d do if you picked a two week break to the Med, but throw a few visits to some of the most varied and interesting cities in Europe in between and you have yourself a cruise!
4 – You get to discover new places and things to do that you may not have chosen otherwise – Admittedly Tallinn wasn’t anywhere my top ten of places to travel to next but aren’t I glad I did! The stunning medieval buildings and colourful facades offered something I had never seen alongside each other before and the food was interesting too – bear is a speciality!
5 – You are literally never bored, unless you want to be of course! – If your idea of a holiday well spent is chilling on your balcony with a book or relaxing by the pool for two weeks with a smattering of culture thrown in, you’re in luck! But if, like me, you want to make the most of every opportunity going then these boats are built to keep you entertained from the crack of dawn to the wee hours. With cinemas, bars, lounges, restaurants, a fitness centre, spa, pool, casino, art gallery, shopping promenade, library, arcade, sports deck, ice rink, theatre and climbing wall and activities ranging from gentle to exhilarating, bored is not a word you will hear on a cruise!
6 – The scenery you encounter en route is amazing – It is generally the bits you don’t pay for that stay with you longest in life, and the same applies here. My face must have been a picture when I first spotted the beautiful and tiny wooded islands on our way up through the Norwegian waters towards Oslo. Houses of all colours sitting on the edges of the islands, some of which couldn’t have inhabited more that 10 properties stood out against the bright blues of the skies and water creating the most picturesque scene.
Throw in some of the most stunning sunsets I have ever laid my eyes on, passing hosts of oil rigs on the North Sea and experiencing a ‘white night’ in Russia (the sun doesn’t fully set in summer and leaves quite an artistic display of colour in the sky) and I have the most glorious photographs to treasure.
7 – It’s excellent value – Pick the right cruise and you’ll be saving the £££ – Where else can you visit six countries in 12 days, stay in an en suite room every night, transport with a view and about a hundred things to do and see and choose from a variety of endless food thrown in all in the most luxurious environment all for under 1k? I’d like to know.
8 – It’s a unique social experience – An afternoon of quizzing with the most friendly couple from Alabama, the ladies pamper party sat chatting next to the lovely retired teacher from Israel, sharing breakfast with a couple from New Zealand, who had visited my neighbouring town in South West UK. You get to meet people from all over the world from different backgrounds, very friendly and chatty people too and learn their stories and generally have a very pleasant time. There’s no fighting, arguing or silliness on board just happy, friendly people having a great time.
9 – You get FED, and well – I may sound like a caged tiger but food is my thang and if I am going to be fed three course breakfast, lunches and dinners with endless buffets and snacks to boot, then a happy kitty I am. On the Navigator of the Seas (one of 25 ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet) there’s Chops Grille, an American steak house offering the most splendid starters, juiciest steaks and indulgent desserts. Izumi – a stunning sushi bar on the 13 floor serving up some mouthwatering Japanese delights, Giovannis, an Italian with generous, tasty portions and not forgetting the grand three-floor main dining restaurant, which resembles a palatial ballroom and serves a wide range of foods every lunchtime and dinner. (And that’s included in the cost).
10 – It is so easy – Life really is at its simplest on a cruise. everything is organised for you and organised so well. Drop your luggage off before you even set foot in the terminal and don’t worry about it until it arrives at your cabin door later that day, you don’t even have to know what day of the week it is, the elevator floor will remind you! Pick and choose where you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day and at what times, buy a bottle of wine in the bar, take it to dinner and skim through your daily ‘cruise compass’ to choose what to get involved in that day. Hop off the ship at each destination and find a shuttle waiting for you outside (or taxi or sightseeing bus tour). The hardest decision you’ll have to make is ‘do I want/need a third dessert at lunch?’ (answer – yes, of course!) Cruises are geared towards you having the most relaxing, decision free time of your life and personally I loved it!
*I travelled with Royal Caribbean on a 12 night Baltic cruise on board the Navigator of the Seas in June/July 2017 and stayed in an inside cabin. £899. It was a wonderful trip.