The Idiosyncrasy of an avid cruiser.
16 April 2014
Not all who cruise are created equal.
Unlike plane travel, which is designed to get you hopefully from A to B in the shortest time possible, cruising is a very hedonistic pursuit. Flying is probably the closest thing to time travel you can get, one moment you’re boarding the plane in Singapore, the next after a good meal, glass of wine, and a snooze you find yourself landing in a new time zone in say, London, Paris, or New York. Cruising is completely the opposite, the days drift lazily by because frankly they don’t really matter, and you find yourself asking your fellow passengers, “What day is it today, any idea?”
Cruising has reinvented the romance of travel, picture yourself stopping off at exotic ports of call and multiple destinations with not a care in the world. Forget the horrors of transfers, unpacking and repacking, or hauling your luggage up narrow walkways before tackling dizzying stairs to your room. Instead, on-board you wake up in a new destination each day, and then say a fond farewell with sunset cocktails, canapés, and dancing on deck. You can tour the ports of call at your own pace, or if you feel more comfortable join the organised tours. Most seasoned cruisers tour independently, but I do know of many travellers who are first on the buses or tenders every new port of call. I once met a gentleman who loved the organised tours; he was a crooner and enjoyed the attention he received when he sang to his fellow companions on the bus.
All inclusive simply means, not a worry in the world. At dinner, the biggest decision to make is which wine you would prefer. My first cruise I was a bit inexperienced and felt I didn’t want to join large tables of people I didn’t know, preferring instead an intimate table for two, but that was a mistake I soon rectified. Having joined larger tables I found amongst my travelling companions a warm camaraderie and love of cruising. It’s amazing the variety of people you meet, from all parts of the globe and all walks of life…this is the stuff good novels are based on, not to mention long lasting friendship and further shared cruises together. I prefer smaller ships, much more intimate and more choices in how you enjoy the on-board facilities. Something interesting I noted, that when you first board and attend the compulsory safety drill, I see people that I never see again on the cruise until the day we disembark. I made this remark to my butler; the ship has an interesting culture amongst its guests. Some guests never leave their suites preferring instead to dine on their veranda each evening, and rarely take shore leave. One elderly lady dined each evening in her suite, and the butler who served her dinner, sat with her to keep her company. I also discovered there are the early risers, up at six for sunrise and breakfast and walking the decks, long before the sleepyheads amongst us have even hit the shower. There are also the joiners, those that get involved in all on-board activities, they are always the first to organise a rubber of bridge, or team for trivial pursuit, shuffle board, or table tennis. Then there are the serial joggers who pound the upper deck checking their pedometers to see how many miles they have clocked up and the eager guys who walk around after lunch like schoolboys rounding up a team for pool volley ball.
On-board luxury cruise lines you will find a glorious creature aptly named, Gentleman Host. The Gentleman Host is always a wonderful dancer and delightful dinner companion, as any ladies travelling alone will soon discover. He’ll organise tables in the cocktail lounge before dinner, dancing afterwards, and is always a willing companion at the nightly entertainment, their table is easily identified it’s the one with the most laughter and joviality.
If you and your travelling companion enjoy different activities, you’ll both be catered to. Wives who prefer a show are happy to see their husbands go off to the casino, especially if he wins, as the casino is conveniently located next to the jewellery boutique. Many travellers take the time to indulge in new wine and food experiences, and make the most of morning and afternoon tea as well as the wine and cheese tastings, while there are those amongst us, not only the ladies, who thoroughly enjoy pampering themselves with treatments at the spa. I sat with a lovely Englishman over lunch who had just returned from having a herbal scrub and manicure.
The crew on-board also quickly become your best friends, ready with a smile and warm greeting they are astonishing at remembering every guests name and preferred drink, the butlers and chamber maids are only too happy to take care of any little eccentricities related to your room or in-room dining preferences, taking time to stock your bar fridge with your favourite wine or champagne, If only the real world could be like this!
Of course as in the real world you will always meet those that nothing will please, but they just prove more of a challenge than most. There is no travel snobbery on-board, most passengers you meet are there for one reason and that is to sail away, and make the most of every moment of the voyage, so don’t shut yourself off from meeting and enjoying the company of others, it’s one of the true joys of luxury cruising.
As in life we are all created differently, so too in cruising, and the wonderful thing is… there is a cruising style to suit everyone.
Bon Voyage and smooth sailing… around the world one cruise at a time….