Have you always wondered what all the fuss is about regarding Cruises?
Do you have friends who go on cruises but think it really isn’t for you?
Have you seen cruises advertised but you just don’t fancy it?
Here are some of my own, personal thoughts and experiences regarding cruises and why you could be missing out..
Before I started working in travel I would never have considered a cruise. I could get seasick on the local boating lake and the thought of spending my hard earned holiday, cooped up on a boat in the middle of the sea with hundreds of others did not appeal to me whatsoever… How things can change, cruising is now in my blood!
I took my first cruise when I first started working in travel nearly 15 years ago. Since then I have been lucky enough to have visited places I may never have thought I could get to and I’ve seen and done things I could never have imagined in places I hadn’t really even heard of, all through my love of cruising.
A cruise really wasn’t something I wanted to do but I had a few customers who loved cruises and was persuaded by them, and my wife who HATES flying, that a cruise was a good compromise… She would spend a couple of hours on a plane flying to Palma, if I then spent a week on a Ship sailing round the Med!
It was one of the best ‘compromises’ I have ever made. It was by no means the ‘height of luxury’, the weather was mixed, the ship we sailed on was old, in fact I’m not sure it even exists anymore, but we loved it and got the cruise bug.. big time! I wasn’t even seasick!
As soon as we got home we were looking through the brochures, picking out our next amazing itinerary… We managed two more cruises before a break from working within the travel industry and the birth of my son meant that, despite our passion, cruising was put on hold.
Fast forward a couple of years and we decided another cruise was on the cards.
Despite having never considered a cruise before, our parents (both sets) decided that it would be a great idea to come with us and make it a ‘family’ adventure. Off we went to our local travel agent where, with their ‘help’, we booked a cruise that we were ‘assured’ would be ideal for everyone.
HOW WRONG COULD THEY HAVE BEEN?… We hated it!
I know hate is a strong word but truly, almost everything about the cruise was just wrong for us. Our parents looked at us in disdain, our young son drove us to despair and we just couldn’t wait to get off the ship!
That experience very nearly put us all off cruising forever but, as I said, cruising is in my blood…
Shortly after we came home from that cruise I was persuaded to return back into the travel industry by, of all things, a cruise company!
Working for the cruise company soon re ignited my passion for cruising.
I had the chance to visit and sail on a variety of different ships with a number of different cruise lines and quickly learned about not just the big differences between cruise lines and their ships but the subtle details that can have such a big impact on your experience.
I realised that unlike ‘normal’ holidays, the cruise industry is constantly evolving. New ships are being built, new features are added, older ships and facilities are refurbished or even replaced and there are hundreds of constantly changing itineraries. Very little stays the same for very long and that the friendly, local agent who had ‘helped’ us choose our ‘ideal’ cruise… wasn’t actually an expert, merely a sales person, reading the brochures and doing their best to try and sell another ‘holiday’.
Using this new found knowledge I took the plunge, booked ourselves another cruise and…. this time… it was the right one, I’ve not looked back since!
So, is cruising for you?
Although I agree that cruising isn’t for everyone, I truly believe that there are cruises available to suit most people.
I regularly hear all sorts of reasons why a cruise isn’t right for someone who I know, providing it was the right one, would absolutely love a cruise.
“Cruises are all the same, if you’ve done one you’ve done them all…”
Nothing could be further from the truth. You can literally sail around the world on a cruise ship. There are hundreds of different destinations you can visit, from small fishing ports to the biggest of cities, all offering something different. Think of a city break combined with a Beach holiday add a twist of Lakes and Mountains and a pinch of Activity Holiday… plus SO much more!
As for the ships, there are countless different cruise ships, each with their own highlights, facilities and ‘personalities’. From floating resorts with water parks, Ice rinks and even Go Kart tracks to more intimate, luxury, boutique style ships that hold a couple of hundred passengers. There are even ‘Private yacht’ style ships that carry just 20 -30 passengers.
One thing cruising can never be described as is ‘The same’!
“It will be just like Butlins on the sea….”
Entertainment is one of the biggest attractions for a lot of cruise passengers, after all, where else can you take part in a quick quiz, watch a big name West End show, be amazed by the spectacle of robotic digital screens, catch a live ‘Blues’ band in a sports bar and then hit the night club to party the night away until the early hours, all in the same day and without having to walk more than a few metres from your room?
Like the world we live in, cruise passengers are an incredibly diverse range of people and as such, the entertainment on board a cruise ship can be equally as diverse.
Whilst some of the entertainment may not always be to your taste, choosing the right cruise and the right ship will ensure that there is almost always something going on that is of interest to you plus, without having to look too hard, you can always find a quiet area of the ship where you can simply sit back, relax and enjoy some peace and quiet should you not wish to party the night away!
“I am seasick, there’s no way I could spend a week at sea….”
Would you believe me if I said that there are cruises where seasickness is not a concern whatsoever?
I was fortunate enough to experience my first River Cruise a couple of years ago and, as the rivers don’t have any waves, currents or tides for the ships to contend with, I can guarantee that NOBODY should suffer from any kind of seasickness in any way shape or form. For most of the time,unless I looked out of the window or was up on deck, I truly couldn’t tell that the ship was moving so, if like me you can get seasick on the proverbial millpond… then a river cruise would be the perfect way to avoid seasickness altogether!
That said, when most people think of a cruise, they imagine the vast oceans of the world.. that’s what my first cruise experience was and for me, seasickness was a big fear however, so far I’ve been fine…
Modern Ocean going cruise ships have complete ‘Stabilisation’ systems which, in the event of rougher seas, help stop the ship from moving around too much thus reducing the cause of potential seasickness.
Also, like modern passenger aircraft, cruise ships have advanced weather radar meaning that they can spot areas where rough seas may be likely and, in many instances, can plot a new course to sail round and avoid them. Combine these and, for most of the time, there is little if any movement to cause seasickness.
Sadly, there are occasions where rougher seas simply cannot be avoided and you may well experience a bit of movement however, there are numerous ‘Remedies’, tablets, gadgets and gizmos that are readily available, either on the open market or by prescription, that have been shown help prevent and often stop seasickness altogether.
So how do you pick your perfect cruise?
THAT IS WHERE I COME IN !
I have worked in travel for quite some time and I have several years’ experience as a cruise specialist meaning that for several years I have spent all day, every day researching, training, talking about and selling nothing but cruises and to a wide range of people, from experienced ‘Platinum Plus’ Members to first time novices. From this experience alone I have gleaned an immeasurable amount of knowledge, opinions and feedback regarding cruising in general.
On top of this, I have been lucky enough to have visited and sailed on numerous different ships and cruise lines, both as a ‘travel agent’ and also as a ‘paying passenger’. I know what the experiences on board are like, from ‘fun in the sun’ to ‘pure indulgent luxury’ with plenty in between.
I can give you a PERSONAL recommendation on what I think would be best for you, not just based on your requirements or what it says in the brochures but my own experiences and comprehensive understanding and knowledge of the cruise industry.
From hating his first cruise experience, my dad has recently completed a River cruise down the Yangtze on a more intimate, 100 passenger ship which he absolutely loved, he is now looking at a River cruise through the heart of Europe.
My wife loves the luxury and indulgence of the six star cruise lines, especially as many are adults only however my young son, he loves the bigger, more lively, ocean going ships with an abundance of activities, water parks, spectacular theatre shows and the all important kids clubs…
I truly believe that there are cruises available to suit most people and that whatever you are looking for in a holiday, there is almost certainly a cruise that will accommodate your needs and more!
So, if having read this you fancy having a go at this cruising lark yourself, why not get in touch with me and let’s see where we end up?
Do you have friends who go on cruises but think it really isn’t for you? Have you seen cruises advertised but you just don't fancy it? Here are some of my own, personal thoughts and experiences regarding cruises and why you could be missing out.. Before I started working in travel I...