Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cruisin' along: Because one day I'm going to take a cruise

You might recognise my current state of mind. My "recent" big trip (to Europe) is becoming a little bit too long ago to call recent; potential next "big trips" aren't quite at the planning stages yet. It means I start dreaming up future travels. The ones I guess would be on a bucket list if I was into bucket lists. And lately it has been this: the idea of taking a cruise.



Let me start with a cruise-related confession. During my late teens and probably my whole twenties, I saved a collection of cruise brochures from travel agents (it was a relatively recent decluttering moment that finally saw me throw them away). I always rather liked the idea of taking a cruise for my honeymoon. As some of you may know, I ended up staying in the YMCA in New York City for my honeymoon, which is kind of a long way from a romantic cruise around the Pacific Ocean, yet I still loved it and wouldn't swap.

I have travelled a lot, in all kinds of ways (trains being my favourite), but I have never been on a proper cruise. In fact, I'm trying to remember if I've ever even slept on a boat - yes, a couple of overnight ferries in Europe as a child, but I think that's it. I don't have anything against boats at all, but I've just never committed to a cruise. But in my recent travel writing course I had a student who was a complete cruise addict (hi, Julie!) and she was the one who got me thinking about it again.

There are no immediate plans which see me hopping on a cruise boat but there's definitely a "one day" plan. I hope time doesn't prove me wrong, but I feel like a cruise is something that can be done even when I'm a little older, I guess. That and I think it'd be risky to take Mr3 on a cruise when he might rebel against being "trapped" on a boat (no matter how large and luxurious, it's not the same when you can't get off). Just the same, I have this (perhaps overly romantic?) notion of why I might enjoy a cruise, and it's because:

  • I always love looking at the cruise routes and am intrigued by those that stop in numerous small and otherwise a bit unknown destinations along the way. For example, for us Aussies, most of the Caribbean is a bit of a mystery, and being from the western side of Oz and therefore far away from the Pacific Ocean, all those small Pacific nations are fascinating too. Secretly (well, not secretly now, of course) I love the idea of visiting a large number of small countries in a short time. Even though it'd just be a tiny taste, I'd love it.
  • Not having to pack and unpack again for the whole trip is a big bonus. That's why I love campervanning (although some degree of repacking is necessary when you move on in a campervan, so that your belongings don't all fly willy-nilly around the back of the van) and being able to leave all my stuff in a cruise ship cabin satisfies the lazy part of me.
  • Movies and TV have led me to believe (whether this is true or not) that wining and dining on a cruise ship can be quite a lovely affair. I'm not that good at spoiling myself on the road (I tend to want to save money for more travel rather than indulging in a good meal) but I do love eating, and perhaps a cruise might make me more inclined to indulge.
  • You can cruise to Antarctica! This is a part of the world I would dearly lovely to visit one day (and those who've been in my travel writing courses know I get more than a bit envious when I meet people who've been).
What do you think - will I enjoy one? Where should I go? Does joining a boat cruise go against all my "do it yourself" notions of travel? And the million-dollar question - will I get seasick?




13 comments:

  1. I have only been on a short cruise for 1 week around the Mediterranean - a couple of Greek island and Turkey, and loved every minute of it! Plenty of food, but instead of staying in and eating we got out at every stop and did little tours of the most important monuments, etc and sampled the local food. I get car sick if as much as I look at a map or book, but on the ship I felt great, although on the first day I had the feeling my feet were not too steady, and I was rocking from side to side. That feeling soon went away. I too would love to take a few more cruises, although they seem to be expensive, and of course there is the time factor.

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    1. That sounds like a great cruise Sami, that's what I'm after, lots of interesting little stops!

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  2. I've always thought that being on a boat is what a cruise is all about - not actually seeing places. I have been put off them as a means of "seeing places" after visiting places which come to frenetic life when the cruise ship arrives, then close down and go to sleep again afterwards. I feel quite sorry for the cruise passengers.

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    1. Excellent point Jenny. You remind me of all those dazed looking people with name tags on I saw in Dubrovnik, spending just a few hours exploring that city. I guess if I looked at it just as a "taster" for places to come back to? Or stopping at smaller obscure places where a few hours wasn't so bad? Hmm, not sure ...

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  3. I recognise that state of mind for sure! I am currently in it myself, ugh. But on my last big trip, I did a cruise, and loved it! I agree, not unpacking and packing all the time was awesome! Though I also liked the ease of being taken to more out of the way places, the unusual experience, and my adorable little cabin! I'm sure you'll love it.

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    1. So my ideas could be right??? It sounds like it! I have hope! Thanks, Annabel.

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  4. I think cruises can be ideal depending on itinerary. I use it to see places that are built to be seen and gotten to by water ie. Norway, going around southern tip of South America, Alaska, Arctic, Greek Islands etc. Sometimes I'll choose a cruise to get an overview of harder to get to or expensive places ie. Scandinavia and Russia, with the mindset that I would return to places that really grabbed me (like Helsinki), by renting an apartment.

    You do have to do some homework when the itinerary is "heavy", meaning many ports, sometimes with 3 different languages (Mediterranean). To get the most out of a trip, I'll study the languages and have maps so I can hit the ground running. I rarely take any excursions because I am more of an independent traveller and prefer going at it on my own. Figuring out train, bus routes is part of the fun.

    I see and use the boat as a mode of transport. All the stuff on the cruise ship ie. the dressing up, food etc. is nice. Seeing people gorge isn't my favourite part. I don't bother bringing formal wear anymore but it is fun to be able to dress up. Personally I like the movement of water and don't tend to get seasick (I'm thinking North Sea here) and sleep like a baby on a ship, so that helps. And if you are considering the Caribbean, the colour of the water there is magical.

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    1. Solid advice here MW. I really like the idea of thinking of cruises as a way to see places built to be seen by water. I will take that advice I think when I finally get around to doing this kind of trip.

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  5. Incomplete contrast to you a cruise does not appeal to me at all, although one should never say never. :)

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    1. Haha I have gone through phases of thinking that too Lindy Lou! But yes, never say never!!

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  6. I think you'd love a cruise and Antarctica would be on my bucket list for cruises too. In general though I've always been a bit skeptical of cruises in that I think you have to be a bit careful about which cruise you choose, because they seem to be geared for different markets. Many are so enormous like floating worlds that it might not be your scene, or geared for retirees, or geared for families, that I think picking the wrong one could be the make or break of your cruising future! We went on a cruise once in the Philippines on an old dive boat for 10 days around the islands - it was low key, only a small amount of people, and quite adventurous. We loved it.

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    1. Low key and a small number of people would be key for me, for sure! In fact the travel writing student (Julie) who got me thinking about this was in my blogging course this past weekend and she reminded me that she always goes with a particular company with small boats and that's what makes it great.

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  7. Cruises are great! It's definitely a different way to travel but totally worth it if you've never been. If you're interested in the Caribbean and have a young child you should check out the Disney Cruise Line! They have tons of stuff to entertain kids, but its still fun for adults! I go with a group of fellow childless 20 something's every year and we have a great time. I'm new to the blogging scene but I plan on writing about it soon. Ive been on several other cruises too, but disney is the best! Disney should really start paying me for how much I endorse them, but it really is that great!l

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