I can remember booking my first cruise holiday not long after starting full time in travel (many moons ago), for a very well to do, older client and being amazed at the amount of money he spent for 2 week holiday on a boat! To me, back then, cruising seemed to be a very stuffy, formal affair and for those whom were older and had money.
I am sad to say that after many years in travel, including business travel and back to retail travel, I sort of kept that same impression of cruising. I have been very fortunate to travel parts of the world but had still yet to step on board a cruise ship!
I always thought I would try it once I was retired…
Of course, I knew that the way cruising holidays were sold and operated was a lot different to how I remember back then, I had started re selling cruises and noticed the difference of the ships and facilities that was being offered and also the clientele had changed from my previous perception.
My outlook on cruising completely changed when I finally had the opportunity to experience my first cruise holiday back in October 2008.
Within minutes of being on board the P&O ship I was smitten, I spent the first day just roaming the ship with a massive grin on my face. The luxury and the WOW factor completely over took me. The staff and service received was impeccable and the fact that each morning I awoke in a different place to explore was just the icing on the cake. I was well and truly hooked and have been ever since.
The Arcadia from the shore in Sardinia, awaiting for our tender to go back on board
One of the biggest things I noticed was the clientele, it was a mix of ages from 20 something’s right up to those still enjoying life in their later years. We came across 1st time honeymooners, couples, families and singles. The mix of passengers was great and there was always someone to chat to and have a great conversation with, no matter whether you were at the pool, the spa, the bar, in the restaurant or off out on an excursion.
I loved the fact that it was casual during the day (I previously had ideas of having to buy a whole new wardrobe to be suitably dressed at all times on the ship!) and there was always activities going on to keep ourselves entertained. Night time was just something else, we had a couple of formal evenings, now I am not really one for ball gowns or evening dresses, but I relished in the opportunity to dress up for once and loved watching the splendour of everyone else in their evening attire for the formal nights. The entertainment being so superior to those of a holiday resort, with shows you would expect from a top London theatre. With great nights in the various bars, depending on the type of music or entertainment we required for the evening and dancing to early hours in the disco or trying our luck in the casino.
All dressed up for the black & white ball.
I have to be honest and say the only downfall with cruising is the food, it did my waist line no favours what so ever! Not only is the food on board a cruise ship some of the finest food I have ever tasted, the variety and options are so vast, whether eating in the buffet restaurant, the main dining room, pool bar or even the speciality restaurants. The food is simply amazing and I always know that I will have the best food and service whenever I board a ship and know my money has been well spent.
I have had the opportunity since my first cruise to visit a few more ships and sample another cruise and no cruise or ship is the same, all these beautiful ships have their own character and the various cruise companies offer something for everyone’s taste.
So, no matter what your age, status, preference for entertainment, activities you look for in a holiday and most importantly your budget, there is a cruise option for you.
To finalise, since that day in October 2008 and my first step onto a cruise ship I now have to admit the following… My name is Dawn and I am a cruise addict.