10 Reasons WHY We Cruise
It’s a perennial refrain we hear at regular intervals from friends and acquaintances who simply don’t get it. There they are, laying on a beach in St Vincent, or Cannes, or, god forbid, Blackpool, and they have the nerve to ask us, “But why would you go on another cruise?”
We are often tempted to retort, “Why would you go and waste perfectly good holiday time by plonking your unsightly bodies down on the same bit of sand year after year?” But, being the charitable souls we are, we simply smile and say, “Oh, it suits the nomad in our spirit, you know!”
But, of course, it is a lot more than that. A good cruise is akin to a Zen experience, a harmony of body and mind enjoying a get-away-from-it-all opportunity that soothes the soul and feeds the intellect, a perfect blend of seeing and doing. With cocktails. And servants.
Lay on another beach? Not bloody likely.
No, simply put, darlings, if we’re going to travel, we’re going to do it in style, and we’re going to do it in a way that is a complete break from the norm. So, with that in mind, here are our Top 10 Reasons We Cruise, and why you should too:
- We don’t get sand in our gin and tonic on the Lido Deck.
There is absolutely none of that pesky stuff floating around the pool and Jacuzzis at sea, unless it’s the few microgrammes another passenger brought in on their shoes from that their excursion to Seven Mile Beach. Of course, beach time, even on Grand Cayman, is perfectly acceptable, if you enjoy chaffing and don’t mind grit between your teeth when sand blows into your fish sandwich. There are some exceedingly good bars on Seven Mile Beach, too (we’ve tried them all), but our drinks are sacred and the only talc Treadwell will tolerate is rose-scented. Besides, she prefers to have her delicate feet sluffed smooth at the spa rather than breaking out in biscuits while slogging through the pumice of a sandy beach.
- We get to put on our glad rags.
We always dress for dinner, but on a cruise we go the extra nautical mile, and dust off our best posh frocks and DJs. That way we can saunter into the dining room like extras in a James Bond film. I enhance the effect by ordering a vodka martini, straight up, with a twist, and Treadwell insists I introduce her as Pussy Galore.
- The ship rocks us to sleep at night.
On land, the noise of traffic, boisterous neighbours and the ear-splitting shrill of an ambulance rushing to pick up the remains of some pillock who’s had too much to drink before driving home can all plague a good night’s repose. At sea? It’s all quiet, with soft shooshing sounds (if we leave the balcony door open a touch), and that lovely, gentle rocking of the ocean motion. Pure blisszzzzzzz.
- We don’t have to drive home at night.
There is absolutely no danger of running into someone – or them running into us – once we leave the lounge in the evening, unless we count those who cannot hold their drink and stumble down the hallway like pinballs gone awry. We simply totter off to our cabin safe in the knowledge someone else is doing the driving and we will still arrive at a new and exciting destination the next day. And there are no ambulances at sea.
- And speaking of somewhere new each day…
There is no substitute for being awake for the early-morning arrival in a new port of call. As daylight filters across the landscape, vistas take solid shape and hint at all the excitement of the latest destination. That will never happen in any hotel in any part of the world. What you saw at night is exactly the same as what you’ll see in the morning. Unless you drank too much.
5 We unpack only once.
In a fit of insanity, we did a coach tour once. Once. By the end of 10 days, we’d worn out the fasteners on Treadwell’s Dolce and Gabanna Majolica tooled leather trolley and the trip was more memorable for how many times the bloody porters flung it roughly into the hold-all under the bus than anything of cultural interest. Knowing you only have to stick your underwear in a drawer once and not worry about it again until you leave is a major boon.
- Where everybody knows our name.
If it’s the right ship, the crew will all know us by name long before the end of the voyage. More importantly, they will also know our favourite drink, and have it ready for us at 6.30 each evening prior to dinner. And, when we’re in two minds about a Martini or Manhattan, they’ll make up our minds for us. That, my friends, is what service is all about.
- And all that jazz (and blues, and swing, and…)
No ship worth its salt will travel without at least three worthwhile bands, and chilling on the Lido Deck to some live sounds is the perfect prerequisite to a decent meal. We’ve been royally entertained across the Seven Seas by groups no-one will ever have heard of before but who have the essence of musical magnificence befitting the peripatetic domain.
- Every meal is a conversation piece.
Noel Coward would certainly approve. The master raconteur set one of his most famous musicals at sea in Sail Away, and, while nobody would like to be sat at the same table as the ghastly Sweeneys, dining with someone new each evening is one of our genuine cruise pleasures. All the most interesting people travel by sea (we should know, darlings!), and swapping stories at dinner is a gift – we never know what we’re going to get each time, but we know we’re going to enjoy it.
- Because we can.
We challenge anyone not to be smitten by life on the ocean wave at their first taste of it (providing they chose the right ship for them – it’s not the recipe for happy holidays for a Seabourn-type person to sail on a Carnival “fun ship”, or vice versa). We relish the choice that cruising offers these days, with ships of all shapes and sizes, and a myriad of destinations. Genuinely, when it comes to cruising, Harold Macmillan was finally right – we’ve never had it so good.
OK, so those are our top 10 reasons to cruise. Now tell us yours….!