Tenny & Treadwell’s look back at 2018…
The brief was pretty simple. Just give us your thoughts on the cruise year in review, our editor said. You know, all the highlights of cruising from the past 12 months, the new ships, cruises and what not.
Highlights? Us? What was he thinking? Asking us to do an annual review is akin to giving the Boston strangler the freedom of the city. It’s going to be carnage. As Jim Morrison probably said, no-one here gets out alive.
So, with that little fore-warning, here is our ‘Cruise Review’ of 2018, with all the absurdities mixed in with the genuinely pucka moments, the ‘lowlights’ as well as the highlights, if you like:
Muse Of The World
Okay, in all honesty, we couldn’t have started the year in better, or more memorable, style than our little Caribbean jaunt aboard the sublime Silver Muse of Silversea Cruises. We were lucky enough to snag a 10-night voyage aboard the line’s flagship, sailing round-trip from Miami at the time of year our Sussex neighbours refer to as “the Ides of Doom,” aka February. The Muse was only 10 months old and still looked and felt like the all-new paragon she is, a beautifully designed and exquisitely presented sea-going wanderer with just the right proportions. Boasting nine bars and just as many five-star places to eat, who could quibble?
Bliss Or Bedlam?
We just couldn’t let this pass without comment in April, when Norwegian Cruise Line launched their latest leviathan. If ever a vessel was inaptly named, the Norwegian Bliss takes the bloody maritime biscuit for sheer absurdity. Bliss? At almost 170,000 tons, 4,000-plus passengers and 20 decks? We can think of several names that would be more appropriate – the Bedlam or Blemish spring to mind – but anything blissful would not merit a mention. We’ve already remarked multiple times in the past on the nautical carbuncle that is the Norwegian Epic, but the Bliss, crowned with the ultimate absurdity of a two-deck go-kart track, just looks like it should be at the end of Southend pier rather than sailing the waters of Alaska and the Caribbean.
Virgin On The Ridiculous
We’re still reeling at the thought of being referred to as “sailors” rather than the perfectly proper “passengers,” or even “guests”, on board a ship, but that is the nomenclature the forthcoming new Virgin Voyages will insist on when their first ship takes to the water in 2020. To us, sailors are those jolly jack tar fellows who man the rigging and suchlike, not the ones ensconced in the best staterooms quaffing champagne and scoffing chocolate-dipped strawberries, as we have been known to do. “Sailors”? We’d rather travel by train. But Virgin also stumped us at their highly-touted May “ship-tease” for their interior design reveal, which was big on words like “edginess,” “void lighting,” “quirky” and “rebel spirit.” Frankly, if anything on our voyage is rebellious or edgy, we’ll be having a not-so-quiet word with the Purser to smooth things out PDQ.
Wishing On A (Wind)Star
So, our second cruise of the year in June took us back to the Med and a chance to catch up with the lovely Wind Surf of Windstar Cruises. It was our first chance to assess the line since its takeover by the Xanterra Travel Collection in 2011 and we were more than happy to note that things have not only maintained their high level of wonderfulness on the T&T-ometer, but they have even improved in some areas, as the dining level aboard verged on the ultra-luxe standard we know so well. And, having picked up repeat awards as The Most Romantic Luxury Line in recent years, we can most certainly report that our cosy stateroom aboard was most definitely, ahem, romantic.
Cheers for the Croatian Coast Guard
Not a headline you’d expect to see very often (if at all), but the Croatian Coast Guard definitely earned the T&T seal of approval for rescuing a cruise passenger who had gone base over apex off the Norwegian Star in August. The ‘Person Overboard’ stories had become alarmingly regular earlier this year, and, when British passenger Kay Longstaff became the latest victim in the Adriatic, it seemed another sad statistic might be chalked up. But, after 10 hours in the sea, she was found and rescued, still in good shape, by the Croatian vessel, and there was a happily-ever-after finale to this story. Not so happy was the suggestion in the media that the incident involved alcohol and a row with her boyfriend, but we’ll leave that little issue for another day!
Dead Fish & Ships
We’re big fans of eco-friendly cruising, and will heartily cheer for all and any new measures that help to make our favourite form of travel greener. We, therefore, applauded long and loudly in November when we heard about Hurtigruten’s plans for new bio-fuel ships powered by dead fish. Yes, you read that right – fish of the deceased variety. It seems the Norwegian company is pioneering a new type of engine for their next generation of vessels, using liquefied biogas that uses dead fish and other organic waste. Sounds like they’ll be in the right plaice the next time they had-dock (sorry, we’ll get our coats).
Roller-Coaster At Sea
Last week we heard from Carnival that their new Mardi Gras (in 2020) will have the world’s first roller-coaster on a cruise ship. Enough already with the gimmicks and gadgets! Cruise ships need a rollercoaster like our house needs a go-kart track. It’s ridiculous and ridonculous.
Right Said Fred.
This is hot-off-the-press news as of this week but, for lone cruisers, this continues to be one of the essential companies to consider when it comes to not being ripped off by single supplements. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines have long been a bastion of solo pricing propriety, but their latest Cruise Sale adds even more to their ocean-going appeal as it highlights more than 14 different cruises from March 2019 to March 2020 with ZERO single supplements if booked by February 28. The itineraries in question include an 8-night round-Britain cruise that would get our attention for its itinerary alone (with Greenock, Tobermory, Lerwick and Kirkwall all featured), so do give this a good gander if you are planning to be cruising solo next year.
That’s all we have for now, so it’s on to 2019…!
Treadwell & Tenny
What would you pick as highlights in your 2018 cruise review? Tell us all about them in the Comments section below.