Cruise musings on the Promenade Deck
When the sun is over the yardarm, it’s time to open the drinks cabinet. So says the nautical expression from the 18th and 19th centuries, when it usually indicated rum rations all round.
We prefer to think of it as time to open up a good conversation about cruising in all its shapes and forms. With a good drink, of course.
Travel by sea has changed almost beyond recognition in the past 50 years. We now have ships that look more like floating Las Vegas resorts, and vessels that would comfortably dwarf the largest liners of yesteryear.
Bigger, smarter and fancier have become the watchwords for the cruise companies of today, along with gimmick-ier, if that was even a word (and we might just claim it). Zip-lines, bumper cars, 10-pin bowling and even indoor sky-diving are all among the activities you can now find at sea.
Call us old fashioned (OK, you’re old fashioned – Ed.), but we genuinely believe cruising is all about travelling in style, visiting wonderful places of interest, enjoying the company of our fellow sea-going wanderers, and telling stories. Lots of stories.
So that is what we intend to do in this new – and most informal – cruise blog. With the backing of the UK’s most distinctive sales agents for all things cruisey, we now have this platform to share our thoughts, musings, critiques and tall tales with our fellow adventurers, and to hear your stories in return.
Who are we? You might well ask! Call us Treadwell (“Hi there!”) and Tenny (“Hello!”), a genuine cruise couple and travel writers of some 30 years’ standing who have sailed to just about every corner of the globe and cruised with almost every line. We have written for a wide variety of media, including BBC Worldwide, the Telegraph and The Independent.
From Norway to South Africa and the Black Sea to the Pacific, we have sampled life on the ocean waves with the biggest ships (with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian), the smallest (UnCruise Adventures, Nomads of the Seas and American Cruise Lines), the most luxurious (Crystal, Silversea, Regent and Seabourn), and the budget-minded (Airtours, Thomson, Ocean Village and Island Cruises), as well as long-defunct lines like Union-Castle, CTC and Festival. There are few ships we haven’t seen, and even fewer that we don’t like in some aspect or other.
While we are happy on any ship and any voyage, we have a predilection for boutique cruising, small ships, river cruises and adventure cruising, plus, of course, anything with a relaxing prom deck and a drinks waiter within earshot.
We are smitten with the less-travelled areas of Alaska, in love with the hidden gems in Hawaii and totally captivated by all of Patagonia, and we remain convinced that a cruise is the ideal way to see large parts of the world, if you travel with your senses fully open to the incredible opportunities it represents.
More to the point, over the course of almost 50 years (Tenny took his first voyage on the old SA Vaal of Union-Castle in 1969!), we have amassed a grateful wealth of stories and experiences, journeys and events, and we aim to chronicle them here, on Over The Yardarm, in our own distinctive style – sometimes amusing, sometimes wistful and sometimes critical, but always appreciative of the many, many opportunities we’ve had over the years.
From mis-adventures and mishaps, to golden memories and unforgettable moments, we’ve cruised into a welter of different places and situations, and always (well, nearly always) come out smiling.
Among them are stories of nearly missing the ship in a thunderstorm in Istanbul; a riotous tour guide in Cartagena; a cruise captain and his blue jokes; a travel writer who insulted the wife of Carnival’s billionaire owner; the stunning encounters of humpback whales bubble-net feeding in Alaska and kayaking in the backwaters of Chilean Patagonia.
We might even reveal how Tenny was seasick within an hour of his first voyage, and how Treadwell had to be prised, sobbing, from our stateroom after her first Crystal sailing, distraught at the end of 10 days of pure cruise bliss.
More than anything, we promise to provide an entertaining online ‘port of call’ each week in which to chew the fat, digest the latest news and open up the promenade deck to a good cruise conversation. Welcome aboard…!