So, how long did it last? Your New Year resolution, we mean. Did it make it through the first week, or even a fortnight?
For most people, the typical resolve peters out within the first month, and only 20 per cent even make it to March. It is a tough haul.
Of course, most people make the mistake of resolving to do crazy things, like losing weight, starting a healthier lifestyle, drinking less or “learning a new skill.” Poppycock to the lot of them.
Being healthier is as much a function of mind as much as anything else (as in, if you don’t mind the weather, you’re onto a winning mentality), and learning a new skill is akin to that old adage involving novel tricks and aged canines, albeit we really would like to understand how this blasted Echo Dot contraption we were given for Christmas actually works.
Diets are simply for losers (do you see what we did there?) while, in the current political climate, we are far more inclined to drink more than less.
But, if all those things are genuinely a waste of time and effort – and are almost always consigned to the waste-basket of history in no time flat – is there something we could do that would be far more productive and worthwhile?
Looking back at 2017, it is clear what gave us most pleasure and properly floated the Over The Yardarm boat, and most of it actually involved boats, whether we were on board for the duration, paying a fleeting lunchtime visit (as some specialist cruise agents now arrange ship visits in UK ports), or just sitting back in a deckchair and watching them pass.
This latter was brought home to us, along with the necessary gin and tonic, while we were on location in the Bahamas last November, a week-long sojourn to contemplate the vicissitude of a cruise-and-stay option on the islands.
Sitting on the beachfront pool deck of the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau, we were able to wave happily at various passing mega-ships heading either into or out of the busy harbour just a few hundred yards away, safe in the knowledge we didn’t have to grapple with the merging of the masses but could still enjoy the thrill of being at sea vicariously.
And it works in Britain, too. Both Dover and Southampton are ideally suited to a bit of indolent ship-watching as cruise vessels head off to different sea-going pastures. Okay, so there may not be ample opportunity in the depths of winter when the winds are whipping up The Solent with all the subtlety of a Vin Diesel movie, but, come May and June, any of Hamble Point, Hythe or Calshot are ideal viewing points.
Ultimately, our languid, land-based perusal of the maritime comings and goings left us with one overwhelming and over-riding feeling – cruise ships make us happy.
Not just as in a ‘We’re-on-holiday-and-glad-to-be-away-from-it-all’ kind of way, but a deep-down ‘This-is-the-stuff-of-genuinely-great-human-experiences’ feeling that is both lasting and unadulterated.
And yes, we know we can’t be cruising all the time (our editor does insist we’re back in front of the typewriter for significant parts of the year), but it is the actual thought of cruising that is part of the good-time glow that comes with it, a positively peerless presentiment of health and well-being.
Now, we know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Have Treadwell and Tenny finally taken leave of their senses? Do they truly want us to believe that being in a positive state of mind is purely down to an ocean-going ambience; nautical but nice?” Well no, but also yes.
Because whatever you’re doing or feeling, you can always change the mood. A sense of anticipation and a frisson of expectation are essential companions to any holiday you book, and they help to lighten the mood, even if it’s blowing a gale outside and there are polar bears knocking on the door asking if they can come in for a bit of a warm-up.
What we’re essentially saying is that the idea of a cruise is even more valuable in terms of hope and expectancy. It has an inherently high capacity to lighten the mood and unfurrow the brow, to uplift spirits and look ahead to more enjoyable times.
Moreover, in 2018, there will be even more of that feeling to enjoy, mainly because, with even more new ships on the horizon, there will be some great deals to snap up. We know because one arrived in our Inbox just yesterday. It was a special offer from Regent Seven Seas in northern Europe, and elsewhere, and it sounded the trumpet call for what we believe will be a year of amazing possibilities (and even better deals!) on a wide variety of voyages.
And you, Dear Reader, will be at the head of the queue. First, because you’ve just read this blog, and second, because the likelihood is that you have already cruised and you are already at least partly aware of this phenomenon. And, when you sit down to think about it some more, you will come to realise, as we did, that it is real and endemic, a profound and pervasive quality.
So, when it comes to New Year resolutions, the thing we have found is that more, not less, of something is the key to health and happiness, in 2018 and beyond.
Therefore we resolve to enjoy more cruises, of all and every kind, even vicariously through watching ships sail. Hopefully, we’ll see you there…!