Sunday, 27 September 2015

Cruise Review

Home for the next 10 days.
In my last blog, A Duck's Tale,
I mentioned that I'd recently been on a cruise. One of my friends asked me to write about the cruise as he's considering going on one and is interested to know what it's like. But I thought that I'd write about my experience of cruising, rather than one specific cruise.

I'll never forget my first cruise. We were looking for something
Setting sail from Venice on a Greek Isles cruise.
special to do to celebrate our silver wedding anniversary and, in my opinion, we couldn't have chosen anything better. It was a classic Mediterranean cruise sailing to and from Barcelona. We were treated like VIP's from the moment we stepped off the plane, although having done quite a few cruises since, this isn't always the case, but we've never had a bad experience, just a bit more of a hectic one shall we say.

The Legend of the Seas from Mykonos.
When we arrived at the cruise terminal my jaw literally dropped at the size of the ship, It was called the Splendour of the Seas and it certainly lived up to its name. I couldn't believe that this was going to be my home for the next 7 days and nights. My excitement and wonder continued to mount each day. From Barcelona, we sailed to Villefranche, in the South of France, where, if we'd wanted to,  we could have visited Monte Carlo or Nice. Instead we opted to go ashore and explore the local market and seaside town.The next day we arrived at the port of Livorno, in Italy, where we spent the day exploring the sights of Pisa.
Our cabin on the 12th deck.

During the course of the week, we also visited Rome, stopped off in Naples, the nearest port for Pompeii and Herculaneum, and Valetta the capital of Malta. I couldn't get over how amazing it was to see all these places I'd dreamt about, without having to pack and unpack every day. Instead, we returned to the ship, dressed for dinner, watched a West End style show, danced under the stars and enjoyed a night cap in a sumptuous lounge before retiring to bed. And ladies, you get the chance to wear your posh frocks if you want. but it's not compulsory.

The ship is like a floating all inclusive hotel, with all the facilities
Flow rider on the Explorer of the Seas
that you would expect from a 4* or even 5* hotel. There was even an on board lecturer giving talks for those who like to know a bit about the places they are going to visit,The food is worthy of any Michelin restaurant and there's plenty of it. You can find something to eat 24 hours a day, if you want. But the good news is, there is a gym and jogging track if you want to enjoy yourself, but not gain too much weight.

Me getting into character for the Thriller dance
Even when having a day at sea there is something for everyone. There's bingo, quizzes, basket ball, mini golf, a rock climbing wall and on The Explorer of the Seas, the last ship I was on, there was an ice rink and flow rider, so you can even skate and surf at sea. Once on a trip from Baltimore to the Bahamas, I spent a couple of days at sea, learning Michael Jackson's Thriller dance, with some of my fellow guests and members of the entertainment team. Then on the last evening, we performed it in front of the entire ship. One of my 'adventures', it was awesome.

Chillin' in Gran Canaria
One of the concerns I've heard is that people worry about being stuck on a ship with so many people. But I can assure you that there's plenty of places where you can go if you want some alone time. You can do as much or as little as you want.The trips can be a bit full on, but in a lot of places you can disembark and just wander or sit and watch the world go by in a local café. We've had a couple of great times just getting off and jumping on a local open top bus. Everywhere seems to have them.

Cruising is a great way to see some of the Wonders of the World, without having to spend too much time in one place. I've seen the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pompeii and even where the film Troy was shot, and all in one trip. Plus, I've no particular desire to visit Cairo, but was able to see the Pyramids at Giza.

You may have gathered by now that I'm a big fan of cruising. So much so, that we've booked up another cruise next year to celebrate my 'significant' birthday. There's so much more I could say on the subject, but I think that's enough for now. If you've thought about cruising, I'd say to go for it. After all, you only live once.

For those who missed it, here is the video my hubby took of the Thriller Dance. Enjoy.

Photo's and video, Isabel's own.

Isabel Johnstone 2015 ©

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