The Daily Juggle
The Daily Juggle
Nine reasons why taking a cruise is an excellent way to relax
Readers talk back
Must reads site wide
I went on a cruise recently and I feel like I need to explain myself.
It would seem that the only holiday more polarising than a floating resort is Bali. There are people who swear by cruises and refer to themselves as "cruise people". There are others who can think of nothing worse. To be honest I used to be in the second camp.
Mum and dad arrived in Australia by boat 63 and 53 years ago respectively. With the experience still so raw, cruises were never going to figure in the mix of my childhood vacations.
Any romantic notion fueled by The Love Boat series of the seventies was quelled by the hideous news events in more recent years featuring cruise ship deaths and reports of sexual assaults. I feared the worst.
But that was before I had done my research. There are cruise ships great and small and like any business they each have their sights on a particular segment of the market. One of my sons was particularly keen to give it a go, as was my husband who had only positive memories of his family cruise holidays during his teenage years.
The key factors that led to our choice of boat and destination were: reputation of company, size of the ship (ie. number of passengers), activities for teenagers (ours had a rock climbing wall), length of cruise (seven days seemed like a low-risk option for the uninitiated) and previous passenger reviews of the staterooms and restaurants. The clincher was when I discovered there was an adults-only pool.
Most business meetings in January begin with a sharing of holiday experiences. Eight times out of 10, the statement "I went on a cruise" has been met with a polite pause and then, "oh, how was that?"
This is what I have been telling them:
- For seven days I didn't have to make a single decision.
- There was virtually no Internet access for the entire trip.
- Apart from the day trips to a couple of islands, the only site to see was the beautiful, vast Pacific Ocean. No traipsing required.
- Our teenage sons enjoyed a lively, social holiday based around the main pool where all the action took place (including belly flop competitions and a reggae band).
- My husband and I enjoyed a peaceful holiday reading wonderful books beside an elegant adults-only pool. As private people we were able to do our own thing.
- Breakfast, dinner and evening shows were our family time. The food was great, shows were of a high standard and our sons were happy.
- At midnight our 15-year-old had to return to his stateroom (ship's rules for under 18s) while his older brother hit the nightclub with others his age.
- I didn't have to convince my youngest son to go to bed and I didn't have to worry about how my 19-year-old would get home after a big night out.
- The cruise was the most relaxing holiday I have experienced with happy sons. They weren't bored and we weren't hassled. We were blissfully disconnected from our reality and the boys were highly engaged in a social environment without technology.
The only reason I can give for not trying this type of holiday sooner is fear. I feared that I would hate it. But often incredible things can happen when fears are faced.
I wouldn't yet classify myself as a 'cruise person' but I have started researching cruise ships in the Mediterranean where apparently there is no need for explanation.
Have you tried something recently that you never thought you would? How did that work out for you?