It’s January, so that means that it is time for me to sort out what I want to do as a summer holiday this year. The last couple of summers I’ve gone cruising. The first was to Norway, where I saw very little because of the weather, and last year I spent two weeks floating around the Mediterranean.
This post isn’t going to be about the trips themselves, but more as an introduction to cruising and how I found it.
Let’s start with the obvious point, cruising isn’t cheap. Especially if you travel solo like myself. The cost per day, including excursions, worked out at about £200 for both my trips. I did go for a more reasonably priced cabin on both occasions to keep the cost down. You can probably do it for less, but not by much.
Cost wise, the best thing for me was that everything was paid for up front. It’s a full board holiday, so I didn’t pay for any of my meals. Yes, there are some restaurants with surcharges, but I stuck with the planned dining. I don’t drink, so the occasional soft drink kept me going, and the cabin credit dealt with that. On the fortnight cruise, I had spent less than £30 over the trip. Not bad if I say so myself.
I did go on an excursion at each of the ports, whose quality can be varied. If you do go down that route who do need to think very carefully about what you want to do. I loved Pisa, but I was finished in twenty minutes. Having to spend an extra hour there waiting for the group was annoying, and it involved a visit to McDonalds. That was how bored I was.
The other disadvantage of a cruise is that you are generally in a port for only part of the day. You arrive in the morning, and you leave again in the late afternoon or early evening. It is rare for you to spend a night at port. I think that most places are very different at night than it is during the day, but you don’t get an opportunity to see that.
On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about getting from place to place as your ship takes you where you need to go. Travelling by cruise ship, is the most relaxing way of getting from A to B. On sea days I would find myself a little corner somewhere and so a little reading and writing. I’m not one for lounging in the sun, but that is always an option for those who like that thing. There is always something going on onboard.
The evenings are when the ship comes alive, with four or five entertainment options each night. Each show has two performances, so I book myself on the first dinner sitting, and if there are two things I want to see I can get to both. As normally, the first performance clashes with the second dinner sitting. Sometimes I can be sneaky.
There are even events organised for solo travellers, involving tea and if you really lucky, cake. I may have been thirty years younger than anyone else, but I really enjoyed popping along. On a two week holiday, it is nice to have a bit of time shooting the breeze, and did I mention the free cake?
It didn’t really bother me, but I was at the younger end of the age spectrum on both my trips. It would be a problem if you like being around people of the same age. Especially if you go outside of the school holidays. If I’m on holiday, I like doing my own thing.
I’m not too sure if I am going to go on another cruise this year. The dates I’m taking off doesn’t match anything too exciting, unless I want to give Norway another go. I’m not quite into it enough to plan my holiday around a specific cruise, but it is certainly an experience that I’ve enjoyed.