For many people their idea of a cruise is a ship (please do not call it a boat) full of rich and retired people. Playing gentle deck games by day and dressing up in tuxedos and ball gowns and taking dinner with the captain by night. Well that might have been the case years ago but now the modern world of cruising has come into the 21st century.
The ships are like floating hotels now. The larger ships having a choice of restaurants a choice of indoor or outdoor swimming pools, theatres, casinos, nightclubs, and gyms although that last one I would give a miss on holiday. Having said that the amount of delicious food available for you to eat on a cruise holiday having a gym on board might be the thing you require. In addition, of course the price of cruising has reduced dramatically making what used to be a holiday of a lifetime into what could become the family holiday of choice.
The most often asked question for people who are thinking about taking a cruise for the first time is will I like it..?. Which is a very valid question; because once the ship has left the harbour, you cannot just get off. So why not take a mini cruise. Most cruise companies offer mini cruises starting from just two days. From experience, this is more than enough time for you to find out if cruising is for you. All modern cruise ships have the latest stabilizer fitted; this means that unless you are unlucky and hit rough seas you would not even notice that you are at sea. However, if you want to be sure than pack some travel pills. Whilst on the subject of sickness you will find that the sick bay on a modern day cruise liner is as well equipped as a private hospital.
Okay now for the good stuff. The price you pay for your cruise will normally cover for all your meals and on board entertainment .If you want to you can eat 24hrs a day (not recommended). A typical day’s meal would start with a buffet breakfast served normally to about 10am. Think of any thing you could possible eat for breakfast and it will be there waiting for you. After that, there will be snacks and brunches on offer until 12am when lunch is served. Lunch can be as informal or formal as you want to make it, you could opt for the full three to four courses or just go and have a pizza or light salad. At 2pm, the snacks and brunches are served again. Dinner normal starts at 7pm, this will be more formal then lunch, you will have to dress a minimum of smart casual no tee shirts and shorts. I personal did like to dress the part it added to the occasion, dinner normally consists of five courses .As we are talking food we might as well talk drink, apart from some complimentary cocktails, drinks are extra unless you have booked an all inclusive cruise that includes drinks. Now to the last meal of the day the midnight feast a one-course kind of brunch, that is your delicious food for the day unless of course you feel peckish around 2 am when there is always room service.
.Think in between all this food you might get bored then think again. During the day, there will plenty of activities to keep you busy, and then again, you can always just lounge around the pool drinking rum punches. After dinner there will be a show that will be every bit as professional and entertaining that you would see in the West-end or on Broadway. Or you could go to the cinema or try your luck at the casino, dance the night away in the nightclub or for the romantics go up on deck watching the sea slip by under a carpet of stars and shimmering moon with a glass of champagne .Makes me want to go and book one now.
However, for me what makes a cruise holiday so special is the change of spectacular scenery every day .If your cruise is around the Caribbean islands or the Mediterranean islands, then you could be standing on the deck on a warm evening with the lights of the island you have just visited twinkling away. Then you slip anchor and set sail .and you wake in the morning to a beautiful sunrise and the sight of another fantastic island coming into view to explore that day. That is the magic of a cruise holiday.
A couple of tips for you.
1. Even if your cruise is all-inclusive check to see what the company tipping policy is, some companies do not encourage tips others do. This can add at least £100 to your expenses on a seven to ten day cruise. You will have a cabin steward, table waiter, wine steward and bar staff to look after.
2. How much do you tip well if I am on a ten-day cruise I would tip £20 to each, but only on the last day and only if I have been looked after well?