Posted February 2nd, 2018, 07:48 AM
When I was a kid we used to holiday with my Dad's family in Ireland,it was the 1950's,air travel wasn't an option,only rich people did that,much to the discomfort of my Mum who was sick days before the sailing & for days after!
I loved it though & later travelled by ferry wherever I could,holidays in the Netherlands & the Isle Of Man,along with countless day trips to the Isle Of Man where I would spend the whole voyage out on deck just watching the world(& ships) go by,holidays were great,just load up the car & forget everything until you get there.
But because ferries take time any destinations were close to home,we had no interest in the sun spots our holidays of choice saw us heading to the USA most years for fly drives,anything up to 3 weeks, driving 2-3000 miles at a time,such wonderful memories,but as we got older,the journey seemed harder,the security got stricter,& the flight prices kept going up,something needed to change.
Given our past history cruising seemed an obvious choice,if only we could find somewhere interesting to go without flying,still I wasn't at all keen on the idea,travelling somewhere by ship was enjoyable,being 'stuck' on one for 2 weeks seemed less appealing.
My Wife on the other hand was really keen on the idea,I think she liked the idea that it seemed glamorous,I finally gave in in 2010 & booked a cruise on the Crown Princess to Iceland & Norway which I thought sounded interesting destinations.
After booking I can still remember my Wife saying at least that is everything paid for,then we started reading the small print in the brochure,so much per person per cabin per day would be taken out for tips,£25 each extra to eat in the 'better' restaurants,along with seeing the price of the drinks which seemed very expensive & the thought of having to dress up which I hate made me even more apprehensive as the time approached.
We live in the North,the coach journey to Southampton seemed to take forever,arriving at Southampton we were kept waiting at the bottom of the escalator to the departure lounge for ages,we found out why when we got up there,it was a madhouse,just like being in an airport,not a good start!
This was July but we soon realised that many of our fellow passengers were not a hardy bunch as even in the Irish Sea on our first full day while we were still in t-shirt & shorts many had taken to overcoats,hats,scarfs & gloves,by the time we were approaching Iceland I was the only one out on deck,loved that bit,while inside evry space seemed crammed,not fun,the price of the drinks turned out to not be such a big problem after all as they seemed to run out of pretty much everything we liked within days of sailing!
We enjoyed the destinations,Norway especially was beautiful but after returning home we both said,'done it,wouldn't do it again!'.
Within weeks my Wife was telling me she loves cruising & wanted more,not only that but she now wanted anywhere sunny,giving in again we booked the school holiday cruise to Spain,Portugal,Canaries & Madeira on Britannia,her first year,found her too big,didn't like the dark colours inside,we had many teething troubles in our cabin,the balcony was too small,there were millions(or so it seemed) of kids but somehow we came home feeling that we actually had enjoyed it,for starters the check in at Southampton had been so much better which was a good start.
So the jury is still out but next month is a significant Birthday for me,I have just retired so we are flying out to join Britannia again on her cruise back to the UK,am i looking forward to it,as treat I booked the Premium upgrade on the flight & a suite on board to ease the pain(!),& yes I am,maybe an age thing but the 5 days at sea on the cruise out to the Azores sounds really peaceful,by the time we get back we may know whether we are(both) really into cruising!