Well what do you know? I am no longer a cruise virgin!
In late January I boarded the Carnival Legend with Tony K for a blissful weekend getaway to nowhere. No really, nowhere! We set sail from Sydney and for a few glorious days we were at sea with no destination and no commitments. Our only goal was to switch off and check-out for a bit; no phones, no email, no internet!
The disembodied voice of the lovely Lee the Cruise Director kept us informed of the odd activity we could dawdle along to with a drink in hand. Quite literally. I don't think our pace ever got past the gazelle like speed of a slow dawdle, and for a good part of that travelling there was a cocktail being sipped along the way. As it turns out though, our dawdle led us to Lee for some Motown madness at some stage. I'd like to be able to say exactly when but it's quite amazing how time becomes less of a feature in the day when you have 'no particular place to go' ♪♫ (Note: Photo of Lee blatantly lifted from Facebook. All credit to him for the selfie)
On the first night we lucked it to stumble into the piano bar where we discovered the delightful, funny and incredibly talented musician Tim Mitchell . From that point forward Tim became a regular feature in our post-dinner night time frivolities; sitting at the bar and belting out some classic toons. (Note: Photo of Tim was taken by me. I haven't lifted this one from the interwebs)
Our days became a blur of snoozing, wandering, playing, drinking and generally enjoying doing absolutely nothing. We had no fixed agenda, no commitments other than a dinner reservation each night, and a magic card that worked like money.
I have to admit I have always been a bit neutral about cruising. My travelling has always involved all kinds of touring and adventure. I've always thought that a cruise would be something I'd do when I wanted a holiday where I did nothing... and I'd never actually gotten around to having that kind of holiday. As it turns out though, I was right! It is a glorious, fabulously relaxing, blissful way to spend some time without the hassles of packing every few days, navigating foreign transport, checking in and out of hotels, doing the mental maths of foreign currency, and all the other joys of more adventurous holidays. Each have their place. I see cruising in a different light now. As a couple it was peaceful and commitment free. As a family I can see the attraction of the on-board kids clubs and activities. Yeah I reckon I'll give this gig a go again.
A few newbie observations worth noting for the uninitiated:
Land sickness - You're prepared for the chances of seas sickness and prepare accordingly, but no one tells you about what happens when you get off the boat! After getting your sea legs and equalising whatever it is you need to equalise to get used to shipboard life, it takes a few days to undo that. We had calm seas and I was lucky enough not to feel any ill effects on the boat... off the boat though and I go 'land sick'! It's kind of like waves of motion sickness. Head spins and the perception that the ground is moving.
The magic money card - Whenever you want something you wave it, swipe it, sign for it... it would be dead easy to clock up quite the bill. There are ship board ATM-type machines though. Keep an eye on the total if you're worried.
Do all the things! - You're on holidays, so why not let your hair down and do whatever daggy activity you have secretly always desired but never dared do in your everyday life; play bingo, sing karaoke, go to all the trivia sessions, dance when there is music, dance when there is no music, take cooking classes,
Talk to all the people - you don't have to communicate with anyone if you don't want to but hey, everyone is there doing the same thing so why the hell not make friends. Clink glasses as you pass on the deck.
Staff - the staff are lovely!
Breakfast - word is they serve this. Who gets up early on holidays?
Exercise - There's a gym and a running track. HAAAAA!