Conjure the image if you will, a gigantic pristine white cruise ship alongside the ports of Southampton, a staggering man-made wonder at just shy of three football pitches long, and as tall as an eight storey building. Now if you will, imagine the passengers boarding her, see anyone below the age of 60? I thought not.
Let me be the one to tell you ladies and gentlemen, that cruising is not just for the older, more seasoned traveller. I’ll put to rest the mystery that young people don’t do cruises, because I’m pretty certain I’m below the age of 60, in fact, I’m below the age of 30, and cruising is absolutely fantastic.
For those budding travellers, how can you cast doubt on waking up in a different country nearly every day for three weeks?! You get to see so much more than a one-stop, fly in fly out holiday can possibly offer. Rather you should be enjoying the best of it all with a taste of alternating continents, going to bed and seeing the light fade around the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, and by lunchtime the next day, be bartering for trinkets in the markets of Cairo. Now that’s travel diversity.
Your hotel Sir, Madam, is essentially a floating palace, think stately home with all the modern necessities – P&O offer nothing short of sheer opulence, from the rooms and the service, to the exquisite dishes that help you grow your waste line by a few inches. For the duration of your holiday, you are treated like royalty and you certainly feel like you are! Hungry at 3am, a real hankering for something savoury? No problem, grass-fed steak, medium rare, with twice fried chunky chips and lashings of peppercorn sauce awaits you. This is precisely why I come back looking bigger than when I left, and this goes without mentioning the Chocoholics buffet with complimentary death by soufflé.
Life on board, its not all chess, bridge and falling asleep in comfy chairs (although the last one is pretty good) it can be as tranquil or exciting as you want it to be. The Spa facilities are divine and make for a real lazy day, and on the flip side there are dance and sports classes, musical productions in the full size theatre, and several clubs and drinks lounges that cater to all music tastes. A little bit of Dubstep in the early hours of the morning, damn straight there is.
When you disembark at your destinations, you can do as you please, but there is plenty on offer from the ships organised tours and excursions range. On the Christmas cruise last year I was busy driving a buggy around the volcanic landscapes of La Palmas getting dirty and loving it! And a little bit creative with the photography, as can be seen below. Scuba diving, a glass-bottomed submarine experience, juggling fire, safari trekking, wine tasting, and surfing, it’s all there, and it’s all possible.
Some people knock the idea of cruising, mainly because of misguided preconceptions that it’s a holiday for the silver haired warriors. It really isn’t! There is a little bit of class to it all, with dress codes and black tie evenings. But that is exactly why I love it. It’s the chance to do something we don’t always do anymore in a world that’s quickly spinning out of control.
P&O observe the timely traditions that are fading in to the history books, with silver service, precise dining times, evening dress wear, etiquette, and a nod towards that state of civility that makes us British. It’s great to be a part of, and it just makes the whole occasion more wonderful! They go particularly all out for the festive season and the whole ship looks like something from a Downton Abbey Christmas special.
So if you fancy something different, don’t dismiss the idea of cruising because of the stereotypes you’ve heard about it. Try it, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised!