Hello my dears!
I know that it’s only been 2 weeks since I last posted, but in the world of me I swear it feels a lot longer. As you may be able to guess from the title of this post, I have firmly set foot back onto land and back from my Scandinavian adventure and my first ever mother/daughter holiyey!
I’ve been rather excited to have this chinwag with you all since returning and I have so much to discuss. So as Julie Andrews once sang “Let’s start at the very beginning” (don’t worry I’m not going to copy and paste the entirety of Do Re Mi on here, I’ll just let you all get the song stuck inside your head of your own accord…)
Now as someone who recently disclosed with you all that I had a fear of boats and doing something on this sheer scale was a rather big deal for me (understatement of the century). I can hand on heart tell you all that I’m completely and utterly converted to the cruise life and may have already started looking at others I could venture on in the future (may I add that I did this search whilst still on board the cruise itself!)
So for lack of a better word, I bloomin’ loved it.
I’ll be honest I don’t think my mum was the only one who was shocked upon hearing how much I enjoyed the entire experience, and no one was more surprised most than me!
The cruise liner we sailed with was Princess Cruises, on the Sapphire Princess ship. Now this meant absolutely nothing to me; as I didn’t know who was neither good nor bad! But this decision was made due to the fact my parents had sailed with them a few times before and has had many a wonderful experience with them, and thought given their track record it wouldn’t be a bad place to start!
Lovelies if you’ve never been on a cruise before however it’s something that has crossed your mind from time to time, then I say absolutely do it!! But for those who really aren’t keen on the whole idea, I wouldn’t say that it’s a must do or tell you that “you’d be missing out if you didn’t”. However, there’s a lot I’ve gained from having this wonderful experience and also things I’ve learned about myself.
Cruises are not just for people who have retired – Unfortunately this is a very common misconception and I’ll be honest, when my parents booked their first cruise I was shocked as this is something I thought to be true as well. However, given the range on cruises you can now book and the vast choice of cruise liners you’ll most likely see every holidaymaker going!
You can absolutely go on a cruise as a solo traveller and look fabulous doing it! – I saw so many wonderful people on our specific trip that were solo travellers. There’s so much to do on and off the ship and everyone (especially the staff) is extraordinary you will always feel like you’re being looked after.
There’s a facebook group for that – If you’re going on your 1st or 15th cruise with your partner/friend/wonderful self, join a facebook group for your specific cruise line! Whether it’s a question about what’s onboard, the excursions on offer or even how much of which currency to take! Everyone will offer their own experiences to help you on your way and for certain things my mum and I found this very handy!
You don’t have to dress up to the nines – Again, a very common misconception! The formal nights are a great way to get dressed up and take the opportunity to snap some lovely photos. If you’re like me you’ll relish an opportunity like this, as apart from weddings or the occasional drag show in London I don’t get to do it very often! But you don’t have too if it makes you feel a little uncomfortable or it’s just simply not your thing! Don’t worry, there are still many people that don’t. But if it is your thing, however you don’t know what to wear and dread the thought of bling and sequins (very much like yours truly); A simple cocktail/maxi dress and some flats will do. (I’ll go into further detail about the formal nights soon!)
Activity time! – There’s so much to do on-board the Princess cruises and you get your daily patter delivered the day beforehand of all the things scheduled. I found this becomes particularly handy on the days at sea! However, just because it’s all there don’t feel obliged to take part! It’s one of the things that actually made me feel a little nervous. That notion of “do you have to join in?” You absolutely don’t. But watching a movie outside on the cinema screen, lounging with a coffee and cake (which my mum and I did many times over) or taking in a boogie in the ships nightclub are things I did do on-board!
So many places in the world, so little time! – Cruises are the greatest way to see parts of the world, by giving you a taster. What I mean by this is, say like me you wanted to visit Scandinavia… But you simply don’t know where to start?! Do you travel to the main cities or go further out to the countryside? This is where a cruise is a fantastic idea, as (depending on the cruise you opt for) it allows you to explore places you maybe never would have ventured to had it not been on the itinerary!
Those immortal lines “I don’t get motion sickness, as I’m great on roller coasters” – ships are not roller coasters kids. They can be extremely rocky and this can last for hours. It is true, I love roller coasters and have never really suffered with motion sickness. However this is a completely different sensation. Heed my advice and take sea sickness pills with you, no matter how strong you think your stomach is! However if you’re like me and for reasons can’t take sea sickness tablets, those adult travel bands (y’know the ones that sit on the pressure points on your wrist?) are amazing and certainly do the trick!
THE FOOD – It’s inclusive, enjoy it and feel no guilt whatsoever.
I well and truly missed the boat here – Due to unfortunate circumstances (aka the darn weather, curse you Storm Hannah), we had to miss our stop to Brugge and stay at sea for an extra day; this would ensure our safety and help us arrive into Copenhagen on time. Now I’m going to put this down to my sheer lack of knowledge about going on a cruise… But I didn’t know that ‘missing a port’ was a thing. It’s a bummer!! So much so that the idea of spending another day at sea sent me into a panic attack… My first in a couple of months! However thanks to my amazing mum, she got me back on track and helped me deal with it pretty quickly. I digress! If this ever happens (the missed port scenario, that is) make sure beforehand you have holiday insurance with specific cruise cover, as you may be able to claim something back!
Lost at sea? – Obviously it goes without saying but you won’t have phone signal on board the ship (shock horror!) Whatever you do, do NOT go and pay the ridiculous Wi-Fi prices they have on-board. I forbid you all to do so, as it’s really not necessary. Most cruise liners (like Princess) will have a super easy to use app (free of charge might I add) that you can use on the ship to contact others you’re on holiday with. Huzzah! Then if you’d like to contact loved ones back in the UK, wait until you land at a port! Being at sea and having no signal or social media was extremely liberating. It put me at ease to not see everyone attached to their phones and instead taking the time to meet new people; and living in the moment.
RELAX – The first thing I told my partner once we’d landed back home was how, for the first time I went from 90 mph to 5 mph. His response? “Good, because you never ever relax” and he’s absolutely 100% correct. My usual idea of a relaxing holiday is crammed full of sightseeing, walking, wandering and going full-out. When you’re at sea… You’re entire mentality has to change. I didn’t realise how quick I’d fall into a state of relaxation. Honestly? It took me less than a day. As someone who’s past year or so has been a never-ending stream of overthinking, to the point of either not leaving the house or a series of panic attacks. This has been a triumph and a half!