When I started this blog, it was never my intention that it become a travel blog and yet faced with the deep snow and howling winds brought by the “Beast from the East” I find myself ever more thinking about the warmth of the sun and happy times on vacation. Our trip to Barbados in early January seems such a long time ago now. Life has taken over and following the stress of work – writing and marking exam papers - I decided that rather than write about the hazards of winter or the stress of university, that I would brighten everyone’s day/night by sharing my top 5 joys on taking a cruise.
You get to see a new beach every day (what’s not to love!)
The sunsets are amazing
Being with friends
Sail away parties are a great way to start the evening
You see some of the most beautiful places in the world
Be ready for some sunshine, sea and sand, beauty and fun.
1. A new beach every day
I think you know by now that I love a beach and the idea of waking up, opening the curtains and stepping out on to the balcony and finding another new beach to explore is my idea of heaven. It doesn’t always work out like that, some ports are, well, industrial and sometimes your balcony faces out to sea. But the idea that you can step off the ship and be on a different island with places to see and explore – what’s not to love!
You have had a tough day exploring the island or lying on a beach baking in the Caribbean sunshine, swimming in the warm Caribbean Sea, sipping the occasional ice-cold beer or Mojito and eating the local delicacy – maybe rice and peas, flying fish or Macaroni Pie. You get back to your stateroom (do not call them cabins – they are staterooms, please!) you relax, take a shower, dress for dinner and at the same time every evening (around 6pm) nature gets her paint palette out and the sky turns from gin-clear blue to ochre, crimson, orange, indigo and then navy blue and finally black. Wonderful.
3. Being with friends
We have been on a couple of cruises by ourselves – just me and Mr B and we do find this most relaxing - sitting on the balcony, taking in the sun and the sights as the world flows by at a leisurely pace. But sometimes we cruise with friends and this adds to the excitement and the pleasure. We make sure we know the rules before we leave! You do want to come back friends! And enjoying company at the end of a long sunny beach day, nothing could be finer than to dine together before an evening at the theatre watching a show. The food on board ship is second to none and taking care not to over-eat is a must and dressing up for dinner in a gown and seeing Mr B in his James Bond tux – such fond memories.
4. Sail away parties
Leaving port for the first time, our first time was leaving Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is so exciting. Watching the huge ship inch its way away from the dock, engines churning the water, feeling a very slight vibration under your feet that tells you that the ship is moving and then watching the harbour disappear and the ocean open up in front of you – it excites me every time.
And knowing this, the crew put on a show, music, dancing, a cocktail or two – a sail away party. Such fun and a great way to start a vacation. Then you discover that every night that you leave a port there is a party – what’s not to love! And some ports, where there are 4 or 5 ships in the harbour, the party atmosphere gets us all waving goodbye as another ship slowly edges away from the dock, sirens are sounded, horns are blown, we wave and sing and dance and watch the sun go down.
Did I mention – what’s not to love!! I know this is not everyone’s cup of tea, and not everyone joins in, but they are great fun!
5. Beauty of the world
We have been to the Canaries, the Portugal, Spain from Southampton.
To Acapulco, Nicaragua, Panama, Barbados, St Maartan, Tortola and the Virgin Islands, Antigua, Jamaica and many of the islands around the Caribbean.
Going through the Panama Canal was a highlight. We even ended one cruise in New Orleans and fell in love with the city on sight. The French quarter is a fascinating place to explore and the city has a magic to it that means we will definitely visit and explore again.
And in April we plan to visit new places; Barcelona, Gibraltar, Ibiza as we cruise again from Southampton with P&O. The pre-cruise booklet came this afternoon so later I will sit on my sofa and discover what is to come and look forward to making new memories with Mr B on board ship.