Easter holidays mean
studying for exams new adventures. Obviously. It’s time to cruise around the Mediterranean and pretend that final year of university doesn’t really exist…
Unfortunately, cruises tend to have quite a bad rep amongst my generation. In fact, some of my friends even said ‘I’m sorry’ when I told them about my holiday plans…
This is my 5th cruise now (cruise veteran over here!) but I can honestly understand where the negativity comes from. Old couples, bingo nights, sea-sickness, cramped cabins, old fashioned furniture, the Titanic... I’m pretty sure that’s what comes to mind, right? Although I’m sure it’s possible to find a cruise that ticks all of those boxes (minus the fatal iceberg, I’d hope), the ones I’ve experienced have definitely challenged the stereotype. The ships are so grand and modern it’s actually very easy to forget you’re in the middle of the ocean – there are restaurants, theatres, game rooms, bars, swimming pools, spas, casinos… you name it! It’s kind of like a mini city and, yes, the rooms are a bit smaller than hotel rooms but not in an uncomfortable way. If you’re scared of boats/water then you need to know that cruises are not at all terrifying – you can’t even tell you’re moving most of the time and it just feels like being inside of a massive building complex instead of in the middle of the ocean. As I always say, the best way to know about these things is to give them a try yourself but the second best way is to read about them on my blog (haha, shameless self-promotion).
After a bumpy flight over the alps we arrived in Genoa, Italy. The Italians call it Genova and for about 20 minutes I genuinely thought we were in Geneva until my brain remembered how to distinguish between the letters E and O again. The runway was an interesting one, because you are literally RIGHT next to the sea and you wonder what the chances of an accidental water landing could be… Once you’re off the plane, cruises are pretty well organised: there’s always someone with a sign at the ‘Arrivals’ gate and you just follow them to wherever you need to be. Simple!
After a good 2 hours of waiting in the boarding hall we were finally allowed onto the ship – the MSC Preziosa – and went straight to our room where our luggage had already arrived.
As always with a cruise, there was a lifejacket drill before setting sail. Some people find these inconvenient but I think they’re quite fun. I mean, of course, it needs to be taken seriously but at the same time it’s just thousands of people in bright orange floating devices all crammed into a room – when do you ever get to see that? The chances of the ship sinking are EXTREMELY low, by the way, so don’t let that put you off giving cruises a try.
Once that was over, we rushed out to explore the ship and make our way to the top deck to wave goodbye to Genoa and begin our week-long voyage.
Cruises can be quite a luxury holiday option. Firstly, they’re usually all-inclusive and secondly, the formal dinners, black-tie events, evening theatre shows, spa treatments and room service all make you feel way posher than you actually are. At the same time, it’s not always glitz and glam! There are ice cream parlours, kids’ play areas, water slides and pizza buffets galore. So, to all those people that think cruising might be a bit too ‘snooty’ for them, remember that cruise ships with zip-lines, rock climbing walls and 3D cinemas actually exist out there!
For breakfast/lunch we just grabbed a few snacks from the buffet (That’s me trying to play it cool – in reality we ate everything we could get our hands on). For dinner, it was a much more formal affair. We ate in the main dining room every night at a table with other guests. There was one guest that I became particularly fond of – who also happened to be less than half of my age… I suppose I do have the brain of a 7-year-old though, so it was only to be expected. Meet Ella:
The food was delightful but my veganism was put to the test – Avoiding meat, eggs and milk was easy but cheese? No way. Everything was coated in cheese, with a side of cheese and some sprinkles of cheese on top #europeanprobz. Also, I have a tendency to over-eat on cruise holidays (and I don’t think I’m alone on that one) – with the endless supply of food it’s kind of hard to resist and it’s not exactly like I was going for a run every morning (although there was a running track and a gym on board… I chose to ignore that information at the time) so, my once toned abs are no more. It was nice while it lasted, though!
In comparison to Royal Caribbean (the best cruise line ever – fact*), I don’t think MSC can really compete. If any of you have ever experienced a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, you’ll know that it’s impossible for anyone to compete, really. They have the most spectacular shows, innovative ship designs, amazing crew members and spacious cabins but they also happen to be 3x the price – so, there are pros and cons.
*not officially a fact, but it’s my opinion and this is my blog – so yeah, fact.
Here’s a visual throwback to our 2013 cruise on Allure of the Seas, which at the time, was the world’s biggest cruise ship!
But regardless of what cruise ship company, we had a seriously great time! It was so nice to be pampered instead of being in the library, we got to visit some beautiful European cities and I got to hang out with my Momma for a week.
So, why should you go on a cruise?
- You can see multiple cities in a short amount of time. I know this isn’t always a good thing because you end up playing a really ‘touristy’ role instead of, perhaps, exploring the backstreets and getting to know the locals but for anyone that just wants a taste of different cultures and can’t seem to settle on just one holiday destination then a cruise could be the perfect option!
- There’s no wifi on cruises. Well, there is but it’s always so expensive! So, for us peasants then yes, there’s no wifi. Why is this a positive, I hear you ask? Well, because wifi is such a commodity these days you can even stay connected in the Amazon rainforest! That’s why I think it’s important to fully switch off sometimes. Whenever you dock at a new port, it’s easy to find wifi at a restaurant, cafe or tourist centre but whilst you’re on board, there really is no need? May seem hard to believe but you’ll live if you have to wait a few hours to post that gorgeous sunset picture on Instagram and you’ll live if you haven’t refreshed your Facebook timeline in 24 hours. Living without BuzzFeed quizzes, however – that’s questionable… Back to the point – cruises are a great way to detach from the outside world, connect with people and soak up your surroundings.
- Last but not least, look at these views!
So, that’s all on cruising! Don’t forget to read about the cities that we visited here!