First-Time Cruisers: Over-Stimulated At Sea?

Tea and scones on Silversea
So much to do, including making time to enjoy tea and scones on Silversea Cruises. © 2010 Ralph Grizzle

Guest post by Sarah Treleaven — I have long been a lover of travel, frequently writing on the subject, and have been steadily working my way around the world through a combination of planes, trains and automobiles. But last February, my boyfriend and I became first-time cruisers. We went on a luxurious 19-day Silversea Silver Shadow voyage around northern New Zealand and southern Australia, a dream trip very far away from our Toronto home.

There are several things that surprised me about cruising, and Ralph (aka, The Avid Cruiser) has been gracious enough to offer me a few guest post slots to share what I learned. So that brings me to the first surprise: Contrary to all of the relaxation I was promised, cruising is exhausting!

Within three days of setting sail from Auckland, my boyfriend and I very quickly fell into a busy routine during our many days at sea. (The days in port were differently busy, of course, and I’ll get to that in another post.)

Every morning at sea, our butler woke us up at 9 a.m. as he quietly and efficiently delivered our crisp bacon, fluffy banana pancakes and hot coffee. We would then take a short spin around the breakfast buffet – to make sure we hadn’t missed anything particularly delicious looking – and then we would wander up to the top floor observation deck and watch the ship surge toward the white-capped waves and look for pods of dolphins while catching up on our reading.

After that, it was time to hit the pool deck for a little sun and some lunch, usually a club sandwich and French fries (often accompanied by a couple of milkshakes and a visit to the sundae buffet).

Afternoons were typically reserved for attending lectures and more reading, but that had to be wrapped up in time for tea, which we never missed because of the delicious homemade scones.

Next, we retired to our room to dress for dinner and prepare for pre-dinner flutes of Champagne, which was typically followed by a multicourse dinner of foie gras, steak, risotto, pastas, fresh fish and other delectable options with wine pairings.

At the end of the night, perhaps after retiring to the bar for a nightcap and to take in some live jazz, we would return to our cabin, exhausted. Crawling into bed with a DVD from the boat’s library, I would rarely make it past the first five minutes.

Cruising, as it turns out, is an all-day, active commitment. But I’ve never slept so happily in my life.

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