Having just returned from a 10-day Seabourn cruise around the Mediterranean, I was reluctant (actually devastated) to finally disembark.
Saying goodbye to our divine cabin, the staff who had looked after us so well, and all that food and champagne was upsetting. I think I had found my happy place!
So let me tell you why I loved it…
I had only done one cruise before, 16 years ago, way before cruising was even fashionable so I had some reservations. I worried it may be claustrophobic and it was a superficial way of travelling, but neither were true.
It is the best of both worlds – staying on a 5 star – ship and visiting some amazing destinations, many of which were out of the way that we wouldn’t normally have gone to.
You unpack, settle into your cabin and never have to think about moving again. As an aside, our cabin had a queen bed, sitting area with table, drinks fridge, balcony and a bathroom with twin basins, bath and shower – not shabby!
Seabourn’s three sister ships, Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest can accommodate 458 passengers, so the ships are small without being too intimate. What I really loved was there is no feeling that the facilities were being stretched. There were always free loungers and quiet spaces to hang out all over the boat.
Another great benefit of cruising is you generally travel at night. Having a few zzz’s and then waking up in new destination each morning means you don’t waste any time traveling and you get to see so much more.
There are no cost blow outs as your transport, meals, (alcohol on our cruise) and accommodation is included in the one price. Seabourn cruises are in the luxury 5 star category, but we still felt it was good value for money. As well as great service and facilities, the stand out factor for me was the food.
There are four restaurants including casual eateries outside on the deck and a fine-dining degustation restaurant where Michelin star chef, Thomas Keller plays a key roll in the menu and culinary flair.
Gyms are not my favourite places but when things get out of control, the state of the art gym, over looking the ocean is the place to go.
On disembarking at each destination, a hospitality tent with local tourism guides are there to assist with local information and maps. The ship provides organised excursions or you can do your own thing, as we did.
After a day of sight-seeing it is great to get back on board and enjoy the facilities. Unlike a hotel room, you get the run of the boat with three pool areas to choose from and multiple bars and restaurants.
We loved our Seabourn cruise but there is a myriad of cruises to choose from as they all cater to different markets. Some are better suited to families, others to adventurous destinations while some of the bigger boats ooze fabulous on-board facilities.
Make sure you choose a cruise that suits your needs so talk to someone who knows. Some travel agents have more experience with cruising than others so it is important to find an agent with in-depth knowledge and experience. The International Cruise Council Australasia (ICCA), lists agents with cruising expertise on their website www.cruising.org.nz or call The Private Travel Company (P: +64 9 524 5017 E: firstname.lastname@example.org) where Kerry Graham and her team, including Sandra Barclay-Graham, CLIA Cruise Master, can help you find the right cruise.