Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Lessons from a family cruise

Apologies for how late this is but to quote a lesser known Love Actually line my "life has been full of complications and interruptions" so it is a welcome change to have a few minutes on this small piece of internet.

So I got to sing 'I'm on a motherf*%$(^& boat' on a cruise liner - that was pretty damn exciting.

But social media trends aside what are my thoughts of the so called romance of the seas?

The answer is a very straight forward: glad to say I've done it, but will be the last ever cruise for a very very very long while (or maybe never)

So here's a general overview:

It was a new experience for everyone involved - how were we going to survive as a family group how was the dynamic going to cope?

I will admit I was overwhelmed with fear, anger, uncertainty and a deep sense of reluctance as I boarded this beast. Fear for my health and more so fear for the health and safety of my 92-year-old grandma, anger that I was roped into a trip I could have done without and uncertainty for I was picturing 20 Moos sitting on a cruise with nothing but ocean for miles.

BUT I am thoroughly relieved to tell you that none of my preconceived fears and notions came to pass. Instead it was a fairly pleasant experience and one that my optimistic mind has now changed the family dynamic for the better.

Travelling with uncles, aunts and cousins was a real pleasure, it was great to see a new side to them, to share common interests and to be a part of their lives, if only for a week.

Yes there were the usual bickering and disagreements but nothing to truly rock the boat (sorry, couldn't resist). Family is nothing without a little banter.

I spent most of my time hanging out with my energetic younger cousins, which made me feel monstrously old but hopefully pretty cool. We got our competitive hats on and entered scavenger hunts one involving the ability to throw out inhibitions and just let loose, I would love so very much to put up one of these videos but I do believe my Uncle's might just murder me.

We also participated in almost every single trivia we could get to with I would say a 60% success rate. Yep, we Moo's are not stupid and I am so proud to be part of a strange family who can recite war dates and obscure medical terms.

But here's where I get down to the nitty gritty:

I realise now that this was actually the perfect mode of transport for an extended family vacation. But that being said, cruises aren't for me.

When I travel I'm going to make the most of every situation, no matter how bad so of course I came away from this trip making the most of it, but I'm not putting myself through that boredom again anytime soon.

I felt trapped. I was ultimately on a moving retirement village. Every morning you look at the day's activities, decide what you want to do, eat your three set meals and then sleep. There is no adventure in a cruise. There is no real freedom. People say it is such a relaxing time, I couldn't really relax, the setting wasn't right, the atmosphere was fake, it wasn't my idea of peace.

So Worst Parts:

Your bathroom is the size of a wash closet
The boat really does rock and if you are like me you will get sick
Food is not as great as the cruise goers say
The cruise ship I was on was by far from gigantic
Performances are C grade at best
Fellow cruisers can get a little angsty - people need to learn to chill

Best Parts:

Service, service, service. I went on a Royal Carribean ship so American service is clearly upheld. The waiters were like none I've ever experienced and I thank each and everyone of the staff for loving their jobs and for smiling each and everyday.

Being winners, even if the prizes were highlighters and made in china umbrellas

The midnight dessert buffet - which is my opinion should have been every night

The stop over in Isle of Pines - a beautiful islands straight off a postcard. We snorkeled in the bluest and clearest of waters and I can safely say I was in a paradise.

Actually having formal nights with black tie dress code - I will admit it reminded me of Jack and Rose and a bygone era of romance

And on a more personal level getting to talk to my grandma everyday. She told me stories of love, loss and fear and I wouldn't exchange that for all the money in the world.

And on that sappy note I better sign off, this is the longest entry I have done is some time.


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