Why I changed my mind about cruising
Are you considering a cruise for the first time but can’t quite decide whether to commit? Perhaps you’re worried about getting seasick or bored, or maybe you're apprehensive about spending so much time at sea?
If that sounds like you, we suggest you meet Liz Higgins. Once upon a time, Liz was exactly like that - she had no interest in cruising, having written it off as something for the elderly. Then she was persuaded to try out a transatlantic crossing aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (not a bad way to start) and everything changed.
We sat down for a quick chat about her experience as a first-time cruiser, and to find out how she feels about cruising now...
So, you recently went on your first ever cruise. How was it?
It was fantastic and far exceeded my expectations. I sailed on Queen Mary 2 from New York to Southampton in a Queens Grill Suite, which was an upgrade from the Princess Grill I had originally booked.
It was a non-stop 6-night cruise across the Atlantic. There were talks by well-known speakers, cookery classes, wine tastings, dancing in the evening and performances in the theatre. There was also a brilliantly stocked library, an excellent gym and a spa.
What was your impression of cruising before you stepped on board for the first time?
My previous impression of cruising was that it would probably be aimed at people in the 65+ age range or young families on an all-you-can-eat basis.
What was the single best thing about the experience that you weren’t expecting?
The best thing about this particular cruise was the upgrade, of course. I had my own 24-hour butler and dedicated dining room. We also had a private deck with free canapés, free premium-brand drinks and champagne, sun loungers, towels and a Jacuzzi.
And the worst experience?
There was nothing bad on the whole trip, so no complaints at all!
Where's next on the list?
Actually, I've been on a number of cruises since that first one. My next one, hopefully, will be to Alaska.
We find that first-time cruisers are often worried about getting bored. Was that a problem for you?
I can honestly say that I have never been bored. On most cruises you wake in a different port or country every day so there is always somewhere and something new to discover. And if you stay on board there is still lots to occupy you.
How easy is it to stay in touch with folks back home?
Wi-Fi can be expensive on board, but when you're on land there are always plenty of internet cafés you can pop into. You can use your mobile phone for texting of course. I've never had a problem staying in touch.
What would you tell someone who’s considering a cruise for the first time, but can’t quite decide whether it’s for them?
I would say definitely try it but make sure you choose one that will work for you. Treat it like you would any holiday - that means doing your research to find the cruise line that's right for you - and if you are still not sure, read the reviews from previous passengers and only book for a few days initially.
Has this inspired you to take a cruise? If so, we recommend you check out Travelzoo’s latest cruise deals.
If you need a little more inspiration on where to go, have a look at this blog post, in which cruise expert Jane Archer talks through the top destinations for every cruise bucket list.