IT’S that time of year again – TV clips of beautiful people on Mediterranean cruises.
Champagne under the stars, strolls a deux while the moonlight reflects off the glittering sea, and stick-thin women in glamorous evening dress dining by candlelight.
Goodness, I do hope anyone who books on the strength of these adverts isn’t disappointed.
Where to begin?
How about Fred Olsen…Uncle Fred caters for the older generation, retired Home Counties surveyors and stalwarts of the Royal British Legion. Thanks to the excellent food and cheap drinks, on my Canaries cruise Balmoral set a new record, for the highest number of elderly guests airlifted to hospital following late night dining dramas. Four on one voyage. It does have one of the nicest and most charming captains in Olav Soevdsnes though.
And then there’s Royal Caribbean…Where the Independence of the Seas‘ Windjammer cafe is a daily bunfight and the family friendly atmosphere is tolerated by grumpy ex-shopkeepers moaning about bored teens roaming the corridors looking for late night fun. IoTS is my first ship and my first love, because I can watch the sun setting and rising pretty much on my own every day while the other 3,600 guests are enjoying megawatt entertainment or sleeping off their hangovers. Less the beautiful people and more family groups with granny in tow to babysit.
Not a shopping mall ashore but on Independence of the Seas
Not forgetting P&O…Middle-aged snobbish Rotarians huffing and puffing that they’ve seen a guest in a football shirt on a formal night, although this is as close to posh as any of them get all year. Ventura does have Captain Alistair Clark, a dignified and friendly man who leads the Sunday service as though he really does believe in God and it also has the Ventura Vocalists of which I was one.
There are plenty of opportunities for Brits to shine at the national past time of queueing when they’re not moaning about the weather being too hot, too cold and the sea being too rough.