I had never thought about cruising, I had no interest in it at all and then suddenly there I was, scanning the pages of a P&O Cruises brochure.
I was pushed into taking a cruise in 2007, I didn’t want to do it but I went along with it and made only one request, that I could pick the ship. The rest as they say is history!
My ship of choice was P&O Cruises Oriana, back when she was family-friendly, and the itinerary was a 12-night Canary Islands voyage. I read the brochure from cover to cover and done some online research, I wanted to find out everything I could about the big white thing of steel that I was convinced was going to cause me such pain and grief for almost 2-weeks.
Before embarking I had many pre-conceptions of cruising and no one could tell me otherwise. I was convinced I would have to dress up every evening, I was terrified of becoming seasick and confined to the cabin, and I really did think I would be the youngest passenger onboard by many years. Everything I envisioned was wrong, well nearly everything, but I will come back to that later.
I started to change my opinion before I even got onboard, just looking around at the people waiting to check-in made it obvious that I was definitely not going to be the youngest passenger aboard – there were at least 100 children in the queue with their parents.
Once onboard, my inside smile began to widen as I realised how wrong I had been. My cabin was bigger than I had expected, the ship was beautiful, and every single member of crew was so friendly and polite. I was starting to warm to the idea of ocean going adventures, but I was not going to let on just yet that maybe, just maybe, I was starting to change my mind.
As the days went on, the more in love with the entire experience I fell. I met some wonderful people, some of whom I am still in contact with today, the food was very nice, the weather was fantastic, I didn’t have to dress up every evening, I wasn’t seasick at all and the ports were rather nice too. I didn’t want it to end, I wanted to stay aboard forever – little did I know at the time just where my passion for cruising would take me and oh how grateful I am for it.
I did mention earlier that although most of my misconceptions were laid to rest, there was one that was not. Even now I still come across it but I think it rears its ugly head in many aspects of life – people that feel they are above the rest. Several times I have overheard conversations that could have been handled with a little more finesse. What am I talking about? Well, people that will ask your profession and then question how on earth you can afford to be on a cruise given that profession. It is rude and none of their business but for all of you that have encountered this, I have a plan! One day, I am going to find these people aboard a ship and when that conversation arises I am going to have some fun when it comes to my “job”.
These are my “career choices” thus far:
- Fighter Jet Test Pilot
- Lion Tamer
- Body Farm Caretaker
- Professional Elephant Dresser
If you can think of any other good ones then let me know!
To go back to the beginning (and to get back on track), everything I had expected from cruising before I joined Oriana turned out to be wrong and if you are reading this and have yet to cruise, stop thinking about it and just do it!
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: K B