For most people, a cruise is a fantastic holiday that takes them to a string of interesting places that they have never seen before in most cases. So the urge to get off and explore- to get out there and see what these places are all about- is quite obviously a totally compelling thing; numero uno for most passengers, in fact.
Yet there is a small, growing band of people who do not bother to get off the ship at all in maybe one, or even two, headline ports. They choose instead to remain on board, soak up the sun and maybe use the pools. The bars and buffet are still open, so it’s still a full service experience.
This is especially so on the modern ships, with their dizzying array of water parks, rock climbing walls and roller blading tracks. In the old days, the ship used to be a hotel that transported passengers around the highlights of a cruise region. Now, with mega ships like Norwegian Breakaway and Oasis of The Seas, the ship has become the destination in and of itself.
And yet…. this is not as new a phenomenon as you might think. Back in the eighties, I met a couple aboard the Norway. They were on their ninth Caribbean cruise aboard her, and they never, ever, went ashore at all. They simply enjoyed having that vast amount of floating real estate to kick back on.
I found this strange, but after a few years I found myself slowly sagging into a similar state of mind. Especially in the middle of a long Mediterranean or Baltic itinerary, a ‘cathedral day pass’ can be the perfect way to recharge your batteries, and just generally spoil yourself.
And few things beat just a good, old fashioned spot of in port decadence on your own private balcony. Nothing brought this home like a day docked in Nassau last year, aboard the Seven Seas Navigator.
Across the pier from us, an enormous mega ship almost blotted out the sun. Sadly, not nearly enough for the conga line of hot and bothered passengers that snaked back to the end of the pier and probably beyond that, par boiling in that pitiless heat.
I really felt for them, as I lay there in my bathrobe, drinking the champagne I had on ice and picking at succulent chunks of delicious cold lobster. Sometimes, less effort definitely produces greater rewards. Truly, we live and we learn.