SHIPS ARE HIP; SINKING SOME OLD CRUISE MYTHS

Carnival has been at the forefront of re-inventing the cruise

Carnival has been at the forefront of re-inventing the cruise

Rock climbing walls. Rope climbing courses. Ice rinks and racing car simulators. Aqua parks, outdoor beach clubs and flow riders. Modern cruise ships have got the lot, and so much more besides.

It’s this vast wealth of recreational facilities and options that have given modern cruise ships the stance and allure of towering, magnificent theme parks, mixed in with a slice of sizzling Las Vegas. Dining options have mushroomed to include an armada of diverse eateries, while themed on board watering holes now embrace everything from actual ice bars, to glass  enclosed creations that literally rise and fall over three deck levels.

You can eat everything from Mexican to Mongolian, by way of  Japanese, Jamaican, and even classic French and Italian. The only thing not on cruising’s global menu these days is frugality.

Accommodation choices these days are wider than the prairies;  they extend from comfortable, inside rooms to multi-room balcony complexes, complete with their own hot tubs and personal butlers. And, with a loosening up of the stilted old dress codes of yesteryear, cruising truly has become a ‘resort casual’ lifestyle; la dolce vita incarnate on the ocean.

All of which should be enough for the industry to sell easily to the masses. And yet, amazingly, many people still see cruises in terms of the ocean voyages of sixty or more years past. Notions of those old ocean liners linger like stubborn patches of wispy Atlantic fog.

Probably far too many people have seen Titanic, and taken it as the benchmark for sea travel. They picture crusty, diamond bedecked, imperious old dowagers tottering around the dance floor in the grip of grim faced officers, or else they see it as a kind of cross between Hi-De-Hi and the Antiques Roadshow, via Downton Abbey.

Not your daddy's style of cruising...

Not your daddy’s style of cruising…

These perceptions are totally off beam. Modern cruise ships bear little enough real resemblance to their predecessors of thirty years ago, the era of the Love Boat. Never mind the Aquitania. Yet some people’s thinking seem to progress as slowly as Pharaoh’s barge down the Nile.

Modern cruise ships are jaw dropping creations that offer standards of comfort, leisure, and cosseted convenience never seen at sea before. Price wise, they offer an inclusivity that no land based hotel could even hope to get near to equalling. In general, they have standards of hygiene and housekeeping that those old, much lauded Atlantic liners could never even have aspired to.

There will always be those who protest that sea travel has lost some of it’s glamour, and maybe so. But are some of those people so upset by what they perceive as lost that it blinds them to three decades of extraordinary, mind boggling gains? Food for thought….

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