As the holiday season looms upon us like a liner gearing up for a Blue Ribband run, there are tens of thousands of very fortunate people, preparing right now for the very agreeable prospect of spending the festive season somewhere at sea.
And good luck to them as well, for there are few more gloriously indulgent things than spending Christmas and/or New Year’s Eve somewhere far more warm than the windswept hinterlands of Northern Europe. What fun, to be cocooned in an environment where you can still have your traditional Christmas turkey, even while you quietly spend your day on deck, roasting like one.
Christmas is stripped of all the normal, abrasive hassle and hustle and, in its place, you are gifted what amounts to the nautical equivalent of some marvellous, whimsical sleigh ride. On a ship, you can eat and drink to your heart’s content, with nary a worry about food preparation, or washing up afterwards. You can safely leave the awkward relatives on the side of the plate. And, instead of a post Christmas Day lunch snooze, how about an hour or so soaking in a hot tub, under a brilliantly sunny sky? Nice.
A Christmas treat to yourself could consist of some sumptuous, exotic spa treatment. Or, if you’re somewhere really balmy like the Caribbean, how about champagne at sunset on your own, private balcony? It’s a million miles removed from flaming Christmas pud and mildly stewed distant relatives, for sure.
As for New Year’s Eve, that takes some beating if you spend it at sea. Any Canaries cruise will almost certainly showcase the fantastic, midnight fireworks over magnificent, mellow Madeira on New Year’s Eve proper. And there can be no better vantage point to watch it all than some fabulous cruise ship, ablaze with light and awash with sparkling, ice cold champagne. What a way to end a year, and to start a new one.
I did a cruise over the New Year on Royal Caribbean a few years ago, in the Caribbean on the fabulous Grandeur Of The Seas. The beautifully decorated ship featured both a band and a follow on disco in the centrum, a count down to midnight by the captain, and free champagne to celebrate the new year. It was a crackling, totally electrifying cruise from start to finish.
And oh… waking up with the mother of all self inflicted hangovers, then opening the room curtains, and being greeted by the brilliant, sun drenched vision of gorgeous Grand Cayman, waiting for us in the background as the Grandeur swung gracefully at anchor. I’ve never known such an instant, invigorating hangover cure as that one.
So, if you’re lucky enough to be out on the briny this year, do please enjoy it to the max. And remember- you’re worth it. Happy holidays, and happy sailing.