The best laid plans sometimes get sidelined, don’t they? My husband and I love to travel, but the idea of a cruise just NEVER appealed to us. Over the past twenty years we found that we liked traveling in Europe by car, following a map that did not have most of the places we were looking for on it, sometimes driving on the wrong side of the road (to us), getting lost, and exploring places off the beaten track. We prefer to stay in small villages and in various accommodations. Our favorite temporary residences have been a garden shed, a barn, and a Cornish fisherman’s hut. As we got older we added a lot of train travel to our itineraries and driving a car that had GPS that still didn’t have most of the spots on it that we were wanting to get to. But, we enjoyed all of it and still do. Some of our best travel experiences have been the unexpected ones!
We always considered that maybe one day (when we were too old to drive) we would consider a cruise, when we just couldn’t get around like we used to. I just couldn’t imagine spending my vacation cooped up with 3,500 other people! I could not imagine eating with that many people either and I couldn’t imagine waiting in a long line for anything. But, maybe that is just me. Our youngest daughter loves cruising! Every year she goes on more than one and just raves about them. Hmm……….OK, with her guidance we planned and booked a cruise. However, the more I thought about it the less enthused I was………………
so we cancelled it!
Then a good friend of ours told us about the fabulous cruise they had just returned from. What was I missing? I asked more questions. It was a big ship with fewer travelers, less than 400. They had picked Regent Seven Seas Cruises, a 5- Star Luxury Cruise line. I looked at the Regent Cruise itineraries and there were cruises featuring places we had never visited before, which was a big plus to us because we had already been to many of the destinations offered on other various cruise lines we had looked into.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises are all inclusive. That means the majority of offerings per cruise are included in the price of the cruise. The thing that bugged my husband about cruising was the add ons that most cruise lines tacked onto the original price of the cruise. You pay for the cruise up front, but then if you drink alcohol you must add an alcohol package and that is an additional fee. If you drink water or soft drinks that is another fee. If you eat in “specialty” restaurants that is another fee. The excursions were another fee. The tips and taxes were another fee. They took lots of photos and were hounding you to buy them. My hub likes to know up front what the cost of things are and he was not enthused about having a bill at the end, “Oh, by the way this is what your cruise really cost!”
Regent is expensive to be sure, but we know what we will be getting. With Regent everything is included in the price. We get business class seating to and from our destinations, which includes transfer to the hotel, since we are staying an extra night on the front end and several at the back end. We also get transfers from the airport to the hotel and to the cruise dock. We will not be messing with luggage. There is someone to meet us that will be doing that. The rooms are big, to bigger, to OMG, and all have a fabulous balcony. There are multiple excursions, and various itineraries based on one’s activity level. There are multiple restaurants offering different cuisines. And on and on……….
And then we watched a National Geographic program on how the Regent Seven Seas “Explorer” was built in Italy. It is the most luxurious cruise ship in the world today! So we booked a cruise on the “Explorer.”
So what are the pluses to cruising as I see it? We only will unpack once. That is a very big plus. Everyday we will wake up to different scenery in a new location. The food will be fabulous because the menu offering is food not in our regular at-home repertoire, with gourmet dining in French, Mediterranean, Asian, and American restaurants. We can meet lots of people, who like the same activities we do. There is entertainment, cooking classes, and informative classes without venturing from the ship. There is a spa and beauty area. There is someone to wait on me 24/7! So lets get started cruising! I’m going to write about how this is going for us and our discoveries along the way! We’re going to give it a whirl!