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Cruising up the river


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Cruising up the river

16 Mar 2021 8:42AM   Views : 466 Unique : 328


There’s a lot of talk about holidays in the air. When we can take them, where we want to go. What the risks of cancellation are… Those who were trapped on cruise ships around this time last year may be cured, of course.

Two schools cruises cured me of the desire to go on a large cruise liner: I saw enough sea to last a very long time! By way of contrast with the schools approach (dinner queues, dormitories) I actually feel quite uncomfortable being pampered all the time, and I’d rather be in a down-to-earth bed and breakfast place. Though that didn’t stop me signing up for a cruise on the Danube a few years back, nor did it stop me enjoying it.


Now, one of the things that I always used to think about in work meetings was the ‘burn rate’ – the cost per minute of the meetings I attended when there seemed to be a lot of highly paid people not really addressing a problem. Very few people I’ve met can chair a meeting effectively – drawing out the knowledgeable and quieting the garrulous. I wasn’t one of them. And the burn rate for a cruise is frightening – it’s the most per day that we’ve ever laid out for a holiday.


On the plus side, the food was wonderful, the staff friendly instead of obsequious, and the entertainment excellent (we signed up because Show of Hands were there for the duration). And on a river cruise, there’s always something to see. On the ocean, you see a lot of sea. And then a carefully-guided tour. Everything was a civilised, manageable scale.


And while a stream of river cruisers provided a steady income for local service industries, I don’t think the vessels overfaced the facilities – I’ve been horrified by pictures of superliners in the Thames, or Venice. I don’t get what the experience is – maybe a few people can enlighten me!

So I’ll never be heading round the world on a cruise, and I probably won’t be travelling with AMA Waterways again unless we win the lottery. Go on – tell me what I’m missing…


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
16 Mar 2021 8:46AM
I didn't mention seasickness... We had force 10 winds between Gibraltar and Valletta, and Valletta harbour on a calmer morning was almost as welcome a sight as it was for the crew of the Ohio in August 1942.

DaveRyder Avatar
DaveRyder Plus
9 7.2k 22 United Kingdom
16 Mar 2021 8:59AM
We tried a cruise in Dec 2005 - we discovered Sue get motion sickness, quite badly.
14 days of early evening meals and back to the cabin. At least I had a balcony to watch the sea role by.

No trips abroad this year, restrictions here my be lifting but why go somewhere that might be more restrictive.
FredColon Avatar
FredColon 3 3 United Kingdom
16 Mar 2021 9:30AM
I too am a cruise skeptic.

As someone who "could get seasickness on a park boating lake" (as a relative once put it -- and it doesn't exaggerate much either), I haven't been tempted to go on a cruise (although visiting the Northern Lights has its attractions, the North Atlantic swell doesn't).

My main issues are from observation.

I went to Norway a few years ago and was struck by two features of cruising:

Firstly, how locals and other visitors had to work around the cruise ships - they's dump hundreds of visitors in a place with a very fixed schedule (be back by HH:MM or else! -- almost like school trips again) resulting in instant queues in some places. I'm sure the shore trips don't advertise standing around in a queue but that's what happens. Other visitors need to pick their times to avoid them. Everywhere it was "get off the ship -- look at that -- queue there -- spend your money there -- get back on the ship" with a great deal of regimentation and little "free time" for the sort of exploration that i like to do.

Secondly, the environmental impact. We visited the Flam** railway [go there if you get a chance]. As we approached down the fjord in a small boat we had glorious views through crystal clear air (perfect for photo opportunities) until we neared Flam. There was a huge cruise ship at the end of the fjord, sat there with a diesel engine running (to power the on board generator etc). In the cool air it meant there was a layer of diesel exhaust creating a smelly blue haze. Even if had been invisible, the smell and damage would remain. The layer (about 20 metres above the ship and spreading evenly across the fjord) of visible pollution added insult to injury and spoiled an otherwise idyllic scene.

I don't want to be a grump and I can see that, whilst cruising may not be my ideal holiday, others do get a lot of enjoyment from it. I do wonder how much the air/water quality in cruising hot-spots has changed over the past year.

(**should have a circle above the a but not sure how to type that)
Chrism8 Avatar
Chrism8 16 1.1k 34 England
16 Mar 2021 10:39AM
Costa del Gloucester for me and Mrs M8 this year.
cats_123 Avatar
cats_123 Plus
19 5.2k 31 Northern Ireland
16 Mar 2021 10:44AM
Wild horses wouldn't drag me!!😁😁
ZenTony Avatar
ZenTony Plus
7 28 7 United Kingdom
16 Mar 2021 10:51AM
Hands up. I went on a cruise to Norway in 2019. Anne and I wanted to do the Fjords and as Saga were running their new ship from Dover (down the road from us it) seemed the obvious way to do it; reluctantly. I will not go on one again but it was outstanding. The ship had a relatively small capacity of 999 and although we docked in places with an obvious time restriction it did not feel hurried. However when in Stavanger I spoke to a local in a shop and they did say that they were exasperated at the number of cruise ships docking now. There was a time when it was around 30-40 a year and that was ok. Now it is around 250 and there is a a lot of resistance to it; understandably. I cannot think of a better way to do the fjords though but I think I have blown my carbon footprint for a while.
So for us we managed to get a week booked in Cornwall and that will do us nicely thank you. Actually take away the tourists (irony I get) and there is arguably the best place/coast in the World.
Bottom line though if you do want a cruise then the new Saga boats are just remarkable. No extras. Food wonderful. Entertainment first class, cabins all with balconies just fabulous and the staff truly wonderful.
chase Avatar
chase Plus
18 2.5k 682 England
16 Mar 2021 12:29PM
Costa Del Back Garden for me this year Wink
dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
16 Mar 2021 1:20PM
Cruises have never appealed to me, and never will. Many of the reasons have already been mentioned by others above. Taking a boat to get somewhere I'm ok with, for example a ferry, but that's not a cruise.
kaybee Avatar
kaybee 19 8.7k 28 Scotland
16 Mar 2021 1:27PM
Horses for courses ...........
I have been on 3 cruises - 1 smallish ship and 2 large ones (and not including the 'educational' one as a school pupil).
I much preferred the smaller one as there is more room, a better crew/passenger ratio and more friendly.
By avoiding the 'organised' excursions (apart from i went on - what a disaster that was!) and doing our own thing we avoided crowds, queues and wallet emptying charges.
Many of the smaller places we visited rely on the tourist trade so by using local tour guides, taxis etc they get the benefit directly ... and so do the visitors as they will know the places to go and those to avoid.
The 'one day stop' of a cruise gives an idea of whether you would like to go back and do a proper holiday there on the surrounding area.

However, I am very unlikely to go on other cruise - or even fly to a destination due to the last year.
It may be deemed 'safe' at this end - but you can't always same the same about the other end (or even who you are stuck in close proximity with).
mistere Avatar
mistere Plus
10 37 8 England
16 Mar 2021 3:06PM
Definitely not for us. Anne would spend the whole cruise being seasick and I'd spend it looking for ways to jump off the damn boat and
dive. Chap i worked with in Worcester went on a ten day cruise, apart from the ridiculous price he paid for his ticket, his bar tab for the
cruise came to over £900. A river cruise, maybe, but there are far too many other places on the list to visit first.

Best cure for seasickness is to go and sit under a tree.
whatriveristhis Avatar
17 Mar 2021 7:29AM
My idea of Hell.

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