I still remember my first cruise like it was yesterday and especially the first time I set eyes upon the ship. I thought she was huge but in the grand scheme of vessel tonnage she was in fact quite small.
By the time I boarded the ship I was like a child at Christmas, I was so far past excited there was no turning back. I lived every day of that cruise like it were my last on earth and I paid for every second of it once I returned back home.
I have never felt so tired in all my life; I survived on roughly 3-5 hours of sleep a night, adamant I wanted to miss nothing. I had fallen in love with this new experience, the people I had met onboard and I wanted to physically live every part of it. I suppose you could say I really did burn the candle at both ends.
Our choice of evening dining was club; this meant we sat at the same table every evening, at the same time and with the same people. We could not have been any luckier with the people who also shared this table with us. We were all relatively young, 2 of us couples were first time cruisers and we also had the loyalty manager join us on formal evenings. The atmosphere was electric; we dined together every evening and were always the last table to leave the restaurant.
When we did finally leave we made our way towards one of the bars or the theatre and we would be found laughing the night away, every night! Sleep was the very last resort. I remember waiting in the atrium to disembark when we got back to Southampton. We were like the cast of the Rocky Horror show, I genuinely had never felt so thoroughly worn out and vowed next time I could not do the same thing again, I needed at least one decent night’s sleep.
We explored our shore days like we had just discovered a new country. I was enjoying waking up somewhere new every day, not knowing exactly what I was going to find when I opened the door of a morning to deck 14. I found this was half the attraction for me and it’s now why I find it difficult to experience any other kind of holiday unless it involves a cruise ship. I get quite bored seeing the same scenery every day, it’s one of the reasons I can’t stay at home for too long, it may well be home but it’s just too monotonous.
I experienced true fine dining for the first time, made amazing friends, went to the theatre almost every evening and enjoyed the most amazing tropical night party, ever! I still have not lived a party onboard a ship that tops this one, it was crazy to say the least and every single passenger on that ship took part.
Not a thing onboard was out of place or damaged, everything felt as though it were brand new and the crew were like individual rays of sunshine. I still don’t know where these people get their “umph” from!
This cruise started it all for me and I had not one complaint. Even now I feel I could not have picked a better ship (yes I was forced into trying a cruise but I made sure I picked the ship ;)) and I still am very fond of this vessel. I liked her so much in fact I enjoyed her hospitality the following year on a Western Mediterranean voyage.
If you are reading this and contemplating your first cruise let me tell you, just go for it! I quite literally was forced into a cruise. I desperately did not want to go but to say I am glad I did would be the understatement of a century and well, here I am!