The Anchor Man’s answers to the ten questions I ask everyone.
I love hearing about different views and experiences of other people who’ve cruised. Here are my answers to the ten questions I ask everyone.
What & when was your first cruise?
I was three when I went on my first cruise. It was with P&O on Canberra and was a three week sailing from Southampton across to the Caribbean and back. The first cruise I booked and paid for myself was at the age of twenty and it was on P&O’s Oceana in her inaugural season on a two week Caribbean trip out of Ft. Lauderdale.
What’s your favourite aspect of cruising?
For me, there is something about a ship leaving port that draws me in. I love coming back to the ship after a day ashore, showering the day off and watching as the ship sails (with optional cocktail).
As a parent now, I love that there is something onboard for all of us; things we can enjoy separately and as a family – everyone can have a great holiday without it being at the expense of others.
What has been your favourite ship?
Oceana is really special to me – she’s the ship I worked aboard the most, the last cruise I took with my late Granddad, the first one we sailed on as parents, Toby’s first ship, and the last cruise we took before Stanley arrived.
She’s the backdrop to a lot of happy memories.
What’s your favourite port?
Overall, it has to be Venice. The sail in and sail out is like nothing else in the world – I’ve done it in the spring, summer and winter… in daylight and at night… every single one has been memorable.
Other than that, I love St Maarten. The shops, the beaches, and of course Maho Bay.
Who do you normally travel with?
Nowadays we come as a pack of four. I travel with my wife Caroline and our two sons Toby (4 yrs) and Stanley (6 mths).
Where would we find you onboard?
My most favourite place is overlooking the wake of the ship. It’s almost timeless and endless as you look out over the sea you’ve covered. There are rumours that I’ve been found asleep on sea-day afternoons in a chair on the promenade deck overlooking the wake with a book and a cold cup of half-drunk coffee…
However, these days you’re more likely to find me in the swimming pool with Toby.
Ship’s excursion or independent explorer?
There’s a time and place for both. If the destination is a way out of the port (Florence or Rome for example), then I like to take ship’s tours. I prefer those that give you some guidance and touring followed by time on your own to do your own thing.
I also think they’re great if you want to do an activity that might be difficult to arrange otherwise. Some I’ve done include – Swimming with Dolphins in Venezuela, River Tubing in Grenada, Horse Riding on the beach in St Lucia, Kayaking in Dominica and Swimming with Turtles in Barbados… All fantastic experiences that were worth the money.
Although, if the attractions are nearby or its a port I know quite well – I prefer to do things independently either walking or taking a taxi where I’ve researched. I even did a great guided walking tour of Pompeii with an iPhone App.
What ship is on your bucket list?
The ship geek in me says Cruise & Maritime’s Astoria. She’s a ship with an infamous past and the oldest ship in the world (its nearly 70 years since she was originally constructed – though she’s unrecognisable after some major refits and reconstruction). They don’t build anything like that anymore – she’s something I’d love to experience before she’s inevitably withdrawn from service.
I love being outside and connected with the sea – so MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview are on my list once they arrive – plenty of outside space and a wide promenade deck in their modern design. I can’t wait.
But, the family man in me says a Disney cruise. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them – plus who doesn’t love the magic of Mickey Mouse and his friends?
What port is on your bucket list?
The Falkland Islands. Ever since I saw the original Island/Pacific Princess on BBC’s Holiday as a kid, I knew I wanted to do that cruise. It was a sailing from Argentina round Cape Horn calling at the Falklands on the way and finishing in Chile for Machu Picchu.
More realistically, I’d love to do a Greek Islands Cruise. I’ve called at Santorini a couple of times and loved it – so I’d love to do an intensive Greek Islands voyage.
What’s your best piece of cruise advice?
Try to try something new – whether its a different ship or cruise line, or a new port.