On our first day onboard our Rhine River cruise on Viking Cruises‘ newest ship, Viking Mani, Program Manager Rene van Loon greeted the 187 passengers with a big smile, hearty laugh and a telling question: How many of you have taken a cruise of any kind before? The show of hands was surprising; only about half raised their hands. Color me stunned. I’ve long believed river cruising was a natural progression for cruisers who love the oceans but have tried most everything and are looking for something a little different. Cruise Critic’s message boards are filled with people who fit that category. So the fact that only half the people on our sailing had cruised before (granted, based on a loose poll) got me thinking: Why is river cruising a good fit for first-time cruisers? Certainly, all river lines are doing something right, as many of the major lines are building — and filling — new ships year after year. Here’s why it works on Viking:
When I first started cruising I noticed a curious thing – whenever I took stuff to the dry-cleaners it would come back a size too small.
It also seemed odd that my washing machine malfunctioned after a voyage, running hot so clothes emerged smaller.
Now of course, I know better. So while it’s true cruising broadens the mind, it also can broaden the waistline.
So what can we do about it?
Well, as ever, Cruise Critic members have come up with some interesting tips to cut cruising calories.
The debate started when warmwinds asked: “We like to lose a few pounds before pigging out. This time it didn’t happen. How are we going to have any clothes that fit after 14 days?”
A hirstute Adam Coulter gets ready for his Royal Shave
I’m not a big fan of massages. I also don’t really like going to the hairdresser’s.
There’s just so much other stuff I could be doing while I’m lying down being squeezed and kneaded and pushed and pummeled while tinkly tinkly music goes on in the background. So when Princess Cruises suggested I try out a spa day on Regal Princess – complete with haircut, shave and a massage – let’s just say I wasn’t overly keen. However, I am open to trying new things and having never been to the salon onboard a cruise ship, nor ever had someone give me a shave I thought “Why not?”.
To plan or not to plan? That is the question.
I once went on business trip with a man who told the rest of the group that not only did his wife do all his packing, but she labeled each item of clothing (down to his underwear) with the day it was to be worn (sub-divided into daytime and evening).
Everything was fine until the day the itinerary altered. He was thrown into a sartorial quandary as his Tuesday (night) attire was no longer suitable for the less formal dinner, and the more appropriate Monday ensemble had already been worn and Friday’s wardrobe choice was yet to come. Dining out on the tale afterwards, friends found it hard to believe. I have now found there are plenty of his counterparts on cruise lines.
Similar scenarios came to the fore when Cruise Critic member pv_girl started wondering if overplanning and overthinking can take away the magic of cruising.
For bartenders, shaking is part of the job.
Usually, it’s the drinks they’re shaking.
On Friday night, though, nerves had six cruise ship bartenders trembling. The talented mixologists were contending for the best bartender crown in the finals of the Bacardi Cruise Competition, an event that highlighted the top bartenders from a field of more than 1,000. Five contestants were chosen by a judging panel, which culled the group from 25 semifinalists. Cruise Critic members chose the sixth, Vera Restarovic, who tends bar on Carnival Conquest.
I was lucky enough to serve as one of four judges, evaluating the bartenders on areas including drink taste and name, inspiration, storytelling, knowledge of the products and creativity. (Yes, I know, I’m fortunate in my job.)