The life of a cruise writer is not all glamour, you know. With eight cruises to review in four months, and three in a row with no days on land in between, let’s just say I needed a break from the constant socialising. I know what you’re thinking: oh, how horrible for you,princess! But trust me, all that chit-chat can wear a woman down.
So, as I boarded my next ship, the Azamara Journey, I set a goal to make it through the next week without meeting anybody. Surely it would be easy! I was travelling alone and staying in a very spacious suite with a butler at my service. He could fetch everything for me and serve all my meals in my room. When I needed to venture out, I would obnoxiously wear my iPod, and in ports I would do my own thing. I looked around at the happy couples and families and friends: why would anyone want to meet me?
Things did not start well. In the check-in queue, excited passengers struck up conversation. On board, every person I passed smiledand said hello. Even the safety drill was sociable. By the end, I had met couples from New Zealand, Canada and Colombia. Stop it, you friendly people! For the rest of the day, I locked myself away in solitude and ordered room service, vowing to try harder tomorrow.
The next morning I went to the gym, blocking out the world with music, but someone asked me for help with a machine. Then I did a spin class and the other participants were from Melbourne. It would have been un-Australian to ignore them. They suggested that we all go for a coffee, which turned into lunch and ended in exchanges of email addresses. The crew were just as bad: I couldn’t move a metre without some cheery person saying “good morning” or “good evening”.
Nobody ever said “goodbye”. For the first two nights I took advantage of the in-suite dining. What a novelty to have five courses, delivered separately by my butler Sooria to enjoy in private on my balcony. He set up my table, poured my wine and even put on some mood music.
On the third day I booked a table for one at the specialty steak restaurant, Prime C($15 surcharge; free for suite guests). But as soon as I arrived, a blonde woman and her teenage daughter asked if I would like to join them. I could hardly say no. They were New Yorkers and barrels of fun. We hatched plans to round up all the other single females for dinner at the seafood restaurant on Friday. By the end of the evening, I realised how glad I was that my anti-social experiment had failed. The clear conclusion is that cruising is the friendliest way to travel. Scared of cruising alone? It’s simply not possible!
Posted with permission,