What lies beyond the ocean? This is the question people have been asking themselves, since the beginning of time. In an attempt to find the answer, rafts were built, then canoes, then boats and eventually ships. Originally, ships were strictly used for commercial and exploration purposes. Then, along the way, someone somewhere realized that people were willing to pay good money to experience the rush of sailing across the ocean, and cruise ships were born.
The first cruise ship was the S/S Prinzessin Victoria Luise, built in 1900. The ship housed 120 first-class cabins to accommodate only wealthy travelers. Cruising has come a long way since then. The industry has evolved to cater for the up market luxury market, the budget traveler, the adventure seeker, honeymooners & the family holiday makers.
How does one go about cruising? Well, the first step is looking at your budget and seeing how much you are able to set aside. The cost of a cruise is determined by several variable factors, like the time of the year, how long you’d like to get away, where you’d like to go, how old you are, how fast you make the first payment, which cruise line you like, the ship you pick among others. The list is endless. It is therefore important to plan in advance to allow you to evaluate all your options, and get the best possible deal you can.
Then of course, you are expected to pick a destination. You can choose to take a short one-two week cruise, or take a round the world trip – your options are limitless. Once you have selected your ship and destination, you are good to go, right? Wrong.
If you asked a seasoned cruiser what you need on a cruise, they will most likely tell you “Nothing. Just sit back, relax and have fun.” This is not exactly true. Of course you will have fun, but you will have even more fun if you do the following:
a) Ensure that your travel insurance covers expenses outside your home country
b) Pack a basic first aid kit – Inclusive of bandages, painkillers, antihistamines, sunscreen, toiletries etc. These may be available on your ship, but at ridiculously marked up prices
c) Find out if there will be any theme nights on the cruise. Most cruise liners throw great theme parties & it would be a shame to miss out. It is also important that you dress for the weather.
d) Buy the most sturdy and least expensive baggage you can find, anything can happen to your luggage.
Robert N. Rose is remembered for saying “Ships are the nearest thing to dreams that hands have ever made.” Take a cruise and test out his theory.