Freelance writer living in Melbourne. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe to my articles. I try to find fun, rewarding and usually free adventures for you in your home town.
Can't say I've ever considered cruising as a holiday option but when the chance came to tour the 6 star Crystal Symphony while it was docked in Melbourne I was keen to find out how the other half travel.
I had no idea that a cruise ship could be so elegant. Venturing into each room I felt whisked back to the 1930s and the great age of Art Deco and luxury liners. There was lots of subdued lamp lighting of the Tiffany ilk and polished chrome surfaces, mahogany-panelling, potted palms and leather upholstery.
The plush carpets had geometric designs and there were box club lounges. I loved the 143-seat cinema which looked like it came straight out of Hollywood. There was even an old-fashioned cigar and cognac lounge if you felt so inclined.
Meals are included and reflect the fresh ingredients from the last port of call. There are number of speciality restaurants and a visit to each is included in your fare. Perhaps the best known is the Japanese Silk Road, designed by Nobu-trained chefs. But it's the little things like Villeroy & Boch china, Riedel crystal, and Korin glassware that count.
There is more than froth and champagne bubbles to this cruise as you can avail yourself of some serious learning while you are out to sea. There is a whole room full of the state-of-the art Mac computers where you can improve your computer skills with classes such as Photoshop.
You can learn how to play bridge, or about wine tasting. You can avail yourself of art and language classes. There are also lectures on up and coming destinations by experts whether it be about Egypt or the Galapagos Islands.
How cool to pay up front and then forget your wallet for the rest of the trip. Your food and drink is included but throughout the day so are your smaller needs, including bottled water, juices, sodas, speciality coffees and even scoops from Ben & Jerry's with toppings and home-made waffle cones.
There are Broadway-style shows, cabarets, two piano bars, music for dancing, free movies and complimentary shuttle service at each port.
While you could just eat all day there are more than enough ways to get fit on board including a gym, yoga, Pilates, tai chai, circuit training, "boot camp", and golf lessons. Joggers crank up the miles doing circuits of the decks and what a view while you are running.
The pool area whispers 'relax' with views over the ocean, spacious deck lounges in tropical tangerine and wicker furniture. I just wanted to stretch out and order a cocktail with a little umbrella and spend the rest of the day dipping in the pool and looking out at the blue ocean in between sips.
I'd heard horror stories about cruise ship masses; stories of 5,000 or so passengers boarding and unboarding at each port in some semblance of order. This ship is medium sized so there are only around 900 passengers so there is none of that herding horror.
So where does she sail? There are too many options to mention, but from Australia there are cruises to Bali, Singapore, Tokyo, the Pacific. But there are many options around the world including the North West Passage, Canada, the Caribbean and so on. For more details click here.
Sounds lovely! Have always baulked at the thought of a Cruise, but this sounds ok. On their Website, you have to register with them before you can access their Cruises, costs etc.. Not keen on doung that.