17 Lifetime Memories to Create on Your Next Cruise

Cruising is a vacation journey that can bring together luxury, exploration, romance and affordability. It has been said Millennials are seeking experiences. Here is a news flash: Everyone else wants (pleasant) experiences too. Most of our sailing has been done with Cunard, yet many of these memories and experiences can be yours on any ship of your choosing.

  1. Seeing the sun set over the ocean, arm and arm with your loved one. You have seen this image in countless cruise ads. It really happens and there is no extra cost. The temperature is comfortable in the evening. You walk out onto an empty deck because many people are doing other things. You enjoy the scene for a long, long time.
  2. Enjoying the sun and shade, avoiding the crowds in your own private cabana. We sailed with Holland America and discovered The Retreat, a private deck area. It features a row of two-person tented structures, each with two loungers, a table and wine cooler. Rest rooms for guests are nearby. You pay to rent them, enjoying your privacy.
  3. Sailing into places only a small ship can. We sailed with Swan Hellenic on the SH Diana, a 12,555-ton ship carrying a maximum of 192 passengers. Its small size allowed us to sail though the Corinth Canal in Greece. Imagine sailing through a chasm with stone walls towering on each side. Now imagine it at night, illuminated by floodlights!
  4. Visiting a private island, then deciding to enjoy the beach under an umbrella or in a bungalow. When we sailed with Holland America, we visited a private island they have in the Bahamas. The island is basically uninhabited except for their staff. You can simply sit on the sand or spend a bit, renting a beach umbrella or a small cabana, to get out of the run. It’s a beach where your ship provides all the patrons.
  5. Having breakfast served in your bed by a uniformed waiter. When we sail with Cunard, your steward places a breakfast menu on your turned down bed. You choose your meal and delivery time, hanging it on your outside door handle. At the scheduled time, a white glowed waiter carries in a tray with your breakfast order. You need to keep your robe handy!
  6. Answering the door and receiving a bouquet of flowers sent by your partner. Cunard ships have an onboard florist. When we board, I disappear from the cabin, stop at the Purser’s office and order flowers. You provide the wording for your message. Later, a crew member delivers the flowers.
  7. Having a romantic dinner for two on your own balcony. On Cunard and probably most other cruise lines, you have a room service menu in the desk drawer. You might need to pay for big ticket items like caviar or steak, but most food items are without cost. If you want to have a romantic dinner in your cabin or on your balcony, this is easy to arrange.
  8. Attending a leisurely, multi course lunch with paired wines. On Cunard, these are called “Lunch and Learn.” We have attended similar sessions on Holland America and Azamara. The Cunard versions feature five courses and about nine wines, following a theme. The last one featured Italian wines. Lunch was leisurely. I left after 2.5 hours and it was still going! It cost $80 per person and was money well spent.
  9. Enjoying a late evening single malt scotch tasting with like-minded individuals. I have experienced this on Cunard and Holland America. You sign up for a reasonable cost. On Cunard, it took place about 10:00 PM in a library type lounge with comfy chairs. We tasted four scotches. Maybe it was five. They were served one by one in brandy snifters, with water on the side.
  10. Meeting that new friend and remembering details you will retell for years. We meet people on every voyage, keeping in touch afterwards. We meet at least one new couple on every trip. This is incredibly easy because it’s an idealized luxury venue and everyone is on vacation. Distractions like computers and smartphones are minimal. I met a great couple at the lunch and learn mentioned above. I told my wife about it and we met up with them for drinks the next day. The longest continuous relationship we formed has been for 16 years.
  11. Listening to a lecture by a celebrity or world figure, getting their book autographed. Cunard features guest speakers in their Insights program. You might hear from a famous former politician, astronaut or film star. On one voyage I listened to the retired Chair of the Bank of England. I bought his book afterwards, asking him to sign it as a gift for a friend in the financial services business. Although he is a celebrity, I heard he joined the passengers on quiz nights in the Golden Lion pub.
  12. Joining the ship’s passenger choir and performing. Perhaps this is unique to Cunard and only on certain voyages. On the Christmas cruise and segments of the World Cruise, the word goes out passengers are welcome to join the choir. They meet and practice, then deliver a performance in the Grand Lobby. There were 50+ singers, possibly 100. They were good!
  13. Dressing up for dinner on formal nights. It has often been said people have so few opportunities to dress up in today’s relaxed society. Some cruise lines are dressier than others. Cunard has two or three formal nights on each voyage. Men wear black tie or dark suits. Women wear long gowns. If your partner loves dressing up, this is your opportunity.
  14. Dancing at a gala and into the small hours. Cruise ships have multiple bars and lounges. They feature music at night. Cunard includes a themed gala with each formal night. It might be the Black and White Ball or the Red and Gold Ball. After dinner, those who dance head to the Queens Room, decorated for the gala. People who prefer to listen to music or like the nightclub vibe head to a different lounge. There is usually something for everyone.
  15. Living the life of your cat back home. The above experiences might sound like you are busy all the time. It does not need to be that way. My wife and I have two cats. We often joke on a cruise; we live the life of our cats. “We eat, we sleep, we use our box.” If you prefer to do nothing, no one is going to stop you.
  16. Exploring new places, then returning to your familiar bed. Have you ever taken a vacation where you are moving around every day? You wake up, get on a bus, explore a new city, check into a hotel, have dinner, sleep and repeat the process again. (A sightseeing coach trip is also the format of the Agatha Christie novel, Nemesis.) On this type of vacation, you are always packing and unpacking. On a cruise, you unpack once, then settle in. It is a relaxing experience.
  17. Seeing a new town or landscape every day. Have you ever visited a city or resort on a weeklong vacation and gotten bored? You think it’s a nice place to visit, but you can see enough in two days. This is where ocean cruising or river cruising shines! You can book a cruise where you visit a different island or city each day. You always have someplace new to explore!

If you are seeking experiences you will remember and retell, a cruise may be the ideal vacation for you.

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Cover photo: Cunard Fleet of Queens, credit Cunard


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