Our celebrity columnist, Julie Peasgood, reveals why she’s hooked on travelling by cruise ship.
OK – I confess. I am a cruise addict. I’m aware of my condition, though, and I do accept it. As a veteran of 79 cruises I need to own up that I’m completely hooked on life at sea – or the smoothest river (when it comes to cruises, I’m not fussy).
I don’t actually refer to my own bedroom at home as a cabin, and neither do I sport a lanyard (well not publicly) but I do get grumpy if I don’t find a chocolate on my pillow or my bed hasn’t been turned down at night. I’m also frequently called on to give advice to friends about
which cruise to choose and, rather worryingly, I am beginning to gravitate towards elasticated waistbands. Do I feel ashamed? Naturally. Does it stop me stuffing myself on board with delectable food and wine while on a cruise? Of course not.
My dear mum, Pearl, was a great fan of cruising. A former tightrope walker and juggler in the renowned Bertram Mills circus, she managed, heaven knows how, to jump off a table and land on the floor in the splits; a feat which obviously secured her first place in the passengers’ talent show. She performed her party trick initially on board a Royal Caribbean cruise, aged 62 (I kid you not) and having discovered that a bottle of Champagne was always on offer when she executed this eye-watering feat, she expanded her horizons and could be found leaping off tables on a host of P&O Cruises ships too. If Britain’s got Talent had been around in her day she’d have won it hands down.
I guess I’m a bit tame in comparison; my cruising life began when I was invited to become an onboard speaker on the iconic QE2, giving talks on a variety of topics from acting in Shakespeare and soaps to memory makeovers. After this, I presented Cruise Today for the Travel Channel, which led to me becoming a travel writer, and after writing for several newspapers and magazines I was thrilled to land the role of Contributing Editor for Cruise International, where I’ve been for the past six years.
And I never tire of cruising. Whether it’s attending lectures, line dancing, craft classes, whale watching, beauty seminars or cookery demonstrations, I’m always there in the front row. Then there’s the spa, pools, sunbathing, shops, films, West End-style musical entertainment and string quartets – not to mention the delights of all the destinations. It’s a heady cocktail of a holiday (they’re always good too) and, in my opinion, the finest way to travel.
The pressing question is though – river or ocean? I get asked this a lot, and the other day I heard one of the best comparisons between the two: ‘There is a huge difference between river and ocean cruising, but the major difference is that ocean cruises take you to the country and river cruises take you through the country.’
Thanks to Stuart Perl, managing director of AmaWaterways, for his illuminating insight. More news, stories and tips are to follow in future columns – and I’ll also be waxing lyrical about some of my favourite cruises. Till then, happy landings.