Will the Room Please Stop Spinning Now?

It took four days to recover. Even now, two weeks after we disembarked from our long weekend on a cruise liner, I still get dizzy if I look down too quickly. I thought that seasickness involved a bucket or calling for George over the side of the railing, but in my case it turns out it’s a perpetual dizziness, a feeling of being slightly “off”, not quite a 100%. To be honest, the land sickness on our return was much, much worse. For days I found myself needing to touch things as I walk past them, just to make sure of the direction in which my body was heading, because my head sure wasn’t going the same way. The phrase “like a drunk sailor on dry land” suddenly made so much more sense to me.

And apparently drunkenness is the way to combat the swaying motion of the ship. Indeed, a state of continued inebriation was how many people seemed to be dealing with their inability to walk in a straight line. If you’re into boozing it up all day and partying all night, then a cruising holiday will be just your thing.

Unfortunately, that’s not our thing.

Perhaps this 3-day trip was not the best introduction we could have had to cruising holidays. For one thing, the ship was filled to capacity, and for another, the weather was slightly choppy. This meant that we spent all our time indoors surrounded by hordes of other people and their noisy children, queuing for food, queuing for a place to sit and queuing to get on and off the boat. The bright lights of the casino and duty-free shops, combined with the constant buzz of so many people talking at once, made it feel like we were spending our holiday inside a shopping mall.

The biggest impact of the rough seas was that we did not go to the Portuguese island as planned and ended up docking in Maputo (the capital city of Mozambique). Maputo really wasn’t very high on my to-see list and I was looking forward to our island excursion and the possibility of either sea-kayaking or going on a dolphin tour. Alas, that was not to be, and we had roughly two hours exploring the dirty, derelict streets of an African city that looks pretty much like every other African city I’ve seen so far.

It wasn’t all bad, of course. We discovered a “secret” lounge in the stern of the top deck that had floor to ceiling windows from which we spent most of our days watching the ocean pass by, playing board games, reading or just chatting. At night we would dress up in our evening best and pose for the ever-present paparazzi, before enjoying a delectable four-course dinner in the formal restaurant. Afterwards, avoiding the crowds at the theatre show, Gareth and I would have a drink at the Cotton Club lounge while listening to live music performed by two very talented duo bands. We even showed off a few of our dancing moves at a salsa class.

Back at work, everyone asked me if I enjoyed my holiday and I answered with mixed feelings. Seasickness and lingering land sickness aside, the cruise was not what I had expected and I’m still disappointed in the trip in general. But I think a different cruise, perhaps along the Mediterranean coast where each day brings a new port of call and the water is calmer, might be a different experience altogether. But for now, however, I think we will continue exploring the world our own way, firmly on dry land.

Do you enjoy cruise holidays? Have we just had a bad experience and do you have a better cruise to recommend?

For more posts in the Anniversary Cruise 2014 trip, click here.

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