SHUF­FLE OFF, SHUFFLEBOARD

Let’s dis­pel some cruis­ing myths

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - LINER NOTES - AN­DREA BLACK

Have you con­tem­plated ven­tur­ing onto the high seas, but not sure if cruis­ing is for you? Given some of the cliches and mis­in­for­ma­tion thrown out there (mostly by those who haven’t cruised at all, or for years) it’d be no sur­prise if you were a lit­tle ap­pre­hen­sive. Per­haps you imag­ine shuffleboard, the chance of get­ting sick, set din­ner times and end­less buf­fet queues? You’d be wrong.

Plus, there are so many op­tions avail­able in the cruis­ing world, we can guar­an­tee you’ll find a ves­sel to suit your tastes. We’ve sorted through the com­mon myths to find some of the things you re­ally don’t need to worry about if you’re tak­ing a voy­age, and they’re guar­an­teed to change the way you think about cruis­ing.

MYTH: I’LL GET NOROVIRUS

Here are the facts. You are more likely to get norovirus, which causes acute gas­tro, in a restau­rant, health-care fa­cil­ity, school or a pri­vate res­i­dence than on a cruise ship.

Ac­cord­ing to a study un­der­taken by US-based Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion, the risk of get­ting norovirus on land is about one in 15, while the risk of get­ting norovirus on a ship is about one in 5500. It found “fewer and less se­vere out­breaks are likely the re­sult of ear­lier de­tec­tion of acute gas­troen­teri­tis, along with cruise in­dus­try ef­forts to iden­tify and con­trol out­breaks”.

A lit­tle safe­guard­ing goes a long way. Ships offer a gen­er­ous amount of hand sani­tiser on-board, buf­fets are shielded and should a pas­sen­ger be­come in­fected, they are quar­an­tined so as to not af­fect oth­ers.

MYTH: CRUISES ARE FOR OLDER PEO­PLE ONLY

Does the mere men­tion of cruis­ing con­jure up im­ages of shuffleboard, Zimmer frames and meals at 5pm?

Those days are over, there are now op­tions for cruis­ers aged from six months to 106. Fancy a foodie and wine jour­ney to the south of France with your girl­friends? There are cruises for that. What about a fam­ily es­cape where on-board you can surf, sky­dive and roller­skate, and on land the fam­ily can take an ex­cur­sion to see the best of a des­ti­na­tion? There are cruises for that.

What about hear­ing the lat­est mu­sic with DJs on the top deck while sip­ping cock­tails? Yep, there are cruises for that. There is no one size fits all in the cruise world; what­ever you de­sire in a hol­i­day can be of­fered.

MYTH: I HAVE TO EAT DIN­NER EV­ERY NIGHT WITH STRANGERS

Gone are the days of en­forced seat­ing on cruise ships, un­less that’s what you pre­fer of course.

Back in the day, you’d be as­signed a seat with other guests for the en­tire voy­age. De­pend­ing on your seat mates you could be in for night af­ter night of bor­ing con­ver­sa­tion or make friends for life. It was the luck of the draw. These days, you can eat at any time you de­sire and sit where you like. On some ships set meal­times are still avail­able, ca­ter­ing to tra­di­tion­al­ists.

MYTH: A CRUISE ISN’T A TRUE CUL­TURAL EX­PE­RI­ENCE

You like to think of your­self as a trav­eller rather than a tourist, so why would you choose to cruise?

It’s all about choos­ing a cruise with ports that ap­peal. Look for itin­er­ar­ies of­fer­ing late de­par­tures or overnights in ports. And once in port you can have an au­then­tic cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence. You can book into ship-run ex­cur­sions, or you can book your own, though many ships these days offer be­spoke ex­pe­ri­ences such as fol­low­ing the chef to mar­kets to find lo­cal in­gre­di­ents or hav­ing lunch hosted at a lo­cal’s home.

Add to this, many ships also offer cul­tural en­rich­ment ex­pe­ri­ences on­board with ex­perts in line with the des­ti­na­tions vis­ited. Ad­ven­tur­ous? Book in for an expedition cruise.

EGUM ISLET, PNG

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