Condé Nast Traveller Middle East - - Contents - RHEA SARAN Ed­i­tor in Chief @rheasaran

Ihave a con­fes­sion: I’m a ter­ri­ble packer. Sur­pris­ing for a trav­eller of my fre­quency, per­haps, yet true. It stems from the fact that I hate mak­ing de­fin­i­tive choices be­fore be­ing faced by the re­al­ity – sim­ply put, I can’t de­cide what I want to wear for an en­tire week be­fore I even get there. Which leads to throw­ing in “op­tions”, last-minute switch-outs and cram­ming in about five more pairs of shoes than I ac­tu­ally need. Plus my gym gear, even when I know I won’t have the time; it’s good for my con­science –

I tried to work out, hon­est.

But de­spite my fail­ure in the art of smart pack­ing, I don’t mind the process. It’s all part of the ex­cite­ment of em­bark­ing on a jour­ney. What I don’t en­joy is un­pack­ing. Come over within the first week af­ter I re­turn from a trip and you’ll likely have to step over my half-empty suit­cases or duty-free pur­chases to get to the couch. Un­pack­ing is just so bor­ing. And I’m clearly not the only one who thinks that, given the num­ber of fine ho­tels the world over of­fer­ing but­ler ser­vice to take care of such dull tasks (though, be­tween us, I’ve never been com­fort­able with a per­fect stranger han­dling my del­i­cates).

So it should come as no sur­prise that one of our many com­pelling rea­sons for why cruises may be the best way to see the world is that you can travel from port to port, coun­try to coun­try, with­out hav­ing to pack and un­pack more than once. I know I’m sold! Of course, there are far more epic rea­sons to get on board. You’re prob­a­bly scep­ti­cal, but if you’re pic­tur­ing bingo nights and 5pm early-bird din­ner spe­cials then you haven’t been keep­ing up-to-date with just how sexy many lin­ers now are. Some are float­ing cities with Broad­way-level en­ter­tain­ment; oth­ers are more in­ti­mate with award-win­ning de­sign and Miche­lin pedi­gree in the kitchen. There are cruises that prom­ise epic ad­ven­ture (there’s no bet­ter way to see Antarc­tica or the Ama­zon), oth­ers that al­low you to drift sleep­ily from one Mediter­ranean is­land to an­other – still oth­ers will take you right around the world like ex­plor­ers of yore. Need more en­tice­ment?

Head to page 36 and I dare you to re­main un­con­vinced. (Once you’re sure, check out our list of 2019 cruise launches that start right here in Dubai, page 56.)

Cruis­ing also ap­peals to me as an­other form of slow travel – not sim­ply be­cause you’re not rush­ing to ar­rive some­where but also be­cause the smaller, more spe­cialised and cu­rated cruises of­ten take pas­sen­gers into re­mote, lo­cally au­then­tic, less touristy parts of a coun­try. Think river boats and charters that ex­plore off-the-beaten-track is­lands and re­gions.

The “slow” move­ment has even reached moun­tain heights – so says writer Adam H Gra­ham, who might have coined the term “slow ski­ing” when he spent a win­ter in re­mote Hon­shu, im­mers­ing him­self in moun­tain cul­ture while en­joy­ing Ja­pan’s fa­mous pow­der ( p 84). If the beach is more your thing, we sug­gest the lan­guorous pace of Isla Hol­box in Mex­ico, a truly un­der-the-radar spot where you’ll frolic with flamingos and dol­phins, and live and eat more or less like a lo­cal ( p 94).

It’s the end of an­other year, there’s no bet­ter time to re­solve that next year you’ll make the ef­fort to slow things down. Just don’t miss your board­ing call.

Dis­cover Réu­nion Is­land as part of a cruise itin­er­ary; Alila Pur­nama sails to In­done­sian is­lands; boat­ing in the English coun­try­side on the River Thames; Miche­lin-level din­ing on Se­abourn cruises

Clock­wise from left:

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