As one of the original Silver Travel Advisors, Chrissy has years of experience assessing accommodation and tours with quality and customer satisfaction firmly in mind. However, she has always been a confirmed landlubber. In spite of all our recommendations she has never considered a cruise as a holiday option. It was definitely not something that featured on her Bucket List. We are therefore delighted that one of our partners, Azamara Club Cruises, has finally persuaded Chrissy and her husband to join them for one of their fabulous cruises. We are confident they will love it and become cruise converts, but 18 nights is rather a long time if they don’t! Here at Silver Travel Advisor, we will all be following Chrissy’s (almost daily) blog with interest!
Chrissy prepares for her first cruise
Like most good things in life it started with a kiss and a promise.
He wanted to mark the occasion of his BIG birthday in style. But on condition we didn’t mention the numbers. He was very definite on that. Big celebration for Big birthday, no numbers and something different, somewhere he hadn’t been before. “So, can I leave that with you” he said rather challengingly I thought. Then came the kiss and the promise.
Well goodness knows I love a challenge and with a Christmas birthday and a very busy husband who is not easy to impress this would need a lot of thought. After all, we have had some great holidays over the years, stayed in very special and luxurious places, with boutique hotels being a particular favourite. And his organization for one of my milestone birthdays to Argentina and Brazil had been pretty epic. So no pressure then.
One of the things about getting older – which I still don’t understand – is that time absolutely flies by. And you realize if you want to see the world you had better get on with it. So the seed of seeing as many places as possible on this trip started to germinate, but how to achieve this without all the hassle and still find time to relax hadn’t quite filtered through.
Then I met the lovely Sonia Limbrick, Business Development Manager for
Azamara Club Cruises, whilst I was working on the Silver Travel Advisor stand at the
50+ show in London. We chatted at length and she enthused about the joys of cruising. Distant, but vivid, memories of sailing on a student ship from Piraeus to Haifa and years of travelling on Greek ferry boats in heavy seas flashed before me. As did thousands of passengers tendered into Dubrovnik for a few hours. On that particular day the city felt under siege again, as waiters vied for the lucrative cruise-ship business, as tables were laid throughout the city in anticipation of the tide of humanity about to descend on them. Not the best way to remember the city.
I smiled and assured her that a cruise was definitely not my thing. And my husband would hate it. Great on land, loved exploring, used to staying in very special places and very much liked to do our own thing. Never been big on huge crowds and organized tours. And we weren’t that old. No, a cruise was definitely not for us thank you. Even if I did want to go I would definitely come back looking like a beached whale with all that food and no exercise. And as for him, well I dreaded to think.
“A cruise” he spluttered as he choked on his Yorkshire tea. “I know it’s a Big birthday but I’m not that old”. He gave me the look that said is that the best you can come up with and think again, before he left for his office.
Well after my little chat with Sonia I did a bit of research. And for the first time in my life I thought a cruise, in particular with Azamara, might be a good option as it ticked so many boxes. A cruise ship that likens itself to a boutique hotel; stays in each port for almost two days; maximum passengers just over 600; smart – not formal – casual dress and no captain’s table; personal trainers and gym; nutritionist; beauty treatments, choice of restaurants etc., and so the list went on. And the destinations looked great. I was particularly taken with the 18 night cruise, South East Asia in depth. How else could you fit in four countries and 6 stop-overs without all the hassle of airports etc?
The only thing left was to persuade the birthday boy. I bought him a history book. That’s how I did it. ‘The Forgotten Wars: The End of Britain’s Asian Empire’. Now he wanted to see everything there was to see in Asia, but wondered how we could do that with so little time? Sail the South China seas? A cruise perhaps? At least we could see quite a lot I ventured. And thus it was he was persuaded to give it a go.
With a few new additions to our wardrobe, ginger tablets, gym kit and guide books for all our destinations now packed, we eagerly anticipate our trip to South East Asia. And, although the jury is still out on whether cruising will be our thing, as we get ready for our overnight flight to Hong Kong tonight we are very much looking forward to the trip and a brand new experience.
So, Azamara, we wait to be converted. From the moment we step onto your ship in Hong Kong on the 3rd February, until we disembark in Singapore on the 20th, it’s over to you.
To see how we get on follow my travel blog on Silver Travel Advisor which I will be sending from Hong Kong; Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam; Bangkok and Ko Samui in Thailand; and Singapore.
Alternatively you can catch up with me on Twitter.
Read Chapter 2: We’re on our way! Hong Kong
Read Chapter 3: Down time onboard the ship
Read Chapter 4: Vietnam: Hanoi and Halong Bay
Read Chapter 5: Vietnam: Denang and Anhoi
Read Chapter 6: Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Read Chapter 7: Thailand: Bangkok
Read Chapter 8: Thailand: Ko Samui
Read Chapter 9: Singapore
Read Chapter 10: Azamara Club Cruises: the verdict
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Azamara.