Travel

A different way to see the world

It’s finally that time of year where the sun is shining, dreams of summer are on the horizon, and we are enviously looking up at the aeroplanes painting our spotless blue skies with their fluffy white vapour trails, wondering what spectacular views they’re destined for.

What if your dreams of travelling afar are shattered by your fear of flying? Or you simply feel that funding an industry that has a carbon footprint larger than the size of Bigfoot is inexcusable? Well, you may have another option. There is one form of travel that is remarkably under represented by students, and that is the wonderful world of cruising.

Cruising can truly take you anywhere. There are short weekend breaks to the likes of Brugge in Belgium and longer stints around Europe, where you can visit medieval fairytale cities such as Tallinn. There are even full blown escapades around the world, where you can wake up one morning smelling sweet Asian spices and the next cuddling a koala bear in Australia. It is a wonderful adventure and an experience that is completely unique, and it might not be as expensive as you think.

There is no denying that cruises cost more than backpacking, undoubtedly the ultimate student holiday, but there may be some things you don’t realise that make the costs more appealing. Firstly, all food is included in the price. What’s more, food is supplied all day, every day and there is a ridiculous amount of choice, with a menu that changes daily at every single eating venue (and there are a lot of them). On top of that, you are given an on-board spending allowance. This is to help cover the cost of your drinks, which are set at off-duty prices for the whole trip. For example, this summer, I have been given £75 on-board spending money, which will definitely help me make my way through the cocktail menu (a feat that I can proudly say I managed to complete on my last cruise). I may even buy a cheeky spa treatment with it.  Who knows?  The world really is your oyster on a cruise.

It isn’t hard to see that cruising allows you to live a pretty glamorous lifestyle (heck, I even got a taste of caviar canapés at the captain’s celebrations) while managing a reasonable holiday budget and not missing out on any of the fun.  How could you when all of the entertainment is absolutely free?  There are copious amounts of pub quizzes, musicals, comedy shows, club nights, bingo sessions and other amusements arranged around the clock to keep you from tapping your fingers in your cabin.

Furthermore, the entertainment officers are all young and up for a laugh, and it isn’t hard for all of the young people on the ship to find each other. It’s like freshers week all over again, and I still talk to some of the people I met on my cruise in 2010 on a weekly basis.

If you want a holiday where you can wake up in a different country each day while being treated like royalty, and have amazing fun on the ship while exploring lots of different cities, then cruising may very well be your answer.  Don’t forget, even exploring doesn’t have to be expensive: the hop-on-hop-off buses in nearly every major city are cheap and the perfect way to quickly explore new sites with your new friends. Happy adventures amigos.

28/03/2012

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clairesangster