Tips for Finding Peace and Quite On Board
Cruising brings to mind visions of dreamily flip-flopping up to a pool deck to sip on a margarita and soak in a good book under the Caribbean sun. But – as you all know, this isn’t always the case. On a brilliantly sunny day, you might meander out to the pool only to find it overrun with fellow sun-worshippers, all fighting over a handful of deck chairs. Hordes of energetically splashing children take over the pools; and the sound of the waves is drowned out by the outdoor movie or resident band.
We are here to tell you that peace is still possible to find. You may just have to try a little harder to find it. Here's a list of the top ten ways to find peace and quite on board your next cruise.
1. Book a Sanctuary:
Big balcony suites make for an idyllic retreat, with the extra living space inside and a private veranda outside. So, when the public areas are overwhelming, you can seek solace inside your cabin. Balcony cabins are increasingly becoming the standard on newer ships, so upgrades are also becoming more affordable.
2. Live at the Spa:
Spa suites and cabins, a recent trend on cruise ships, allow passengers to create their own spa-themed experience on board with accommodations near the spa, VIP spa privileges and soothing in-cabin amenities (such as spa showers and yoga mats).
3. Spend your way to Quiet Times:
Classed cruising is making a comeback, so you can spend your way to privacy and relaxation if you can afford it. On Norwegian Cruise Line you can book a courtyard villa, which has spacious accommodations and a luxurious “ship-within-a-ship” experience. On the Norwegian Epic, villa guests have exclusive access to their own pool and sundeck, gym, and dining and nightclub facilities. On Cunard ships, the Queen’s Grill passengers have their own dining rooms, sun decks, lounge areas and butler service.
4. Book a Kid-Friendly Cabin:
If you are travelling with your kids, minimise the stress involved by booking a cabin designed with families involved. On Disney Cruise Line, the cabins have split bathrooms so you can maximise the kid’s bath and bed time. And, the family cabins on Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises offer separate bedrooms for kids, or at least partitions between the pullout sofa and the master bed.
5. Pay Attention to Location:
The cabins on some ships don’t shut out ambient noises entirely. So, if you want a quiet in-cabin experience, make sure the laundry room, elevators and other noisy public facilities aren’t within earshot of your room, including above or below your cabin.
6. Free Yourself for Dinner:
It is becoming the norm, not the exception, on cruise ships for guests to be allowed to choose when to eat and with whom. This is great news for people who prefer intimate meals to the (awkward) exchange of pleasantries over your dinner, at an assigned table. But, keep in mind that on larger ships you may have to wait a while for a table.
7. Try Breakfast (or Lunch or Dinner) in Bed:
You will be guaranteed an intimate breakfast for two when you dine in your cabin. Try breakfast in bed, lunch on the balcony and dinner at the table in your cabin. Some lines go above and beyond when it comes to room service, to try turning it into an event.
8. Consider the Alternative:
Nowadays ships are offering plenty of bistro-style “alternative” restaurants where you need to book your table ahead of time and pay extra for this more intimate experience.
9. Off-peak Dining:
To maximise your chances of snagging a quiet table for two, try to arrive for dinner once the rush is over or before it starts.
10. Eat Ashore:
For an authentic meal in a foreign country, port days are your best opportunities. To avoid a hectic rush back to your ship, a leisurely lunch ashore is always a good idea, but some ships also stay ashore well into the evening, or overnight, affording plenty of time for relaxing dinners.
What to Avoid:
- Inside Cabins: If your idea of relaxation is spending time alone, or as a couple, away from the ship’s social scene, then we definitely recommend that you don’t book a windowless inside cabin. The cramped quarters are sure to force you out into the hustle and bustle and away from the peace and quiet.
- World Cruises and ‘Grand Voyages’: These lengthy voyages aren’t for hermit crabs, as they attract hordes of repeat cruisers and promote a lot of social bonding.
- Theme cruises: On these cruises the theme essentially takes over the whole ship, and nearly everything revolves around it. The experience is all about connecting with people socially in big group activities – so definitely not your thing if you want solitude on your cruise.
- School Holidays: When school is out, mainstream cruises tend to fill with children/families. This isn’t a problem if you are cruising as a family, but if you are travelling alone or with just your partner, this can influence the type of cruise experience you have.