I love the idea of cruising. My first experience on the open ocean was as an 8-year-old, when my family emigrated from England to Canada.
We travelled on the original Queen Elizabeth 2, which featured free food, plenty of room to run and a cinema in which I watched Guns of Navarone three times. For a little girl, it was a dream come true!
The second trip was on a Russian ship called the Ivernia. In truth, as a young solo traveller, it was a simply cheaper than flying. So, I set sail once again, just 7 days later, arrived in the U.K.
Those two trips were both functional, “get across the ocean,” journeys. I had not yet discovered the world of real adventure cruising.
Many years later, my first real pleasure cruise was a Holland America adventure around the Mediterranean. We started in Rome and ended in Barcelona.
The well-organized itinerary took us to Florence, Valetta, the Amalfi coast and Barcelona. I got my sea legs and began to love the idea of cruising. Visiting a new city every day was such an adventure!
Then I enjoyed a river cruise with Viking on the Rhine River. A winter cruise, it was an exquisite opportunity to experience the curated Viking culture, service and style. I officially fell in love with Viking and river cruising.
Viking showed me that cruising didn’t have to be all hustle-and-bustle; it could be a refined experience in which elegance trumped entertainment and service really was personal.
After my first Viking cruise, I remember thinking to myself that my experience couldn’t be beaten. How on Earth was I going to go on another cruise without comparing it unfairly to my experience on the Rhine?
Then, I received the opportunity to join Viking on one of their ocean cruises and I realized how wrong I had been. With the Viking Star, the company somehow managed to take all of the best elements of their river cruises and combine them with a feeling of adventure that can only be found on the open seas.
My ocean cruise with Viking took me to the Land of the Midnight Sun. We travelled from England to Scotland. Then we sailed through the North Sea to the North Cape, the last tip of inhabited Norway. Finally, we cruised through spectacular fjords and vistas that overwhelmed me with their sheer expansive beauty.
As I reflect on my trip, I realize that my time on the Viking Star gave me more than just good memories. It also taught me about what a cruise should really be like.
Yes, the ship’s crew is responsible for keeping you comfortable, but, they can’t make your trip truly memorable without your help.
Here are 7 things that every women should take on a cruise… hint: none of them are “things!”
Cruising offers a wonderful opportunity to let your fears go! It allows you to truly experience life at a new level of intensity in a safe and structured way.
I travel solo most of the time. The beauty of a cruise is that you meet new people every day. In addition, on a ship like the Viking Star, the fabulous staff are there to encourage you to try new things and explore new places. Everything is nicely curated.
So, I always pack a sense of wonder and adventure when I go on a cruise. When I interviewed the ship’s captain Rune Lockling, he made this point over and over. We are explorers and Viking transports us to new worlds! Here’s my interview with the captain, just in case you missed it.
A cruise is like a time machine. It is the perfect place to plan your future and come to terms with your past. On a trip like the one that I just took, you realize that unfinished business really can be resolved.
So, if you have regrets or worry about the future, cruising can give you the mental space you need to get back on track.
The Viking Star offered so many wonderful places to relax and reflect. My favourite was the Winter Garden.
By all means, bring your painful memories on board, but, be prepared to let them float away on the waves. Mother Nature knows exactly what your soul needs to heal.
Cruising is a perfect opportunity to be kind. Sometimes you will meet someone who just needs a hug. Other passengers are traveling for the first time and may appreciate a word or two of reassurance. Some people are celebrating a birthday or anniversary. Others are suffering from an illness.
Each of these scenarios presents an opportunity for you to demonstrate your compassion and love. Viking encourages its staff to make everyone feel special and welcome. I encourage you to do the same for your fellow passengers.
I love the stillness of the sea and the magic of discovering new places. I also love the sense of joy cruising allows you to feel. It inspires you to bring along your deepest sense of wonder and marvel at the sheer beauty of nature.
I am always amazed by the diversity of the towns that grow up around rivers and seas. Each location has a unique story to tell, if you just take the time to listen.
Many Viking Cruises itineraries follow the paths of ancient explorers. This was certainly the case on my last cruise, the “Land of the Midnight Sun.”
Being serious is for “the real world.” When you are on a cruise, let your mind wander along wonderful paths. Reconnect with your inner child and see the world through fresh eyes. Bring your sense of wonder.
I enjoy cultivating my attitude of gratitude every day. That said, there is something about being on the open water that really helps you to get things into perspective.
The floor to ceiling windows allow you to gaze out at the world without interruption. You can imagine yourself embracing the world as it passes by.
On the Viking Star, I was amazed by how the music, conversation, engagement, visual elegance and simplicity calmed me and energized me at the same time.
It was a wonderful contradiction and one that reminded me to be grateful for my life, family and friends.
On any cruise, there will be times when things don’t go according to plan. My trip on the Viking Star was no exception. Flexibility and a positive attitude will help you to get through the small frustrations that accompany any journey.
For example, we were unable to stop at the Shetland Islands because the winds were too high. For our safety, the captain decided that it would be better to change course.
The crew did a great job of planning new activities and getting us back on schedule. At the same time, it was my own positive attitude that enabled me to see the humour in the situation and enjoy the twists and turns that the North Sea threw at us.
It may seem strange to say this, but I really did take my Sixty and Me sisters on this cruise. This community has been my life for over 4 years and I think about you all the time.
Unlike my previous holidays when I could “switch off,” I wanted to share as much as I could with you. I hope that you enjoyed come along with me. Who knows, maybe we’ll organize a real Sixty and Me cruise in the future! Wouldn’t that be fun?
Here’s my tour of the Viking Star. I hope that you enjoy it!
Would you like to join a Sixty and Me cruise if we organized it with someone like Viking? Where would you like to cruise? Would you prefer a river cruise or an ocean cruise? Please join the conversation.
Tags Senior Cruises