After their first cruise on Grandeur of the Seas in 2011, they were hooked.
James Manson is a retired Police Officer and lives with his wife Pamela in South Ayrshire. I was keen to find out what it was that appealed to them about cruising, and what makes them take two or more cruises every year.
What brought you to the decision to book your first cruise?
Our first cruise was booked after lengthy discussions with friends who are to say the least regular cruisers. My wife and i gave it some thought, and we decided to give it a try. I personally thought that in 2011 cruises were like going on a OAP holiday, stripped deck chairs, knotted handkerchiefs and tea dances. However, after several more discussions I was ordered to go to a travel agent and book.
What was your first cruise like?
Our first cruise was on Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas, which departed from Palma. On arrival at the port we were in awe at the sight of this magnificent ship. We had booked an oceanview stateroom which was very comfortable, but couldn’t really see much due to the height of the porthole. We cruised the Spanish Mediterranean and return to Palma. It was a very enjoyable experience.
We could not fault anything regarding the cruise. Every aspect of the cruise was tremendous. On return we called RCCL and booked another for 2012.
Since then, you have cruised many times. What are your favourite destinations to visit and why?
The Cruise we favour most is the Greek Isles and Turkey /Greek Isles and Croatia which now we have done 8 times 14 days at a time. We love the ports of call and the people and excursions in those ports are wonderful.
Can you tell me what it is about cruising that attracts you?
We love the totally relaxed atmosphere that cruises give and being spoiled with the attentive staff on board. We also love the varied choice of food in the many restaurants. It is just wonderful rising from the table and not having dishes to do or house work each day.
How do you decide which cruise you are going to book next?
We always listen to others experiences while on board, and then choose a different itinerary. We have never set out certain destinations, we just peruse the detailed information outside the sales office on board and go from there.
What is the first thing you do when you get onboard?
When we arrive on the ship we always check in detail the ships’ emergency procedures, and encourage others to do so as well. However, I have a pet hate of those people who turn up late, or stand there and yawn when the crucial speech is delivered by the safety officers on board. It should be recognised by everyone, PERSONAL SAFETY is of paramount importance.
Are there any special items that you always take on a cruise?
The only special item we always carry is my wife’s Clarins, as use of this maintains her youthful looks.
What was your last cruise?
Our last Cruise was 17 June 2017 on the Independence of the Seas, and to our surprise we met Captain Iv, whom we had sailed with 8 times while he was the Captain of the Splendour of the Seas. This is a tremendous cruise with great ports of call.
We have also cruised on the Allure of the Seas on two occasions and the Vision of the Seas.
Do you have another cruise planned?
We have re booked again for June 2018 for 14 night Mediterranean Cities and a 14 night Southern Caribbean.
What would be your ‘dream cruise’?
We have one special cruise that someday we will go on and that is the Panama Canal. It is our lifelong ambition and will take the opportunity when Royal Caribbean have an itinerary. The other is the Far East.
Can you offer any tips when it comes to booking a cruise?
In 2012 we booked a cruise on the Splendour of the Seas. We were about to leave when we had a call to get an upgrade to a Family Junior Suite. The agent sewed the seed as we took up this offer, and now we always have a Junior Suite at the aft of the ship. We now only book when one of the 6 Junior Suites are available.
Again, through our experience we use the same agent as to us loyalty is important. The advantage of booking on board is that the staff in that office have all availability on a screen in front of you.
As we have been loyal to Royal Caribbean we have made many good friends in the staff and some lifelong friend from fellow travellers. We could spend all day naming Crew members who have gone beyond the call of duty to ensure your cruise has been enjoyed.
What advice would you give to people thinking about booking their first cruise?
From a personal point of view, I would encourage any intending cruisers to try a four or five night cruise first, to gain an unforgettable experience and to allay any fears of being crowded and feeling trapped. You will have a different perspective.