Gents at Sea: the cruising guide for men
Last month I travelled to Singapore for a three-day stint on Royal Caribbean’s brand new, billion dollar ship, the Quantum of the Seas. With no past cruise experiences under my belt, I was a little unsure what to expect. There’s no arguing that cruising is an industry shrouded in stereotypes, the main being the age of your typical cruiser, but I was pleasantly surprised with the demographic aboard Royal Caribbean’s newest ship. Within the first 24 hours of the trip I was messaging my friends to organise a cruise in 2016 when the next Quantum class ship, the Ovation of the Seas, arrives in Australia. I was, and a month later still am, convinced that it would be an absolute ball, and probably work out cheaper than a weekend full of beers at the local pub.
Since my return I’ve delved a little deeper into the world of cruising, doing some research for possible trips ‘with the boys’ and discovered a number of enticing attractions sure to suit men of all tastes.
Action and Adventure
From jumbo 3D movies screens and poker tournaments to watch shopping and croquet on real grass lawn, the amount of activities offered at sea is mind boggling for anyone yet to experience it. And that’s just the activities on the actual ship. At each port there’ll be different Shore Excursions for you to choose from.
Onboard the Ovation of the Seas, there’s plenty to keep me busy. The North Star viewing platform is a real standout – it stretches 90 metres out to sea and is essentially a glass viewing capsule. The Florider is an artificial wave for all the surfing fans out there and who doesn’t want to try Indoor Skydiving? Smaller ships like those from Windstar have water sports platforms for floating, kayaking, sailing, water-skiing, windsurfing and diving. Alternatively, if you’re looking to relax, plenty of ships have barbers offering wet shaves and an extensive spa menu for men. Seabourn’s The Spa which features a hydrotherapy pool, a thermal suite with two herbal saunas and a relaxation room with heated loungers for you really de-stress in.
Cruising is an affordable way to travel – not just because your accommodation and most of your food are covered. Alcohol is usually an additional cost but it’s not too expensive and you can save money by buying a package. Aboard Royal Caribbean’s ships, US$55 a day will provide you with a substantial drinks package allowing you to drink almost anything on board made by humans or robots. It’s not mouth wash either, those who know their booze will see familiar labels from Ron Zacapa, Ketel One and Tanqueray used to make even the most basic drinks.
For the whisky fans, Princess Cruises has recently launched a specialist whisky bar aboard the recently refurbished Dawn Princess. The bar stocks 63 world whiskies with highlights from Scotland, America, Japan and New Zealand and Australia. While the wine selection across the industry is very solid, special note can be made of Celebrity Cruises with more than 500 bottles per ship, including 38 by-the-glass selections – their Cellar Masters wine bar includes self serve dispensers which enable you to help yourself 24 hours a day!
Dining at sea has reached incredible levels of sophistication in the last five years. Cruise companies are upping their game. Princess Cruises has just announced Aussie celebrity chef Curits Stone has been brought on board to create his own specialty restaurant, menu and Chef’s Table experience. Crystal Serenity draws sushi aficionados from all corners of the globe to experience the Asian-fusion mastery of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa (of Nobu fame) while Royal Caribbean partnered with Jamie Oliver on board Quantum of the Seas. Purveyors of the world’s finest hotel and dining experiences Relais & Châteaux are also represented onboard a handful of Silversea ships at their restaurant Le Champagne. Diners are treated to ever changing menus of seasonally inspired dishes, crafted with locally sourced ingredients from the region and paired with bubbles from the world’s best Champagne houses.
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