There are many wishes, projects and dreams on my travel list. Some are adventurous (5 days canoeing in Scotland this summer, walking another part of the Camino de Santiago in autumn), others quite relaxed (visiting friends for a few days in Amsterdam, Normandy, Ireland). Cruises, though, are a recent addition and came from a recent trip to Helsinki: I jumped on a boat to Tallinn for a couple of days and loved, loved the slow pace, the idea that the journey was continuing effortlessly towards another destination… Yes! Even a serial traveller can find the magic in cruising. Even more so, as I scrolled through Celebrity Cruises’ website, cruising Europe.
The joys of cruising
If my love for travelling has only increased through the years, the journey itself is taking a toll. Don’t get me wrong: I love regional trains, buses taking countryside roads and even the idea of finding my way through Tokyo’s underground I look forward to. International airports, carrying suitcases here and there, queuing to put hand luggage through scanner… not much so. Now think of a cruise ship: someone else is taking you from one destination to another while you enjoy reading on a sunny deck, swim in a delightful pool, indulge in a cocktail, delight in fine dining, admire stunning sunsets… No endless passport control, no finding stress of getting to the airport in time, no rushing to departure gates, no packing and unpacking from a hotel to another. Just bliss. Pure bliss.
A different angle
As I research the history of countries I write travel guides on (yes, that’s my job!), I often go back to times where trade was done by boat and wonder what it must have felt like, approaching a new country, a new city that way. The Norwegian fjords cruise comes to mind: what a fantastic way of understanding the geography, considering it from the coast! It brings a sense of excitement I had lost with planes. Too many aerial views on Instagram… This makes me feel like an explorer of sorts.
Why plan a cruise in Europe?
The first idea that comes to mind is the European Union. Now think of Europe as the whole continent. There is so much to see! A cruise gives you the chance to enjoy a wide variety of landscapes effortlessly. With the 14 days Western Mediterranean cruise, you will stop in Gibraltar, Marseilles, Florence, Rome, Ajaccio, Barcelona and Lisbon. With the 12 nights Scandinavian cruise, in Berlin, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallinn, Stockholm and Copenhagen. Don’t forget Iceland, part of Europe too…
A full palette of experiences
It’s not only about stopping in iconic big cities. You can decide to wander endlessly on your own, focus on the gastronomic delights of each country (wine included) or fully relax, or simply join the guided excursions organised for each destination. Minimum stress, maximum information on the country you’re visiting. There is something liberating in leaving your travel guidebooks at home.
It’s for children too
On board is fun time with something for every age group: games and activities, family-friendly dining options, sports courts, pool-volleyball… No way your little ones will ever ask “Are we there yet?”. As for discovering the world… think of the knowledge they will gather in a single week! Such a wonderful way of opening their eyes on how many cultures Europe gathers. A real eye-opener.
If you’re looking for me, I will be packing jeans, T-shirts, swimsuits and evening wear in my suitcase, getting reading for one of these cruises. My only problem is – which one to go for first? So many corners of Europe I haven’t had the chance to see yet, so many I want to rediscover….