How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Cruising

14 November 2014

Saunter on, switch off and disconnect. It's not an easy thing to do in our hyper-connected world, but when it comes to relaxing, there are few better places to do so than on board a cruise ship.

With a drink in hand and a sun-streaked horizon all around, cruising is not only a great way to explore a new destination, it's also the perfect place to recharge your batteries.

I recently discovered as much aboard the Carnival Spirit – the almost 300-metre long ocean liner that currently calls Sydney its home port.

Expecting to be inundated with fellow passengers on my aptly-named Cruise To Nowhere - which literally cruised up and down the New South Wales coastline - instead I frequently found myself nursing a beer whilst lazing in a private pod on the adults-only Serenity deck.

With an endless vista all to myself as the sun slunk low towards a distant horizon, I soon discovered that cruising can be as action-packed or as serene as one likes.

 Kick back and relax on a Carnival cruise

Dining With The Stars

As a neophyte when it comes to cruising, I struggle to tell my port from my starboard, let alone figure out where to eat.

But with so many options on offer on Spirit's hefty 12 decks – indeed, on any of the countless cruise ships which ply the world's oceans – there's no danger of starving on board one of these floating monoliths!

I hit Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ like there was no tomorrow, loading up on enough barbecued snags and pulled pork sandwiches to last me until Christmas.

However, if you're after a dedicated sit-down menu, there are plenty of sophisticated dining options on board. In Carnival's case that includes Bonsai Sushi, Italian restaurant Cucina del Capitano, the upscale Steakhouse and, of course, an elegant formal dining room.

I once even ate breakfast a couple of tables over from high-profile personal trainer and public speaker Shannan Ponton who, you'll be eager to note, opted for a vege-laden freshly-cooked omelette!

Choose Your Own Adventure

Just as there are multiple dining options, so too is there an exhaustive range of entertainment on board.

From mini-golf and water parks to countless bars and lounges, both the young and young-at-heart are well catered for when it comes to enjoying the hours away at sea.

Carnival's jaw-dropping, heart-stopping water slide Green Thunder hangs precariously over the edge of both the Spirit and Legend, launching intrepid thrill-seekers down the steepest water slide in operation on high the seas.

I personally preferred to launch myself straight towards the nearest watering hole.

Had I managed to drag myself away from the TV screens at The Champions' Sports Bar, no doubt I would have hit the state-of-the-art multi-level gym - which, in between the treadmills and exercise bikes, also boasts spectacular ocean views.

Escape On The High Seas

If the journey is more important than the destination, then a Cruise To Nowhere is an obvious path to enlightenment.

And with onboard escapism offered in many forms – from nightly shows to casino slots and countless kids activities – there's every opportunity to find your niche and kick back and relax however you see fit.

For me, that mainly meant heading for the Serenity deck with a book in one hand and a drink in the other, to soak up some sunshine as the gentle ocean waves rolled by.

Saunter on, switch off and disconnect? That's exactly what I did aboard the Carnival Spirit.

It wasn't so much a case of teaching an old dog new tricks, but of teaching this old dog that you can indeed relax on cruise ships.

Mike Tuckerman

From Europe to Asia and many places in between, there's rarely a town or city I've not enjoyed exploring. When I'm not wandering the streets and discovering new destinations, you can usually find me hanging out with the locals at major sporting events.