Back to reality as they say…
I spent most of last week on a cruise ship from Cape Town to Namibia and back. It was a wonderful experience and I have compiled a list of some valuable information that you need to know when cruising along the South African coastline.
Prescription medication is VITAL!!!
Before you leave on your trip, obtain prescription nausea and vertigo medication that you must start using the day before you leave. The sea looked relatively calm, but when the wind came up, it was a different story, and South African ships do not have stabilizers. I was warned in advance and went prepared, but there were many guests who were not so lucky.
Floaty skirts and wide-brimmed hats are not practical on a boat. Especially when you want to take photos on the top deck. Holding your skirt, hat and camera at the same time is not possible. So opt for shorts or cropped pants, a peak or cap, sunglasses and loads of sunscreen.
I sometimes think I was born in the wrong era. It would have suited me perfectly to dress in evening clothes for dinner every night. However, the general population dresses very casually, so I did tone down my cocktail numbers to jeans and a smarter top at night. Except on the Gala evening when a bright print cocktail number and some bling was definitely required. Ladies and gentlemen, a GALA dress code is not a T-shirt and jeans it is a little cocktail number or smarter pants and a statement top for the ladies (heels or sandals) and a smart shirt and pants for the men with shoes that do not resemble any form of sneakers. We do not get to dress up everyday, so when you have the opportunity please do! I enjoyed all the older ladies in their longer evening dresses and sequins. Life is too short to wear boring clothes.
As previously mentioned Sunscreen is a must, as well as dry shampoo!! The wind on deck loved transforming my short hair into interesting creations. Dry shampoo became my best friend, just warn your cabin mate before you spray it and ventilate after use. I have also fallen in love with Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat. It works as a top coat on any brand of nail polish and caused my gold nail polish to last well after my return, chip free, absolutely fabulous!! (I prefer polish to gel nails)
What to drink and eat on board?
As the saying goes, when in Rome… drink cocktails!! They were the best value for your vouchers and the Purple Rain and Cosmopolitan were my favourites. Do not be fooled by the Mojito, I ordered it only once… They have very large tot measures and it was the strongest cocktail that I tasted. Then there was the ice-cream… My love of ice-cream is legendary and while not quite the same as you find in Europe, it was still very good indeed. My favourites were the Cinnamon, Cherry Ripple and Lemon Sorbet.
What to do on board?
There is always entertainment on board. The top deck has group games, swimming(water was a bit cold) and jacuzzi’s (which were great). There were many shows on board and the highlight for me was the Gala evening’s A Night in Paris, (probably because of all the dancing!!) I have a passion for dancing, 12 years of ballet does that, and my toes were itching to dance all through the show. There is also a casino, dance lessons, gym, spa and loads of entertainment for the kids. Duty-free shopping on board is also very good and there were many sales as it was the end of the ship’s season on the RSA coastline.
What to do on shore?
The boat has organized day trips that you can book depending on whether you want something relaxed or sporty. We opted to explore by ourselves and had a lovely time. We took local taxis to Swakopmund and explored the shops and restaurants before returning on board. It was a wonderful day and I definitely want to return to the dunes of Namibia with my husband and children. It is a different beauty unlike anything else I have experienced.
Night time entertainment
Never be late for dinner!! They are quite pedantic about the dinner time slots and it is much better eating in the restaurants than the top deck buffet. After dinner all the bars are open and you can choose from a variety of bars with different music depending on your personal taste. I enjoyed the live guitar, piano and singing immensely There were themed parties in the disco, and my feet have not been so sore from dancing in a very long time… It was fantastic!!
Well, my thick novel came home unread… There is just too much to do on such a short trip. A magazine is all you really need. A warm puffer jacket was my best friend the last few days, as the temperature dropped considerably on our return. Three quarter tops and shirts with a tank top underneath are great for autumn weather as the air conditioners are quite cold at certain times. Cold shoulder tops and tunic dresses worked very well. Sneakers, loafers and thongs are perfect for the day. Oh and please, pack in your smile and sense of humour. There are nearly 3000 people on board (staff included) so be friendly it costs nothing and have fun, that is what a holiday is all about!
This was my first trip on board a large cruise liner and it was loads of fun, however I might consider a trip on a larger boat (that has stabilizers) in the Mediterranean or elsewhere in the future.