Ever since I was on a school trip cruise to the Mediterranean, and I lay on my bunk, my face a greenish hue… I thought “No! Life on the ocean wave is not for me!”

As the years went by, even the sight of the white cliffs of Dover reminded me of that awful queasy feeling! Come the opening of the tunnel and cheap charter flight holidays, I soon forgot about cruises and seasickness!

Until, one day I was offered the chance to sail on a Crystal Voyage in South America! Who could resist? And I was astounded at all the modern day choices of seasickness cures on offer – medicines had come a long way since my school days!

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I flew to Manaus on the Amazon River, sailed 1,000 miles to the ocean and then down the East coast of South America I visited Rio, Montevideo and Buenos Aires – but my story is about life onboard… and how can I persuade you to try a holiday as special as this one?

“Crystal Symphony” it was called – beautiful – no, dazzling, white and larger than life. I stepped on board – an atrium with a spiral staircase and a lobby that was huge.

My cabin was like a hotel room (when did they take out bunks and portholes?) A picture window with sliding patio doors and a private balcony. The ensuite had a bath, a shower, dressing gowns, slippers – the room, a plasma TV, CD docker, desk, mini bar… just about everything you could wish for, and some things you hadn’t even thought of!
I was soon unpacked and ready to explore! Hmm… a few doors down a laundry for guests – washing machines, dryers, iron etc… might try to keep out of that!

The ship is so luxurious, everywhere I turned, lounges with comfortable seating for socialising and entertainment, and quiet spaces for reading and looking at the view. A library, a whole lot of shops, a casino, a piano bar, I even peeped into a ‘classroom’ for sessions from learn to paint to how to use your PC!

The Pool Deck and jacuzzi, all open air, with lovely big tub chairs and loungers. A waiter to bring you a drink and a lunchtime band to entertain. I read so many good (great) books on the pool deck!

Every morning, right up on the top deck, I stretched and curled in the yoga class, after early morning tea and croissants. The gym was never overcrowded and the running machines and exercise bikes were always available… and everything so spotless and tidy.

After that, I’d go for my full breakfast! I made friends with the egg chef and waiters… despite all that choice, I still enjoyed my old favourites at breakfast!
Elevenses at the pool grill; lunch, afternoon tea, and then a spectacular evening dinner with all the trimmings! Black tie, sommeliers and as many courses as you can manage… but most especially dessert!

A show comes next; a musical or a cabaret – never any queuing or fidgeting in a cramped seat… until finally you fall into bed with a cup of hot chocolate!
Crystal Symphony made a day stretch to long hours of feeling relaxed and unwound. Nothing was any trouble, a hot tea or a cold beer – a nap; there was plenty of time to do everything and anything I wanted.  There was a programme of lectures, shows and activities – I joined in some and others I left out – I sank into a time bubble of my own! And that was a luxury of its own!

To think that I put cruising off for so long! And all for the want of a little white anti-sickness pill!

If you’d like to know more email me: charmaine@hallmarktravel.com

Meet me in the gallery!