Imagine this: it’s midnight, you’re in Paris and right by the glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower, you’re popping open champagne with new friends from all over the world.
Sometimes, life does get that magical, and it’s moments like these that will make me desperately miss life on board the M.S. France.
I’ll be staying on the boat one more night before flying out to Bordeaux, but earlier this morning, all the other guests cleared their rooms, packed their bags and checked out of this ship we’ve called home for the past week. The entire M.S. France is now eerily calm, and it is strange to think that all these people who were your life for the past few days have now been replaced by emails, phone numbers and Facebook profiles… It’s definitely an odd feeling and affirms why I absolutely dread goodbyes.
On that note, as I wallow in my withdrawal, I thought I would reflect on four of the reasons why I loved my first cruise so much:
1. It is SO easy to make friends and socialize.
Cruises are a truly wonderful opportunity to meet new people. On my first night, I was seated with two couples from Canada and Scotland. As soon as we said hello, all my fears about not making friends went out the window. I ate every meal with them throughout the cruise and not once was there a lull in the conversation. With excursions, a comfy lounge space and an (open) bar on-board, there’s plenty of opportunities to meet people, that’s for sure.
2. The food is so good, it’s unreal.
My experience with CroisiEurope food can only be described as love at first bite. I used to consider myself a foodie because of my insatiable appetite, but in the past couple days, I’ve come to appreciate food on a whole different level. Not only is loving food about the quantity and the taste, it’s about the experience as a whole. On board, the food is elegantly presented, the flavours are carefully paired and always served with a side of ample wine refills and good conversation.
The variety though is what steals the show. For lunch, you might indulge in dishes like savoury smoked ham, turkey roll tagliatelle, and decadent chocolate cake. Then, just a few hours later, you’ll be digging into a fresh scallop salad, juicy veal and a fluffy ile flottante, made of meringue and English cream. Despite having to serve so many passengers every day, they keep things different (but still delicious) each time.
3. The crew genuinely cares.
I cannot say enough nice things about the staff on board! Mike, the cruise director, was always ready to answer my silly questions and I swear, Maxime (another crew member), was some kind of magician. By Day 2, he had already memorized everyone’s faces and room numbers! When asked how he was able to do that, he just shrugged like it was no big deal. The servers & bartenders were all incredibly nice and attentive as well. Seeing so many smiling faces on board really made a big difference.
4. There is always something to do.
I guarantee you that when you’re cruising, you will never be bored. During the day, I had the opportunity to attend all of CroisiEurope’s planned excursions, which took me to sprawling coastlines, gorgeous churches and more. Evenings as well are full of optional entertainment like cabaret shows, crew performances or dancing. Last but not least, in between all that, there are less formal activities like quizzes and games.
In fact, on our last full day, I got invited to participate in a round of Sjoelbak, a Dutch shuffleboard game where you earn points by sliding wooden pucks into slots. Much to the joy of my competitive self, I scored 2nd place despite having no semblance of technique whatsoever. As a bonus, the man who won first place graciously offered me his prize, which meant I got a free bottle of delicious champagne!
Now, I’m sad to be leaving this great experience behind, but no doubt – the M.S. France was a fantastic start to this Photo Tour. Now, onto new adventures along the Gironde and Garonne!
Talk to you all soon from Bordeaux,