Master Cruise Specialist and successful member of the Travel Associates family, Michelle Sutton of Sutton & Turner Travel Associates would recommend everyone gives cruising a try! With hundreds of hours spent on ships, and a deep love for nautical travel, Michelle has identified why cruising is right for you!
I’ve been a Master Accredited CLIA [Cruise Line International Association] consultant for nearly 6 years and I don’t think I will ever lose my enjoyment in figuring out the best cruise for a client. So many things will impact a cruise experience; the destination, the climate, the cruise line and its respective ship, the cabin and obviously the clients own expectations, wants and needs.
I also love piecing together the rest of their holiday itinerary around the cruise with flights, accommodation, tours and more! In many ways it’s like a giant puzzle to accommodate the wants of the entire party, or solo traveler. Finding the perfect package to make their holiday a success is so rewarding.
In terms of types of cruising, river cruising is truly fabulous and extremely different to ocean cruising. For a start the ship is small and intimate and you have a host in comparison to an ocean ship. I did a Christmas Market river cruise from Prague to Vienna last year with Avalon Waterways. In general, these cities and the towns that you’ll find in between are lovely but at Christmas time they are stunning by day and sparkling by night. The scenery when you travel down the Danube was so close and ever changing that I didn’t ever want to leave the top deck (and my rug, hot Gluhwien and warm Christmas biscuits) even to go to the loo. It’s fair to say that I spent much of the Wachau Valley busting, but I saw everything!
Big on my bucket list for many years was to cruise in and out of Venice, which to me is the most iconic port in the world. I did it last year with my partner and kids on a 7-night cruise to Kotor and the Greek Islands with MSC. It was an easy, educational and very special holiday and a dream come true for me. Especially getting to take my family along the way with me, it was a journey I will never forget, and it is personally rewarding for me that my children get to experience it with me. Enabling them to see that part of Europe and walk in the footsteps of history is so incredible! We visited Olympia, which was peaceful and awe-inspiring. Then I got a kick in watching my teenagers be excited and interested in this ancient history. If you want to cruise out of Venice, I’d recommend you do it in the next 2-3 years as plans have been in place for a couple of years for the ships to sail out in the other direction.
I do have to say that one of my favorite cruises was the Inside passage, in Alaska, which I did with my sister and a girlfriend.
We had a blast! We all fell in love with Seattle (where we departed from) and the people and scenery of Alaska and Victoria. Onboard the ship we had a lot of fun - we were the only Kiwi’s beside some crew and you can bet we made ourselves heard as much as we could. We competed in a live game of Hungry Hippo’s on the foyer floor. One person was on a type of skateboard snaring the balls with a box, the other maneuvering them and then another person holding on to the balls. It was wild fun and we won of course!
I was really impressed with the other entertainment and interesting talks in the foyer. We got to hold adorable Huskie puppies and learn about their extensive training and how they operate in the colder regions, watched a real Lumberjack with his axe and tell us about their trade (did you know they have Lumberjack Universities in the United States?!) and also heard from a lady who won the Alaska Long distance sled race two years in a row. So we not only saw the beautiful scenery but also learned so much of the culture and wildlife in that neck of the woods, not to mention got the chance to sample the delicious food.
As you can tell, I love to cruise any sort of cruise and anywhere too. I like to be active onboard, but I also like to be very inactive, usually in the sun, on a deck chair or in a spa pol, with a cocktail in my hand. I truly believe that cruising, both River and Ocean, is THE best way to holiday and travel.
To get started on your cruising adventure, contact Michelle today on 0800 224 694.