My First Solo Holiday – On a Cruise!

How I decided to go solo

It was some time in December 2000 when my life was at its peak of success. I even passed my driving test around that time, which meant, I had the freedom to work for long hours. Not out of choice, but out of commitment. Since I work in a critical setting of Operating Theaters as a Senior Nurse, seeing life and death became an everyday ritual for me. I had huge pressures in my personal as well as professional life.

I bought my first home with huge mortgage commitment. So it was mixed emotions of happiness, achievement, fear, responsibility and huge enthusiasm. I started working extra locum days and nights to finish off paying my mortgage as soon as possible. Basically, I was trying to live my 60 years life in 60 days which didn’t work for obvious reasons.

Being single and working in a weird pattern alienated me from my friend circle. While I worked hard, my friends slept. While I slept, my friends either worked or were socialising. Some of my married friends were busy with their family commitments. This was the first time, I decided to go on a holiday as a single traveller. I chose to cruise with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines visiting the Western Caribbean countries. I truly experienced the beautiful sun, sand and the sea, that I only read in brochures.

Considering I had never travelled alone, this was once in a lifetime experience. After that, I got addicted and in the following years, I cruised with Cruisewinkel and CruiseDirect. CruiseDirect is a one-stop shop for all things cruise related. You will find all the major cruise lines there including Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess and Disney to name a few. There is also an option of buying Gift Cards with CruiseDirect which makes an ideal gift for family and friends.

 

Places I Visited

I travelled to Haiti, enjoyed the local food with steel band music by the seaside! In Cayman Island, I experienced the submarine mesmerising underwater world wonders. I even picked up the famous Cuban Cigars for one of my close friends.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica did the waterfalls and savoured the fantastic Rum cakes. I picked up the cakes for my family and friends. The difficult part was, which flavour to let go as there were so many to choose from!  I am a keen collector of thimbles. Whichever place I visit, I make sure to pick up the thimble as a memoir. Now when I look at them, they take me down to the memory lane. These are my beautiful memories on the thimble stand and extremely precious to me!

In Mexico, I shopped for handmade Ponchos and colourful vibrant clothes made by locals. Enjoyed the local salsa and nachos cooked in rural surroundings. The highlight of Mexico was swimming with the dolphins, that all can enjoy from Paediatric to Geriatric!

 

My Thimble Stand

Things to remember

On daily basis, I’d been given the itinerary of the events which used to take place throughout the day on the cruise. I didn’t want to slow down as there was so much going on and I didn’t want to miss anything. That left me exhausted.

My advice for the travellers – from your busy schedule, you should spend a couple of hours to enjoy the sunrise and the sunset. In the middle of the ocean, from the topmost deck, this is an experience NOT to be missed! I call it a Brain Thrilling experience! Don’t forget to pick up your favourite Cuban cigars from Cayman Island if you love smoking and enjoy the local beers too.

 

Importance of Travel Insurance

While I was having a ball of a time, I heard something that changed my perspective towards Travel Insurance. Being a key worker in health care, I got an opportunity to hear first-hand people’s experience with travel insurance and its outcome. As a traveller, I always thought –  Is travel insurance worth buying? I never bothered with it until I experienced this :

1. While I was in Mexico, I met a Nurse who was transferring a sick patient from our ship to the local hospital. The patient, Mr Bloggs* travelled to Mexico to have a lovely holiday. There he encountered a tummy bug. Assuming it was nothing serious, he got down to the local pharmacist and bought some over the counter drugs, but didn’t feel any better. He then decided to go to the local hospital. Following few tests, he was urgently referred to the specialist hospital. An invasive life-saving surgery was performed. He had to be flown back to the hospital in his home country with a medical officer on board. Thank God he had the travel insurance which paid all the expenses.

2. Mrs White*  along with her family went on a Cruise holiday to the Mediterranean. On the third day of the beautiful well planned holiday, Mr White* encountered breathing difficulty. Emergency treatment was given on board, however, had to break the holiday for emergency treatment at Gibraltar Hospital. The family’s happy atmosphere could have turned into gloomy and depressing time. Thankfully, having a good insurance policy made all the difference. Medical, as well as financial care, was taken till they reached home safely.

 

 

This is when I learnt that a good Travel Insurance from a reputed company is really important. During health crisis emergency, worrying about finances could be anybody’s worst nightmare. Specifically, discuss all the minute details which are often taken lightly.

 

Not all companies cover Cruise Travel Insurance,  so make sure you are covered while planning your Cruise holiday. My trusted company is World First. They are travel insurance specialists and have 40 years of experience providing Worldwide holiday insurance cover for all kinds of people, going to all kinds of places and doing all kinds of wonderful things. Give yourself a peace of mind while enjoying your holidays!

For a complete review of World First Travel Insurance Company Click Here.

I hope you enjoyed reading and got some useful information. I can’t stress enough about having a Good Travel Insurance Policy. What is your opinion on this matter? Is travel insurance worth buying? Is it worth spending money on it? If you have any question or opinion, please leave it in the comment box and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

 

* changed the names because of the privacy purpose.

 

 

8 Comments

  1. One would be a fool to travel without insurance, even locally for a Brit to the EU – E111 now pretty non existant and has been so for years. Even so with Brexit looming getting care abroad in Europe and for free is gonna be a big zero for Brits!.

    I did have an accident in Spain and require emergency surgery 8 or 10 times (I stopped counting) saving a limb, and required 6 years before I could walk again free from crutches.

    I do clearly state I am lucky, even though I had no insurance. I am half Spanish and of Dual Citizenship. I still feel a little stupid though, no compensation, no loss of earnings, just free health service from Spain, and Social Security (as I stated, I am a Spanish Citizen, that was the lucky part!).

    Let that be a warning to all your readers! I shudder to think if I had gone to Turkey, Greece or else where!

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience Derek. I second your thoughts on EHIC being almost non-existent now. You are lucky indeed that you were in Spain and not in any other part of the world.

      According to BBC News, 25% of British people do not buy Travel Insurance before travelling abroad. Mostly young people going on holiday without insurance and risking humongous medical bills in case of emergency!

    1. Thank you Melinda for stopping by. Travel Insurance does cover the expenses in case of a health emergency. Still, I would advise checking every small detail with your Insurance company before travelling.

  2. Hi

    Thanks for this great post. I have a friend that is always complaining about traveling solo, Is a cruise a good option for that ?

    1. Thank you Andrew. I’m glad you liked the post.
      Well, going solo on a holiday is an individual’s preference. For me, I can go anywhere cruise or not cruise, still I would enjoy myself. And I met so many people like me while travelling! On a Cruise, no doubt there are so many activities (depend on the Cruise) that will keep you occupied and entertained, even if you are alone.

  3. I have always wanted to do a cruise, never down it but have been thinking more about it lately. I could still work on my site and enjoy the cruise in the meantime.!! sounds just peachy to me! Good site, very informative and excellent information.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Gus. Glad you liked the post and found it useful. That’s a great idea of mixing work with pleasure!

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