“A good friend listens to your adventures. A best friend makes them with you”
Now I know some people read that title and thought how is it any different to travelling with your friends in general? It’s different because there is one myth about cruise ships that is definitely true! Cruise ship cabins are tiny.
My first ever Cruise Director made a joke that you could always spot a first time cruiser because their conversations go something like this:
First time cruiser: It’s so big, oh my God it’s so big, I can’t believe it, all this on a boat…(It’s a ship but we will let the first timers off)
Cruise Director: Your staterooms are now open
First time Cruiser: It’s so small…
That being said there is a different level of closeness involved in cruising with someone as opposed to travelling with them. You will live on top of that person, you will be with them so often that you become the embodiment of living in each others pockets. You will learn a collection of odd things about each other that you would never learn on land…For example: My best friend learnt that I brush my teeth really loud and made the mistake of pointing that out to me. So I now know that whenever I want to wake her up (by the way she hates mornings) all I have to do is stand in the doorway of her room and brush my teeth.
This is Natalie, I’m fairly convinced that part of my soul has loved her since the beginning of everything, we’re part of the same star. I had heard all of my life that university was where you met the friends you would have forever. But since I went into Uni with a fabulous group of friends and since my personality is not for everyone. I was sceptical that I would meet anyone at university who was worth knowing. But then this blonde quite literally danced into my life and started a revolution for me. We have been inseparable ever since.
In my third year of University (her second she’s seven months younger than me) we decided that to help us survive a stressful year we needed a little of piece of paradise to look forward to. So we set about planning our first ever Twinny adventure (Yes, we call each other Twinny. I’m sure from the picture of us you can work out why)
So here are my top tips for cruising with your best friend:
Pick a place that interests both of you: We chose to cruise because it is something we both adore. If you told us we could cruise 365 days a year then we would. This was my fifth cruise and Natalie’s second. We both like to explore and relax in equal measure. Which makes a cruise perfect – lots to see and do and lots of time to chill and eat a lot of food (like all best friends we like to overeat together)
Compromise: I could definitely use some work in this department! Nat will happily tell you that I am the biggest control freak ever. Thankfully, my best friend is very laid back. When we docked in Livorno we found that I had already seen Florence while Nat had already seen Pisa. But since I asked nicely she was gracious enough to take me to the leaning tower. Ask your travel companion what they want! They may love you a bunch but that doesn’t mean they won’t resent you if you ruin their holiday.
Take lots of pictures: Taking a cruise with your best friend gives you a shared experience that you will cherish forever. Memories that you will talk about for years to come. Those pictures can help you re-live the fun of the trip; believe me they will have the ability to turn any bad day around. Although some pictures are definitely not for anyone else to see…For example: Nat has a rather fetching one of me smashing my head of a wardrobe. She snapped it while she was laughing hysterically because as my best friend it is her job to pick me up when I fall down but only when she’s finished laughing!
Know when to leave each other be: I am a morning person! It is one of the only things that Nat actively dislikes about me. She firmly believes that it is okay to kill people who have full conversations in the morning. So every morning (even though I woke her up with the loud teeth brushing) she would roll over and go back to sleep and I would go up to the pool deck alone. She would appear about an hour or so later. Its important to remember that you don’t always have to be glued to each others sides. You’re separate people at home and that doesn’t change just because you have found paradise.
Trust in their strengths: As a pair you will naturally have different strengths. I’m good at planning things so when we travel Nat leaves me to it. Nat handles people better than I do so when meeting new people I let her do the talking.
Pack together: Nat has never lost a suitcase in her life. I however lose one every time I travel! Just in case I cursed her, we split our clothes in the cases. She had some of mine and I had some of hers. So if a case got lost nobody would be going naked…Also make sure to split those toiletries they’re heavy and one person having them will only make their suitcase overweight.
Split the space equally: Cruise ship cabins are tiny and storage space is at a premium. We just did the obvious and split our cabin down the middle. Nat got all the drawers and I got the wardrobe. Our shoes did peacefully cohabit in the same cupboard when they weren’t strewn all over the floor…
Accept that there is no privacy: Now as small as cruise ship cabins are privacy might be possible on some ships. But we were on the Norwegian Epic and if you have ever been on you know that you see and hear EVERYTHING! Because long story short there is no dividing wall between the bedroom and the bathroom…
Look after each other: I hope this is something you would do on land as well. Best friends are there to be cherished. Fight your best friends battles even if its for an alcohol card. Do your best friends hair (Nat does mine frequently…I’m a poor version of a girl) find their cruise cards when they lose them, try not to laugh to hard when they lose their crisps and take them home at the end of the night when they’re drunk.
On the subject of drunk: Don’t do it every night! Yes the free alcohol provided by your drinks package is glorious. But as we discovered when you wake up hungover that new port you’re docked in does not seem so interesting. In fact, your pillow seems much better. A couple of blow outs will help you make memories. But don’t throw away every opportunity because you drank too much Vodka (or whatever your drink of choice is)
Don’t scrimp: I know cruising is not the cheapest and you might want to save money on spending money. But make sure you take advantage of the unique things ship life offers.
Ships are wondrous places! If there is an ice bar or a cirque style show go and see them. But I beg of you wear more clothes than we did in the ice bar! There were whole parts of my body that I could no longer feel…
Hope you found some of these points helpful! Whatever happens on your adventure with your best friend. Remember: It doesn’t matter where you are going it’s who you have beside you.