Friday 15 January 2010

Cruising into Maldives

A gallant sailing vessel set against the backdrop of the temperamental ocean is a sight fortunately many can now witness. Cruises offer an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience. With the desire to mark it off my bucket list, I set sail on my first cruise with Louis Cruises’ 525-cabin MV Aquamarine.

Visions of the mighty Titanic-recreated beautifully in James Cameron’s cinematic extravaganza—filled my mind before I arrived at Wellingdon Island, Cochin for the cruise to Maldives. I gaped at the glorious ship for several minutes, reviewing every image I’d ever seen of a cruise ship. As I entered, I was welcomed by a cheerful staff. I couldn’t help but feel as though I was part of a film. All I needed was a stunning gown! My expectations didn’t fail me.

Oasis of calm
I’ve often enjoyed sitting by the seaside. The endless sea makes me feel at peace. It is like a friend who can read my mind; understand how I feel, without a spoken word. But this experience took our friendship to the next level. Walking across the Sun Deck, at every corner and every bend, I was surrounded by calm deep blue waters. Every vacation calls for a celebration, and the Aquamarine had plenty of entertainment on board. Mesmerising performances by Latin dancers, live music with soulful vocalists and karaoke, together with fun activities and games such as lessons on various dance forms and laughter yoga, kept me busy. Each deck unravelled a new facet of true luxurious living- a fully-equipped gym, a basketball court, ping-pong tables, a casino, spa and salon, pubs, disco and even duty-free shopping for the shopaholics.

Maldivian magic
After an adventurous 24-hour journey, we reached the coveted Maldivian islands late evening. We docked at Malé, Maldives’ commercial and trade hub. After a short walking tour across the island buying souvenirs, we retired for the night. The next morning saw us aboard a sea-plane, gliding effortlessly on water. As we took off, I sat by the window, gaping at Maldives’ natural atolls (an island consisting of a circular coral reef surrounding a lagoon) and isolated reefs, shimmering in myriad shades of blue. Reality took a backseat with nature’s wonders taking over the landscape.

The perfect mix On any holiday, I’d crave for the perfect mix of adventure, enjoyable activities, making new friends, and coiling up in my cosy solitary space. A cruise is exactly that. You can dance, sing, walk, feast on fabulous food and see the world. But most of all, it is value for money.

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