The other day I had the chance to chat to Yvonne and Russell Parry from Geelong in Victoria who have amazingly done 25 cruises, equalling 2053 days with Princess Cruises.
They started cruising in 2000, and by my caluclations have spent just shy of 6 years on cruise ships.
What struck me most was their exhuberance for the cruising life. They’re a lovely couple, in no way jaded or blase about their adventures so far, and their next cruise is already booked – they’re looking forward to sailing the Asia Pacific next year.
So why the cruising life?
“Well, our children are all grown up, busy, and living their own lives, and we decided that this is now our time. I believe that you have to make the most of your time,” said Yvonne. “Of course we miss them, but the great thing about cruising is that because our children and grandchildren are spread around, we do sometimes get to catch up with them at various ports. We have grandchildren in Sydney, a daughter in Brisbane, and grandaughters in England and New York.
When they were younger they had the big house and the big land, “But when our grandchildren also grew up (they’re now aged 18 to 29) we thought well there’s a better life out there, let’s sell the house and get a smaller town house in the city which we can lock up and leave,” said Yvonne.
Why did you take your first cruise?
“We just wanted to do something different. We used to go to the Gold Coast (Australia) when the kids were little. We didn’t really have the travel bug until we started cruising. Another factor was that we didn’t want all the hassles of flying or the time changes that come with flying, and we decided that we were then at an age and position when we could choose whether to fly or not, and we decided we’d rather relax and see the world in a more leisurely way,” said Yvonne.
“There was the love of the sea and travel, of course, but really the first cruise gave us the travel bug, so when we retired we ramped things up a bit, and one year we cruised for a total of 300 days” explained Russell. ”
What do you most love about cruising?
“So many things … the fact that you’re basically in a floating hotel and only have to unpack once is wonderful. Then, when you visit a port you can put all your energies into exploring because when you come back to the ship you don’t have to run around and find a restaurant or think about packing or organising your next trip or destination,” said Yvonne. ” If you’re really tired after a long day out you can jump into a spa on the ship, and it’s so lovely. The daylight’s just about gone and the stars are coming out, it’s warm and well, it’s rejuvenating – you do come back new after a cruise.”
“For me, probably Venice, The Rock of Gibralter, South of France,” said Russell, “and on my bucket list is the Cape Horn.”
“And for me well, the Greek Islands, The Americas, oh and sailing into Stockholm is just gorgeous,” said Yvonnne. “But there are so many favourite places.”
“Learn to relax and take things easy. Enjoy the facilities of the ships on sea days,” said Russell.
“Be aware of everything that is available on board – don’t whip through the Princesss Patter (the daily newsletter) and discount activities, but try different things and chat to people. We’ve met so many people over the years, and found out such interestng things by just chatting,” said Yvonne.
“Make the most of each port. Do a little bit of research and find out what is available. It’s amazing what you can do in one day if you’re prepared,” said Yvonne.
“Do some research about each destination,” said Russell.
“Check out the ships tours too,” said Russell. “I’d recommend booking the ship’s tour if there’s a long distance involved in getting from the ship to the city or destination, because you don’t want to be late back and miss the ship! If it’s a close-to-the-ship activity then do it yourself, but don’t take a big chance when it comes to trains, buses and time.”
“It’s always the one we’re on at the time,” laughed Yvonne. “Right now of course it’s the Sea Princess! But we do enjoy the bigger ships like the Diamond Princess because there is so much to do. One of the great features is the big glass cover over the swimming pool so it’s an all weather area,” said Yvonne.
“The bigger ships don’t feel more crowded, you can still find somewhere to go to be alone. However one of the great things about a class of ship such as Sea Princess is that you can go to lots of places that the big ships can’t … like The Panama Canal for instance, so it has lots of appeal. On the Sea Princess we particularly love the outside areas. There’s so much space (and shade) on the pool deck, and the walking deck is great,” said Russell.
- Pack wash and wear, light clothes and layer.
- Pack things that are non-crease.
- Don’t bring anything that’s hard to pack, bring soft clothes.
- Bring a couple of pairs of pants and lots of easy wear tops.
- Get the lightest possible suitcase.
Life Lessons learned from cruising
“You need to make the most of every stage of life. When you’re young make the most of having young kids, but when they’re older don’t put things off for one day – rather do things now. There will always be hills to climb and twists in the road to navigate, but stay true to your ideas and ambitions and what you want to do and make the most of your life. If you’re given an opportunity, don’t waste it.”
Why a World Cruise?
“If you can do a world cruise then do it. It’s the best feeling, the best! Everyone is going exploring, there’s the feeling of adventure … we’re all going to see places, there’s a definite vibe on a world cruise that you don’t get on other cruises. It’s so exciting,” said Yvonne.
“So many people do repeat world cruises. It can be like a bit of a reunion, a cruising family if you will. But people new to cruising will find there’s a lot of help offered and knowledge they can learn from veteran cruises – all the short cuts and tips … and things like, well – a bus goes there, you should see that there, that kind of thing.” Yvonne.
“Having our Golden Wedding Anniversary on The Golden Princess. That was pretty amazing!”
It’s been lovely chatting to you! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Yvonne and Russell!”
If you’d like to find out more about cruising, you might like Princess Cruises (of whom I am a guest) but all opinions are my own.