While traditional cruising has never been our style, we have spent some fabulous holidays on board floating accommodations. Here are a few of them.

In this ex-North Sea supply ship, we spent a week cruising around and landing on eleven of the many islands that make up the Maldives archipelago, as well as SCUBA diving and snorkelling in the clear waters. The ten cabins were small, but adequate, and we paid extra to have a little balcony (the railings you see at the aft of the ship). Dress was casual throughout - we never even saw the captain wear shoes! 

This ten berth ship sailed around the Yasawa Islands in Fiji, stopping at various islands for sightseeing and cultural interactions, as well as snorkelling and paddle boarding. Each evening the captain and crew gathered at the aft of the ship to sing, play the guitar and drink kava (a mildly alcoholic drink made from a pepper root). 

Offering lots of fabulous snorkelling, as well as opportunities to go ashore for exploration, the Keyif, featuring six cabins,  sailed around the coast and bays of Djibouti.

We had a fabulous adventure on this seven-berth sailing ship, cruising around the Nusa Tenggara archipelago in Eastern Indonesia. As well as first class snorkelling and exotic beaches, we visited village markets, volcanoes and got to see the famed Komodo dragon. 

A gorgeous old refurbished paddle steamer, the Pandaw was beautiful with all teak interiors and 20 comfortable cabins. We loved the cruise, the crew and the country, but hated most of the other passengers - a bunch of stuck-up snooty, pompous, arrogant, patronising snobs.   

Three years running we hired this and a similar narrow boat with good friends and their dog to cruise the waterways of England and Wales. It was a lot of fun negotiating the numerous locks along the way and just taking in the beautiful countryside. 

Along with my parents, we hired this converted rice barge for a two night cruise on Kerala backwaters in India. We had a spacious double room each with en suite facilities, and a small dining and lounge area in the  middle. It was a very relaxing trip, with extremely attentive staff; watching life go by and visiting a mansion, school and church. 

In 2011 we took my then 85-year old dad on a river cruise in France, following the Oise and Seine Rivers around Paris and beyond. The cruise was organised by Saga (a British tour company catering exclusively for the over 50s), and each day was geared to sampling food, wine and cheese from a different region of France. Much as I enjoyed that part of the trip, I found the cruise a little too 'relaxing' for my liking, with late starts and plenty of down time. 

One of my favourite cruises was on board this six-berth sailing ship around the Galapagos Islands, stopping at a different island once or twice a day. The wildlife of Galapagos is second to none, and we had plenty of snorkelling opportunities too. 

A journey to the bottom of the world

A larger ship than we were used to, the Multanovsky carried 46 passengers on its voyage from Ushuaia in Argentina – the most Southerly city in the world. It was a brutal two days crossing the vast and notoriously turbulent Drake’s Passage. Huge, foaming rollers marched relentlessly; causing roller-coaster swells as the ship pushed slowly south. Seeing icebergs for the first time we knew that we were about to enter calmer waters and receive a reprieve from the furious seas and the awful sea-sickness that many passengers suffered.

Antarctica was a magical place, the last bastion of isolation with extraordinary vistas of austere beauty. Snow-covered mountains tumbled into the sea and bizarrely sculpted icebergs floated in the icy waters of this most inhospitable region on earth. It was a challenging environment where a few hardy species survive against all odds. Enormous colonies of noisy penguins gave hours of amusement. We watched the gregarious and comically inquisitive birds going about their daily business with boundary disputes, nesting, courting, feeding their chicks, fighting off predators, swimming and diving. Fast and ferocious leopard seals plied the waters for a tasty snack, or a chance to puncture our inflatable boat! Enormous but playful whales followed the wake of the ship; putting on spectacular shows for the visitors. Creeping glaciers calved off enormous pieces of ice, causing tidal waves to wash up any small brash ice on the beach. This was nature at its most fundamental level and we were privileged strangers visiting the most unspoilt wilderness on the planet. Knowing that only 150,000 people have ever set foot on Antarctica (at that time), including the early explorers, scientists and tourists, made us feel very special and honoured!

Wanting to see the villages and gorges before the dam flooded the entire region, we took a cruise on the Yangtze River in 2010. Fantastic scenery and fascinating excursions, the highlight for me, however, was negotiating the five locks by the Three Gorges Dam. The ship carried 110 passengers, which I found to be about 100 too many. I much, much prefer smaller, more intimate ships. 

This is probably the nearest we've got to what most people think of when you mention the word 'cruise'.. I believe there were around 300 passengers on our 1984 cruise around the Mediterranean. Starting from Piraeus in Greece, we called at Rhodes and Mykonos in Greece, Kusadasi in Turkey (for Ephesus), Ashdod in Israel for Jerusalem and Bethlehem,  and Port Said in Egypt for Cairo and the Pyramids. Being in our 20s, we enjoyed cruise life and all the entertainment it had to offer, but not enough to ever do it again. 

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