The Best Way to Enjoy a Little R&R on a Cruise Vacation

by Nancy Cruse

As this blog proves every week, there are many wonderful reasons to cruise. But if you ask me, it’s all about the R&R.

I learned that lesson the hard way, when I took my first cruise vacation 11 years ago. Caring for my father during a long and painful illness, I injured my shoulder. It would be months after his death before I would be able to get surgery. My orthopedist, noting my recent loss and painful injury, ordered my husband, Fred, to take me some place I could relax.

As a friend of my husband’s had told him, “a cruise is the most relaxing thing you will ever do.” We took his advice and booked a cruise to the Caribbean aboard Dawn Princess,and we’ve vacationed at sea ever since.

I have always loved being on the water, and the gentle rocking of the cruise ship did not let me down. It was so soothing, that for the first time in months, I was able to sleep peacefully through the night. During the day, I found that feeling relaxed made my shoulder and bereavement hurt less.

Fred and I are quick learners. Ever since that trip, we’ve averaged two cruise vacationss a year because we know that we’ll relax onboard those ships like no other place on land. I’m not exaggerating. Fred is a busy attorney in our town of Hannibal, Mo. On top of all the urgent deadlines his practice involves, as an elected municipal judge who is on the bench two days a week, he juggles even more responsibilities.

Much like a doctor, he is on call with the police and city attorney to sign emergency warrants, or with law firm colleagues to follow up on cases 24 hours a day. While that’s part of the job, vacations are supposed to be different.

Prior to discovering cruising, Fred and I liked to take camping/fishing trips to neighboring states. But even with Fred’s phone on vibrate, the interruptions were deafening. An emergency directive to come home and sign a warrant because the covering judge can’t be found will ruin your day. More than once, we’ve had to pack our gear and hustle home in a hurry.

On land, cell phones ring and ring. At sea, not so much. While shipboard technology has improved–particularly Internet access–a cruise vacation still provides a sanctuary from most workday intrusions. People seem to get it, that you are on a ship and not in a hotel room. You can’t drop everything and drive home. Ship to shore calls are expensive, people are less inclined to track you down.

There are a couple things I like to do to maximize that relaxed feeling that I would like to share.

• For one, don’t wait to book a massage. Get one ASAP and you will enjoy the benefits of supple muscles and melted tension for the whole vacation.
• If you like to read, check out the Princess’ libraries. They are comfortable and little used, making them a calm, quiet place to unwind.
• By all means, book a balcony stateroom if you can. You will love eating breakfast, reading or whale watching on an Alaskan cruise from your own, private patch of deck.
• Most ships have an adult pool; some are even called the Serenity Pool. We love our grandchildren, but we’re paying to relax so we go to the adult pool and bask in the peace.
There’s a better way to relax and it’s called cruising! Take it from me – Nancy CRUSE!

Nancy lives in Hannibal, MO, she and Fred have enjoyed 16 Princess cruises, with cruise #17 to the Baltic scheduled for August.

Nancy and Fred in Venice during their Mediterranean cruise
Nancy and Fred in Venice during their Mediterranean cruise