I’d never seriously considered going on a cruise until Disney announced their Magic At Sea staycation sailings-to-nowhere from British ports. After my usual bouts of indecision, I booked one.
This led me to start preparing for my voyage by obsessively watching YouTube videos. It was pretty exciting. But then, last night, something happened.
I really like Gary Bembridge’s channel, Tips for Travellers. Last night I watched one of his videos about Royal Caribbean cruises, which featured the Symphony of the Seas.
I don’t know if you’ve seen this thing, but it is jaw dropping. It is enormous. It is so enormous it has a central atrium, that is open to the skies, that is so large it has actual trees in it. It has a full-size waterpark.
Before long I had found the Cruise with Ben and David channel, which featured a trip they’ve just taken on the MSC Virtuosa, another enormous (and brand new) ship that features both outdoor and indoor pools. It has a glass staircase stuffed with Swarovski crystals. It has a huge indoor galleria covered with a giant LED ceiling.
This is a whole world I didn’t know existed.
And it turns out that Disney did not invent UK staycation cruises. The MSC Virtuosa is running them and has already started sailing. For fun I looked at the pricing. A five night cruise in a veranda room costs around $500 less than my three night Disney cruise in a veranda room. And they have an indoor pool!
Honestly, I was tempted to cancel the Disney one and book an MSC one instead. I still kinda am.
But, well, I’ll give the Magic a go, but it had better be mind-blowingly good.
Yet if it is, it may sound the death-knell of my trips to Orlando. If it turns out I enjoy cruising, then there is a whole world of cruising out there for me to explore. And it doesn’t require nine hour flights in business class (I’m sorry, but I will not fly transatlantic in coach — I can’t and you can’t make me). I can cruise around Europe, leaving from UK ports I can drive to. I could end up spending a lot less money.
So you better up your game, Disney, because our days may be numbered.
Oh, and I know none of you care about this, but the longer you people refuse to open your damned borders — it’s been 14 months already, just how much do you want to trash your own economy? — the more people will look elsewhere for options. And they may discover those options are pretty great. And, when you finally do open your damned borders, you may find that we won’t all come flooding back in.