As summer 2016 looms and record numbers of cruise passengers are set to visit Iceland’s shores, I find myself wondering how many self confessed cruiseaholics are out there at this very moment in time, mentally preparing for their upcoming cruise vacations. There must be millions of us currently in, what I refer to as, ‘pre-cruise mode’, all musing collectively about such things as whether or not we should pack a full length evening dress this time around as, regrettably, there seem to be fewer and fewer members of the die hard, ‘elegantly dressed, black tie brigade’ in evidence.
Familiar questions arise, “should I pack sun cream or buy it on-board?” Quickly followed by “or am I just adding more weight to the bags?”
“Shall I get my nails done ahead of the cruise or go all out and indulge in an on-board, self pamper fest?”
(Mine’s a definite ‘yes to the fest’ on that last one btw.)
Decisions, decisions. I like this part of my vacation. The planning. The reading up and the counting down.
We are booked on a 14 night Celebrity Cruises Caribbean cruise due to sail from Miami in just a few weeks time, and I am currently riding the count down wave of excitement that is no doubt ‘oh so familiar’ to cruise fans the world over as our sailing dates get tantalisingly closer and closer…
I cannot deny it will be good to get some sun. Icelandic winters are not for the faint hearted. They can be intense and dramatic, beautiful with glistening snows underfoot and swirling northern lights overhead. But they can also be rather horrid. Merciless and wild, with winds capable of freezing a brain quicker than a Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville frozen daiquiri shot – though regrettably without the pleasantly numbing side effects.
I really love this country to its fiery and oft unpredictable core, but I am also really looking forward to dusting off our suitcases again and to packing them with such lovely things as summer clothes, cocktail dresses and beach wear. Flip flops and sandals. Sarongs and sunglasses. Stuff that was purchased with warm climes and ‘sun-in-the-fun’ activities in mind – like brain freezing at Margaritaville.
Clothes with labels that read ‘100% cotton’ not ‘thinsulate’ or ‘thermal’. Somewhere warm. If only for a short while. Just to defrost and recharge the hard working, solar powered battery after a long winter.
It is -4°C outside today and I think back to yesterday afternoon, which was pretty much the same temperature-wise, and recall my grandson spending three very happy hours splashing around outside in the hot tub, playing with his lego. Such is family life in Iceland. Sunny, crisp winter days see many Icelanders heading to their local swimming pools to enjoy the bounties and benefits that Iceland offers those of us lucky enough to call this place home.
Cruise passengers visiting Icelandic shores this coming season will also have the opportunity to partake in this age old local tradition of bathing in thermal water, either by visiting a local swimming pool, or by taking a shore excursions to well known geothermal spas such as the Blue Lagoon or Fontana (from the port of Reykjavik), and The Nature Baths (from the port of Akureyri). But best book this well in advance and through your cruise line. Word on the street is that the Blue Lagoon is already almost sold out for the coming summer season. Therefore, all bookings must be made in advance to avoid disappointment. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
And whilst my own cruise related thoughts may be on Celebrity Eclipse and the Caribbean, no doubt the thoughts of those passengers soon to be sailing on Cruise and Maritime’s flagship, Magellan, are on Iceland. For in exactly one weeks time, Iceland will welcome her first cruise passengers of the 2016 season. Magellan will set sail from Tilbury on St. David’s Day (March 1st) reaching Iceland on March 6th and spending an overnight in the country’s capital, Reykjavik.
The cruise is called ‘Iceland and the Land of the Northern Lights‘ and as the name suggests, all (gloved) fingers will be crossed that the Aurora Borealis will play a willing part in the overnight call and put on a dazzling light show in honour!
Are you going to be cruising to Iceland this summer or are you interested in learning more about shore excursions in Iceland?
If you are, please check back in soon, I have loads more to share on the subject!