With sailings halted as we all well know, cruise lines are turning to other methods to give us all a taste of life at sea. We’re desperately seeking sea views from the balcony, sun-soaked beach days and everything in between that keeps us coming back to cruising time after time. But, lockdown and all. Fortunately, while ships and crew wait on standby to welcome us back, cruise lines are taking the opportunity to stream life at sea into living rooms instead.
Board a virtual cruise with Royal Caribbean International’s cruise director, Abe Hughes, peek inside Highclere House with Lady Carnarvon thanks to Viking and finish the day off right with Silversea, who are keeping spirits up with cocktail making classes hosted by barman Alex. Here’s our pick of the best virtual cruise experiences out there, courtesy of some of our favourite cruise lines themselves.
Crystal Cruises have virtual cruise content for every day of the week. ‘Storyteller Monday’ sees interviews with celebrity guests and authors via podcast, while Tuesday’s ‘Pantry Prep’ sees you receive a heads-up ingredients list for the coming weekend’s ‘Sunday Cooking Session’. There are Wellness Wednesdays, Thirsty Thursdays and, finally, a good old fashioned knees up at The Galaxy each Friday night to round off the week.
Viking has created a whole TV channel dedicated to cruising and programmes vary from live-streamed concerts and museum tours for the culture vultures, to live yoga and meditation sessions come the weekend for some rest and relaxation that might well be the next best thing to a cruise itself.
Holland America Line have teamed up with ambassador Oprah Winfrey and The Oprah Magazine to create [email protected], with content ranging from cookery demos and book reviews, to destination guides and interviews.
Fred. Olsen ‘The Bridge’
Fred.Olsen are all about the destination in their virtual cruise content. There’s a new destination each week and Norway was first in the spotlight with footage from the fjords, lectures from marine conservation charity ORCA and port tours of Bergen and Olden. Macaronesia is next up – that’s the Canaries, Cape Verde, Madeira and the Azores for the uninitiated. Still need convincing? There’s a five night cruise up for grabs in a short story competition too.
Royal Caribbean International’s ‘Virtual of the Seas’
Cruise director Abe Hughes wasn’t about to even entertain the idea of leaving his job behind for a few months. Instead, he decided to become captain of his own ship, the ‘Virtual of the Seas‘. Originally intended as an experiment of sorts, the virtual ship has now sailed four ‘itineraries’ around the world and is currently charting a course around the Caribbean (it’s alright for some…) Pack your bags and join him, checking out the Cruise Compass update each morning on Facebook for the day’s activities. You can even get your own ‘Pretend ship, real people’ T-shirt as a memento of your time ‘at sea’.
Silversea ‘To The Curious’
Research has shown that alcohol consumption has increased since lockdown began and while we can’t possibly comment, what we will say is that times like these deserve a decidedly good tipple. Silversea’s ‘To The Curious’ updates are keeping spirits up with recipes for six cocktails each week, all of which will eventually be served across the SALT Bar on Silver Moon when the ship launches. Each cocktail is accompanied by a travel story, but you’ll need to provide your own ice and a slice…