CRUISING the high seas is the perfect way to relax and leave the pressures of life behind on the mainland.
I recently experienced a cruise from Fremantle to Adelaide on the 580-passenger ship MV Athena.
This mid-sized vessel, Classic International Cruises’ flagship, calls Fremantle and Adelaide home for the Australian summer season.
Boarding Athena is like being greeted as an old family friend at the front door. Her staff is there to take your hand luggage aboard and show you to your cabin – just one of the many little touches that seem to be overlooked by the bigger cruise liners.
If you think cruising is all about sitting around on deck chairs or playing shuffleboard all day, then Athena’s onboard entertainment will surprise you.
Sure, there’s no climbing wall or ice rink that the bigger liners boast, but from the moment the ship leaves port there are heaps of entertainment options to keep you occupied throughout the day and into the night.
A copy of the daily activities is delivered to your cabin every night so you can plan the next day in advance.
Food is an important part of any cruise and Athena’s chefs certainly whip up a superb spread with an abundance of choice.
The fine dining restaurant Olissipo is manned by tuxedo-clad, glove-wearing waiters delivering slick five-star service and the occasional magic trick.
For less formal dining, the Lotus lounge – conveniently located within walking distance from the pool – has fabulous breakfast and lunch buffets and puts on a mean afternoon tea.
As night falls, an entirely different atmosphere engulfs the ship.
The early dinner sitting is merrily tucking into its seven-course dinner in the restaurant, the Calypso Show Lounge is full for the early Las Vegas-style show and the bars are abuzz with resident entertainers and bands.
Party animals can dance the night away in Muses nightclub.
After five days of wining, dining and cruising and with newly found friends farewelled, there was an air of sadness amongst passengers on having to disembark in Adelaide.
The writer was a guest aboard Athena courtesy of Classic International Cruises.