Our group knew from the outset that one particular person was at risk of not returning. It was just a matter of who would do it, when and how. I'm pleased to report that we did survive the duration of the cruise, thanks to employing some survival tactics. It was tough at times to remain calm and patient but we can now repeat the wise words our cruise ship captain announced after each shore excursion, "all the souls are accounted for" – just.
House rules for cruising with friends
- Choose your cabin mates wisely. The cabins are very small and two weeks is a long time to spend with others in a confined space.
- Realise that not everybody has to or will want to do the same things at the same time – and that's perfectly ok. Desirable, even.
- Know who in your group is an extrovert, who the introverts are and have a plan for keeping everybody alive. Not as simple as it sounds.
- Realise that everyone has a different idea about what being on holiday means. For some it's drinking endless cocktails on a pool lounger. For others, it's having time out to quietly read a book or spending some time alone to recharge their energy.
- Have an understanding that if people get separated or want some time out that you'll meet up at a regular activity or meal. For us, it was the daily quiz at 5 pm or dinner at 7.30.
- Bring headphones and use them just like you would in an open plan office. They're a great way to carve out some personal space or even just to show others that you're not going to be part of this conversation.
- Let stuff go. Remember that you're all away for a break and a good time. Your holiday will fly by and you'll be back to reality before you know it so enjoy it while you can.