To give you some history: Andel and I considered doing this a number of times earlier in our relationship/marriage, and always, my predisposition for motion sickness left me feeling, well, too sick to consider it. So I'm not sure what changed my mind. It may have been that many people tried it, really enjoyed themselves, and for the most part, weren't that sick. In any case, late last year, I decided to just bite the bullet and book.
Of course it wasn't all as carefree as that: I booked a cabin on a local (Durban to Cape Town) short cruise (3 nights/4 days) in the middle of the MSC Opera (where there is the least amount of movement) with plenty of anti-motion sickness meds! Given that this company has really great deals for under 18s travelling with adults, we decided to take Zac (actually, leaving Zac was never really an option) and Andel's niece, Steffi (thinking it wouldn't hurt to have an older, responsible, potential babysitter) along with us.
|Ready to Roll|
|Andel reading to Zac to pass some time|
Our journey began on Thursday, when we met at the airport where Zac and Steffi checked into their first ever flight. Seeing as though we had to be there early (to avoid traffic and other complications), we took full advantage of our local bank's Slow Lounge perks where we enjoyed drinks and snacks on tap.
|Stocking up on some snacks before the flight|
|My big boy, wanting to do everything himself|
We then took a largely uneventful flight to Durban. Zac was an absolute champ: sitting still on my lap during take off, and napping nearly the entire flight. The only signs of discomfort were upon landing when he stuck a chubby finger into his ear and shouted "Ow Mama" before being distracted by all the planes on the ground.
|My fantastic flyer|
|Safe and sound in Durban|
A family friend picked us up from the airport and transferred us to our hotel on Durban's coast. We got there quite late, and it was already dark so there wasn't much to see, but boy did the next morning make up for that! We had such a beautiful view from our room, Steffi even started planning a road trip with her friends to return.
|Saying farewell to the world of connectivity *wink wink*|
|Zac's new fascination with the toilet|
|On a whim, I packed in this puzzle - I was so glad I did!|
|Steffi taking a much needed lie-in morning|
|The beautiful sunrise over Durban's South Beach|
|The view from our hotel room|
We decided to take a slow morning. We enjoyed breakfast at the hotel and took our time checking out as the ship was only leaving later the afternoon, and we had until 15h00 to embark. Again we were collected from the hotel and taken to the harbour where we were met by the majestic sight of the MSC Opera.
|The MSC Opera docked in Durban Harbour|
Embarkation went smoothly, and we immediately had access to our cabin so we got settled in before heading onto the upper decks in search of some lunch. We were not disappointed. There is more food on a ship than anywhere I have ever been before! We ate and explored until the compulsory safety drill (our muster station was in the casino!) where we were shown how to put on our life-jackets, where to meet in the event of an emergency, and how to access our designated life boat. Soon after that, the ship set sail.
|Settling into our cabin|
|Exploring the upper decks|
|Zac at our cabin window, in search of Nemo|
|Going through the safety drill|
|Having our first buffet breakfast|
|The games and sun-tanning deck|
|One of two swimming pools on the Opera|
|The Dream Team facilitating passenger activities on deck|
|The real Italian ice-cream parlour|
|Never mind signal, all we need are songs!|
|Exploring our deck - La Traviata|
|On board activities make us so tired...|
|We had the late dinner seating so only ate at 20h30|
|Live music in the lounge before dinner|
|My cutie with his favourite drink - milk|
|Andel posing on the top deck|
|At the Teatro Dell'Opera on our final evening|
|The view from our seats in the 713-seat theatre|
|My klein Kaptein|
|Somewhat dressed up for our final dinner at La Caravella|
|With Gede our Balinese waiter who served us every day|
|No day is complete without some mischief|
|Ready to disembark in Cape Town Harbour|
For the most part, we did not feel ill at all (only Zac got sick on the last day - and it appears that was more milk than motion related), and only felt significant motion when exploring the ends of the ship. To me the movement felt a lot like being in flight - there's enough movement to notice, but not enough to really throw you off balance. But then perhaps I was just lucky this time? Even when we disembarked on Monday morning, we felt relatively normal (of course, as Murphy would have it, today, when I'm back at work, I feel a little more lightheaded).
All in all, we had a really good time. Cruising seems to be the most affordable, value-for-money, family friendly option available right now, and honestly, I would probably do it again.