Ben Fogle, intrepid explorer and the new face of Celebrity Cruises, took to the seas last month on his first ever cruise. Ben is partnering with Celebrity Cruises as their ‘Destination Expert’ sharing his vast knowledge of the world in his destination guides and offering guests tips and advice on where to go and what to do in the variety of cities visited by their cruise liners. I had a chat with Ben on his return where he talked about the oceans and his recent trip on Celebrity Silhouette visiting Malta, Sicily and Naples.
You seem to have a particular affinity with the oceans, holding a coastal skipper certificate, NAUI scuba licence and, of course, you’ve rowed 2,931 miles across the Atlantic. Where did your love of the oceans come from?
I think there are three types of people; sea people, mountain people and countryside people – of course I’m a sea person. My love of the sea stems from childhood when I used to spend the summer holidays at my Grandmother’s house in Brighton playing on the beach. I love to be near the sea and have the sea air in my lungs. The more time you spend with the ocean the more you fall for it. I’ve always been around boats too; sail boats, ships, dinghies so a cruise liner is just a different kind of boat for me.
How did you feel about having someone else plot your course?
Cruising is a whole different way of life on the sea. Slow travel has a timeless romanticism about it and for me it’s always been about the journey and how you get there as well as the destination. It was good to steal a few days of someone else’s summer, have time to recharge and relax and to be able to visit three new destinations in one hit without going anywhere near an airport or having to re-pack a bag. It was great waking up in the mornings, opening the curtains and taking in the view of a new destination; and it’s so easy to explore each stop by taking part in either the organised tours or exploring quiet hidden corners independently.
What was the most unusual experience during your cruise?
Finding myself sitting on Celebrity Silhouette’s real grass lawn whilst right in the middle of the ocean!
How have your holidays changed over the years?
Well holidays used to be very rustic in all corners of the globe. When I met my wife a bit of luxury began to creep in and nice hotels happened. Now that we have children holidays are completely about them.
You’ve trekked the Sahara, rowed the Atlantic and I believe you’re thinking about swimming from New York to Cornwall – how does your wife feel about your adventures?
When we met I’d just got back from rowing the Atlantic so she knew the score! But it’s a shared thing and it opens up possibilities that all the family can enjoy together.
So would you take the children on a cruise?
A cruise would be great for kids; travel, activities and excellent food.
How was the food on board Celebrity Silhouette?
The food was amazing, so much choice. I expected a huge buffet-style canteen but it wasn’t like that at all. You can choose from so many types of food from the speciality restaurants; healthy eating, Mediterranean and Asian; the food was excellent.
By the sounds of things that wasn’t your last cruise – where will your next cruise take you?
I’m really looking forward to visiting Scandinavia and the Northern cities on my next cruise – often forgotten but with so much to offer; beautiful architecture, heritage and stunning scenery.
It sounds to me that when an explorer and adventurer needs a break a luxury cruise is the perfect way to relax, explore and still get that much-needed travel buzz.
If you’d like to hear more about Ben’s destination guides you can check them out here on the Celebrity Cruises website.
Have you been on a cruise and would you recommend it? Do you have any tips for getting the most from your cruise? Do please share…
Suzanne Jones is creator, writer and photographer at The Travelbunny. When she’s not indulging her wanderlust you’ll most likely find her enjoying coastal walks in her home county of East Sussex, UK.
Suzanne co-writes Sussex Bloggers which showcases the best of East & West Sussex.