Welcome to the first post in our new series ‘10 questions with!’ To kick things off, we chatted to the lovely Matthew from the popular cruise-related YouTube channel, Cruising with Matthew. Matthew started making videos in July 2019 and has since become a huge part of the online cruising community. His YouTube channel features fantastic hints and tips as well as lots of cruise news, ship visits and travel vlogs. So, here we go! 10 questions with Cruising with Matthew…
Let’s start from the beginning! When did you discover your love for cruising?
A very good place to start! I was introduced to the fantastic world of cruising at 6 years old when I was lucky enough to go for 12 nights to the Canaries on board P&O’s ship Oriana. Although ‘small’ by current cruise standards, 6-year-old Matthew was blown away by the size of her! We loved her so much that we went on her 4 times around the Mediterranean, with our last being in 2011. She really held a special place in our hearts.
When did you start Cruising with Matthew and what was your motivation for doing so?
After a hiatus from cruising, my mum, sister and I restarted cruising in 2018 on board P&O’s Britannia - a ship practically double the size of Oriana! We had the best holiday in years and it really reignited my love of cruising. During the cruise, I took tonnes of pictures that sat in my phone for months after showing them to any unsuspecting friend who most likely hadn’t expected to be given a full tour of a cruise ship they’d never seen before! On Boxing Day 2018 I vividly recall my sister saying I should set up an Instagram page and post some of the pictures so others could enjoy them.
I really didn’t expect anyone to like the pictures but they did and my little account started to grow, even P&O liked them! It all snowballed from there and suddenly I was part of CLIA’s Choose Cruise Club and going on ship visits! It was an incredible opportunity to meet like-minded cruise bloggers who love cruising as much as me. It was people like Emma Cruises and Gluten Free Horizons who gave me the confidence to start my YouTube channel and Visit with Us who suggested I start Twitter. It was something I never expected when I started Cruising with Matthew, that I’d be able to meet so many skilled and supportive people.
I started Cruising with Matthew to show people the cruises I’ve been lucky enough to go on. It’s a wonderful sense of escapism, reliving memories and something I’ve heavily relied upon over the past year. It also helps to show other people that cruising is a fantastic way to holiday!
What is your favourite part of creating content?
It has to be being able to connect with other people and sharing my passion for cruise with the rest of the cruise community! I love it when people have found my videos helpful or my pictures have got them excited for their future cruises. Watching a completed YouTube video before uploading has to be one of the best feelings as well. I love how it all comes together after hours of editing, adding layers of audio, music and pictures/videos from nothing and thinking I made it all by myself!
What do you think is at the heart of the Cruising with Matthew ethos?
Cruising is for everyone! People sometimes think it isn’t for them and always seem surprised that a 23-year-old is so passionate about cruises. However, I think cruising offers a unique way to explore the world and is fantastic value! There’s truly a ship and cruise line for every budget and holiday type.
What is the most memorable moment of your Cruising with Matthew career to date?
I’d still consider myself a small cruise blogger so I was very flattered to be invited to Crown Princess for the UK Ocean Medallion launch! I felt like I was watching the cruise equivalent of an Apple launch, especially after seeing Carnival Corporations CEO, Arnold W Donald, come on stage! I felt rather star-struck.
Do you have a favourite cruise line?
It comes as no surprise that my current favourite is P&O Cruises, having cruised on Oriana, Britannia, Azura, Auroraand Oceana. I just love their approach to cruising, a relaxed traditional experience with aspects of modern cruising interwoven. They are fantastic value plus with the giant Union Flag painted bow, you’ll never miss them in port! That being said, I have a loooonnnggggg list of other cruise lines I want to try!
What is your most memorable cruising experience?
My most memorable experience has to be sailing into Lisbon. I woke up at about 6 am to see the whole transit through the Tagus River and under the 25th April Bridge. It was a freezing March morning but I absolutely loved it, especially the eerie drone of the bridge as you sail under it. A second (probably less popular) experience has to be the subsequent sail back to Southampton aboard Oceana. It was rather choppy with 6 metre high waves in some places yet I loved it. Whilst the ship was pitching and rolling, I couldn’t help but find a window seat low down on the ship to watch the waves rise and fall. It was quite a humbling experience and it reminded us all that Mother Nature is very much in charge at sea!
Do you have any top tips for our customers to make the most out of their cruises?
Make sure you do your research! There’s a mind-boggling range of choice when it comes to cruising so it’s worth having a look around before you book. Consider what you want - do you want a relaxed traditional experience or one that’s casual and full of activities? There are cruise lines that offer this and everything in between so try and see what cruise line will suit you.
Once you’re on board, try not to do everything all at once - it’s simply not possible! It’s very easy to want to try and do every activity in the book. However, your time is limited so get a highlighter out and select a couple of your favourites in the ships on board programme. It’ll help you plan your day out nicely and means there’s still time to relax.
Finally, don’t feel pressured to book expensive cabins or high season holidays. I always try and go for inside cabins outside of the school holidays as the price difference is massive! Plus, it means you might be able to use what you saved to go on another cruise (that’s how budgeting works, right!?)
Which cruise destination do you think should appear on every travellers’ bucket list?
One of my bucket list cruises is a transatlantic to New York, there’s something about sailing past the Statue of Liberty that has always excited me. I imagine it feels like you’re going back in time, sailing the ocean liners of old. I’d also love to do the Panama Canal! It always blows my mind when you see pictures of these huge ships fitting into tight locks, so experiencing it for yourself must be something else!
Do you have any cruises planned for the near future?
Yes, I do! The number of domestic summer UK cruises being released recently has made me feel like a kid in a candy store. I’ve booked to go on P&O’s Iona on the 28th of August for 7 nights so I’m super excited about that. However, I have my eye on one or two more this summer as well - watch this space!