Award-winning cruise blogger and YouTuber Emma Cruises has been making waves across the internet over the last few years. Emma created a blog, then known as Cruising Isn’t Just For Old People, in 2016 with a YouTube channel following a year later. Since then, she’s been lucky enough to cruise around the world, sharing her adventures with her loyal following. Here, we chat about discovering cruising, the Emma Cruises ethos and the future of travel.
Let’s start from the beginning! When did you discover your love for cruising?
I took my first cruise when I was 11 on board Norwegian Spirit. I loved cruising as a child and teenager, visiting new places was amazing but I think personally I was more interested in the buffet and making friends with the other children. My parents would eat in the main dining room and me and my cousins would head to the buffet for pizza - every child’s dream!
When did you start Emma Cruises and what was your motivation for doing so?
I started my website in 2016 when I took my first cruise with Cunard. Before that, I had only cruised with Norwegian Cruise Lines and MSC so was very used to cruising being relaxed and flexible. The strict dress codes of Cunard came as a shock and it was at that point I realised that the Cunard cruise was what so many people thought cruising was like. I wanted to tell people that there was more to cruising than this traditional image so started a website and later a YouTube channel.
What is your favourite part of creating content?
My favourite part of creating content is when I get a message from a person saying they didn’t think that cruising would be for them but they took their family on a cruise and had an amazing time. I love helping people to cruise on a budget so that they can travel further and do more.
What do you think is at the heart of the Emma Cruises ethos?
The Emma Cruises ethos is that there is a cruise for everybody regardless of budget, age or any other factor.
What is the most memorable moment of your Emma Cruises career to date?
The moment that instantly comes to mind is when I took part in Macmillan’s Brave The Shave on Marella Discovery. The captain shaved my head in the theatre and we raised £10,000. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that one!
Do you have a favourite cruise line?
My favourite cruise line varies depending on where I’m going, who I’m going with and how much I have to spend. If I’m cruising with friends I like cruise lines like Norwegian Cruise Lines, Marella and MSC. If I’m cruising with family, we like to cruise Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises or a line like Cunard. If I had all the money in the world, Viking!
What is your most memorable cruising experience?
I took a cruise from Singapore to Tokyo which was and still is, my favourite cruise. Every place we visited was so interesting and it was brilliant to have the cruise ship to come back to after a long day. We cruised on Golden Princess which was one of the smallest Princess ships at the time. I visited places like Vietnam that I had never considered visiting before the cruise.
Do you have any top tips for our customers to make the most out of their cruises?
If you don’t have any reason to need a cabin in a certain location, book a ‘guaranteed’ cabin. These are cabins where you only pay for the cabin grade and not the specific location. Guaranteed cabins are often much cheaper than deciding on your own location and you have a chance to be upgraded too. I usually always cruise in a guaranteed inside cabin and haven’t ever regretted making that choice. You might have a long walk to the buffet but sometimes I think that’s a good thing!
Which cruise destination do you think should appear on every travellers’ bucket list?
Norway. I’ve taken two cruises to Norway and have booked another for next year. It is unlike any other place I’ve ever been to. Norway is very expensive to visit by land so a cruise is a perfect way to do so. It’s like being in a movie.
Do you have any cruises planned for the near future?
I have a couple of British Isles cruises booked for this summer, one with Virgin Voyages and one with Princess Cruises. It’ll definitely be interesting to compare those two cruise lines!
While we had Emma’s full attention, we asked her a few bonus questions - cheeky, we know!
With ships set to return to international waters, how do you feel this positive step forwards will affect the cruise industry?
Cruise ships returning to international waters will open up more options for passengers and also allow more crew members to get back to working at sea. There are many, many crew members who are waiting to get back to work.
What are you most excited about for the future of travel and the cruise industry?
I’m excited about all of the new ships that we didn’t get a chance to cruise on in 2020 finally launching! The production of new cruise ships didn’t stop in 2020 so we have a backlog of new ships to enjoy, along with those scheduled to launch in 2021 and 2022.
What reassurances would you give to our customers who might be nervous about booking their holidays at the moment?
Cruising is safer than taking a trip on land. On cruises, you know that everybody is vaccinated, tested and following COVID safety measures. You can’t guarantee that when you go to a restaurant or shop on land. As soon as you step on board, you’ll feel like you’re on holiday and you’ll be able to (almost) forget about the last year or so.
In your opinion, what are the benefits of booking with a cruise travel agent such as ROL Cruise?
Using a travel agent means that you have somebody with expertise on your side who is available to sort out any problems if they arise. It doesn’t cost anything extra to use a travel agent but having somebody else to organise everything for you is definitely a bonus, especially with the cancellations and confusion that happened in 2020!
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