At Ease At Sea (Television Thoughts, The Cruise, ITV)

BBC_The_Cruise_title_screenI have been watching the new docu-series “The Cruise” (Thursdays on ITV) and I have been loving it. It’s a documentary series in the real sense of the word – I guess I have been watching reality shows and it is kind of refreshing to see one that looks an feels like a documentary, with stellar narration by no less than Hugh Bonneville. This one takes place aboard the Regal princess, as it cruises along the Baltic a summer ago. Anyone who knows me knows that I love cruising – I have taken quite a few of them, and I have even done this particular Baltic itinerary, albeit on a different cruise line (I have not taken a Princess cruise…yet)

I loved this show, as it shows us how these people live inside the ship as they try to make sure their guests have a fantastic vacation. There’s the Captain, all British and spiffy, and we see how human he is as he sort-of complains about standing in line taking pictures with guests for hours on end. There’s Valeria, a homesick waitress who finds love with a Ukrainian ship mate. There’s Timothy, who escapes his small town in Canada after breaking up with his partner – and we see how he transitioned from the Customer Service Des to the Shore Excursion team. He’s campy and fun. At first I was annoyed at him, but really warmed up to him. (I am sure he could be exhausting company, though, and I felt kind of scared for him when he escorted a tour in Saint Petersburg in Russia,  seeing how flamboyant he is )   And we have my favorite: Herbert, from Mumbai, whose one of main tasks is finding lost luggage of people. I love the look on everyone’s faces when he finally retrieves luggage. That has always been my worst fear, as it happened to me years ago. We more or less see the inner workings on the ship from technical repairs to Baked Alaska parades. Frankly, it made me miss cruising, and if I could, I would check in a ship right now.

But – did it really show true life on board? Most of the experiences shown here are pretty complimentary towards the ship. I’m sure not everything is peaches and cream all the time. Even if they show bad experience, there’s always a crew member who saves the day. Apparently, the members of Cruise Critic, the biggest community of cruisers online, have had mixed reactions to the show. No matter that – I thought the show was entertaining, and it made me cry a couple of times. And I now want to book my next cruise.

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