Now for those of us who like a little light nightclub action on our holidays, maybe some designer shopping, take in a show, dinner at Cipriani and hang the expense, the idea of a trip on a boat might be number seven, make it number eight, on the list of what we fancy vacation-wise.
We thought we were those people. Until about half an hour into our maiden Tussock cruise around the rugged shoreline of Turkey (you can do Greece) when we’re sitting round a table, the night breeze coming off the sea flickering the candles, champagne flowing (right down our throats) and nine perfect strangers giggling and (in some cases) semi-fancying each other while the captain made sure no glasses ever went below half-way empty…
This is not – repeat NOT! – one of those huge Butlins-on-sea cruise things where everyone is off their heads on goodness-knows-what while nosebleed dance music pumps from every available speaker. This is a beautiful wooden sailing ship – think Onedin Line only less bustles – sleeping around 12 (not counting the four crew). The deeply varnished dark wood cabins are surprisingly roomy and sleep one, two or even three and all have little ensuite bathrooms with wet-room-style showering.
Up on deck, you have the back bit (aft?) with a table and big blue cushions for drinking, reading, dining and – on our last night – recreating the glory days of Studio 54. While up front there’s the pointy bit (great for reworking Duran Duran videos) and plentiful lounger cushions for Olympic standard sunbathing (that breeze ensures you never feel like you’ve quite had enough).
So, day one and we wake up somewhere completely else: a bay, with no sign of human life, just rocks and trees and water so clean you could probably fill your iron with it. After a morning dip and a healthy breakfast served by the immaculately turned out crew (lovely but we weren’t hankering) sails were, erm, put up and off we went.
With every day offering something new – one day we’d be looking at Roman amphitheatres, the next we’d be on sandy beaches, the next necking cocktails in some funny little fishing village – what we thought might be a little on the quiet side, was in fact quite energetic. Sure there was much lazing around with lurid books and bottles of beer, much jumping off the side of the boat (or in some cases diving!) into deep blue waters and much chatting away into the wee small hours looking at the stars while the cabinboy (there to get us more drinks) fell alseep at his table, but there was never a dull moment.
And with Tussock you choose your vibe. You can go for a boatload of mates, or do what we did and meet new folks (All nice! We’ve met them for drinks at Shoreditch House since and everything!). You can tell them where you want to go (or at least what kind of cruise you’re up for) or you can go with the flow. You can even get them to organise something like a cooking trip where you do activities as well as holiday stuff.
Whatever you choose, you’ll probably find, like us, that you’re total converts to life on the ocean thingymabob. You sleep like a log, eat really well and, despite drinking like Judy Finnegan on a non-school night, come back from the remarkably glamorous Dalaman airport feeling like you’ve been on a spa break.
We’d so go again. We’d even choose it over nightclubs.
Find out all about Tussock here.