Advantages Peaceful, beautiful, relaxing and great to recharge your batteries
Disadvantages None - unless you are looking for nightlife!
|Value for Money|
|Ease of getting around|
I am not a great one for holidays myself but there was something about the advert for a cruise around the Maldives that caught my eye. After a few years of a very hectic and demanding job (and having just finished a period of studying as well) I knew deep down that I needed to get away from it all. Nothing really appealed until I saw a colour photo of the Maldive islands and read the blurb in an advert.It offered a week's cruise around various islands staying on a small boat and visiting a different island every day, some of which were described as uninhabited. There was a warning that the cruise wasn't suitable for anyone with mobility problems due to the need to transfer on to small boats in order to come ashore at some of the islands and somehow the more I read the more enthusuastic I became. The deal was attractive and made even more so as it offered no 'single supplement' which is just what I needed as I was planning to travel alone - a tip for anyone planning to travel alone is that if you book something with a 'no single supplement' option you are fairly sure to meet other single holidaymakers on the trip!
It wasn't long before I picked up the phone and rang the Travel Collection (part of the Kuoni group) and booked a place! Job done - I was now committed. I rang my mother to tell her what I was planning and she was very pleased for me. She told me I would love cruising as the ship would dock at the islands and there would be a coach waiting at the harbour when the ship docked to show me round each island! It is hard to explain to an elderly lady who has never even heard of the Maldives that they are tiny little islands nestling in the Indian Ocean and they are extremely small. There would be no 'buses' as there were no roads and a trip round some of the smaller ones would take no more than about twenty minutes on foot. She suggested that she could perhaps come along with me so I had to explain that 'the ship' was actually nothing more than a converted ferry boat that could take no more than about 40 passengers and that the cabins were tiny and there would be no 'harbours' just the odd jetty and that we would be transferring to a local boat by going down steps on the side. The boat would be going in as close to the shore as we could get - sometimes even having to wade ashore! Finally she was convinced - it wasn't going to be the ideal holiday for an eighty year old!About two weeks before I was due to go I got a call from the Travel Collection asking if I would be interested in an upgrade to First Class on the flight home fo a small(ish) supplement. I debated with myself for a moment or two and then decided I would take it - the purpose of the holiday was for me to relax and unwind so I figured a first class trip home might be fun.
The time came for me to go - curiously as the day arrived I found myself having misgivings but nonetheless some friends took me to Gatwick and I duly checked in for the flight. As you do I looked around at my fellow travellers - they were a fairly mixed bag but had more than their fair share of 'couples in love' - clearly the Maldives is a destination which is VERY popular with honeymooners and around half the passengers looked like they fell into that category! I boarded the flight and prepared for an eleven hour flight to the Maldives. I got an aisle seat but sadly my companions along the row were a youngish girl and her boyfriend, a largish chap, who fell asleep within minutes and spent the eleven hours snoring very loudly - not a great start to a 'relaxing holiday'.We were met at Male airport by the Travel Collection rep and she explained that we would all need to surrender any alcohol we had to the Maldivian customs people. The Maldives do not allow the import of alcohol but for those who do take it in, it is returned on departure. As we walked out of the airport you could see the shore and across the harbour we could see our boat and one of the islands. It was gorgeous and even though I was exhausted from the flight I was struck by the peace, tranquility and the beauty.
The trip to our boat was by local 'dhoni' - little local boats that ply their trade throughout the Maldives - and it wasn't long before we pulled up alongside the boat that was to be our home for the next seven days. It was quite exciting to climb the little ladder down the side and 'come aboard' and I really felt an adventure had begun .........We gathered in the lounge about an hour later and I got to meet my fellow passengers - they instantly recognised me - I was the woman that had been sitting along from 'the snorer' - I guess I was just slightly famous! We were a mixed group of about 30 people but over the course of the week we just about all got to know one another and there was a very happy friendly atmosphere on board. There were two other single passengers aboard, both women, one older, one younger than myself so I didn't feel totally out of place.
My cabin was tiny - but then I knew from the details I had received that it would be - it was an inner cabin so there was no porthole, no reference to the outside world. It didn't worry me as it contained everything I would need but it was fairly basic and quite 'compact'.The cruise was just fantastic - the boat had a small swimming pool on the sundeck and we would all laze around each day until we arrived at the appointed island for the day. Personally I loved the uninhabited islands the best I think. They were truly that, just sand, a few palm trees and nothing else. No bars, no shops, no sunbeds and no toilets - so this is not a holiday for those who like their home comforts! But it was idyllic and for me the chance to be somewhere like that - where you could walk around the island in about twenty minutes was wonderful. Some days we would take a picnic and some evenings we would have a barbecue on the beaches - I have never seen stars like it - without any light pollution to spoil it - it was so very magical. Some days we would eat on board the boat, some nights there were fishing trips and then the next day we would eat the catch - wonderful fresh food you had caught only the night before!
On the inhabited islands we got to meet the local people - they are lovely, very petite, very good looking and very welcoming. There is virtually no traffic and little noise - the peace and tranquility was exactly what I needed and I have never felt so relaxed in my life. It is so very beautiful that I found myself amazed by the wonders of nature both above and below the turquoise waters. It is very hot out there and you do need to use a high SPF factor sun protection especially as on the water there is a high reflection factor.The water was mostly flat calm and ideal for cruising but just occasionally as we went between the Atolls the water got a bit choppy. I am not a great traveller but I found that I wasn't seasick as I took the precaution of taking some tiny magnets and placing one behind each ear which worked a treat!
My aim in going to the Maldives was to rest, relax and unwind - without a doubt I achieved it. I was so glad I had booked the first class return flight because that enabled me to arrive home in the same relaxed frame of mind. It is unquestionably the most wonderful holiday I have ever had and I can thoroughly recommend it if you want a relaxing holiday. But if you want nightlife, shops and clubs then avoid it like the plague as it is definitely not that sort of place.They do say that as the sea levels rise the Maldives will totally disappear - I hope they are wrong as the islands are truly one of natures gems and the Maldivian people are lovely. It is somewhere I think everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime and for me it was a truly unforgettable experience!
As a guide the holiday costs just short of £1,000 for a week in the Maldives. You can add a week on one of the islands if you wish - Not cheap, I know! I have had to rate this destination quite low in many of Ciao categories because of the nature of the islands - shopping and nightlife have to be poor because that isn't what you go there for!
Attention, this is the first review from this author
Instead of giving a negative rating, consider:
Help this member by giving your advice
Report fraud (for example plagiarism) or other issue with the review to the Ciao support team
Add your comment