Last month, I had the distinct pleasure of leading a series of meditations and wellness talks on a cruise ship. This wasn't your typical mega ship -- it was a clipper sailing ship meant for 100 passengers or so. Not a big cruise person myself, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. All I knew is my husband and I would set sail for a week around France, Italy, and Monaco and it would be an experience.
When we first stepped on board, we noticed the old-fashioned nautical design and crew's traditional sailor garb. It was as if we had stepped back in time into the golden era of sailing. As we relished in the polished wood and hanging portraits strewn about the three-mast ship, we realized we hadn't time traveled. Nope, we were just on a cruise for old people.
Before you begin to huff and puff at the phrase “old people,” let me elaborate. My husband and I, who are 30, were by far some of the youngest people on the vessel. I think it’s safe to say that anyone who is a minimum of 25 years older than you feels old, in comparison. The average age on the boat was easily 50-plus, a far cry from the two party cruises I had been on in the past. While there was some slight hesitation about how this would play out at first (I had to change my talks and meditations last minute), it turned out to be one of the greatest trips of our lives.
Of course not all of the cruises fall into a particular age bracket, but after disembarking on our final day, we turned to each other and said: every young person should go on a cruise with older people. Here’s why.
1. It's quiet.
Destinations that are geared towards a younger crowd tend to be centered on bars or late-night offerings. While that youthful energy can be great in certain circumstances, it’s also important to slow down and find comfort in surroundings with minimal noise. Here, there were no sloshed sailors stumbling around screaming at all hours of the night. Mornings were pure bliss, as folks spoke in a whisper so as not to disturb a single passenger. The quiet not only helped us relax after a long day and wake up peacefully, but it was also an excellent reminder of how much noise permeates our lives. In a world of constant contact and technology, it’s important to disconnect and appreciate the serenity and clarity that stillness creates.
2. The passengers dance like no one is watching.
These folks may enjoy the early bird special, but they can also let loose more than anyone I’ve ever met. Twenty and 30-year-olds are often concerned with how they look or if an unflattering picture will end up on Facebook — that’s not the case here. On our cruise, there was a fashion show and multiple dance parties in which everyone participated. No one worried if they looked silly modeling in front of a group of strangers or doing the limbo on the dance floor. It was a judgement-free zone. And, I couldn’t help but think how great it would be if we stopped fretting about our next Instagram post and simply lived in the moment.
3. You'll hear an endless supply of fascinating stories.
You know how the saying goes: with age comes wisdom. That being said, within five minutes of chatting up almost anyone on board, we learned something fascinating. There was the ex-military guy who lost his wife and is now a substitute teacher because he felt like he still needed purpose in his old age. Then, there was the woman who was traveling solo around Europe as a way to cope with a recent heartache. There was the man who had a daily meditation and yoga practice to help heal from a recent injury. And so on. There was no conversation about competing careers and relationships, which are often the topics focused on with people my own age. Instead, they were happy to impart the knowledge they had and simply share an interesting story.
4. It's a nice reminder of everlasting love.
Between Tinder, Match.com, OKCupid, and all of the other dating apps and sites out there, it seems like old-fashioned romance is a thing of the past — something you only read about in fairytales. But not here — our cruise was certainly a love boat. There were several older couples that were teenage sweethearts. Doors were held open, there was cuddling at sunset, holding hands during excursions, and sneaking in kisses. It was refreshing to see that passion for your partner doesn’t have to fade. In fact, not only can love stay very much alive, it can actually get better with age.
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