The Life You’ll See When You Travel by Sea
What’s it like to experience domestic cruise travel for the first time?
by Tynne De Leon | November 09, 2016
I have never traveled by sea before. The first time I’ve been on a cruise ship was in 2007, in the historic MV Doulos, which we visited for the floating bookstore. But aside from that tour, I’ve never really experienced “cruising” in a ship, because the one I was on was docked the whole time. So, that doesn’t really count.
I guess as Pinoys we envision sea travel as something like this: people bumping into each other to get to the best bunks, a jam-packed, non-air-conditioned space with lots of luggage, and a long, boring trip we have to impatiently deal with. Clearly, we’ve watched too many sea travel movies (some of them Titanic and Moby Dick) that aside from boarding nightmares, we always fear the worst—that the ship would sink.
It wasn’t until I was invited to go on the MV St. Ignatius of Loyola (SIL), a RORO (roll-on/roll-off) ship operated by 2Go Travel, that I got to break these stereotypes and experience sea travel myself. Our destination was the spoiled but still majestic Boracay Island, to which I’ve never been, so it was a couple of “firsts” for this trip.
It was an almost 10-hour trip going to the island from Manila, and I must say, being aboard gave me a new perspective. You’ll be surprised of what you can discover and experience when you travel by sea.
Fun-filled on-board entertainment
My first few hours in the ship were pure entertainment. It was nearly midnight when we boarded, and half of the passengers aboard were probably asleep; but the SIL’s very own bar was very much awake.
The Island Fiesta Bar not only serves a wide array of drinks, they also have in-house performers to pacify your party spirit, to soothe the boredom and the loneliness of the open sea. It’s an open-air area, so you can sip your drink and listen to the music while looking at the stars. They even let you sing on stage in front of people, and that’s something to tick off your bucket list if you’re the shy type. After all, the place is full of strangers you likely won’t see again.
A relaxing ambiance on-board
While we do have plenty of preconceived opinions about RORO ships, let it be said that SIL has its modern, hostel charm from its main lobby to the different accommodation options. We took a Cabin room which can accommodate up to four persons. It’s small, like those Japanese capsule rooms. And like those Japanese capsule rooms, it was really comfortable.
There are four types of vessel accommodation:
The economy which is ideal for solo and/or budget travelers;
The tourist cabin for groups and barkadas;
Then there’s the cabin and state room for couples and families.
Whichever you choose, they’re all air-conditioned except for the economy cabin. The best thing about them is you can sleep as you normally would, not like when you fly coach. Plus, being sea sick is very rare.
People from different walks of life
Traveling with different people is an everyday scenario, but it’s rare to have conversations with them. You see, I decided this is one thing I love about traveling on water: people are nice, and you will learn a lot from exchanging stories and sharing laughs with them.
On my first day, my companions and I met a British traveler from Manchester who came from a lot of places, before deciding to swing by Boracay. We did a lot of talking and partying on-board, even learning more about the Western culture and interests.
On our way home, we also met the ship’s captain, Capt. Bobby Montayre, who fascinated us with stories about his journey as the ship’s captain for five years. He eased our anxious minds when he told us about his years and years of experience. So yes, we’ve put our “the boat is sinking” thoughts to rest after a long conversation with him.
Aside from these people, each passenger aboard, even the staff, has a different story to tell. Imagine being with people who will probably inspire you with their life stories. That’s when I realized how different this experience would be if we had take a plane. Because the real sense of traveling is when you see the world as a bigger place with endless stories and experiences to offer.
The freedom to think and be alone for a while
Sometimes when we travel we yearn for a little alone time. Preferably with crisp air and a nice view. There was space in the ship to do just that.
The Mezzanine Lounge, which overlooks the sea, is a charming place for those who are seeking a little alone time or even a mini place to chitchat with a friend. Or if you know, you just want to watch TV.
The Island Fiesta bar, during daytime, is also a place for quiet thoughts. There are deck chairs for for those who want some sun and fresh air, and you can maximize the experience with your earphones on and the sea in front of you.
Traveling by sea is a vacation in itself. You can relax, enjoy and see the beauty of the world from a different viewpoint. Exciting experiences and new people await. So, for your next travel to Boracay and even to other parts of the country, it’s the way 2Go. Book your trips here and see what life feels like when you’re on board.
How was your first sea travel experience? Share them in the comments section below!