We were surprised by the response to a pre-World Cup poll on Cruise Critic, asking you where you were going to watch the football. More than half of you weren’t planning to watch it at all, 38% opted for viewing at home, 3.96% had a date with the pub and only 5.45% were going to watch on a cruise ship.
A lot of cruise lines were pretty late announcing their World Cup coverage, presumably because they were still negotiating for the rights to screen the matches. This could explain why so few Cruise Critic members had planned cruises to coincide with the football. But a cruise ship is actually a great place to watch a match, and football widows and widowers can hardly complain about having nothing to do — I imagine there were plenty of spaces available in the spa on Norwegian Epic yesterday when England played Slovenia.
And what an afternoon it was! I only rarely follow football, but I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. All the business sessions stopped (this was a trade-only preview cruise), and people packed into O’Sheehan’s, the onboard pub, and around the Atrium Café one deck below, where there’s seating around giant screen that normally shows calming images of waves breaking on beaches.
Up on the top deck it was even better; a blisteringly hot afternoon in the English Channel (for once), free-flowing beers and hundreds of fans crammed onto the tiered sunbathing areas of Spice H2O, which I predict is going to be one of the places to be on Epic, especially when the pool and hot tubs are working. The clarity of the huge screen and the sound quality are fantastic, and although the initial mood was admittedly tense rather than jubilant, once Defoe had scored in the 22nd minute, it really felt like the party had started.
Mind you, this was tame compared to the match I watched on Costa Serena two years ago when Spain beat Italy on penalties in Euro 2008; imagine the atmosphere on a ship packed with both Italian and Spanish fans, all in football strip and all in full voice. The downside is what came next; half the ship (the Italian half) was in official mourning for several days afterwards.
Wherever you’re cruising, enjoy Sunday’s game — and send us your party reports afterwards!