First, the age group on board. Yes, it’s summer in the Mediterranean so there are bound to be a lot of families travelling. But this is a really young cruise. If a first-time cruiser were ever to worry about being in the company of the over-seventies, I’d show them this voyage as a snapshot that would dispel the cruising age myth in a flash. There are more than 250 teenagers registered for the teen club alone; there are masses of couples in their twenties and thirties; young honeymooners; forty- and fifty-somethings without kids and a large number of big multigenerational groups (that’s one trend we have got right!). If anything, the archetypal cruiser – sixties, retired, empty nesters – is the minority here.
Of course, a cruise out of peak season would have a completely different demographic but looking around the bronzing bodies on the Lido Deck makes me wonder why I spend so much time trying to convince non-cruisers that the average age really is dropping.
The second big surprise was formal night last night, the first of two. I spend plenty of time nowadays writing about how formal dress is more relaxed than it used to be and how cruising is so deconstructed now that you really don’t need to bother much, especially in the Med in summer – and how wrong I was about Ruby Princess. It was like a posh school prom crossed with the Oscars. Small boys in tuxedos and shiny shoes. Teenage girls in lavish, sequinned prom gowns and impossible heels. Long dresses everywhere, glitter galore.
I expect there were a fair few skulking up in the casual Horizon Café in their tracky pants but I take back everything I’ve said about dressing down in the heat of summer. If I’ve realised anything this week, it’s that cruising is so diverse nowadays that there is no place any more for sweeping generalisations.