Cruising with the whole family – a good idea?

Cruising with the whole family – a good idea?

17.07.2019, 10:32 | Verena Wolff, dpa-tmn

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More and more often, families across generations are on holiday together because they rarely see each other in everyday life – and live scattered in all directions. Cruises are particularly suitable for this purpose. An experience report.

The passengers are tampering with the tough dough. Tiemon Rontschky looks over their shoulder. He patiently explains how to pull it. “You have to be able to read the newspaper through the strudel dough,” says the young confectioner from the “Mein Schiff 5” kitchen team. Apple strudel, a difficult undertaking.

My mom’s actually experienced with desserts. From the other side of the table she looks at my hands. They pull and pull, the dough gets thinner and thinner. Hers, on the other hand, is uneven, the first cracks appear. But she patches the holes like a professional, fills the dough with the mixture of apples, almonds, raisins and breadcrumbs. Off to the oven, in a few hours you can eat.

Apple strudel in the middle of the Persian Gulf

You’d think we were going on vacation in Vienna or Upper Bavaria. But we bake the apple strudel in the middle of the Persian Gulf. Something has to be done on the sea day between Bahrain and Khasab in Oman. And professional dessert baking is always possible for my mother and me. We both like to work in the kitchen.

There are three of us aboard the cruise ship: my daughter, my mother and I. A small multi-generational holiday at sea. Can this work?

Several generations on a cruise – this is not uncommon with the Tui fleet. “Families in Germany are often scattered all over the country, sometimes even abroad,” says Doreen Kümpel, director of “Mein Schiff 5”.

The cruise ship offers its advantages when parents, children, grandma and grandpa go on holiday together for a week or two. There are large tables for families in the restaurants and, if possible, they are accommodated in cabins that are not too far apart. There is also plenty to do on the boats: pools, cooking workshops, wellness, shore excursions. Men go on a mountain bike tour, while women indulge themselves in the spa. Sounds like a cliché? “That’s actually often the case,” says Kümpel.

Translation help on the Souq in Maskat

We also fulfil a cliché – and go on a little shopping tour in Oman. After a rather short visit to the Sultan Qabus Mosque in Maskat and a subsequent city tour in the capital of the Sultanate, we stroll longer in the Souq, the market.

When we circle a corner there, I know that it will be some time before we are back on the ship. There are shawls, scarves, clothes and fabrics in dozens of shops. Sewing is my mother’s favourite hobby – and she has just discovered her little paradise.

And a salesman who puts a lot of effort into it for the interested customer. And what about me? Translate the rade-breaking English and occasionally comment on this material or sewing plan. In the end we spend a lot of time in the small shop and go out with a big bag full of material.

While the Souq was a completely new experience for my mother, my daughter saw dolphins in the wild for the first time. And can’t stop talking about the fast boat and the many bottlenose dolphins. Fabrics? Well, she politely looks inside the bag – and then continues to talk about the dolphins.

Test of courage in Falken Hospital

In Abu Dhabi, the three of us leave the ship together. It’s about animals again: We pay a visit to the Falken Hospital, which has been run by the German veterinarian Margit Müller since 1999. There the visitors are allowed to group around an operating table and witness a falcon pedicure. “A routine intervention”, as the treating expert assures us, while he sedates a bird.

Then follows a test of courage: We may put on a falconer’s glove. The bird of prey sits on his hand. Grandma has to go first, then her grandson dares to take on the falcon. And she doesn’t want to give him up any more, even after the souvenir photo has long since been taken.

There are even more animals to see in the emirate of Qatar. On the camel racing track the long-legged animals do their rounds with training robots. In the riding centre Al Shaqab near the capital Doha, noble Arabian horses are bred which live in air-conditioned stables. There is a Jacuzzi, a swimming pool and even a treadmill for the horses. Nothing is left to chance on the road to success.

Desert safari and jump into the water

On land, classic sightseeing is not always on the agenda. At the stop in the small emirate Khor Fakkan a wild trip into the desert is planned. The drivers chase their jeeps over the highest dunes.

Grandma is silent during the ride and becomes rather pale, for the child it could not be wild enough. And then there are the breaks where this wide red desert is just a huge warm sandbox.

On the last excursion of the journey in Khasab in Oman grandma even overcomes her fears. My daughter and I are passionate swimmers, where there is water, you don’t have to look for us for long. But grandma belongs to the generation in which especially boys learned to swim properly.

But on a tour through the fjord landscapes of northern Oman in a wooden dhow – the traditional boat of the region – the clear, salty water is simply too tempting. So grandma is persuaded to put on a life jacket and take the plunge. For the first time in her life she swims in the deep sea.

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