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Frightened of water!


babs135
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Okay, not the heading you would expect.  I love ocean cruising, having done 14 and. 2 booked for this year but I'd quite like to try a river cruise. However, one (totally irrational) aspect puts me off and that is how close you are to the water!!  How do I conquer this?

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Oh poor you. I could say all the usual platitudes but remember you’ll be incredibly safe on board the ships really solid the crew are just a highly trained as on any ocean cruise ship, there’s not as many people on board. Have you ever tried a small ship like a ferry for example and can you swim? Take a few deep breaths and give it a go it’s great fun lovely people and an amazing experience. Fingers crossed you can find the inner strength to do it. Good luck.

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We’re just back from hiring a boat on the Canal du Nivernais our vessel was an absolute pig to steer and we nearly went over a weir at one point okay so only a very small one but I must admit to closing my eyes and thinking oh can I remember how to swim’. As my fellow intrepid travelers  took great delight in telling me it’s like riding a bike once learnt never forgotten. 

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I have had many swimming lessons over the years but unfortunately the fear of water outweighs my desire to learn to swim.  I've even tried hypnosis but the fear is seemingly too great.  When the kids were little we took them for lessons;  hubby and them took to it like the proverbial fish to water but I was left clinging for dear life to the side of the pool.  I remember the instructor asking me what I was afraid of and when I replied 'drowning' he laughed.  I got out of the pool and never returned for many years until I booked a series of one-to-one lessons.  I actually managed a couple of strokes but discovered that I hated it and after half a dozen lessons stopped.  Now in my 70s I've resigned myself to the fact that water and I just don't get along!!!  It will be my epitaph;  She never learned to swim. 😞

 

So, assuming I can pluck up the courage to try such a cruise where do you think I should start?  I'm in the UK if that makes any difference.

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Its really going to depend what sets you off.

 

first I would say definitely don't book a 1st floor room...these are usually below the waterline...and with sealed windows that are prone to getting splashed (and underway you can DEFINITELY hear the water passing under and around the hull.

 

You might look into floor plans for ships with higher restaurants AMAwaterways for example on most of their ships (everything except the Amamagna(*main restaurant) on the Danube and I believe the Portugal ships) you will be eating on that first deck and youre going to be constantly looking out at  water all around you.

 

The rest is...honestly mostly a "deal with it"/don't overthink it.  youre going to be going over gangplanks either way over or  within 6 feet of the water(depends on the dock situation)..but they are almost all pretty solid and there is nothing to say "Im going in".

 

Other than that..theyre just smaller versions of an ocean ship.

 

Where depends on what you would be most comfortable with the Rhine has a ridiculous current and a lot more ships on it than anywhere else.  would you rather  spend your time on the ship while it was sitting still or while its underway (Rhine/Main cruise I did the ship moved A LOT without us on it).  Getting back to the docking situation would you be more comfortable walking over a low landing to a floating dock or from the third deck (where its a LONG way down to the water).right to land.

 

Probably a dozen more question but in general..its not something to worry about, youre not getting wet :).

 

 

 

 

Edited by CastleCritic
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I wold make a suggestion about cabin types…. The least expensive cabins are on the lowest deck. The good news about these cabins is the windows are up high on the wall, have a very deep window ledge and can easily be left covered with curtains all the time so you don’t have to look out. The bad news about these cabins is if you do look out the window you will realize that your nose is about 12 inches above the water line and your floor is below the water line. That might creep you out. 
If you book a cabin on a higher deck there will be floor to ceiling windows across the entire length of your room, which means you will be looking at the water. The good news is you will be farther above the water line which might make you feel better. Choice is yours.

My daughter that struggles on ocean cruises loved river cruises since there were no waves and she could always see land. 

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We were on our first river cruise last November heading up the Danube from Romania to Germany on the Amaverde. I am the opposite of you and can stare at the water all day and night. So when I say you will be fine, it is because not viewing the water is very easy. I had to make a concerted effort to view the water, as in looking down from my balcony. The views of the land are amazing and constantly changing, so you can always look out above the water and be fascinated. When you sit in the lounge or the dining room (windows on 3 sides), face the back of the room. Be sure to have a cabin on the top deck. Docking may be difficult but for us the gangways were wide and usually steep, so I was concentrating more on my footing than enjoying the view. Good luck. 

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There is great controversy on this forum about which type of cabin is preferable, but in your case I would change my recommendation and say it would be worth it to pay the premium to be on the top deck – as that maximizes the effect that @BashfulBeki describes in the post above this.  You will also really love the Sun Deck, as you can sit in the center and be that much further away from actually seeing the water!

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My father a Royal Navy man and a excellent swimmer tried to teach me, he failed so he took me to a pool in Portsmouth were his friends trained let’s just say that what is now the SBS failed. I was finally taught by an on holiday police inspector who made it his life’s work to teach as many as he could after failing to save a child from drowning. I wouldn’t say I was afraid just not convinced that I could actually do it. When it came time for my eldest daughter to learn because she was so nervous I realised that I had to not only put on a brave face I had to actually pretend that I liked it. I’m pleased to say that it worked actually twice as both my now really grown up girls are superb swimmers and my grandson thinks he’s a fish.

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Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply.  Lots to think about but whatever decision I make it won't be a cruise this year which will give me time to do some research.  SIL is doing a river cruise next month so I can and will have a word with her about how it went.

 

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You're OK on an ocean cruise, but what happens  if the ship sinks?

 

On a river cruise even if the boat sank the depth of the water is such that you will most likely be able to stand on the top deck and stay out of the water  while the boat is settled on the river bed.

 

If worst came to worst, you'd have a life jacket and be within sight and maybe yards from the river bank with calm water. If the same thing happened as sea than you could be many miles from the nearest land and facing big waves.

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Interesting. I am not comfortable close to the water in small boats that rock (had a bad experience on a ferry but did not fall into the water). River cruise ships are big in comparison and while they are much smaller than ocean ships they are firm steady "buildings". At least that is how I felt. I would perhaps go for the higher up cabins as well. River cruise ships generally do not rock and have little movement that you can feel when docked. It depends on current and ships passing nearby. The sound travels up from the hull so you can hear that coming up but a quick conversation with reception clarified that for me as being benign.

 

When you get on board on the first evening you have a safety drill complete with life boat vests. You do not have to be able to swim.

 

I know such weird fears can run deep. Have you got a river/canal nearby with a narrowboat? Or can you try and get a good experience some other way with water? A psychologist or a homeopath may also have a good idea how to alleviate your worries.

 

Get your SiL to take a video of the water and the cruising experience from her cabin to see what it may be like.

 

It took me very little time to adjust to the boat and I can assure you that being on the sundeck some metres above the water the world is far away and drink in hand (alcohol or not) life is bliss :classic_smile:.

 

notamermaid

 

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Your right pontac very much the same as narrowboating in the U.K. the canals are really so shallow just stand up. If a cruise ship sinks 10 to 1 it will go straight down not turn over its physics so up to the top deck sit down and wait for a really hunky guy to rescue you. Make sure you’ve got a glass of wine! I must admit Babs I didn’t notice you were from the U.K. so the canal bit is a direct analogy from a narrow-boater of many many years.

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To me, I would look at how much your fear of being close to the water would bother you. If you would be happy on the 3rd level (think one floor over the water), you should have no problem. You can sit in the dining room with your back to the windows, so you wouldn't be looking out at water level, and while outside sailing, you could sit in the chairs in the middle of the deck (you would be about 2 floors above the water), so should feel comfortable there. As for gangplanks, they all have railings to hold onto, so they should be ok.

 

It's a lot of money to spend if you think you will be uncomfortable the whole time you are on the ship. The good thing about river cruising is that 90% is done while you are sleeping,  There are only a couple of times when you would be on the boat while it is sailing, so you can work around that. If you think you can handle it, I'd definitely recommend it, as it is great seeing all the old parts of Europe.

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I agree with the suggestion from notamermaid that you should start by trying some options closer to home to judge your tolerance level. The UK has canals and ferries; there might be something close to you. Google for UK canal cruises. One I'm thinking about is https://lordoftheglens.co.uk/

 

Best wishes,
Sterling

 

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18 hours ago, Canal archive said:

Babs how do you feel crossing over a river over a bridge?

Most bridges are high so I don't have a problem.

18 hours ago, sbjornda said:

I agree with the suggestion from notamermaid that you should start by trying some options closer to home to judge your tolerance level. The UK has canals and ferries; there might be something close to you. Google for UK canal cruises. One I'm thinking about is https://lordoftheglens.co.uk/

 

Best wishes,
Sterling

 

I've done a Captain Cook cruise in Sydney plus the ferry crossing to Manley and have been okay.  I think the main problem is that looking at photos of the boats/ships? they appear to be very low in the water and that's where the totally irrational fear creeps in.  I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and give it a go.

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4 hours ago, babs135 said:

I think the main problem is that looking at photos of the boats/ships? they appear to be very low in the water and that's where the totally irrational fear creeps in. 

I think I get it. Photos of the hull design? Do they look half submerged to you because of the small windows close to the water line? All barges when full lie closer to the water and can have the water lapping on to the walkway. You will not get this with river cruise ships. Then I think your brain and eyes may be playing a trick on you. Silly perhaps, but understandable. Keep working at getting over it, the reward is great, a continent full of rivers, canals and beautiful scenery. :classic_smile:

 

notamermaid

 

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I took this picture from our Rhine cruise. Our cabin was on the middle level, to give you an idea as to how high we were over the water. You know how large swans are, and these ones were at the next cabin, so not really that far away. It may give you an idea as to how close you will be from the water - if you choose a cabin on the 3rd level, you are 1 level higher. Our dining room was about 6 steps down (about 1/2 between the 1st and 2nd level), but you can easily seat yourself so you aren't looking out on the water. 

swans.JPG

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