You won’t see many phone masts in the mid-Atlantic. They’re pretty much absent from the Sea of Japan too; and they're highly unlikely to encumber your view of the Gulf of Finland. Don’t worry, Cunard’s fleet is equipped with vessel-wide Wi-Fi coverage. However, you don’t have to log on when coming on board. Next time you embark one of these luxury liners, you may want to consider leaving your tech habits at the quayside too.
According to OfCom, the British check their smartphones, on average, every 12 minutes during the working day. Two in five British adults look at their phone screen within five minutes of waking up, and a similar number do the same thing, five minutes before falling asleep. Those figures rise for the under-35s, making smartphone use, certainly among some people, border on addiction. And while it’s difficult to mend our ways in the normal, day-to-day environment, a Cunard voyage offers travellers the chance to break away from these high-tech routines.
Got your phone, face-down, on your suite coffee table? It could still be distracting you. A recent paper published in a University of Chicago study indicates that the mere presence of such devices reduces our cognitive capacity. Fortunately, both Cunard’s Grill Suites and Britannia Staterooms come with secure safes that are well suited to storing watches or jewellery but are also a good place to stash pesky phones. Drop your iPhone or Galaxy S in there, seal the combination lock and set off to explore the ship, unwind with a book and a drink on , or simply relax in your own luxuriously appointed private residence at sea.
You don’t have to go completely ‘cold turkey’ while on board. When it comes to trimming down your use of digital communications, many experts suggest simple measures. “I turned off all the notifications on my phone,” says Tanya Goodin, a British digital detox expert and founder of the digital wellbeing company Time to Log Off, “I recommend that to anyone.”
Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University and author of Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, offers similar advice. “Unless you’re a cable news producer, you don’t need minute-by-minute updates on world events,” he told The New York Times recently, “and your friendships are likely to survive even if you have to wait until you’re sitting at your home computer to log on to Facebook or Instagram.” So, perhaps squeeze in a brief check while gazing out across the Atlantic from the steaming waters of one of your ship’s Jacuzzis. Viewed from here, status updates may seem a lot less pressing.
Do something else
Professor Newport also offers some sage advice that every Cunard guest should consider. “The other thing is to start experimenting with alternative use for your leisure time that doesn’t involve you looking at a screen,” he says. On board a Cunard vessel those activities abound. There are mixology workshops, tango lessons, a planetarium, a decadent champagne afternoon tea service, spectacular gala balls, theatre performances from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), an indulgent day spa, golf simulators, as well as traditional ocean liner games such as shuffleboard and deck quoits. You can also join a choir, take in a concert or classical music recital, listen to a wide range of talks and lectures - delivered by everyone from astronauts to world-renowned architects - and, on board Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, enjoy both the largest library and the largest ballroom at sea.
And then there’s the charming ports-of-call, from Hong Kong to Helsinki, Anchorage to Valencia. You may want to check-in online then, if only to let your friends know what a great time you’re having, without your handset constantly at hand.
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