We've known since ZDF's “Ship of Dreams” that a cruise ship is a perfect location: people who didn't know each other before have to get along for weeks on a floating skyscraper like this. There are those who sunbathe on deck – and those who work hard below. So many stories in a small space against an ever-changing – and usually quite beautiful – backdrop. In addition, Germans especially love this type of vacation: 3.7 million people traveled in 2023, more than ever before.

Vox must have thought that 3.7 million cruisers would also like to see the sea on their televisions. That's why they not only let Wayne Carpendale sail with the dating show “Heart on Board” but also started a new documentary series called “Full Speed ​​​​​​​​​Ahead”. The broadcaster sends a total of six couples aboard the MS Artania, and it's decidedly a “fated journey”. This means: we don't just have to watch people between the buffet and onboard bingo, we're treated to more drama than the boat can hold.

Forever and Ever: Dennis's Fourth Attempt

For example, Valnesia wants to use her time in the floating hotel to guide her Dennis to the port of matrimony. The odds aren't very good for that, because, “If you don't already know: I've been married three times,” Dennis reveals to us. “It's a concept that doesn't work for me.” In fact, he told his partner Valnesia about it. But he believes the partnership is viable for the future because sometimes you can let each other lead. Vox sees real potential there, too: “He loves music — and Dennis used to play in a band,” an off-screen voice whispers, “Perfect match!”

In the cinema of MS Artania – only Valnesia, Dennis and the camera crew are present – the woman finally proposes to him. Or rather, has the little son asked via video: “Do you want to marry mom?” He's crying, she's crying – “it's a real shock now,” Dennis finally says. To free Valnesia from uncertainty: “With all my heart: yes!” On the high seas and in seventh heaven at the same time: sometimes it seems possible.

Too swollen, too pale potatoes

Opposite these two are the couple Peggy and Steff, who are already known to us TV viewers as expats from “Goodbye Germany”. The two have officially been separated since 2022, but their joint ocean voyage is set to give their love another boost. However, given the scenes where they argue about their daughter's missing skullcap or Peggy being late, there are doubts about this plan. When Peggy becomes seasick, Steff simply complains about how alone she felt in the dining room without her. Not every relationship is worth saving.

Between all the docu-dramas, a cruise ship is of course also a workplace for many people. It doesn't matter if it's Captain Burkhard Müller, Chef Marie or Apprentice Liam, they all have to deal with countless problems every day. Sometimes the suitcases are lost, sometimes not enough coconuts were bought for the pirate party, sometimes the potatoes are too colorless. And then comes the storm! The production team must have rejoiced at this weather report: more seasickness! More drama!

From the couch, “full steam ahead” seems like fast sailing in calm weather. Every triviality is flattened to the maximum, and the off-camera voice repeatedly emphasizes the known and obvious with annoying penetration. “Full speed ahead”? Would be nice. But this cruise is, alas, just a tiring course for another soul seller of the shipping company Vox through the depths of human imperfection. Spending time in the bath would have been a real alternative.