Cruising: Going to the dark side of travel

Published: May 13th 2009
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Many would probably shake their heads at me … first the Mexican all-inclusives, then the Vegas trips… and now cruising. I was initially skeptical and would sneer at those who chose these travel options. Its still true that I don’t believe that you have “seen” Europe by cruising alone but it’s a great way to have a tastes of Europe and determine what you’d like to see more of the next time you go back (on your own). Having said that, it is a relaxing way to travel that involves not living out of your suitcase/backpack, fantastic food, 300 thread count sheets & Egyptian cotton towels (this is also included in the basic inside no-window stateroom).

Initially, I dreaded the six sea days that started off our trip to cross the Atlantic from Ft. Lauderdale to the Azores islands. However, time passed by quickly and the food options certainly helped.
Where to start with the food… I was so excited to have sit-down four course meals for lunch and dinner that I would scour the menus early to try and decide whether it would be the profiteroles or panna cotta for dessert. I was initially saddened that I wasn’t going to Indonesia & Bali as part of my Asia travels this summer, but was pacified when we had late night authentic Indonesian food buffets on the ship.
The novelty of food slightly wore off when I saw the voracious appetites of some of the guests (and sadly, their expanding waistlines). So to avoid a similar situation happening to me, I joined the walking club that occurred daily on the third floor deck. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that there were people two or three times my age that out-walked me at a higher pace… regularly.

Ugly Sneaker Fashion & Blue Haired Ladies

This cruise was geared towards the middle-aged to retired set. There wasn’t really a single child on board and I was one of the youngest guests. I did have a moment, when I was excited to discover there was someone my age on the cruise… only to discover s/he was one of the cruise dancers or singers. Having older guests on board made it easier to succumb and wear bland white orthopedic athletic sneakers everywhere on board… they are comfortable yet ugly and only acceptable in North America if you’re not actually engaging in
Nothing but Water...Nothing but Water...Nothing but Water...

crossing the Atlantic
athletic-related activities. I did enjoy observing the fantastic combo of running shoes + heavy makeup troweled on + chunky costume/or gaudy real gold jewelry + long fake nails. It’s a good look.

This cruise certainly hosted guests mainly from across the United States and from Canada. I thought that the blue-haired bee hive was an urban hair style myth left over from the 60s. Apparently, it’s still in fashion for some who find it a classic and comfortable style in the year 2009.

Random musings:
We had an unfortunate medical incident onboard the ship on the first sea day. This resulted in an unexpected detour to the Bahamas to drop off the guest. Apparently the code “brightstar” (at least on Holland America) means medical emergency/likely or actual death. I wonder if the person who has the corresponding gmail or hotmail email address knows of the other meaning.

I try to avoid ranting while travel. Its unpleasant and not usually appreciated by most. However, one I will write about is this interesting trend I call: middle class reverse snobbery. this occurs with middle to lower middle income earners generally from Canada & the US and always involves their comments on how expensive everything is in Europe. I can appreciate this. I understand how poor our Canadian dollar is compared to the euro. I also make choices not to eat, drink, purchase certain things because the cost to value ratio isn't that fabulous. What bothers me, is the indignant, exclamatory remarks "WELL, I would never pay good money for that..." or "I can't believe you would PAY...." or "Well, it must be nice to have a lot of money to buy that fancy X item"... etc.
Bottom line: Don't go to europe if you arn't willing to shell out the money, and keep your mouth shut over cost.

Additional photos below
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14th May 2009

I must say, not living out of a bag and endless food, that does sound pretty good.
16th May 2009

I want to eat your pictures
Laura, you take the most interesting pictures. What a lucky girl you are to be traveling the world once again. I wish I were there with you!

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