Something dreadful has happened on this trip. An event of irrevocable consequence.
I went on a cruise. And I liked it.
This can’t be. This goes against every fiber of my travel being. Against nearly 20 years of independent travel to scores of countries around the world.
I blame Julia, of course. When she first suggested we go on a cruise in the Caribbean, I scoffed, sputtered and snorted in disdainful dismissal. Never. Going. To. Happen.
For one, I’m not huge on following directions, and the thought of being herded along with thousands of others for set daytime group “excursions” had all the travel appeal of joining a working chain gang at the local penitentiary. And second, traveling in close proximity to 5,000 other Americans totally defeats the cultural immersion experience.
Julia did not take the hint. Shamelessly undaunted, she came back a few weeks later with what she considered a brilliant alternative: we’d hire out a small sailboat and have the captain sail us around wherever we want in the islands.
I think I visibly blanched at the thought. I’ll gleefully jump out of an airplane at 15,000 feet or trek through some of the world’s most remote jungles, but toss me on a little sailboat in the middle of the ocean and I’ll break out into cold sweats. Trapped, seasick and at the mercy of an endless expanse of water just begging for an opportunity to capsize you is not my idea of a good time. As far as I’m concerned, an ideal ship size is an aircraft carrier or larger, not a dozen feet of plastic and a flapping strip of white cloth.
Julia at this point could have given up. No herding, no little boats, no cruise, game over. Instead, the sly little creature went in for the kill: a luxury sailing cruise.
A big sailing yacht, but with 148 maximum passenger capacity. Big enough to overcome my (very reasonable) objection to tiny boats on a big ocean, and small enough not to feel like herded cattle.
I probably still would have given it a thumbs down, except for the total lack of reasonable air service between all the different Caribbean islands. You can literally see one island from the next, and yet there are no ferries and the inter-island flights are ridiculously overpriced. If you want to island hop, you’re pretty much forced to do it by sea. Bloody conspiracy, if you ask me.
So I accepted. And within 24 hours on the ship, I was sold.
Go to bed, wake up, and your most excellent floating hotel has taken you to a brand new place while you slept! Oh my God, how amazingly awesome is that!
Now, of course, I’m hooked. Like, where else in the world can I go where my hotel brings me everywhere I want to be?
Now, don’t get me wrong: there’s no way I’m going to turn all my travels into neatly packaged cruises, no matter how convenient. One of the reasons I travel in the first place is for the culture shock and to get away from the familiar. But I can definitely see myself sneaking a small ship cruise in now and then as appropriate. Wait, did I just say that? This is such a colossal change in my thinking that it has my travel identity well and truly flummoxed.
It’s all Julia’s fault.
Julia’s Comment: I have to say, I just don’t feel bad about this AT ALL. And don’t worry sweetie, I won’t tell anyone how blissful you looked relaxing in our stateroom in that plush white bathrobe enjoying the little chocolate mint they put on our pillows at night 😉
Gabriel: OK, good, I don’t want anyone to know about that.
Julia: You’re so hardcore.
Gabriel: Yes, yes, totally.