Modern Cruising – Part 1

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Holland America Westerdam

For the next several blogs, I’m going to drift away from the Titanic a bit and talk about a more modern sea going phenomenon, cruise ships. Titanic was an ocean liner. One of a class of ships meant to get passengers and packages across a large body of water quickly. Cruise ships certainly move us across vast oceans of water, they take us from place to place, but their primary purpose, besides separating us from our money, is to entertain and pamper. And let’s not forget making sure we don’t die of malnutrition. Why else would they offer a buffet of overly sweet deserts from midnight to 2 AM each night?

I enjoy cruising. I like to visit the various seaside towns and cities, particularly those in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. Of course, the purpose of each stop is for us to maintain the local economy as we load up on original local knick-knacks (made in China), but that’s OK. Most travelers are savvy enough to understand the score.

My favorite time is when I am on the ship as we travel from port to port. To me, the ship is a collection of never ending wonders. As I wander the hallways, I’m always amazed at the beautiful appointments and decorations. These ships are meant to last years, and it would appear to me that no expense is spared in the choice of materials or workmanship. Considering the corrosive effects of salt water, I’m impressed at the stellar condition of the ships, especially externally where surfaces are exposed 24/7.

The dining areas rival the fanciest restaurants in the world. Considering the modern trending of most land locked restaurant design and the stark utilitarian appointments found there, shipboard restaurants are among the only dining areas where one can enjoy truly elegant surroundings. Furthermore, where else can one eat in the world today and find fellow diners dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns? Say what you will, but that adds a unique cache to an evening’s experience.

The food is usually (not always) world class, is served by tuxedoed waiters who seem to have incredible memories. If one dines with the same group each night, the waiters often remember your wine choice, and often your favorite entries.

Our favorite cruise line is Celebrity, but when we cruise our choice is based on location and timing, rather than line ownership. Our very first long distance cruise, taken in 2007, was on a Celebrity ship, the Galaxy. It was a ten-day Mediterranean odyssey to Italy, Greece, and Turkey. We purchased it as part of a charity event, more as a donation than a chance to travel. But the combination of the excitement of our first cruise, the lure of the Mediterranean, and the first class accommodations made for an experience we have yet to equal.

Bill Blowers – Author of Dangerous Betrayal – The Vendetta That Sank Titanic. Hear Bill speak at the following locations. Admission is free, public is invited:

February 16, Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi, Simi Valley, CA. 1:30 PM

February 18, Ventura City Hall Auditorium, 510 Poli St. #109, Ventura, CA. 6:00 PM

February 20, Base Camp Cafe, 16311 Askin Dr. Pine Mountain Club, CA. 1:00 PM


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