Sunday, September 01, 2013

Sailing, Sailing...

My husband and I recently took a cruise in the Baltic Sea.  We began in Amsterdam, visited--in this order--Warnemunde (Germany); Stockholm (Sweden); Tallinn (Estonia); St. Petersburg (Russia); Helsinki (Finland); and Copenhagen (Denmark).

To get to all these locations, we had three separate days where we were at sea--sailing, sailing.

When you are at seas—there’s not much to do.  However, one does get to thinking—how travel has changed over the centuries, sailing especially.  One or two centuries ago, the idea of luxury cruising would have been madness.  Ships were utilitarian and passengers had some place to go, not just cruise.

But these day, sailing on a passenger liner seems to be purely for leisure.  The 2,000+ passengers on this cruise are interested in…eating…drinking…partying…playing.
Not one of us has to work to make the ship go where it is going.

Here’s a reflection on the Curiosities of Cruising
  • Quantity of food…it is obscene.  There are more meals prepared than there are people on board. 
There are 2,000 passengers, 900 crew members, and 3 meals a day.
Yet there are 9,000 meals a day prepared.
  • Opportunities to pay
While the basics are well-provided for—food, juices, coffee & tea, there are many extras for which you pay extra.  Including--
Soft drinks
All alcohol
And all are very expensive…make that profit centers.

  • Art

Not really art—we went to a lecture one day which promised “30,000 years of art in 30 minutes”—it was appalling, riddled with misinformation, including misspelling artists’ names.  Really the only point was to get us to buy some painting.

We were all handed lottery tickets at the outset, then at the end of the lecture, a “winner” was chosen.  My husband believes whoever won was a plant.  When the lecture began, there were only about 5 or 6 of us; but by the end, the back had filled up, and all the “winners” were sitting in the back.

As someone who has made 3 ocean voyages (in my youth) for transportation reasons, I am bemused at the current concept of cruising.  I can see its benefits for people who have spent a long time away from home—missionaries, diplomats, military service people—who need to re-acclimate culturally after years abroad.  Today that need has vanished--and cruising now seems aimless.   Destination bound, but potentially aimless. 


Climenheise said...

You note the point of sailing in the past. As I have read through the records of Missionary work overseas and observed the change from sea to air travel, I've started asking missionaries about that change. Those old enough to go by sea preferred that option; the ocean voyage took care of much of the problems we have today re-entering our own culture after years away. Dad quoted an old missionary: "By the time you get home, the worms of the past six years have become butterflies!"

KGMom said...

I am glad you had told me about the reflection of these older missionaries--in part, when I was musing about the nature of modern day cruising, I had those recollections in mind.
And, I love the imagery of worms to butterflies.

Ginnie said...

I have never been on a cruise and have a healthy fear of being stranded at sea. I have no idea where that came from but I much prefer land to water. Your observations are interesting and I'm glad you got to so many exciting places.

Anvilcloud said...

It sounds like your cruising days may be done. Since I've never been on one, I don't have much of an opinion.

NCmountainwoman said...

My M-I-L loved cruise ships. Every year she went on the QE II to England and then caught the return to NY. She didn't want to see anything. She simply loved the extravagance, sleeping 'til noon and dressing for dinner. It was the only time she was truly pampered and she loved it.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Thanks for giving me other reasons for not liking cruises.

I must admit if I could afford it I would like to take the St Helena, the last of the British Mail boats, from England to South Africa with stops a Ascension and St Helena. Also I watched a program on TV of the trip by ship up the coast of Norway beginning at Bergen and ending well above the Arctic circle. There are wonderful small cities and towns to visit along this beautiful coast.

Molly said...

We took our first cruise in january - a 4 night/3 day voyage with friends who adore this method of "cheap" travel (they do not drink nor take excursions). While I found it interesting and did not mind our one day at sea to catch up on reading and writing, I must confess that I prefer visiting one country at length... using public transportation and old-fashioned walking to see the iconic sites, the hidden gems, and partaking of local cuisine in cozy out-of-the-way locations.