I can imagine I will upset people with this offering. Last week we were on a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords; a treat after a really busy few months getting my latest book ready and the launch itself. We had been on one cruise before around New Zealand but when we got to Fjordland in South Island, the weather turned so bad that the captain would not risk the ship. As it was the week of the Costa Concordia tragedy, no one complained.
Although we loved the New Zealand trip, it left us wanting more and we also decided cruising wasn’t really our thing. Eighteen months ago we returned and did a road trip in NZ but only made it as far south as Queenstown.
Those Fjords still beckoned. The geography of Norway makes a cruise a sensible option. Also, I knew Norway was expensive, just how expensive I was to find out. Let me first say that the ship was superb. Everything worked well, we were pampered and looked after to the nth degree. We had no complaints whatsoever. But, I began to feel imprisoned in a strange parallel world of comfort, where all decisions were made for me. I had lost control and by the end, I was itching to get away. What I have written below are my musings on the experience. I know many people love cruising. Maybe it’s just me.
Give your pension-rich, your lame, your gluttons, your risk averse,
I will give open the golden door to a trip across the empty seas.
I will fill your mind with bingo, quiz shows and prosaic comedy.
I will fill your stomach with never ending, calorific meals and
pretty cocktails served by winsome red-waist-coated maids.
I will fill your eyes and ears with Russian dancers and soulful song
To while away the empty hours at sea.
In port after port, I will herd you from ship to coach, to drive you
Through scenery to die for. Never linger, never think to wonder
If you might tarry, the hooter sounds. Be back on board by five.
Another day, another country village, or city. It matters not.
Your function is to consume, to drink, to spend on board
To be enticed by blackjack tables or a Thai massage
To while away those empty hours at sea.
Formal nights where ladies dress to kill and penguin suits for men.
Oh, the prestige of dinner with the captain for frequent cruisers and
Cocktail parties with champagne and snacks for those almost
At the pinnacle of favoured customer. Daily offers of more delights.
If you were just to book another cruise to Greece or Spain or perhaps
The Caribbean or better still, Around the World. One to tell the Jones’s.
To while away the empty hours of retirement.