A recent article written by the well known travel expert, Arthur Frommer, questions who and why people now look to cruise ships for their vacation. Seems that travelers are now looking for more “gimmicks”.
The Queen Victoria and the Celebrity Solstice, in particular, will have “circus-training programs,” “bungee jumping” and “clown acts.” These will be added, presumably, to the rock-climbing walls, boxing rings, bowling alleys and vertiginous Jacuzzis jutting out from the top deck and hanging perilously over the sea (the latter have become standard on some ships, but not necessarily on the Queen Victoria or Solstice). in particular, will have “circus-training programs,” “bungee jumping” and “clown acts.” These will be added, presumably, to the rock-climbing walls, boxing rings, bowling alleys and vertiginous Jacuzzis jutting out from the top deck and hanging perilously over the sea (the latter have become standard on some ships, but not necessarily on the Queen Victoria or Solstice).
What is the cruising world coming to? I wholeheartedly agree with Frommer when he says:
A cruise should be sufficient in itself. It is an opportunity to venture out onto a new and unfamiliar area of the world — the vast oceans. It is sufficiently different and sufficiently provocative of eternal questions, that it need not be “aided” by bungee jumping, amateur boxing, glass-blowing exhibitions, rock-climbing and wave-surfing.
A cruise should be an occasion for conversation and reading, for long afternoons in a chaise lounge gazing at the sea and enjoying it. Those were the classic pleasures of cruising that once satisfied a large number of people, who emerged from the cruise with their equilibrium restored and with memories and new friendships.
I enjoy exploring the interesting ports and have been on both port intensive cruises and relaxing cruises. I love them both! I don’t need all of the extras, a lounge chair, a good book and the ocean-what more could anyone need to relax? I take a cruise to get away from and shut down the Type A culture I encounter in my everyday living and working. I don’t need every waking moment of my day to be filled with “gimmicks ” to make me happy. I hope this doens’t mean that I’m getting old? I’d prefer to think that I’m getting wiser and more mature.
Of course I do enjoy meeting other interesting people on cruises, which is why my husband and I always opt for dinning room seating with a large table. What better way is there to make life long friends with people that share the same interests as we do?
One of the best times we had was in Pisa when four couples (2 knew each other, and we were the oldest), decided to “stick together” as we were on the transportation from the ship to the city of Livorno and none of us had done this before. All together we figured out how to take a bus (we were all crunched together with the locals) which took us to the train staion, and the train to Pisa, where we found our way walking through the city for about 45 minutes to get to the leaning tower. All of this while laughing and giggling as we stomped in puddles walking in the pouring down rain! After our obligatory pictures “holding up the tower”, we enjoyed a nice lunch together before repeating the process in reverse to get back to the ship. It had been a wonderful afternoon – no bungee jumping required! (It was kind of like one of the puzzles from The Amazing Race, only we were all on the same team!
I only hope that modern cruise travelers won’t get so caught up with the “gimmicks” that they lose sight of the smaller more important things in life!