PORTS OF CALL
Since my first-ever cruise on Celebrity's Zenith in the mid-1990s, I've been so lucky to see the world, one day at a time in so many cases. The celebrated marquee ports of Singapore, Barcelona, Miami, Monte Carlo, Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Capetown, Sydney, New York and Helsinki I share with so many other cruise travelers. Just as importantly, a lot of us have been fortunate to experience lesser known places. If it weren't for a cruise on Hapag-Lloyd's Europa (where, I do admit, just a year after our wedding I did don my bridal frock on a formal night -- it was, I hasten to add, lavender, and not frilly, so no one else knew), We started the cruise, one of the most impactful experiences of all for us, in Muscat, went on to Salalah, and then spent three days in Yemen. You can't call there now. It was powerful. And if not for cruise, I'd probably not have gotten to the Seychelles, New Zealand's Dunedin, the Caribbean's Saba, and Norway's North Cape. Among others.
There's so much more of the world to explore, and in many cases cruise is really the best way. Like so many cruise travelers I have met along the way, i have a bucket list, and it includes hard-to-get-to-places like the Galapagos, Russia's Far East, and the Antarctic.
Still, seeing the world one day at a time, on more than 300 cruises, feels like an awesome privilege. Some were short, two-day new ship previews. Others were longer voyages to the exotic lands of Arabia, India, Asia and Africa.
Speaking of Africa, my husband and I, in our 12th year of marriage, finally took a real (long, long, lovely and long) honeymoon and our pick was a Viking Ocean Cruise from South Africa's Durban, via Capetown, all the way up Africa's west coast to Tenerife and then London's Greenwich. We had so-much-fun. Which shouldn't surprise the travelers we write for, and who are lucky enough to cruise on vacation. We're often so intent on working we don't always remember to have fun. We had fun on this one!
What's been the biggest change in cruise travel in the 20-plus years I've been chronicling it, is that the emphasis, at least from the small ship sector, which by the way is booming, is much more on the experiences you'll have in port. It's much more about connecting with culture and nature and geography, and also, for those of us who sometimes just want to take a trip to relax and reconnect, about just...having fun.
That's what I've learned. You?