If, 20-some years ago you would have told me that my favorite beat, as a travel journalist, would be cruise, I'd have suggested a brain scan. I love travel, all kinds of travel, no question, but I am in a long line of ancestors, mostly on my mother's side, who have very little tolerance for the motion of the ocean. There was my grandfather, who was a captain in the U.S. Navy, and got seasick on anything that moves (including on his honeymoon voyage to Bermuda, where my grandparents ships ran into a fog outside New York Harbor, hit another ship, and sank; all were rescued save for my grandmother's trousseau, which was a contribution to Davy Jones Locker).
Just out of college, there was an awkward first date on a sailboat off Miami's Key Biscayne, where I spent more time hanging off the side of the boat; no surprise that there was no second date. And there was the family friend, a captain of a U.S. Naval Destroyer, who invited us to family day in Virginia's Norfolk; the massive vessel never even left the dock but I wound up, flat out queasy, on a bed in his quarters (the fact that my mom accompanied me tells you everything you need to know about this branch of our family tree).
And on my first official cruise assignment, a New York to Bermuda sailing on Celebrity Cruises in September, which I now know is the peak of hurricane season in that part of the Atlantic, we ran into the remnants of some tropical storm and it wasn't pretty.
And yet, with the help of seasick potions, I have come to love traveling by cruise, and if I'm being honest, I loved it even on that first hurricane-season voyage. When I talk to new-to-cruise travelers, I gush over the obvious virtues; you get to see the world as a tapas menu, with forays into places to see if you want to come back for longer visits. You get to meet wonderful people who hail from all over the world, and by that I mean crew members as much as fellow travelers. And you can wake up every morning with a different view outside your porthole -- or rather, these days balcony sliders -- without ever packing and unpacking.
But here's the thing that you'll never know until you try a cruise: It's the magic of being out on the water, whether it's a river or an ocean. Somehow it lifts you out of your everyday life into something quite special (sort of like the way you don't really understand how planes fly but you love being above the clouds, just the same). Care to join our merry band of enthusiasts?