I am not a fan of cruises.
I was not a fan before taking a cruise, when I let my prejudices inform me. A cruise experience did not improve my opinion.
My children gave me a cruise as a birthday present. That sounds very generous; it was not. If I wanted to be magnanimous, I would say that they were well-meaning. If I wanted to be doubtful, I would say that they wanted to go on a cruise. If I wanted to be less charitable, I could compare this gift to receiving a telefax from someone in Nigeria offering to make me rich.
I live in Germany; the cruise departed from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It lasted for four days and three nights, with stops at Key West and Cozumel, Mexico. This post is about the gift. Someday, I will moan about the cruise itself.
Remember that I wrote above that the gift was the cruise? To enjoy that gift, I had to get to Florida. You don’t fly to the US, take a four-day cruise, and fly back. You spend some time before and after. You stay at hotels or motels. You must rent a car (ever try public transportation in the US?). You must eat. You cannot avoid trips to malls, where you are compelled to “save money” on all the bargains. A trip to Disneyworld is probably required, since you’re so close. And, of course, you must take your wife along.
I have not done the math, but I guess that my birthday present cost me about 20 times the cost of the value of the cruise package. Overall, we had a nice family trip, but I learned some lessons.
There is a saying about looking a gift horse in the mouth. There is another one about knowledge gained from the kick of a mule!
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.