Interestingly, two related items—which are completely unrelated—appeared in the media.
The first one I noticed was an advertisement for a cruise. The route would take the ship along the fabled Northwest Passage, which has now become ice-free, thanks to Republican politicians and their financial backers. I cannot imagine why anyone would want to pay money to travel such a boring route. I read a New Yorker piece by someone that had traveled on a container ship from Murmansk to Vladivostok, because the ice melts in the summer and the route is shorter than sailing around Africa. I recall only how boring the trip was for anyone looking out the window.
The second item was a report about Canadian scientists discovering the wreckage of two English sailing ships, which went missing two centuries ago while searching for the Northwest Passage. They became stuck in ice, and all perished.
Thanks to climate change deniers and fossil fuel wasters, there is little risk of tourists suffering the same fate as earlier explorers. Still, the news of such a calamity should provide a cautionary tale for climate change deniers, fossil fuel waters, Republican politicians…and cruise purchasers. Then again, these all fall into the category of “stupid people”, ie. those that cannot accept reality and change his or her mind.
I have not switched on the television even once, but my wife cannot keep her hands off the remote control. There's a joke in that, but I will leave it well alone. I prefer to read and ignore real life, being satisfied with the idyll of the hotel.
This afternoon, I heard the newsreader on CNN in the next room mention "cruise ships", so I paid attention. He mentioned the recent Royal Caribbean incident off the Phillipines, the Costa Cordova sinking in Italy and....Silversea's Silver Shadow. That got my attention.
It seems that this ship, which we will board tomorrow and is supposed to carry us to Hong Kong via Vietnam, collided with another vessel. The television displayed a hole in the bow, which is fortunately well above the water line. I am certain that this is disturbing news for many prospective fellow passengers.
I have complete faith in modern technology, but even more in the cruise lines' desire to repair their reputation. They should strive even harder to make future cruises flawless. I am more concerned about having decent weather and calm seas.
NB. If this blog suddenly stops, there will be one of two explanations: no internet access or the ship has sunk.
I did not enjoy my one and only cruise experience. I did not hate it, but I can imagine much better ways to spend time and money. (I have reported on the "gift" in an earlier post.)
I enjoyed being with my family, all of which enjoyed the experience, but did not enjoy spending time with 1000 other folks, with which I shared nothing in common. The cabin was smaller than my bathroom at home, with the only redeeming feature being a balcony. I did not have to drive or seek a hotel each night, but I did have to put up with standing in lines. And, I got to resist sales pitches for dodgy "art", photographs against phony backdrops, and worthless souvenirs. I found no appeal in the chlorinated, urinated, and crowded pool, surrounded by loud children and alcoholically challenged adults. The experience was "royal" in name only. So what is the logical conclusion?
I plan to book another cruise! But, this one will be different...
I'm a big fan of Somerset Maugham's short stories about Asia and the South Seas, and I'm fascinated about the Far East. I have found a smaller cruise ship of an upscale cruise line, which caters to a "better" clientele (children are not welcome), that will sail from Singapore to Sydney. I can sit on my balcony and stare at the thousands of Indonesian islands that the ship will pass and imagine life as old Somerset witnessed it one hundred years ago. I have checked all the reviews on the Internet, read all the literature, and selected a larger cabin. Old-fashion elegance will replace "belly-up-to-the-buffet" gluttony. I'm expecting calm, quiet relaxation and enlightenment.
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.