Ever since we went on an Alaska cruise this past June , I find my eyes drawn to advertisements for cruises. Not that I want to go another cruise so soon. It’s just that I find the ads interesting and it’s fun to compare these cruises with the one that we’d been on.
In an old New York magazine, I came upon an ad for cruises to Antarctica . Hurtigruten ( formerly Norwegian Coastal Voyage Inc ) was offering a number of cruises , some along the coast of Norway( billed as the “World’s Most Beautiful Voyage) , others to Antarctica and the behemoth of them all , the 67 -day Arctic to Antarctica World Cruise. 67 days ! ! Intrigued , I read a little further.
The World Cruise “ aboard the state- of- the -art MS Fram offers just 300 privileged passengers unrivaled sights , sounds and service at sea, from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific … calling in Europe , the Americas and the Antarctic itself ‘. The cruise starts out in Reykjavik , Iceland but , instead of taking the full 67 day cruise , passengers can opt for shorter segments , from 18 to 46 days , and embark at their port of choice, Reykjavík, New York or Port Canaveral, Florida.
At first thought, the World Cruise seems wonderful since it transports passengers through a variety of climates and landscapes. From Iceland , touching in at the ports of Europe , down the coast of North and South America all the way to the chilly beauty of the Antarctic. I can’t imagine any voyage that could top that. Beautiful scenery, great food , interesting ports of call , stimulating company , great amenities , luxurious accommodations, cabin crew to wait on passengers hand and foot … what more could one want ?
I tried imagining the sort of people who might take such a cruise. They would have to be very wealthy of course . I don’t know the tab for the World Cruise but I imagine it must be in the $ 25,000 per person range . Even though the second guest is 50% off, that would still be a nice chunk of change for the two of us.Most likely ,the passengers would be independently wealthy or retired ; they would have to be if they were planning to take off for 67 days.I wonder if some of them might be people who spend all their time out at sea, going from cruise one ship to another without having any fixed abode ashore. I’ve read there are such people , usually single ladies , who in effect treat the ship as their home .
I can see how the World Cruise might appeal to some people but,even if I could afford it ,I wouldn’t want to go on one. The seven-day cruise that we took was great and we enjoyed it very much . But , at the end of the week , we were not unhappy to get back on land and get on with our lives. Shipboard life is great but only in small doses. As varied and delicious and abundant as the food is, it still begins to pall after some time . It is too abundant , too rich and after a few days one craves something different, anything different, in a setting other than the ship’s dining room or buffet lounge. The cabins are beautifully appointed and one has the run of the ship , its health spa, its theaters , its library and all the other attractions designed to keep the passengers happy and occupied but after a couple of weeks I would definitely feel a little hemmed in. Oh, and I hate living out of a suitcase or having people do for me . It’s OK for a week or two but after that I want to do things for myself. Otherwise , I feel useless, restless and bored.
As interesting as the ports of call might be , they might begin to look the same after some time. Above all, no matter how nice the ship, no matter how interesting my fellow – passengers, after awhile I’d want to get back to the routine of my everyday life and do the things that make me feel useful. A 67 day cruise would be like all -you- -can eat sushi. Sushi is meant to be savored in small portions ; unlimited sushi is an anomaly.Too much of a good thing is bad.What makes a vacation so great is that it offers a break – a short break – from routine. The knowledge that a vacation is short is what enables us to enjoy it so much. As somebody has said , the best part of a vacation is that it makes us happy to be home again.
Given a choice , I’d plump for the Norwegian Coastal Voyage. The pristine beauty of the fjords, the bracing weather and the interesting little ports that the ship puts in at would truly make it the World’s Most Beautiful Voyage and at seven days , it would be just about perfect. Perhaps one of these years …