My wife and I go on a lot of cruises. It all started about 10 years ago when we got married. We honeymooned on the American Queen River Boat, a week long cruise up the Mississippi river. I must admit that was a fun trip. The boat could just pull up to the bank and drop a long gangway onto the levee and walk on or off … back then there was no security to go through …
Our second cruise a year later was aboard the Crown Odyssey, a smaller older ship, on a cruise through the Greek islands. What a trip! I discovered that I love old Greek and Roman ruins, and Mediterranean food is fantastic! Kathy says Greece has the best tomatoes of anywhere in the world. We had a blast, visiting places like Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, and Istanbul.
During that second cruise we built a website about the cruise and we would upload pictures and text to the site during our stops in port. We would find an internet café and do the uploading while sipping a cold drink. We have a photo on our site with Kathy seated at a computer at an internet café in Athens, and out the window over her shoulder you can see the Parthenon.
One of the best things about cruising is that you can see damned near everything you ever wanted to see by going on a cruise. For example, one day I told Kathy that if she could find a cruise where I could see the Egyptian Pyramids, then I would go. I think it took her all of about 20 minutes to book the cruise. Silly me. But hey … there I am at the pyramids and in front of the sphinx in Egypt. It turns out that the Pyramids are just a couple of hours by bus from the port of Alexandria.
Other places I've found myself on these cruises are eating French fries in a McDonald's in Beijing, after seeing the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City! On that same cruise I had been to ground zero in Nagasaki Japan. Now I must admit I never thought I would ever be at ground zero where the Atomic bomb was dropped. Speaking of McDonald's, there is one at Red Square in Moscow. I was there during our Baltic cruise. We docked for a couple of days in St. Louis. Petersburg, and took a plane to Moscow for a day.
Now I grow up in the days of the cold war, and it's hard to get used to a McDonald's in Moscow. Earlier on that trip I visited Berlin and we saw what was left of the Berlin Wall. It was simply remarkable for me to be visiting such places. Never thought I would find myself standing in East Berlin.
OK so there are a lot of amazing destinations, but not all cruises are destination cruises. Some are what my wife and I call "Party" cruises. Not much to see at the ports of call, but lots and lots of partying. A recent cruise we went on to the eastern Caribbean was one of the most fun filled cruises I've been on. Kathy had been conversing with about 72 people who were going to be on the cruise on something called "Cruise Critics" a message board place where people meet to chat about cruises.
So we had cruise critic parties frequently on board the ship, and went to the shore excursions as a group. It was like doing everything with a whole boatload of best friends you were meeting for the first time.
I hope my wife keeps dragging me on these cruises … I'll be kicking and screaming the whole way with a big grin on my face.