The idea of sailing around the world on a luxurious vessel of endless motion with a group of strangers had never appealed to me. While many of my associates were cruising every year and returning with rave reviews; it never swayed my thinking. Then came one of those dark moments in life where I had an urge to escape.
While listening to a cruise critic on a New York television show, I was informed about an inexpensive getaway. So it was a cruise, but what the heck, I thought; the price was right. Having to depart from St. Maarten sounded like fun as I thought I could enjoy two vacations.
A CRUISE WITHOUT THE LUXURY
True to its claim, it was a “no-frills” cruise offering the bare basics. My stateroom (meticulous and clean) consisted of two twin mattresses that sat low to the floor, a chair and a window. There were no electronics: no clock, radio, phone, TV or internet. The bathroom was encased in a smokey glass designed with a chic flair. Oh, and room service was available at a $10—a—day charge.
Meals weren’t included but there was a restaurant on board that served breakfast, lunch and dinner at very reasonable rates. I’m talking 8, 10, or 15 dollar meals. Entertainment in the top deck was minimal but we were grateful for the half-priced drinks at Happy Hour and a live DJ that took all of our requests.
The itinerary—unbelievable! From St. Marteen we sailed to Antiqua, St. Barts, St. Kitt, Nieves and Anguilla. Unlike the luxury cruise liners, the time allotted to spend at each destination was extended for the full day and throughout the night. Departures took place during the early morning hours. Veteran cruisers lauded the experience; hailed it as the best cruise ever!
CRUISING BECOMES MY CHOICE OF TRAVEL
I had never felt so free in all my life. In my possession was a carry-on size suitcase, my backpack and pencil and paper to write with. I was waking up every morning to a different Caribbean destination, experiencing new culture, sumptuous cuisine and meeting people from countries across the globe. It doesn’t get any better than that!
I kept the dream alive and stayed on that cruise for thirty-three days. That’s right! I was hooked on the adventure of life at sea and have been cruising ever since. Never in my wildest imagination could I have created some of the incredible encounters experienced on that trip. It changed my perspective on life in a huge way.
Close acquaintances with which I’ve shared some of the more juicier parts of this story often encourage me to record them in a book. Maybe I will someday. But until then, I’ll just keep cruisin’ right along, making my way across the planet, one continent at a time.