Ever since I was a small boy I dreamed of going to sea – probably influenced a lot by my uncle Rocky’s stories of his adventures in the Royal Canadian Navy in World War II.
It never happened of course – or did it? Well, maybe. Since my 60th birthday when I discovered the joy of cruising, I have experienced the nautical life – admittedly in a very artificial and luxurious way. Can’t deny the experience of that picture though – out in the Atlantic at dawn in May 2013. Not that I had anything to do with getting there, but hey…
It was always on my “bucket list” to cross the Atlantic Ocean by ship, and we have done that 4 times. I have a Trans-Pacific cruise from Sydney to Vancouver in my near future – calling in New Zealand, Tahiti and Hawaii. Not too shabby I guess.
There’s a lot more to a cruise holiday than just shipboard life, of course. A lot of the world’s most interesting sights and sites are near the seaside, so as a result of my cruising journeys I have:
- Walked the streets of Oslo early in the morning and experienced the Viking Ships museum.
- Visited the Vasa museum in Stockholm.
- Seen the fountains at the Peterhof and the Amber Room at the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg.
- Visited the Vatican, the hill towns of Volterra and San Gimignano, the Acropolis, and the Blue Mosque.
- Seen the ruins of both an Irish monastery and a famous Scottish castle.
- Called in the port of Cherbourg where the French ocean liners left for North America, and in the port of Liverpool where Cunard had its offices.
- Hung out in the street where Oscar Wilde grew up, and stood next to James Watt’s statue.
- Seen the Blinking Canal and the Stinking Canal. They are side by side in Flanders.
- Gone into the graving dock where the Titanic got her propellers fitted and visited her final port of call in Cobh, Ireland.
- Had the best fish and chips of my life and helped a crew member buy an overcoat in Invergordon, Scotland.
Now a lot of this stuff could have been done by air and land it’s true, but the cruise made it all very convenient and effortless.
One thing I didn’t do was ride the donkeys up the hill in Santorini, and you shouldn’t either unless you want to smell like an ass. You have been warned. Take the cable car.