My travel partner of many years and I have decided to take a cruise. When the idea of a whole week in Turkey (our previous plan) became untenable because of the strife, my brilliant friend suggested a cruise. We could see many desired locations on one vacation. In a few days we’ll embark on a cruise of the Adriatic hitting Venice, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Katakolon, Santorini, Ephesus, and Istanbul. Yep, those last two stops are in Turkey, but in a safe part. We hope.
I have never been on a cruise, but in my quest for the yes I agreed we should do it. I am not a cruise person. The thought of being herded on and off a ship, eating meals with strangers, and spending a lot of time on a giant floating petri dish has not been appealing. I like independence in travel, wandering around at my own pace, not surrounded by a sea of sun hats and white sneakers. And yet, I will go with open arms. Who knows? It could be totally awesome.
It might not. I have an ocean full of preconceived notions about cruise travel that give me pause. Some of them are:
1. There will be a lot of women named “Marge” from Iowa wearing fanny packs and talking loudly.
2. An outbreak of Norovirus will disable the plumbing system and we’ll end up like those poor souls on That Other Cruise Liner (which I like to call the Edmund Shitzgerald), crapping in buckets, puking overboard, and leaving our dignity at sea.
3. People will stand on the prow of the ship and shout, “I’m the king of the world!” (I might not be able to resist the urge to push them overboard.)
4. Strangers at dinner will regale the table with stories about bagging big game, or a sweet shot they made on the 9th hole, or getting their boils lanced.
5. There will be shuffleboard tournaments with people in Bermuda shorts and Panama hats crowding the decks.
6. The Captain will look at lot like Gavin MacLeod.
7. There will be a weasely looking guy named Gopher who has undetermined job responsibilities but who wears a uniform nonetheless.
8. All the hook-ups will happen on the Lido deck.
9. After a terrible storm, we’ll be marooned on an island for three seasons with a movie star who only wears ball gowns and a dude who fashions radios out of coconuts.
Ok, so I probably watched too much Love Boat and Gilligan’s Island growing up.
In spite of these notions, I am actually getting very excited. My appetite for Greek mythology and history will be sated by a visit to Olympia, the site of the first Olympics, and the Temple of Zeus. Maybe in honor of the first nude Olympians I’ll streak! (Oh pipe down, I won’t. All eyeballs are safe.) I will finally see the walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, a place I have longed to visit. The white villas and blue seas around Santorini will make me forget all those other tourists. The ruins at Ephesus will captivate me. The palaces and markets of Istanbul will fill me with wonder and awe. I’ll gorge myself on the never-ending food supply on the ship. I’ll meet fascinating people from all over the world. I’ll be with my best friend.
Not a bad way to spend a week…unless, of course, I have to crap in a bucket.