Sea Change

     Whenever I receive a booklet from a company that promotes luxury cruises with “everything included,” I wonder if such offers attract only a few nibbles off the upper crust. Haven’t these purveyors of pleasure learned from the success of the pirate movies and the popularity of back-to-nature vacations that consumers want adventure, not amenities?

     Herewith are my recommendations to the cruise lines for attracting more travelers:

     1) Instead of emphasizing the marble-appointed bathroom with shower, point out the health benefits of swabbing the deck in a high gale.

     2) Play down the sitting room with TV (which may only have reruns of The Jetsons) in favor of the standing room by the rail for viewing flotsam and jetsam.

     3) The ocean view suites have some devotees, but the true heartbeat of the ship is heard only by those fortunate enough to be near the boiler room.

     4) Passengers smothered under duvets in king-size beds cannot feel the rhythm of the vessel and the water like those gently swinging in hammocks.

     5) A mini-bar replenished with soft drinks or bottled water is a sterile benefit that can be found in a hotel in Houston or Denver, but one becomes a part of the sailing community when sharing quaffs from a long-handled cup dipped in a oak barrel.

     6) A walk-in closet merely is a stale cell for hanging clothes whereas a porthole with sturdy hooks allows a choice between ocean spray and drip dry.

     7) A private safe does not feel safe when one is out of the room, but a ditty bag around the neck or waist affords security 24/7.

     8) A welcome bottle of champagne cannot compare to grog on demand.

     9) Standing on a private balcony pales in panache to that of walking the plank.

    10) Most importantly, restricting customers to an inflexible arrival and departure schedule on ten-to-fifteen day cruises to humdrum locales in the Caribbean offers little excitement. Instead, promote innovative excursions like a “Two Years Before the Mast (Or As Long As You Last)” voyage that makes unscheduled stops at exotic locales like fogbound rocky coasts and hidden inlets in the middle of the night.

     In short, don’t warm my heart–shiver my timbers.


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