Can A Land Traveler Become A Cruiser, and Visa-Versa?
Written by: Kuki
Can A Land Traveler Become A Cruiser?
I’m obviously talking to cruisers here. Since I’m writing for a Cruise Guide, it’s likely the majority of people reading this entry will be cruisers. However, of late I’ve been reading quite a lot about various forms of travel, and thought I’d stumbled across a topic worth some consideration.
Of course, I won’t be quoting from any of the articles about travel I’ve been reading because who needs to clutter the issues with facts… which might interfere with my opining, or contradict my opinions.
In my opinion there may be cruisers who also happen to be travelers. Yet, I’m hypothesizing the majority of people who consider themselves “travelers” view today’s cruising world as strictly a vacation, rather than travel. And as cruisers should we feel we somehow have reduced stature in the world of travel because our choice of means of travel is a cruise ship?
Travel writers, who normally cover land travel, love to get assignments on cruise ships occasionally. I think they view it as a paid vacation from their job.
Would someone who travels to far flung destinations to do an extended bicycle tour (and no doubt considers themselves a traveler) “look down their nose” at someone visiting the same area by cruise ship? Would someone doing a hiking and camping trip through Spain consider cruise ship passengers they might run in to in Barcelona travelers? I suppose the question I’m asking is, is there a marker, a definitive “line to cross” that “officially” qualifies a person as a traveler, as opposed to being a vacationer.
Those who consider themselves travelers seem to qualify their position (and self appointed elevated stature) by the amount of time spent on land, whether that land travel is by automobile, trains, air, bicycles, or by foot. They consider their choices more adventurous and intimate travel experiences. I think they consider us cruisers to be lazy because we’re unwilling to give up our creature comforts, and even think many of us only cruise because we can eat 24 hours a day They don’t seem to realize how arduous a task it can be to spend 1 ½ to 2 hour on a bus or train to get from a port city to visit an important site for 6 hours. And they have no idea of the sacrifice we make while on those tours, forcing ourselves to give up an hour of the six hours available, so we can eat lunch.
Cruisers aren’t often born cruisers. Many of us have traveled at least some before we became cruisers. And occasionally the less sane of us may go back and attempt other forms of travel for a change of pace.
While there are several cruise lines which specialize in adventure cruises to less accessible destinations that would make even the most dedicated land traveler green with envy, the bulk of the industry is structured to take us to both exotic and non-exotic locations, allowing us small tastes (appetizers if you will), while allowing us to not miss the next five courses in the ship’s dining room.
I often defend cruising to “other travelers” by saying cruising gives you a glimpse of different places, and lets you decide where you’d like to go back to, to spend more time. Honestly, it does. But to tell you the truth (don’t tell them), the only places I’ve gone back to, are the ones I’ve returned to on another ship.
Unlike me, in general I think many avid cruisers could relatively easily take a more serious interest in occasional land travel, and enjoy it. But I do believe those who consider themselves hard core land cruisers would have a more difficult time becoming cruisers. I think they’d resist enjoying themselves (or admitting to enjoying themselves). They’ll be willing to ride in the back of a banana truck on the back roads of Costa Rica, but worry that they’ll fall off of a cruise ship. They’ll believe they are somehow giving up on their allegiance to “real travel” by boarding a cruise ship.
Personally I’m willing to accept my inferiority complex in regard to traveler status in exchange for the ability to travel by ship, mostly carefree. I may never write a book filled with stories of exciting misadventures, and how I managed to learn all of life’s lessons from dealing with them, but I’ll have many, many memories of wonderful trips, and the ease with which I experienced such a great variety of people, places and things.
Do you consider yourself a cruiser, a traveler, or both? As cruisers do you view yourself as an inferior traveler to the people who can spend three months in the Sistine Chapel studying brush strokes, or hiking the Chillicothe Trail, or getting arrested stumbling across the Iranian border?
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Posted: November 17th, 2009 under Kuki.