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Old October 4th, 2000, 09:31 PM
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Default RE: First time cruisers that's us!

Thought you may be interested in this article from some time back.
MikeM (cruise x 7)

What is it about a Cruise?
by Anne Campbell
Itís always the shipís horn that stops me in my tracks. It frequently catches me in the act of unpacking for the voyage ahead. This unforgettable sound is when the ties that bind me to land and my life back home begin to fray a bit. Racing to the top deck I peer over the side as sailors drop the thick coiled ropes, finally making hand signals to the bridge that the ship is all clear. Suddenly this gleaming white vessel slowly begins her horizontal slide from the pier and we majestically steam out of port.

This is the most magical moment of the voyage for me, the actual separation of the self that normally inhabits me and the self Iíll become for a week or so. My excitement level is so high I want to jump like a child with glee. I fully understand DiCaprioís euphoric outburst on the bow of Titanic. Weíre leaving for unknown adventures, to be revealed each day.

On the pool deck, passengers lift glasses of bubbly, dance or silently stare ahead, at the seas that carry this royally crafted vessel, designed to carry several thousand people 50 weeks per years for a duration of 30 years. By the time we have fully departed home port, I can almost see the person I was back home, sadly standing on the pier silently mouthing "bon voyage."

The myriad irritations and problems of life arenít resilient enough to follow me to any ship. The effect is akin to a deep massage, perhaps with a magic potion tossed in. I simply no longer care that the dry cleaner ruined my best dress, stupid mistakes at work havenít been corrected or even that I must eventually come home. Nor do I worry if my clothes are right, that Iíll fit in with other passengers or whether the food will be passable. For one week, Iíll be with like-minded folks who have cast-off everything but the joy at being carried away to new places.

The seas, oceans and rivers of the world offer cruisers so many choices. If you demand a place in the sun, then the Caribbean is your natural habitat, with its potpourri of colors and people and splendid tropical climate (and, should you ever tire, Hawaii or the South Seas might entice your senses). If youíre looking for adventure and wildlife, Antarctica, the Galapagos and Amazon beckon. If majestic scenery fills your soul with wonder, then you should sail through the southern tip of South America, Alaskaís Inside River or in and out of Norwayís saw-toothed fjords.

Serious scuba divers will love the Mexican Riviera on sailings from either the West Coast of Florida and our own eastern seaboard can be explored all the way from Florida to the rocky coastal islands of Maine. If you wish to stretch your mind, as well as your legs, in every port, the whole world is waiting for you. Those who love antiquities will be thrilled in Greece, Turkey, Israel and Egypt. If itís river life you like, try the small boats on the waterways of Europe, the paddle wheelers on the Mississippi and Ohio River and the barges along the Nile. You can be as enriched and fulfilled as you desire, or pursue each day at a sailís pace.

This is the perfection of a cruise.
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