ships are popular. I know because they keep
getting bigger. And bigger. Next thing you know
theyíll make one longer than three football
fields, something big enough for 3,500 sardines.
Oops. I meant passengers.
Oops again. I just learned they have already
launched a cruise ship for more than 3,500
lemmings. Did I say that? Sorry. I meant
consumers. Well, yes, itís true. It has 1,487
cabins and bunks for 3,710 really thin but not too
Impressive specs, she has: consumers will take
advantage of a million miles of buffet lines,
2-million -miles of interior passageways,
5-million slot machines, and 6-trillion drink
The entire ship goes to one little island and
everyone gets off for a few hours and snorkels
around the same fish. The next day they are
allowed off the ship to go shopping for tourist
trinkets and when they get back to the vessel they
can slide their credit card through more machines
and acquire still more trinkets.
Different strokes for different folks and all that
but is it really smart to be launching
4,000-passenger ships? I worry a bit that every
time one of these paeans to second-wave mass
marketing sails theyíre going to make some
cruisers turn away from boating all together. Now,
thatís a shame.
Thatís not for me. I vote for the little ship that
could, something with two or maybe three cabins
instead of two or three thousand cabins. What a
difference a boat makes. One has 21 restaurants.
The other has one galley and a small fridge. One
has chefs, captains and waiters. The other
requires you to bring your own groceries and you
have to do your own cooking. One plies the high
seas. The other cruises smoothly along a placid
coastal waterway framed by mangrove wilderness.
My vessel doesnít have an activities director; it
doesnít have an ATM; it doesnít have an onboard
hospital. In fact, it doesnít have a schedule
unless you say so. If itís Tuesday, it wonít be
Belgium but just tell the captain and you could be
on Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Cabbage Key,
Useppa Island, or a beach youíll have all to
yourself on Cayo Costa.
The little boat that could doesnít have line dance
contests. Passengers donít cut into the buffet
line to take the last shrimp. On my cruise ship,
dressing up for a meal means pulling a tee shirt
over your swimsuit. After your delicious repast --
Hey, you bought the groceries -- prepared by
loving hands in the private galley, you can have
drinks on the aft deck.
There is no disco, no line dancing, no ballroom
waltzes. But if you want to shake a leg you can
climb the steps to the fly bridge and whoop and
holler a bit. Just a bit, though. Or, you may
prefer to just sit in silent pleasure as the
Florida sun sinks behind those dramatic clouds on
Put this information in your vacation planner. And
the next time youíre thinking about a cruise,
think small. Like two or three cabins small.