Some of you probably remember the Think Small
advertising campaign. This was the headline of a
successful TV advertising program introducing the
little Volkswagen Beetle to America. That was in
1959, more than half a century ago.
Since then it seems the world has gone from
thinking small to thinking big -- too big if you
ask me -- about everything from supersized fast
food platters with 3,500 calories to 15-deck
cruise ships for 3,500 guests.
I applaud the cruise ship industry for introducing
cruising to so many but I have to say that as
cruise ships get larger they have more to do with
big plates of food and onboard entertainment than
enjoying the wild blue wonder and visiting ports
The new Freedom of the Seas is the largest
luxury cruise ship in the world. It's 1,120 feet
long, 184 feet wide, 208 feet tall. They should
call it Freedom from the Seas because of
all of the gee-whiz stuff onboard, like a little
river, a waterfall and sculptures shooting jets of
water. It even has geysers shooting from "the
It has a mall for shopping, eating, entertainment
– They call it the "Royal Promenade" – and at
night they put on "street" parades with music and
Geysers shooting from the ground? Street parades?
It seems like they're trying hard to make you
think you're not on a boat but terra firma, and
terra firma offering the same thing you have at
home. Then why take a cruise? Save money. You can
visit your local mall for shopping, eating and
As you also may know, cruise ship accidents have
been in the news lately. Costa Concordia
ran aground and capsized off the coast of Italy.
Costa Allegra had an engine fire and
drifted in the Indian Ocean. Costa Europa
rammed a pier in Egypt. Periodically, nasty
stomach viruses spread among dozens of passengers
and the vessel has to return to port prematurely.
All this has prompted some to rethink their next
Well, how about something with two cabins instead
of 2,000, something for four friends instead of
4,000 strangers? Instead of 24 buffet lines how
about a vessel with a stove and fridge and you get
to be the chef?
May I suggest that you not cruise a rocky coast
but rather a glassy-smooth waterway framed by
barrier islands and mangrove wilderness? Alas, at
night they don't put on street parades, but you
and your friends can sit on the bridge and watch
the sun go down. There is no after-dark laser show
but you might see a comet streak across the sky.
This vessel doesn't have an activities director.
Well, it does, actually. You are the
activities director. Just tell the captain you
want to collect shells on the Sanibel Island
beach, eat a cheeseburger in paradise on Cabbage
Key and cap off the day with a Crème Brulee at the
Collier Inn restaurant on Useppa Island.
Yes, I'm suggesting your next cruise be aboard a
small charter yacht, not a cruise ship. I'm
suggesting your next cruise be on a vessel that
departs when you want to depart, goes where you
want to go, and stops and starts at your command.
If you're considering another cruise, I have a