WHERE I FELL FOR CRUIS­ING

Con­verted by the Kim­ber­ley, a late­comer to cruis­ing dis­cov­ers he loves to go with the flow

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - CRUISING - JOHN HUX­LEY

It’s day four of our Baltic Sea cruise, and we’re head­ing off on a guided tour of the world-fa­mous Her­mitage art col­lec­tion in Saint Peters­burg, Rus­sia. The pre­vi­ous day we had dropped into the Es­to­nian cap­i­tal of Tallinn, where our guide, An­neli, gave a glimpse of life un­der the old Soviet Union: “Ba­si­cally, they pre­tended to pay us, we pre­tended to work.”

The next day, we will be in Helsinki, Fin­land, sight­see­ing, swig­ging vodka and/or cran­berry juice from an ice­glass, and tak­ing a high-speed to­bog­gan ride, pulled by huskies through a dark deep-freeze igloo.

These “en­riched” ex­pe­ri­ences are just a few of the at­trac­tions on a packed, al­beit pricey, 15-day hol­i­day that in­cludes, among other won­ders, the Ber­lin Wall, the Nor­we­gian fjords and myr­iad is­lands of the Swedish cap­i­tal of Stock­holm.

Such are some of the world­wide won­ders made pos­si­ble – and com­fort­ably, con­ve­niently and rel­a­tively cheaply ac­ces­si­ble – by mod­ern-day cruise ships.

Like so many peo­ple of my baby boomer gen­er­a­tion, I must con­fess that I was a “late adopter” of cruise hol­i­days. They were, I be­lieved, too ex­pen­sive. Too shal­low. Too crowded – ei­ther by crazy fun-seek­ing teens or el­derly slow-mov­ing pen­sion­ers.

And, just too fran­tic. Like, seven, pos­si­bly eight, coun­tries in a fort­night.

Of course, there were some hol­i­days, some won­der­ful des­ti­na­tions, where a cruise ship is

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