WHERE I FELL FOR CRUISING
Converted by the Kimberley, a latecomer to cruising discovers he loves to go with the flow
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