I'm Thinking about Taking a Luxury Cruise: Early Planning
I've been on four cruises so far.
They were sponsored by the United States Army.
I was paid $ 169.00 each month while on these cruises. (Now days my rank of Sergeant First Class, E-6, would make 14 times that much.)
Also, the cruises were free. You can not beat that.
Now, I'm thinking of taking one of those luxury cruises like you see on television.
First, I'll give you a rundown on each Army-sponsored cruise. I know you are hanging on the edge of your seat to hear about them. I'll be brief.
Cruise I: The Orient. It's every bit as exotic and enchanting as you imagine it to be.
We steamed from San Francisco to Yokohama, Japan on what is called the Great Circle Route up along the Aleutian Islands where the Seventh Division fosted the Japanese during World War II. I did not know it then, but I was about to join that very division in Korea.
This cruise featured rough seas, the waves breaking over the bow of our ship for 14 days, flying fishes, garbage-eating fishes, albatrosses and other sea birds, endless sea sickness for some, endless poker for others, the exhilaration of the ship's prop spending most of it's time spinning in the air, bean soup for every meal, and an occasional movie from an abandoned Hollywood warehouse. The previous crossing has featured whale bashing but we did not see any whales nor did we steam into one. Our cruise guide blasted through each day: “All Troops off the Bow! This trip featured a train ride from Tokyo to Sasebo, Japan.
Cruise II: Korea. The Land of the Morning Calm (which was good after fighting all night.)
This was on the Japanese luxury liner the Congo Maru. (The ship sunk on a latter crossing but was salvaged.) The cruise featured an overnight steam from Sasebo, Japan to Pusan Korea, bamboo mats on the deck to sleep on out under the stars, choppy seas that make everyone want to puke, intimate contact with fellow travelers featuring a bayonet in one ear and a boot in the other. This cruise also featured a train ride in box cars with boards to sleep on and one stop to grab a couple of apples from quaint along-the-track vendors.
Cruise III: Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun
This was like Cruise II but in a more favorable direction.
Cruise III Leg I: Hawaii. Trade winds and tropics set a romantic mood in the Hawaiian Islands and South Pacific.
This trip featured fog for 23 days. We saw the sun only on the day we spent in Hawaii as we unloaded the coffins of dead GIs to no fanfare.
I was sergeant of the guard so I did not see the Island at that time, but I did see how drunk the GIs could get in Hawaii and that not one of them had taken time to see what I wanted to see, the island.
Cruise III Leg II: Seattle. Sail across Puget Sound in the fog.
This cruise featured a bus ride to Fort Lewis which terrorized all the GIs because the driver was going almost 30 miles an hour. That was way too fast for a bunch of ground-pounders who had walked the hills and fields of Korea.
At Fort Lewis we were given a steak that was so tough that not even we fighting men could chew it.
Let's Prepare for that Luxury Cruise
Ah, yes! Cruising the seven seas and the zillion food tables on a luxury liner will be a blast.
But wait! We have an alternative. We can cruise the world or any part of it by freighter. You can cruise for $ 90 to $ 130 a day which includes three meals, walks on the deck, visits to the bridge, chats with officers and crew members, video movies, swimming if you are fast and can keep up with the ship (I'm only kidding; they have swimming pools-at least some of them), studying wildlife (but no night life), and talking to your navel (belly button). You will not need your tux on a freighter cruise. You also will not be shoulder to shoulder with a zillion other passengers. Take a copy of War and Peace . Learn more at http://www.freighterworld.com
What, you are ready to face the crowds on a Luxury ship?
For general information on luxury cruises including accommodations and activities try: http://tinyurl.com/ots5g and [http://www.freetraveltips.com/Cruises/]
You many need a passport or other documentation for your cruise. For information go to: [http://www.freetraveltips.com/Cruises/Cruises13.htm#70]
If you are taking a cruise, you will need insurance.
What if you can not go because of an illness or a family problem? Do not think you will get your money back.
What if you get sick on the ship? Do not think your regular insurance will pay the medical bills.
What if you have your wallet stolen in port? Do not think you will get it back.
No, you must have insurance. You can get it from a reliable firm like CSA Travel online and you will be able to chat with an agent. Go to: http://www.csatravelprotection.com/
What do I need to pack?
That depends on how and to where you are traveling. For complete information go to: [http://www.freetraveltips.com/Cruises/Cruises14.htm#00top] and to the site of your cruise line.
Plan ahead for the area you plan to visit. A good place to do this is at: [http://www.emoryhealthcare.org/departments/travelwell/patient_info/patient_guide.html]
The probability of a something unfortunate happening on your cruise is about the same as if you stayed at home in a big city. Crimes occur, fires occur, and accidents occur. Before you go, see what the Department of State says about safety abroad: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/safety/safety_1747.html
With good planning, you can have a great trip to that place you've always wanted to visit. You will gain new friends and fond memories.
Watch for me!
I'll be on the fantail looking at the garbage-eating fish.
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copyright © 2006 John T. Jones, Ph.D.