An island in itself

The atrium of the Diamond Princess on her maiden voyage, 2004

“The most fascinating island you’ll ever visit on a big ship is the ship itself.”
Ashleigh Brilliant

Count me among the people who are hooked on cruising with their first voyage. Beyond the allure of waking up in new surroundings each morning, or the convenience of unpacking and checking in only one time, there is the undeniable marvel of the ship itself.  Modern cruise ships are floating cities, and each year the cruise lines seem to compete to see which can produce the most superlative ship.  Some go for size or “bells and whistles” while others emphasize luxury and elegance. All offer unlimited food and a wide variety of activities.

No matter your travel preferences or tastes, there seems to be something for everyone who can afford the fare.  While cruising is actually a cost-effective way to see many places in a short time, travel is expensive at best.  But even if you can’t afford to cruise this year, it’s fun to spend some time browsing the websites and ship plans of the various lines, or reading about the many itineraries and ports of call.  In fact, the anticipation of planning for a cruise– for months or even for years– is one of the best aspects of going on one.

This post was originally published seven years ago today. You can view the original with comments here.


  1. Good morning, Julia,
    I love to sleep on a boat. From the huge ferry that carried us to Sardinia, to the small ferry that carried us to Bukoba, to a houseboat on the St. Croix River, it’s fun!

    • Susan, I don’t believe I’ve ever had the chance to sleep on a boat, only on a ship (where it’s easy to forget you’re not on land). Still, even on a big ship, I love to wake up and feel the waves rocking me back to sleep!

  2. Unfortunately what the cruise I took had in store for me was seasickness.

    • Oh, Alan, I am so sorry to hear that! Jeff had a tendency to get seasick too. Once when we went sailing on the Santa Monica Bay with friends in a small sailboat, it was quite choppy. I loved it despite being 7 months pregnant at the time, but Jeff got very, very sick and was reluctant to take a cruise for many years. He loaded up on Dramamine to have on hand, but we made it a point to always sail on HUGE ships and choose cabins near the center of the ship where the motion was least bothersome. He never had any problems at all on any of the 8 cruises we took together. He loved it as much as I did. Maybe someday you can try again on one of these giant “floating cities” where you almost don’t know you are at sea (unless a storm hits, in which case, have that Dramamine on hand! 😀 )

      • Oh, I used the Dramamine the 1st day out.

        • Well, hopefully it made things better than they would have been without it.

          • It did. But I still felt as though I was at sea two weeks later.

            • Yes, when we first get off the boat I always have “sea legs” and then have to get used to dry ground again. Also, sometimes I still feel the boat rocking in my sleep, but I love that part!

              • Unfortunately we docked in New York City on return. Coble stone streets, sea legs, and polio didn’t mix well. So I took a dive before making it to our ride home. Just a few scrapes and bruises.

                • Oh dear. I’m sure you know better than I do that the ADA has made great improvements in such situations since the law passed decades ago, but it still has a LONG way to go. I’m glad you weren’t injured. My mother fell so often over the years, and when she was in the “elderly” phase, it always amazed us how she never broke a hip or any other bones. Perhaps nature compensated her with an extra-strong skeleton to match her iron will.

  3. Never have taken a cruise. Not sure if I want to be way out to sea, even though I love sailing and smaller boats–but closer to shores. But I am still intrigued; I would like to go to Alaska one day on a cruise ship.

    • Maybe a river cruise would be more to your liking. I do think that some people feel a sort of dread about not being able to see land. While we lived in Hawaii, Drew used to express his dislike of feeling as if he was stuck out in the middle of the ocean. I never had the slightest bit of that, since Oahu (where we lived) is a large, thriving area with a big city and all that entails. Surely, we could and often did drive from one shore to the other in relatively little time, but there was so much in between that I never felt isolated. If you cruise the inside passage of Alaska, you will be near land the entire time and maybe even in sight of it, so perhaps that would be a good way to start. The large ships are like cities in themselves so you might forget you are way out at sea.

      • Yes, a river cruise interests me greatly as I have a particular fondness for rivers and river life/history/geology. I would enjoy travelling the Mississippi, I think, to start!

        • I think that would be great fun. We lived in Memphis for 6 years, and my favorite thing about the city was the river.

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