Sailing Into Controversy
Let's see. What are the three topics you're never supposed to bring up in casual conversation? Politics, religion and ... uh...
I know, cruising!
Yeah, those first two can ignite the occasional minor squabble, but if it's World War III you're in the mood for at the next cocktail party, just let it delicately drop that you're planning to go on a cruise in the near future. Next, hum a little "If My Friends Could See Me Now." Then take three steps back and watch as your guests immediately devolve into two camps.
In one corner there will be the AGONIES: "Are you [redacted] kidding me? I'd rather die than be trapped on a boat with a bunch of 95-year-old, chain-smoking slot machine hoarders, not to mention the chaise longue-hogging spawn shaking their groove thangs at the Time Warp disco."
On the other side of the room you'll find the ECSTASIES: "Oh, you're sailing on the Epitome? You could hardly do better when it comes to intimate, mid-size boats with teak promenades, simulated golf, a cabaret/juggling act and gigantic sculptured mermaids hanging in the atrium."
What is it about cruising that's so polarizing? The answer, I think, goes to our deepest ideas of what a vacation is. (By the way, watch for our special cruise issue this Sunday!) For some, there's something mentally claustrophobic (and sometimes physically too) about putting yourself in the company of a thousand strangers, watching as their most intimate holiday habits unfold, and then retiring to a bunk bed in a 100-square-foot room.
But there's also something liberating too. How else would you be able to visit 5 countries in 7 days? How else could parents get a little alone time and know that their kids were having just as much fun at the Castaway clubhouse?
Or maybe there's some other explanation for cruising's opposing camps? What about you? Are you a cruise-lover or hater? An Agony or an Ecstasy?
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