“Mysterious Mediterranean” the brochure touts. I’m not sure I want to uncover the mysteries of the Mediterranean, but the brochure also talks about a cruise called the “Magical Mediterranean.” Whichever it is, I can tell you that by the end of this blog I will know how to spell Mediterranean which, if my nearly non-existent Latin is correct, means something like middle of the earth. But I could be wrong.
This is all brought on because somebody sold my info to Oceania Cruises and they diligently send me a brochure every 3 weeks touting their cruises which really do look exceptional. The brochure tells me that I can have “endless adventures” and is chock-full of pictures of happy couples dancing, getting massaged, taking cooking classes and zipping through the streets of Rome on a Vespa. Everybody is slender and well dressed and smiling like there’s no tomorrow. And there’s not a child in sight. It’s all for grown-ups. The blurbs trumpet: “Your World. Your Way,” and go on to cater to my “love of food” “Passion for travel,” “Health and Wellness.” It assures me that their ships are intimate & luxurious. And not only that, they offer free air fare and all kinds of upgrades. By the time I’m done reading everything, I’m almost convinced that I’d be a fool to stay home. Here’s a sample of some of them:
Cloisters of Culture. This is a ten day cruise from Barcelona to Rome. We stop in nine ports including Palmyra, San Tropez, Monte Carlo, Malta and Capri. I’m wondering — are there cloisters in all those locations? Or maybe just culture stuff. Turning the page, we come to Retreats and Rivieras. Twelve days from Rome to Barcelona. We just came to Rome from Barcelona in ten days, so what’s the difference? Maybe we’re going against the tide so it takes a couple of days longer to get back.
So what’s the cost of all this? Well, if you’re a cheapskate and can live with an indoor cabin and don’t want the “free airfare” and other upgrades, you can do this for $3,199. For another $300 you can have an ocean view stateroom. Much better. If you want a veranda so you can sit on your stateroom’s balcony while you sip your morning coffee which was delivered by your smiling steward, you’re looking at $5,599. After that it gets a bit pricey. Still, not bad for 12 days of being fed and pampered. But it isn’t simply all this luxury that compels me to read every page; no, what intrigues me the most are the names they have dubbed these various cruises. Let me share some with you:
There’s “Medieval Medley” (Barcelona to Athens), “Coasts, Cliffs and Canals” (Monte Carlo to Venice), “Wineries and Wonders,” “Momentous Mediterranean,” “Palaces, Parks and Piazzas,” “Italy and the Ionian,” “Center of Civilization,” “Relics and Retreats,” and “Mediterranean Mosaic.” There are lots more, but I just chose ones with alliteration. There’s also the “Vibrant Mediterranean,” “Mediterranean Gallery,” “Mediterranean Sojourn,” and “Mediterranean Circle.” Do you feel like you are going around in circles? I do! My head is spinning. Most of them seem to run between Spain and Italy with stops in France and an occasional island thrown in.
Do they just grab the dictionary and look under M for anything that could be matched with Mediterranean (almost got it), or print out bunches of words starting with the same letter and shuffle them around until something clicks? Like Italy and the Ionian.
But if you think they just go to Middle Earth, you would be wrong. Way wrong. They go to exotic locales, too, like Papeete (Legends and Lagoons), the “Colorful Caribbean,” South America, Alaska and I’m guessing anyplace else that has water nearby which eliminates Las Vegas. (Sigh.) But as delightful as all that sounds, right at this moment in history, going on a cruise is the last thing anyone would want to do. A friend recently told me he paid for a one week cruise and they threw in another three weeks — the last three, sadly, were in quarantine.
Well, perhaps living in the desert isn’t so bad.