For years I have daydreamed about leisurely cruises. Any waters actually: the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Baltic, and closer home, the Indian Ocean. Just the ‘idea image’ of azure blue lapping the sides of a ship gently trips me into a reverie. I become surreptitiously jealous when family and friends talk about their cruises and share their travel tales by bombarding us with emails and Instagrams. The wish you-were-here kind of messages, which are really telling you: ‘Look what a good time we are having while you are stuck in your boring routine and chores....’ They paint a picture of themselves as explorers of the Norwegian fjords perhaps or the Arctic, encountering glaciers or cavorting with polar bears. Not to forget the stopover in Saint Petersburg and its magnificent Hermitage Museum. Or, the quaint architecture and bazaars of Tallinn, the Estonian capital on the Baltic Sea.
But then, once the envious sentiments subside and I reign in my raging lust for travel, I remind myself that I went cruising thrice — even before I turned 11 years old. Long before most of my friends even set foot on any ship. It was in an era when one travelled to other continents by ocean liners. Of course, we (my family and I) were not going on a ‘cruise’: the ship was just a means of transport from one place to another. My father had been posted to Washington DC, and we were merely sailing from what w