Go West Old Man - Fall 2005 travel blog

British Columbia coast

more BC coast

you guessed it!

small versus large

A day spent mostly at sea, bookended by mimosas in the morning and cherries jubilee in the evening. Even walking the deck at a brisk pace can hardly make a dent in the wonderful food we have been consuming in prodigious amounts. I only walk for an hour, but I could easily walk for two. The scenery going by is ever changing and ever beautiful and a pair of dolphins pass from one side of the ship to the other as I walk, seemingly accompanying me as I labor. The only drawback to walking on this ship is the fact that the sole deck that has a continuous deck is also ringed by cabins. Fourteen laps equal a mile and each lap is marked by someone opening their cabin door inadvertently in my face. We have been on the Clipper once before and my arms suffered a similar black and blue fate.

This gets me to thinking about the relative merits of large ships versus small. Many of our fellow passengers are repeat Clipper passengers and rabid fans. Every time we pass a large cruise ship, they mutter under their breaths about how they could not stand to be on such a large vessel with its impersonal approach and long lines. Gentle questioning on our part usually reveals the fact that these folks have never been on a large cruise ship.

Those who know and love us are more than aware of the fact that we have been on over fifty cruises and never met a cruise we didn't like. However, to be fair, size both large and small, has definite pros and cons. My comments above allude to one problem here. The ship is so small there is nowhere to go, sometimes an advantage for the navigationally impaired such as myself. Especially when the weather is too cool or cloudy to sit on the deck, there is one lounge where we all congregate. There is never an entertainment choice. If they are showing a documentary on whales, you watch it or go to bed. The close proximity makes it much easier to meet people. I feel less need to do so this time since we have brought our good friends with us, but still the opportunity to exchange good travel stories is a plus.

The food is outstanding on this ship. Every day at 4pm warm chocolate chip cookies, Clipper Chippers, are brought to the lounge and we devour them like hungry orcas. There are choices on the dining room menu, but the big guys clearly can offer a larger selection. That is even more the case in the buffet area where the lunch menu is soup, sandwiches, salad and pie every day.

Many of the things we do on shore are included in the price. That's not the case for the big guys. However, the shore excursions we can choose from to purchase are limited in variety. Given the more elderly nature of our fellow guests, they tend to be sedate and museum oriented. I would have liked a kayak trip or mountain hike along the way.

When we arrive in a small port, our tiny group of 100+ is never larger than the town we are visiting, although we came pretty close in Alert Bay. However, many of the ports we visited were also visited by other larger ships and the ports were overwhelmed anyway.

In terms of learning this ship has been outstanding. Although most ships who sail through Glacier Bay have at least one naturalist one board to explain over the intercom what is going on there, we have two naturalists and an Indian who explains the cultural aspects of the area to us. Their lectures are always well attended, although some in the audience end up dozing, perhaps from over eating! Which is why whenever someone asks me, which was your favorite cruise, I always answer, "The next one."

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