I know a lot of people who sing the praises of cruising. Book your vacation on a boat, see the odd port of call and sleep in the same bed each night.
Taking a cruise through the Mediterranean or the Caribbean sounds like a great idea. Warm weather, calm seas, good food, how can you go wrong? Well, there is the cost, which has managed to deter me so far – I’m rather frugal.
My wife suggested something perhaps more manageable. A cruise of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River. A great idea, until I realized the cruise was three hours long.
When I heard that, I really didn’t want to set foot on the boat. I knew bad things were sure to happen.
It was not a rational response, but perhaps an understandable one. There are certain things that will trigger a response from my childhood. Say to me (or probably to anyone of my generation) the phrase “three hour tour” and we immediately flash back to a 1960 s television show, Gilligan’s Island, based on a “three hour cruise” that went horribly wrong.
However, it was our wedding anniversary and we were going to be in the area. My wife had been on an excursion there before, but I hadn’t. Therefore it was to me that the task of finding an appropriate voyage was delegated.
It wasn’t an easy choice – there are several different options if you want to see the islands by boat. You can leave from Kingston, Rockport or Gananoque on the Canadian side. You can stop at Boldt Castle (if you have your passport with you, the castle in is the US). You can have a lunch or dinner cruise. You can cruise for an hour, or two or three.
So I made my choices and we hit the water. I figured three hours was about right – we had come a long way, night as well get our money’s worth and the difference in price wasn’t that much. And none of the crew looked like Gilligan.
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, not too hot, the sun was shining. The paddle-wheeler, which could hold several hundred people, was I think about half full.
Just admiring the scenery is not my thing. Fortunately there was recorded commentary on the boat to give us some idea of what we were seeing. Unfortunately someone thought it would be funny if half the commentary came from someone supposedly in character of nineteenth century Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald. It was juvenile at best and I was embarrassed that tourists from all over the world were being exposed to this distinctly unfunny attempt at Canadian humour.
Despite that, I would recommend it as an activity. You could argue that three hours wasn’t long enough. You could also say it was just right.
Unlike Gilligan and the passengers on the S.S. Minnow, we made it back to shore without mishap. No getting stranded on a tropical island for us!
With the passage of time I realize that for the activity to have been more enjoyable, I would have liked a stop or two. Exploring the islands would be interesting in some cases, but the people who live there might not be too thrilled at the influx of tourists treating them like zoo animals.
Maybe next time I’ll bring my passport and select the Boldt Castle cruise. That might satisfy my desire to explore.