While we wait for cruising to come back into our lives, we’ve been asking cruising from all over the world to share their cruise stories from over the years. Our readers have emailed, tweeted, commented and videotaped themselves sharing their favorite cruise memories from over the years and many shared a positive outlook for the future of the industry! Today’s memory was sent in by Floyd McWilliams who took a Baltic cruise with his late wife in 2009. His memories of the cruise and his wife are poignant reminders of how important it is to spend quality time with the people we care about.
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It’s the People We Cruise With
Our (my deceased wife and I) Baltic cruise in 2009. What a cruise: Went out on our veranda at 2:00 am and there was the Arctic sun! We saw the Scandinavian nations, Estonia, Gdania (Gdansk), and St. Petersberg. This trip would have been insanely complicated had it not been a cruise. We did a dozen cruises before my darling died of ALS. I have done 6 more since.
I included the picture of our dinner table, because we were fortunate to be seated with an interesting and accomplished group of people. The dinners were one of the reasons this trip was so memorable.
We flew to Copenhagen where we boarded our ship. Before boarding we saw the little mermaid, and we made a point of going to a bakery, and eating Danish rolls. The baker said he was always amused at “Americans and our (the Danes) Danish roll.” Of course, there is no such thing as an arch-typical Danish roll, they bake many different varieties of rolls just as bakers around the world do.
We were fortunate to arrive in Talinn, Estonia during the annual meeting of the national clergy, and looked around the church where they were convening. I bought an icon in that church depicting the patron saint of Estonia: Saint Victor.
We stayed two days in St. Petersburg. I learned that St. Petersburg is sometimes called the “Venice of the North” because it is also built on islands and canals. One of the reasons I love travel is because I learn so much. Another thing I learned was that Peter the Great tried to relate to his people. He learned how to carpenter, and even practiced dentistry. A droll fact is that he tried to go about his tsardom incognito. Sure, there were many 6’8″ Russians back in the day!
I also included the home of Lech Walesa. Note how modest it is. He is one of the leaders I most admire because it wasn’t about him: it was about Poland, God, and liberty.
As I mentioned initially, this trip would have been very complex had it not been a cruise. The topography of Scandinavia would make bus travel arduous, as much of the travel would consist of skirting the fjords. But, since most of the populations of Scandinavia are near the Baltic, our cruise ship made for the ideal “floating hotel/bus.”
-Floyd McWilliams, PhD