Not even a minesweeper in my case – that being the lowliest rank of naval vessel known to yours truly.
I know cruising (the type involving a large boat) is very popular these days, but it holds no appeal for me at all. I dislike the idea of being trapped in a relatively small space where everything comes from the same supplier or their chosen concessionaires. I know that the boat will dock from time-to-time and realise that in real life I seldom travel more than a couple of miles from home, but still the whole experience smacks of corporate claustrophobia.
However, many do seek just such a source of holiday fun and I now live in (or at least very near) what I assume to be the UK’s premier port for cruise liners. I regularly see them when I’m near the docks and the modern ships are truly vast. They tower over all of the more land-bound buildings of Southampton like sea-borne Gullivers in a south coast Lilliput. They also dwarf the container ships and other cargo vessels that also use the docks – presumably bringing the geejaws and knick-knacks from China without which modern society would soon collapse.
I wondered why the ships were quite so vast and did not have to wait long to find my answer. I often see the liners when I visit a hotel gym near the docks for my gymnastic training. If no ship is in, the hotel lobby is quiet – even deserted. However, when a liner calls the lobby is full of soon-to-be cruisers and their luggage. And what luggage it is! Many’s the couple carrying more “stuff” for their fortnight away than I own. I used to have no idea that wheeled luggage was available in such enormous sizes – like a cloth covered shipping container with plastic wheels – and people can’t survive with merely one, a whole gaggle is needed. Such is the size of the baggage that I suspect people smuggling on an industrial scale is taking place in the guise of cruising.
I am forced to conclude that 90% of these new super-liners is just cargo hold to store all of this luggage. It would also seem that the standard ship’s cabin is significantly larger than I had imagined – certainly larger than my flat (or two bed house before it).
I, myself, travel light – I have been around the world over the course of a month using only carry-on, hand luggage. And, this is in the days when they were rather stricter with bag sizes and weights than is true today: it would seem that you can now place a lead ingot the size of a small horse in the overhead locker without the flight crew batting an eyelid. I dislike being burdened with a heavy bag while away, and modern technology has made this so much easier. In days of yore, I have been forced to post books back to myself while away to provide room to buy new reading material – but no more. I also object to wheeled suitcases as they are a menace to society – so bear the full weight of any luggage I choose to take with me. When my long planned coup d’état finally reaches fruition and I am installed as a (mostly) benign despot, wheeled luggage will be banned – or at the very least all users will be required to have a licence to prove their ability to operate one safely and courteously. Penalty points and fines will be issued for mis-use of such luggage and the licence revoked for repeat offenders. I think we can all agree that this is an outcome devoutly to be wished and look forward to your unquestioning support come my glorious revolution!