Cruising to History: Graham Gendall Norton Explores the Opportunities Open to Those Who like to Sail into the Past

By Norton, Graham Gendall | History Today, October 2007 | Go to article overview

Cruising to History: Graham Gendall Norton Explores the Opportunities Open to Those Who like to Sail into the Past


Norton, Graham Gendall, History Today


MARGARET, DUCHESS OF ARGYLE, who lived the luxurious life of an international socialite (and was the guilty party in a scandalous divorce in 1963) eventually fell victim to Alzheimer's disease and was confined to a nursing home in Pimlico. 'How depressing for her', said someone to a recent visitor. 'Not at all', was the reply. 'She thinks she is on a world cruise.'

There is something mind-numbing about the largest cruise ships, now carrying over 3,500 passengers. Diversions on one include 'an ice-skating rink, rock-climbing wall, mini nine-hole golf, a seven-storey shopping mall', plus a casino, restaurants, cafes and bars. A giant like this is Las Vegas on a keel. Some confine themselves to the Caribbean, and advertise their private islands as 'exclusive'--though you'll share a small sandy cay with several thousand others.

Cruise enthusiasts with what Edna Healey would have called a 'hinterland' of historical interest need not, however, despair. A cruise can still be a pleasure to the mind as well as the body. And if the ship sails from the UK, you can avoid the queues and the tension now inevitable at airports. On reaching your cabin, you unpack just the once, and then you can contemplate how much greener it will be to sail than to fly to the ports of call, and look forward to both the journey and the arrivals.

The demand for 'no-fly' cruises out of UK harbours has grown tremendously, with more and more sailings from regional ports. Some of these cruises are to the premier European cruising destination, the Mediterranean, where five millennia and more of historical sites are on the itinerary. Some go to the Norwegian fjords, where Bergen, a Hanseatic League city with Edvard Grieg's home nearby, and Stavanger, with its cathedral dating from the 1120s and which shares with Liverpool the designation of European City of Culture 2008, seem always to be included. The number of cruises in the Baltic is increasing rapidly, with historically rich ports of call: the Scandinavian capitals, and those of the Baltic states--Riga, medieval Tallinn--and, at the eastern extremity, St Petersburg.

It is also possible to take a cruise for which you only fly once, to join the ship overseas, or to return home. Known as a 'repositioning' cruise, here the ship moves to the port where it will be based for its regional itinerary: Barbados for the Caribbean, or Copenhagen or Stockholm for the Baltic.

As an on-board lecturer on aspects of eastern Caribbean history, I particularly enjoy the return repositioning, sailing back to Britain and arriving without a hint of jet-lag, usually via the Azores or Madeira. Repositionings are sometimes available to and from the Mediterranean. If you like being at sea for some days, you should investigate them, as discounted fares are often available.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Feeding the yearning for winter sun, the Caribbean is by far the biggest salt-water cruising destination. The Med is next; there has recently been an increase in the North African ports available, particularly Libya for its splendid classical sites, such as Leptis Magna. Some of these cruises go on to Turkey and the Black Sea or feature the latter with connections by air. River cruises are also burgeoning in popularity: down the Danube from Austria to the Black Sea, say, or on the Rhine. The Nile, the great rivers of Russia, China and the United States are also covered.

Cruises exist to the Arctic and Antarctic in their respective summers and to Alaska, but for other parts of the globe, world cruises are often sold in segments so you may choose to visit just the coastal regions of, say, South America, Southern Asia or Australasia, flying out to join the ship.

But what of specialist cruises, with distinguished historical and cultural lecturers on board? Apart from the set lectures, speakers can be encountered informally, on deck, over drinks, at dinner and during day trips on land. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Cruising to History: Graham Gendall Norton Explores the Opportunities Open to Those Who like to Sail into the Past
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.