Converted to cruising

I have never been what you would call a relaxed traveler. It shows on my face in the picture that the ship's photographer took as i boarded the Costa Lines' Amerikanis for my first cruise.

There I am standing on the gangway in the gorgeous Caribbean sunshine, holding a wool topcoat that I had put on that morning back in Boston. No doubt I am worrying about my pipes freezing while I'm away, or about the luggage that I felt behind at the San Juan airport. Quite frankly, my idea of a relaxing vacation has always been a week-long hike in a misty Green Mountains range where you carry everything you need on your back.

But by the time dinner was through, I had met some pleasant people, and I found myself looking forward to seeing them at my table each evening. Returning to my cabin to find my bed turned down, I realized that this was the first trip I had ever taken where I didn't have to push on to the next destination.

You can see quite a difference in the picture taken of me at the farewell dinner. And now if friends ask advice on a truly relaxing vacation, I don't suggest they take a hike -- I tell them to take a cruise.

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