It’s a weird feeling – doing a life boat drill – especially after hearing about the disaster off the coast of Italy with the Costa Concordia. So often we tend to shrug off these exercises as something that has to be done but is a bit of a nuisance – an interruption of our cruise vacation. Thank goodness most cruise lines take the life boat drill very seriously. Our drill on Windstar’s Windsurf required us to attend our muster station on the deck next to our lifeboat with our life jackets on. A roll call took place and crew members were not satisfied until all their assigned cabins and passengers were accounted for.
You will know by now that I love to cruise and the Costa accident certainly does not put me off cruising. It certainly is terrible that people died in this incident but it is also pretty incredible to think that there were 4200 people on that cruise ship and at this stage it seems that just about all of them got off the ship.
It does bring up a good question however and one that has been nagging at me for a few years now. How big can you go? Today there are bigger ships with more decks, more cabins and more passengers and the necessary crew and staff to serve them. Even ordinary embarking and disembarking is an exercise requiring military type planning.
Today’s mega ships are more like shopping malls on the water and cruise lines try to outdo each other with more gimmicks like ice skating, zip lining, rock climbing – my goodness whatever happened to the good old love of the sea.
That’s what I am experiencing here on the Windstar. No gimmicks – just the world’s largest yacht with 312 guests on board. This five masted yacht has made good use so far of its sails making the whole process of cruising the Caribbean islands an exercise in good environmental responsibility – wind-power instead of fuel-power. Sitting out on the teak decks hearing the crack of the sails above is just lovely. Sure we are still being pampered with fine food and sophisticated surroundings but it seems that we are at one with the sea and the winds and the waves.