For reasons that will become clearer in future posts, I have to be in Bangkok by the last week of this month.
I checked my Qantas frequent flyer points* with the view to making a direct flight from Brisbane. But I discovered that for about the same number of points I could go first to somewhere I’d never been before — and I’m always up for that.
A former colleague of mine has travelled to more than 100 countries. I don’t know if it’s his aim to visit them all, as others have done, but it’s a fairly impressive tally nonetheless.
And, as far as I know, he doesn’t just dash in and out. He takes his time to see the sights, meet people and go off the beaten track. My country tally is about half of his, but I don’t see it as a competition.
Those who commit these acts choose their targets carefully: they want to disrupt the daily lives of residents and to persuade would-be visitors to stay away. Their aims are to inflict immediate damage and to create long-term economic harm.
People take cruises for many reasons. So, apart from the niche players in the market who cater to very specific interests, cruise companies have to design their ships to provide something for everyone.
That means paying close attention to the menu, the shore excursions, the amenities and, crucially, the entertainment program.
“Be careful what you wish for.” It’s an adage that applies in many circumstances.
And right now it’s germane to the issue of passenger comfort on commercial aircraft. It seems that we are getting squeezed on like sardines because that’s what comes with the lower fares that we demand.
Along with other passengers on my recent cruise on the Pacific Aria to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, I missed out on two out of three scheduled port calls due to bad weather.
I could complain, I could ask for compensation — which wouldn’t be forthcoming, since this eventuality is covered in the fine print — but, while I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to see Noumea and Mare, I believe it was the right call.
As a solo traveller who likes cruising, I’m always desperate to find a fair deal in a market that’s clearly geared towards groups of two or more.
I understand why there has traditionally been a bias towards catering for couples and families, but times are changing and more people — young, old and in the middle — are travelling on their own. With this in mind, I sometimes get riled when a see “deal” that is patently biased against solo travellers.
I’m having a little trouble posting to this blog from the middle of the South Pacific. I am, however, updating Instagram and Twitter (see the menu at left for links). There are also new cruise-ship-related articles by me here and here.
Meanwhile, on the Pacific Aria, bad weather has meant the cancellation of stops in Noumea and Mare, so we’re steaming towards Port Vila. It’s a bit bumpy ..