By Karl Arnold Belser
23 August 2015

I am not a fan of cruises. To me, they are boring compared to land travel. However, I agreed to take my partner Jackie on a cruise to Alaska for her 70th birthday. I've been to Alaska before, 30 years ago, and I find it less interesting than most places on earth.

Jackie and I went on the cruise with three other square dance couples. This party of eight people would by itself make the trip interesting. Further one of the people, Mike, had been a travel agent and he set us up with a full itinerary of activities, including a Segway tour an Anchorage and a personally guided tour in Juneau. I actually expected the tour to be outstanding.

The problem was that I got sick immediately on entering the cruise ship. Because five out of eight of us got sick, I suspect that the problem was with the ship. I got pneumonia in which I coughed up blood for six days. I didn't go to the ships doctor because I would have been quarantined and have missed all of the shore excursions that I had paid for.  I am still not well one week after the end of the cruise, even though I have been taking antibiotics. My Kaiser doctor confidentially pointed out that sickness after cruises like this are very common.

Cruises to Alaska are expensive, and I noted that a majority of the people were elderly, with a median age between sixty and seventy. Many were in marginal health.  Since there are about one million Alaskan cruise passengers every YEAR, I realized that these people were wealthy. After all social security can easily pay for cruises. I suspect that the elderly population is one of the most affluent parts of the American society.

i will be reluctant to take any other cruises. It just seems like the risk of disease in old age is too great.
Last updated August 23, 2015
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