Thursday, April 12, 2012
Several years ago, I had debated attending a local retreat, but the price tag was $3500 for the week, and I wasn’t sure the particular writer in resident (a respected poet) was quite right for my needs. I hemed and hawed, when Mary said, “You know, I could put you on a cruise for half that.” The more we thought about it, the more sense that made. A cheap inside cabin is just big enough to be a good womb-like office space for uninterrupted writing; when I need a break, there is the running track on deck, better food than any writer’s retreat, including often room service; staff to clean your cabin and replace your ice; evening entertainment; and the occasional exotic local if one wants to go ashore for some input or proper pacing space. Ever since, Mary has booked me on an annual writers retreat. Mary finds a bargain cruise (usually a repositioning cruise, where the ships are really just moving from one site to another--say Mexico winter cruise to summer Alaskan cruise--and the fares are heavily discounted because there really aren’t any interesting stops) and away I go. This year, for example, she booked me on a four day cruise from San Deigo to Vancouver and Seattle for $360. You can’t stay in a decent hotel for four nights for $360, and that price includes Holland America meals and all the rest. So, not bad! This year, however, Mary included landcruising; which is to say, train travel to and from the cruise ship. But the principle is the same: for reasonable price I get a small (okay, really small) private room; all meals; transportation to and from the cruise; and no distractions. And, as often as not, really interesting dinner conversation.