There are many deemed luxuries on cruise ships \u2013 the 5-star living, the facilities, the decor and the amazing variety of food, the 5-star service people and so on.\nBut to me the main attraction of such a luxury cruise, is the people that take such cruises!\nThe number of delightful, intellectual conversations that I have had with at least 2 dozen different people who are not only from various places but also from different professions and different stages of life and differing viewpoints far exceeds the conversations I would have in any one of my hometowns in a similar period.\nSomerset Maugham left an indelible mark on me. He remained my favorite author for a whole decade and through his readings on travels through geographies and the minds of the people he observed, I formed a lot of my personality. His travels that offered the platform for his psychological observations, were set across South East Asia and sounded romantic and exotic.\nI did not ever plan to follow in his footsteps so literally but it appears that I am doing so \u2013 exploring the region by boat.\nIn most of his books he mentions salons \u2013 hosted by some society gent or lady \u2013 to which artists & writers & intellectuals were invited and he describes many afternoons in which the rooms were potent with ideas and discussions.\nThese salons came to be the\u00a0 ideal way \u2013 a dream way to spend an afternoon.\nHowever in real life I failed at both \u2013 finding such gatherings to attend or engineering such gatherings.\nBut on the cruise I experienced these \u2013 and my reality matched my imagination \u2013 at least in concept.\nThe travel was peppered with fun discussions with highly accomplished people all with the wealth of experience and education behind them \u2013 and all of this served in a platter of extreme western courtesies and politeness. The most inspiring were the senior ladies, who with a sparkling life behind them, were still feisty enough to take this journey across to the other side of their world, literally and metaphorically, and enjoy it all with a gentle embrace of acceptance & delight. It was through them that I learned the most \u2013 about perspectives, about attitudes and about spirit.\nThis feature is likely possible only on travel that lasts long enough for people to get to know each other, where people from all randomised quarters are thrown together i.e. a cruise. Of course it helped that as a speaker I became known to people and people did not hesitate to approach me for a discussion.\nI would not mind the lack of luxury on a bumboat. However, if a luxury cruise ship is where such wonderful people & my dream salons may be found, then I am willing to exchange the adventure of sailing in a bumboat for the luxury of a cruise ship.\nFor, here I may partake not only literally of\u00a0 superb Cakes & Ale, but also of the magical stimulating aura described in the book by Maugham \u2018Cakes & Ale\u201d\njm\nJan 2015\nThe post The Luxury on a Cruise Ship \u2013 Cakes & Ale appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.