We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Call me stupid, I like riding on freighters. I go to sea to 'see' the sea and enjoy the quiet and solitude. I'm not there for a mobile hotel 6. (Spent way too much time at sea and not seeing anything).
I've mentioned this before, perhaps even on this blog, but the best bet is the Alaska Marine Highway from Bellingham WA to Skagway AK. Ships are nothing as large as the QE shown above. Here, it's pay-as-you-go. One can even set up a tent and camp on the upper deck below the stacks, which I think is still free. You want to take a car? You pay by size. You want a stateroom? You buy one. You want one with a view? A little more. You're camping on deck and want a shower? You pay for a shower. You want a meal? Go to the cafeteria and pay for it (best corned beef hash I've ever had, on MV Taku in 1990). And there is no dress code, so leave the tux at home. You want a beer? Go to the bar. And the views are spectacular; in, fact, the same ones to be had if you're on a Cruise Line trip. YMMV (I'm not a fan of cruises but this was an expedient means of getting to AK, with a car, for an extended trip that summer).
In early September of 1995, we cruised to Anchorage, Alaska aboard the Rotterdam - the old one, the last season she ran before being replaced by the present one - it was a hugely satisfying trip, in many ways. Holland-American does, indeed, give you a very good trip, and the ship was just the right size, we thought - big enough to be comfortable, small enough to get really, really close to glaciers and such.
We just returned from a "trial" cruise - well for me at least. The Mrs. has been on several cruises with friends, collegues and her sister. It just never interested me - I would prefer to navigate my own boat on something like this, but the Mrs. is not a small boat person. Small boat being defined as under 100' LOA. :>)
Anyway, the Mrs. talked me into a six day cruise to Key West, Freeport and Nassau out of Charleston, SC on the Carnival Fantasy. 865 feet long, draws 26 feet, 900 crew and 2,000 passengers - Italian command crew. Ship obviously was in need of a refit and refurb - prop vibration was very noticable (to somebody like me anyway) and the stabilizers weren't working as the ship would roll with just a little encouragement from a wind gust and with the wave state being slow long rollers head-on, the ship moved quite a bit - more pitch and roll than I would have expected anyway. Again, something that nobody else would notice except for me.
Up close, the ship looked like it needed a good sand blast and paint job. The interior was in good shape though which was a plus.
However, I did have fun, but not in the "normal" way with shipboard activities. As it happened, there were only two areas on the ship where smoking was allowed - the port side stern outdoor veranda and the port side stern of the "sports" bar. When we left Charleston, I set up camp on the veranda on our way to Key West and as it happened, I was out for my late evening cigar and playing with the Navionics marine chart map 'Droid app on the first night out of Charleston when the ship's Second Officer and Chief Engineer came out for the same thing (funny thing - they were Italian heritage, but the Second was from New York and the CE was from Boston). They were interested in my smart phone and the charting capability, we started talking and a couple of hours later, I got an invite to the bridge, a tour of the engineering plant and a chance to watch the docking process up close and personal. Professional courtesy don't you know. WHOO HOO!!!
I agree with you - it felt more like a mobile hotel than a "ship" or "boat". I'd probably do another cruise - I'll have to mention the smaller Holland-America boats to the Mrs and see if that will work for her.
PS: Freeport is a hell hole and Nassau a little better. If it wasn't for the fact that I picked up a Tag Hauer watch at 1/3 the stateside price onboard the ship, the touristy stuff would have been a bust. :>)
Star Clipper and Star Flyer are sailing cruise ships...3 masts, 36K sq ft sail area, about 170 passengers. I was on Star Clipper for a week in the Mediterranean...they also sail in the Caribbean, and transatlantic passages are available also.
The skipper was a German guy who said his lifelong dream had been to captain a sailing vessel