OK, so it wasn't the Love Boat (like you didn't see that coming!), but I'm happy to have had the experience.

As a get away from it all experience, my cruise was lovely. At $6.99/minute for cell coverage, and $1/minute for internet access, I was mostly unplugged for 5 days, which pretty much never happens. I had two days at sea and it was amazing to watch from the Promenade deck as the ship skimmed over the water, leaving a wake of beautiful greens and blues, and white foam. I took some video footage of it, for which I've been called a "hippie," and now I'm just a little self conscious!

As a travel experience, cruising is not for me. At least not in Europe. I think cruising is great for people who want to see as many places as possible in the shortest amount of time. If I had limited time in Europe, or wanted to inflate my travel resume to impress people at cocktail parties (you'd be surprised!), it would be hard to beat. But I like to spend time in the places I visit, I want to know what a place really feels like, not just rattle off the list of places I've been. Traveler vs. tourist.

Dining was a definite low point of the experience, which is sad because food is one of my favorite parts of traveling. I knew going in that as a vegetarian I'd have limited options, but most of the food was very rich, yet not very good, and it wasn't worth the calories/damage to my arteries. It was like spending a week at the Hometown Buffet, except with a head waiter, fancy linens, and a lot of forks.

But... the Norwegian Fjords are the most beautiful natural scenery I've ever seen!

This photo was taken in Geiranger, Norway. I didn't leave the ship that day because about 85% of my shipmates were of advanced age/limited mobility, so it took awhile to get them tendered. By the time my group was called, it was 1 PM, we were sailing again at 5:30, so I opted instead for a quiet day of reading, tea drinking, and looking out at the incredible scenery. On the upside, it was almost impossible to get an elevator without waiting 15 minutes, so I climbed a lot of stairs that week :)

More photos to come...