Archive for September 19th, 2009

Rattenbury. Terry Reksten

Victoria - The Empress
Image via Wikipedia

Rattenbury. Terry Reksten. 1978 . ISBN 1550390902.  If you know your BC history you know that Francis Rattenbury was “our” architect for the Empress Hotel,  BC’s Parliament buildings and Victoria’s Crystal Palace.  He also designed stately buildings still standing in  New West,  Vancouver , Nanaimo,  Nelson,   Calgary as well as many of the CPR hotels. .  This is great story , it appears he was one of those who did everything himself, delegated little, did not even try to stay on budget or schedule, and was not above helping himself to lots of perks along the way. He was very skilled in self promotion, supremely over confident, shrewd to a fault  with a monster  ego to match. He mistreated his wife, cheated on, then divorced  her and was eventually murdered in England by his second wife’s teenage lover. Seems like a very hard person to like, if at all. This is quite the book making our   present day politicians seem pretty pale compared to those that Rattenbury and the CPR  manipulated. The author writes cleanly and concisely, so this is an easy read.  If one of the US page turner writers grabbed this guy, Rattenbury would become quite the arch villain who comes to a bad and deserved end. Enjoy

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Cruises are not just for old men

DSC01608,  Crystal Cruises Ship Cruise ship
Image by lyng883 via Flickr

Cruises are not just for old men.

When my wife first mentioned cruising, my first reaction was, “Are you kidding….cruising is for old people!”.  Her response was “Try it, you may just like it!” So we took the plunge and like many first time cruises, we did the Alaska run.  Not only did I enjoy it, I actually won the draw for a free cruise!

This week I attended a sales related event for Cruise Ship Centres. Part of it was a one night cruise from Seattle to Vancouver .  (My wife is now a Cruise Ship Consultant, her website (  I sat in on several discussions about how to sell in this industry.  Their issues are the same as any salesperson’s issue.  However I reflected on some of the comments regarding men that I heard, and I heard about me,  before I started cruising.

Men think they are going to be bored.

Men think they are going to feel cooped up or chained to an anchor.

Men think that they will get claustrophobic

Men equate cruising with oxygen tank equipped  scooters/wheelchairs

Men think their family will not enjoy cruising.

Men can not give up control of their time that easily.

It’s hard to rebut those comments because I was guilty of all the above….and evidently more.


My perception has changed dramatically.  One day into my first cruise, I was a believer.  I have now cruised on several different ships, with different cruise lines, on many continents (we leave for Asia soon).

I see that the successful Cruise Consultants carefully qualify their clients in order to best match the experience with the client expectation, since:

  • Some people have never done it before and have no frame of reference (Your mind will be blown) .
  • Some people equate price with value (huge, sad mistake)
  • Some people rush to get on their ship from the plane and then off the ship to get home, having no idea as to the experiences they are missing by spending time touring embarkation and disembarkation ports. They seem terrified of stepping out of the  cocoon. They also do not want to spend the extra money.
  • Some people think that all ships are basically the same, that crew, service  and the food will be similar.
  • Others are unaware that the cruise lines use software similar to the airline industry, where fares are dynamically adjusted to quickly fill the boat. When the special price goes, it is gone.
  • In a down economy cruising occupancy jumps up.  There are no “empty” cruise ships traveling around.

I get on the ship, unpack my bags once, and my hotel moves me from country to country. I explore the departure port for several days before I board (Beijing this time),  plan lots to get the most out of  each stop (but I never take the cruise lines “tours”, buying always directly from locals), then spending several days at the arrival city ( Bangkok).  This time we are going to a real “secret” hideaway that I promise not to write about, before heading home.  This way I invariably find places I would go back to, to stay for weeks at a time e.g. Huatulco, Tortola,  St Lucia, Buenas Aires, Sydney.  We enjoy the culture of each city. We eat our way from place to place – buying local meals from the street vendors etc, (since street food is always fresher and tastier than the fancy and/or touristy restaurants. )  You can always get your boring,  North American food on board.

So men  rethink this cruising thing. It is a blast!  You’ll know what it’s like when you have a happy traveling companion.  Your luck just keeps getting better! Plus with everybody happy and busy you get to have lots of  thinking, reading, workout or play time which you will never get any other time.  Your biggest decision may be, what should I chose from the daily menu!

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