Passengers who travel on cruise ships like Swan Hellenic’s Minerva are an adventurous lot by nature. Many of them could say “been there, done that” every time you stuck a pin into a spinning globe. Blindfolded.
They choose to sail on the vessel because it takes them to destinations off the beaten track, and the entertainment on board is more likely to be a lecture on Grecian urns or Roman ruins than a re-run of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s greatest hits.
Their intestinal fortitude is hilariously illustrated in a little tale from Jane Archer, who has been mixing with these hardy types in their floating country hotel on a cruise along the north coast of Africa.
Before she joined the ship in Egypt, it had sailed through the Gulf of Aden – known as “Pirate Alley” because of the frequent attacks by Somali hijackers – en route to the Suez Canal.
The swashbuckling Minerva passengers were deeply disappointed. Not because they thought their lives had been put in peril on a foolhardy journey, but because they never glimpsed a single pirate, and did not get an opportunity to emulate passengers on MSC Melody, who two weeks ago fought off a pirate attack in the Indian Ocean by hurling deckchairs and tables at their assailants.
“It’s a bit like going to Antarctica and not seeing any penguins,” said one.
Only to be expected, really, given that Minerva was the Roman goddess of war – and warriors.