As we sat on our ship’s outside veranda, passing the wooden homes and onion-domed churches of the Russian countryside along the Volga River, my husband let out a happy sigh.
“I LIKE cruising,” he declared, taking another sip from his wine.
Well, that’s a good thing. Because I’m thrilled to announce that as of July 2013, I will be working full-time as the Destinations Editor for Cruise Critic!
I’ve had a relationship with the popular cruise website, part of The Independent Traveler (and a subsidiary of Trip Advisor), since I left USA TODAY in 2009. Editor-in-chief Carolyn Spencer Brown, a fellow member of SATW’s Editor Council, gave me my first assignment: A sailing cruise in the Grenadines aboard the 12-passenger Diamant, the schooner operated by the Island Windjammers line.
That trip blew me away. Although I had loads of independent travel under my belt, I found that I loved exploring the world at water level. While many people think that cruising consists only of 6,000-person vessels (and those can be great too), my best memories so far have been on the smaller expedition ships, where you have close encounters with wildlife, and river boats, where local culture is often a short walk from the pier. I’m eager to see what the larger ships have to offer.
As Destinations Editor, I’ll be helping Cruise Critic’s readers figure out the best way to see the world by ship. I believe that there’s a cruise for everyone, no matter what your taste, adventure level and budget. Cruise Critic has always had journalists at the top of its masthead (my new boss, Colleen McDaniel, is a newspaper veteran), and they challenge their writers to evaluate cruises with a consumer-focused eye. That’s a message that fits perfectly with my value-luxury ethos.
The job is based in Pennington, New Jersey, not far from Princeton. It means moving, and we’re sad to leave the gorgeous Pacific Northwest and our mid-Century mod West Seattle rental. We’ve made great friends in Seattle, and loved its liberal vibe. I’ve added Alaska, Portland, Vancouver Island and Hawaii to my list of favorite vacation spots. Perhaps someday we’ll return.
But new adventures lie ahead. Don and I have found a farmhouse to rent in bucolic Bucks County, about five miles from the artsy outpost New Hope (and an hour from Philadelphia). The property is newly renovated, but still has many original features (like wide-plank pine floors, huge beams, a monster fireplace big enough to roast a chicken, or five). There’s even a barn! The cats will love it, and we might even get a dog; Don still needs convincing.
Of course, a full-time job means I won’t be on the road nearly as much as I have been in the past two years. That’s OK. I’m excited to be back in the travel editing business, and part of a smart editorial team. While I wont’ be updating this blog very often, I’ll be writing frequently on the Cruise Critic site and continuing social media activities (Instagram is my current obsession).
So for now, I’ll raise the anchors and cast off. Hope to see you all on the high seas!