Is it the ancient European city of Athens, Greece? Or is it South Beach in Miami? While staying at the Semiramis Hotel your GPS would tell you the former. But your senses would conclude the latter. The day-glo colored lobby filled with beautiful people. The ubiquitous pop art. The pastel swimming pool area filled with the scent of suntan lotion.
Yes, everything about the Semiramis is undeniably cool. But it is as certain that this boutique hotel not for everyone. Its in-your-face design, its vibe and its location are the best reasons to stay here—and the best reasons not to.
You don’t need to be as fast as the Kenians. You don’t need to challenge “Ultramarathon Man” Dean Karnazes on a 100 miles race. Running a marathon or a half marathon or a shorter race is more a personal challenge than a struggle against the clock. And you can enjoy the tourist experience as well, it’s called sightseeing on the run. Crossing the Brandenburg Gate at the Berlin Marathon or entering the Panathinaikon Stadium in Athens will leave you breathless (OK, that maybe be the exhaustion) and offers a more vivid memory of the city than thousands of pictures.
Conjure an image of what’s it is like to go on a cruise. Are you picturing buffet dinners? On-deck spinning classes? Retirees playing shuffleboard? Many cruises really are like that. But if you’re looking for a different sort of cruise scene consider traveling by cargo ship.
Cargo ship travel is the un-cruise. There’s nothing fabricated about it. Every day thousands of freighters ply the high seas. Some of them have extra state rooms and accept passengers to tag along for the ride. This is as “real” as travel gets.
Of course, cargo ship cruising is not for everyone. Cargo ships don’t have swimming pools, evening entertainment, rock climbing walls or organized mixers on Lido decks. Go on a cargo ship cruise and there might be as many as four or five other paying passengers like yourself. Or, you may be the only one. And while cargo ships often have comfortable sleeping quarters they’re unlikely to be luxurious.
To book passage on a cargo ship you can go directly through some shipping lines. But we recommend working through a travel agent that can vouch for the quality of the food and accommodations and can make sure your itinerary includes sufficient shore leave time. One of the best agents for cargo ship cruises is Intrepid Travel. Here’s a look at their five cool cargo cruise ship itineraries: