Just in case you were too chicken to cruise through the Gulf of Aden this month on one of the most luxurious cruise lines in the world, not to fear: Gene Sloan of USA Today has done it for you -- and lived to write the tale.
Sloan is a reporter and blogger for USA Today’s "Cruise Log" blog (our own Johanna Jainchill sometimes covers for Sloan on the Cruise Log when he is actually on vacation). And his tale of transiting the infamous, pirate-infested waters off Somalia onboard Silversea’s Silver Whisper was both fascinating and, thankfully, boring.
In other words: No pirate attack.
But there were cautions aplenty. Most of the open deck space, the spa, the gym and the observation lounge were off limits during the two-day transit. The pool was drained (so much the better if the vessel had to engage in "evasive" sailing tactics) and glass liquor bottles and other breakables were secured. Even passenger email and phone were barred, since it could interfere with possible countermeasures. A dozen (unnarmed) lookouts were stationed around the ship.
According to Sloan, the lookouts did spot two suspicious skiffs. But they didn’t approach, apparently agreeing with the assessment of the Whisper’s captain that "the pirates don’t like passenger ships."
Wouldn’t such a trip call for breaking out a few of those bottles (Captain Morgan, anyone?) for a nerve-calming beverage?
Perhaps, perhaps not. While Sloan said the experience of being shut up on the ship for two days was "bizarre," the passengers quoted in the report seemed at ease. One even said he hoped to see a few pirates, since it would be "great cocktail talk when we get back home."