Cruise to nowhere

love-opera-victoria-bakerIn ancient Egypt, Cleopatra used to cruise down the Nile. But today famed Parisian shoe designer Christian Louboutin cruises down the Nile in his own style.

His boathouse is perpetually docked in Upper Egypt on the banks of Luxor where he invites royalty and celebrities for a cruise down the river. From ancient times to the present, cruising through the waters on a beautiful ship has always been a leisurely and glamorous event.

Greenwich residents looking for a fun way to cruise the local waters may be interested in the annual ‘Cruises to Nowhere’ aboard the Islander II. The ship departs from the South Arch Street ferry dock and cruises around the Greenwich islands.

The last cruise of the summer will be on Sunday September 8 at 5 p.m. Tickets are available at 10 a.m. the day of the cruise at the ferry dock ticket office only and are $10 per person. For information log onto www.greenwichct.org. and be prepared for a leisurely two hour tour (no Gilligan’s Island jokes though…please!).

Nobody knew how to make the most of a cruise like the great Cleopatra. After sneaking in to meet Caesar wrapped in an Oriental rug, the Egyptian Queen lost no time seducing Caesar aboard her own cruise ship on the Nile. For two months they sailed almost as far as Ethiopia and Cleopatra became pregnant with Caesar’s future son.

On March 15, 44 B.C. a crowd of conspirators surrounded Caesar at a senate meeting and stabbed him to death. In 42 B.C. Mark Antony summoned Cleopatra to Tarsus, in modern-day Turkey, to question her about whether she had assisted his enemies. Once again the manipulative queen used her cruise ship as the ultimate tool of seduction.

Cleopatra arrived in style on a barge with a gilded stern, purple sails, silver oars and she sprayed the surrounding mist with delicate perfumes. The boat was sailed by her maids, who were dressed as sea nymphs. Cleopatra herself was dressed as Venus, the goddess of love. She reclined under a gold canopy, fanned by boys in uupid costumes.

Antony, an unsophisticated, pleasure-loving man, was impressed by this blatant display of luxury, as Cleopatra had intended. Cleopatra entertained him on her barge that night and the next night Antony invited her to supper, hoping to outdo her in magnificence. Like Caesar before him, Antony was enthralled and accompanied Cleopatra to Alexandria. The rest, as they say, is history!

Cleopatra may not be on the upcoming Greenwich Cruises to Nowhere, but the spirit of leisurely sailing along calm waters will be. At first, I thought the title Cruise to Nowhere was bizarre, but now I realize it’s a perfect name.

After all, the purpose of a cruise is not to get anywhere but rather, to enjoy the journey.

 

Victoria Baker of Greenwich is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 531-7499 or email [email protected]

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