COLUMN — One of the joys of being on vacation is having time to relax and do things we may not have time to do with our busy schedules. When you don’t have to rush around for work, appointments, meetings and other commitments, you can unwind and not worry about your next obligation. What do you like to do to relax? Enjoy a nice meal? Get out and meet new people? Curl up with a good book? I enjoy playing games with friends and family. Playing games is also a good way to get to know people you just met.
Growing up I loved playing classic games like Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, Cribbage and Risk. Some of my fondest memories involve travelling and playing games. Playing Pictionary while camping in the Rockies with close family friends; Playing Uno with locals in Tanzania while waiting for a delayed train; Playing Canasta pool-side with my parents in Puerto Vallarta while our two-year-old napped in a travel tent; Winning a game of Scrabble in French with people from France, Quebec, Belgium, and New Caledonia; and playing chess in Athens on a rooftop terrace looking up at the Acropolis are only a few of the many experiences that come to mind when I think about playing games while travelling.
As I’ve grown up, my taste in games has become more sophisticated. When I was a kid, it didn’t matter if the outcome was purely determined by the luck of a dice-roll, like in snakes & ladders. Now I prefer games with more substance and strategy, otherwise I’ll be easily bored and rather do something else. Fortunately, games have become much more sophisticated over the years.
Board games have seen a renaissance over the last couple of decades and are growing in popularity and quality. Titles such as Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride have introduced thousands of people to European style strategy games. There are hundreds of meet-up groups across the country that get together for regular game nights and events.
Being a geek is cool now, as attested by the success of the TV Show, the Big Bang Theory. Actor, Wil Weaton, a regular on the show is an avid gamer and co-hosts a popular web series called Tabletop. The concept was made possible through an extremely successful crowd-funding campaign that raised $1.4 million.
Inspired by these trends, I’ve put together a Cruise & Play event that I envision growing into an annual trip. The trip will be like an extended game-night on-board a three-night cruise from Vancouver to San Francisco with an awesome atmosphere of like-minded individuals who enjoy travelling, meeting new people and playing new games.
The cruise event starts on Sept. 12 and costs $395 per person for a double occupancy inside stateroom (taxes and port charges included). There will be designated game lounges, a well-stocked game library, excellent food and lots activities and entertainment. Participants will receive a T-shirt & swag bag and there will be prizes too. The cruise ends in San Francisco, but you can continue the fun in California with a post cruise stay, perhaps head down to LA, Anaheim or Vegas before flying home. Flights home from San Francisco are under $200.
James Gjaltema is a founding member of the Kamloops Travel Club and a Flight Centre Associate. He can be reached at 250-879-0873 or through his web-site: http://www.flightcentreassociates.com/jamesgjaltema.