I have visited Turkey several times both on cruises and also land tours so there were many places I could write about but one of the highlight tours was a visit to Cappadocia in central Turkey to see the strange rock formations or ‘fairy chimneys.'

Cruising on the Baltic Sea, the Queen Elizabeth entered the Gulf of Finland to reach St, Petersburg at the far eastern end. With two nights there, we took a Neva River tour, saw a Russian Folklore Performance  and also toured  the Hermitage. 




After my Amazon Jungle adventure, and a week in Buenos Aeres, we dance-cruised on Costa Fortuna from Buenos Aeres to Rio de Janeiro. We stayed in a boutique hotel just across from the beach and took a long walk on the white sand beach that we could see from the rooftop pool.

Although I could have written Q is for Quebec, most of the times I have visited Quebec City or Montreal have been for medical conferences, so I thought instead, it is a good time to pay tribute to the ships on which I have had fun, dance-cruising round the world. 



At some time or another, anyone who cruises often will take a Panama Canal cruise. I was no exception though it took  me several years before the Panama Canal rose to the top of my bucket list. To ensure that good dancing was a key part of this cruise, I booked on Cunard’s Queen Victoria, sailing out of San Francisco and returning to Fort Lauderdale. Looking back I think I would prefer to leave from Florida and return to the west coast.


Our journey round the Black Sea was organized by Alumni Societies of several universities in Canada and the US. I learned about this voyage on the MV Aegean Odyssey from the University of British Columbia Alumni Group and met several other UBC alumni also along on this trip. As we cruised along the coastline of the Crimean Peninsula we  stopped at several ports, each with very different experiences.

My dance cruise to view the Northern Llghts in the Arctic Circle, was on Cunard’s majestic Queen Mary 2.  It was a great cruise, mostly along the coast of Norway, However it took place in August. 

Although I have dance-cruised throughout the Mediterranean, I decided to take another trip down nostaglia lane and feature a family Europe trip that began in Holland, continued with a cruise up the Rhine to Basle, followed by train rides to Venice, Zagreb and Athens.

Strictly speaking my visit to Cairo and my cruise of the Nile had nothing to do with my dancing. However on a Nile dinner cruise in Cairo, we were entertained by belly dancers.  And as well this trip was not in the last decade but actually was in 1997 when I was invited to speak at a conference in Beirut, and visited an ex-student and her family, in Cairo after the conference.

In 2002 I was invited to speak on laboratory testing in the newborn, at an International Congress in Kyoto, Japan. Driven around by a taxi driver/guide, impeccably dressed and wearing white gloves, I enjoyed the traditional ambience of the old capital city of Japan.

You’re doing whaaaat?  Was the general response when I said I was off on a Amazon Jungle riverboat cruise. Family and friends  know that I do best travelling in temperate, bug-free climates, staying in lodgings with a  comfortable bed, showers that have at least warmish water, and flush toilets. I’m not a squatter. 

At this singular time in history when 7.8 billion humans on this planet are facing a common enemy, too tiny for us to even see, our weapons are hand washing, and social distancing and isolation.

My 2020 AtoZ Blog was originally going to be about genes, epigenetics and healthspan. But instead I found myself thinking about how, today, our world is connected rather than distanced. Travel is a modern day gift that introduces us to different cultures, different histories, different foods and different people. But this very gift that connects us globally has made us vulnerable to this pandemic.

A to Z Challenge 2020: A Decade of Global Dance Cruising Gillian Lockitch Sat, 03/28/2020 - 09:43

Paying homage to the sights I have seen, food I have tasted, friends I have made and the people I have encountered on land travel or thirty-six dance cruises, ballroom dancing over the seven seas and to every continent except Antarctica. 

Each vignette focuses on a memorable experience, dining, exploring or absorbing local culture. on one of these wonderful journeys.

The entire crew from the Captain to the kitchen staff came out to be introduced and thanked by us all, and each of the guests was presented with a certificate showing that we had completed our week on the Amazon River.

One of the frequently hinted at, and therefore anticipated highlights of this trip,  was the opportunity to go fishing for piranhas on the Yarapa river, one of the tributaries opening into the Amazon.