Every summer the waterfront is clogged with tourists about to board those giant white cruise ships towering above Elliott Bay, each about as classy and attractive as a floating Motel 6. All-you-can eat buffets and shuffleboard may have their appeal for out-of-towners, but it's hard to conceive of a cruise-ship voyage that would appeal to right-thinking Seattleites. Until now. All aboard for The Nation magazine's celebrity-filled, left-leaning cruise to Alaska, which departs Seattle this Saturday, July 28.
It's not just a week of sightseeing in Alaska; it's a seminar, a learning opportunity, a chance to rub shoulders with not only Ralph Nader (guaranteed not to remove his suit in the hot tub) but also The Nation's publishing team of Katrina vanden Heuvel and Victor Navasky, noted actor Richard Dreyfuss, journalist Mary Mapes (she who pushed the Bush–Air National Guard story a little too hard on 60 Minutes), the mayor of Salt Lake City (he's a liberal Democrat?), and actress-journalist Annabelle Gurwitch.
All 400 tickets—at prices ranging from $2,631 to $8,657—have sold out, and the whole trip, naturally, features a carbon-offset option to subsidize reforestation efforts in Guatemala. (At only $11 per person, it's probably best not to consider what those Guatemalan tree planters are being paid—just like the Filipino deckhands and boiler stokers laboring inthe bowels of the ship.)
It was the success of The National Review's cruise for conservatives (O, those wild nights on the high seas with Robert Bork!) that prompted The Nation's first seminar-at-sea 10 years ago. And it's hard to know which would be worse: a boatload of smug, rich, insular conservatives or a boatload of smug, rich, insular liberals. One final note of warning, though: In addition to gaining fame with Jaws, Richard Dreyfuss' last prominent film role was in a remake of The Poseidon Adventure....