Notes from your cruise host

February 24, 2010

Dear Companions,

Here in Minnesota, on a bitterly cold day, we are starting to weary of winter, the gray skies, the treacherous ice, the oppressive chill, though we would not admit this — we are proud of our endurance, and we think that complaints about winter are a sign of decrepitude — but I can admit it to you, fellow escapees: I am ready to leave the frozen tundra and board the Ryndam in Tampa on March 14 and head out to sea.

My family and I have taken this particular Key West/Belize/Cozumel trip before and we loved the ease of it, though it is utterly different from Alaska or Norway or the Canadian Maritime. No mountains, not much in the way of majestic splendor except for the Mayan ruins, and you don’t see much of the locals. There is plenty of beachiness and open sea and sun, and in Cozumel you can buy all the pharmaceuticals you ever wanted. There is snorkeling for them what snorkel and so forth.

What this trip offers is rest and relaxation. Warm sun, canvas chaises, good books, conversation, good music. Shut down your cellphone when we leave Key West, let the e-mail accumulate, tune out CNN and NPR, and drift lazily through seven days at sea. Go ashore or don’t go ashore.  Sleep well. Aim for a sense of aimlessness. This is not easily achieved but you have to not try too hard to achieve it.

How should I live my life? We all ask this, especially when mortality taps us on the shoulder, as it does from time to time, and we answer in our own ways, but I believe life should include a few pleasant aimless weeks like this one, surrounded by delightful people.

I am ready.

Garrison Keillor


October 15, 2009


The Prairie Home cruise has become legendary on two of the Seven Seas and now is setting sail on a third, a weeklong spring break cruise of the western Caribbean along the Mexican coast, and it leaves March 14 from Tampa.

The purpose of the cruise is to give hope to us in the frozen north through the blizzards and the miseries of car starting and sidewalk shoveling under the gray metallic skies of January and February so that we can glance at our calendars and see March 14 and imagine warm salt breezes and lunch in an outdoor taqueria in Costa Maya. In my case, it is also to motivate weight loss and sit-ups so that I will look appropriate in my red Speedos at the aft-deck pool of the ms Ryndam.

The Prairie Home cast will join us, and some of our favorite guests and we'll assemble the Lake Wobegon Glee Club for daily singing and we will learn to dance salsa and there will be storytelling and we'll do a Prairie Home show, of course, with the winners of the All-Cruise Talent Show. And more.

We'll set out from Tampa, stop at Key West and commune with the spirit of Ernest Hemingway, and sail on to—

—Belize, a tiny republic founded by shipwrecked British sailors in 1683, home of the oldest cathedral in Central America — also a jungly rain forest with a variety of wading birds, turtles and crocodiles, Mayan ruins.

—Costa Maya, the Mexican fishing village known for the many shades of blue sea water, a little paradise of palm trees and beaches and reefs. (Also Mayan ruins.)

—Cozumel, the Mexican island offering more touristy recreations including deep-sea fishing and a "Dolphin Encounter" and a "Motorcycle Safari."

I love these cruises. Never expected to, but I do. The salt air, the sea light, the friendly company, the nightly music all over the boat, the long walks on the promenade deck, the nightly dance in the Crow's Nest, the stargazing late at night, and the slight vibration of engines that lulls you to sleep at night. If you're free and in the mood, we'd love to see you March 14 in Tampa.

All the best,

Garrison Keillor

Cruise Bulletin

We had a wonderful time on the cruise, and we hope you did too. We've posted a couple slideshows that captured our time at sea and on stage. You can also visit the archive to hear the best of the cruise performances on the March 20, 2010 show.

Cruise episode»
Cruise photos»

A Prairie Home Companion Cruise is produced by Prairie Home Productions and presented by American Public Media. Ship's registry: The Netherlands.
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