Eighteen Knots

I needed a name for this website, and eighteen knots is a typical cruising speed for a cruise ship. It reminds me to slow down in life, and look around.

For land-based people, eighteen knots is almost 21 miles per hour. This is why the airplane replaced the ocean liner as the method of choice to cross oceans – an airplane does eighteen knots while it is taxiing on the runway before take-off.

I tend to obsess about speeds and distances because I’m a navigator at heart. Ever since I got my first GPS, I’ve been trying to figure out where the plane or ship is, and where we are going. It’s the high-tech, silent version of “Are we there yet?”

At eighteen knots, a ship can cover 216 nautical miles in fourteen hours (most cruise ships travel overnight, say, from 5pm to 7am.) That’s about 249 miles. Luckily, many Caribbean islands are very close to each other.

The speeds and distances of cruising demonstrate why this is a vacation for people who are able to relax. If you need to be somewhere in a hurry, this is not for you. It’s 607 nautical miles (or so) from Miami to Cozumel. That’s almost a day and a half of sailing at eighteen knots. If you really want to go to Cozumel now, take a plane. If you want to relax, have some decent (full-sized) meals, maybe stop at a couple of islands, and take a week to get there and back, cruising is for you.

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