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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

When my ship comes in

As Janeites know, Austen was no world traveler: for all of her forty-one years, she lived in the southern English counties of Hampshire and Wiltshire, with brief forays to a few other nearby counties for schooling, family visits and seaside holidays – including one vacation in Wales, her only trip outside of England.

So it’s faintly hilarious to discover that a new luxury rivership has been christened MS (Motor Ship) Jane Austen and is currently running cruises to the likes of Amsterdam, Heidelberg and Vienna.

Riviera Travel, the company that owns the MS Jane Austen, also operates ships named after Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare and Lord Byron. Apparently, people with the disposable income for these luxury vacations – per-person rates start at one thousand British pounds and go up from there – are suckers for English literature.

The closest I’ve ever gotten to a river cruise is those Viking ads that run before episodes of Masterpiece, and, alas, I have no prospects of affording trips like these. Still, if my ship does come in one of these days, I can imagine worse fates than a Danube cruise aboard the Jane Austen.


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