Admittedly, I have prejudices against cruises. These are the same prejudices I have against package holidays in fenced-in hotel resorts: Predetermined program, little flexibility, hardly any contact with locals, too many people. I hate people. Not because of the sheer number of people, but because of the number of idiots. Bumping into people, squeezing through, being loud. Just not my thing. So now, of all things, we're going on a cruise ship and, to make matters worse, to a region where mistakes in public life can quickly end up in jail. We visit the Orient - friends and colleagues have persuaded me.