A History Lesson, Courtesy of Viking Cruises

Cruising is almost always an education. New countries, new ports, new customs, new people. Sometimes it can be an education just to read something about cruising. Sometimes, even advertising can do the job. Like Viking Cruises, which last week sent advertising emails which read as follows:

"Who are you? The year is 1887 A.D."

It was accompanied by a picture of a man who looked very much like Nikola Teslasomeone from 1887…a century and a quarter ago.

"You were born in a small town in what was then the Austrian Empire, now part of Croatia," the message continued. "You are a brilliant inventor, physicist, mechanical and electrical engineer. You are well aware of your own genius, and you are driven to do whatever it takes to realize your dreams. You will redefine the term 'mad scientist'; your home country will honor you and an exciting high-end consumer product will be named after you 150 years after your birth."

Hmmm…Einstein? Unlikely, since he would have been eight years old. Frankenstein? A fictional character. Charles Darwin? Right century, wrong science…he was more of an evolutionist and geologist.

The name of the "mad scientist" is Nikola Tesla, born in a small town in what is now Croatia. He patented a "brushless alternating current induction motor based on a rotating magnetic field principle" that was sold for $60,000 to Westinghouse, which two years later hired and enabled him to become an American citizen.

Tesla MuseumSixty years after he died, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs dedicated to making electric cars named their company Tesla Motors in his honor.

What does this have to do with Viking Cruises? On one of Viking's itineraries, Passage to Eastern Europe, ships regularly stop in Belgrade, where passengers can visit the Nikola Tesla Museum.

And, if you're like us, all of this enabled you to learn something new today…about Viking, and about Nikola.

Carnival Sensation
4 nights
November 17, 2013
Port Canaveral (return): FreeportNassau
Inside: $159
Cost per day: $39

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