I'm reading Lawrence Block's memoir, in which he mentions about volunteer travel opportunities offered by Earthwatch. He explains that for a not-too-steep fee, one might join an expedition in aid of some environmental goal, such as to save the endangered red pandas. Then he says:

Lynne and I weren't sufficiently high-minded to sign up for one of their trips. We’d be eager to inoculate villagers in the Cameroun against dengue fever instead of, say, knocking back on a cruise of the South Pacific.

What does "knocking back on a cruise" mean here? I tried to look up the dictionary for "knock", "knock back", or "knock back on". But their definitions don't seem to fit this context.


This is the only definition that makes sense to me:

To drink an alcoholic beverage swiftly or often. (Wiktionary)

It's usually transitive, as in "knock back a few drinks" so I'm a little surprised by the phrasing here. Still, I think the author is trying to describe a luxury activity they'd be more willing to do: knocking back a few drinks on a cruise ship.

My only other guess would be that they meant something like "kicking back":

(especially North American English) to relax Kick back and enjoy the summer.
(Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

That would make sense in context, too. The meaning would be similar: relaxing on a cruise ship.

But he's a professional writer, and it's probably best to assume he used the phrase he intended, so I'm going with "knock back (a few drinks)".

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