An interesting article and I have developed similar feelings.
I always referred to cruising as the "Pu Pu Platter" of travel. You get a taste of a destination but never the chance to immerse yourself in it. We developed a love of the far east and have now done three cruises to Asia but always with longer pre and post cruise stays and overnights in ports.
Our second cruise was a Western Mediterranean cruise and we did a ship's excursion to Alhambra in Granada. It was about a ninety minute bus ride and the guide started out fine but about half way through the trip to Alhambra he started talking politics and the Franco regime. It was fine for about ten minutes but he went on and on and on. When we got off at Alhambra I spoke with him and said that many people were not happy with his long talk. He did not continue his tirade on the way back. I did not take another ship's tour for years after that.
Cruising has changed so much in the last fifteen years but you can still make it active, relaxing, enlightening, healthy, unhealthy or whatever you like. There are so many choices now you have less of the herd mentality that you once had. NCL innovated it, to the mass market, and without that innovation in Freestyle, I know I would not be cruising as much as I do now. After a while my dislike of the regimentation of cruising was getting the better of me.
Maybe things have gone too far. I now become concerned when I see that Royal Caribbean and other lines want you to make your dining reservations, in the restaurants long before you cruise. It defeats the purpose. A lot of choices but a lot of regimentation. One good thing. I have never had a problem getting an alternative reservation once I was on board a ship. I may have had to wiggle with a time or day but I've never seen a specialty restaurant booked solid for an entire week.
Yes: Cruising is a love and "dislike" relationship. I can never say "hate" when I talk about cruising. Except for ship's tours.