When you think of a cruise vacation, what comes to mind?
If you think food, food and food; loud and intoxicated fellow passengers; days around a crowded pool and nights playing bingo, well you’ve either never been on a cruise, or it’s been a very, very long time. The reality is that there is no one description for a cruise vacation, and I’ve never been on one like I described above. Cruises today area a great vacation option that offer as much variety to choose from as land based vacations do.
Ships range in size from several hundred to several thousand passengers. Large ships offer a great variety of dining, stateroom types, activities, amenities and entertainment. They’re wildly popular with families for all the family friendly features they offer: fun kids programs that keep younger family members busy and entertained while Mom & Dad get a break, comfortable staterooms, on board activities like water-parks, mini golf or rock walls, and more. Whether you’re looking for a budget friendly option, the luxury of a suite, or something in between, large ships have it all!
Small and medium ships tend to offer more elegance and intimacy than their larger cousins. Their smaller size gives them access to more ports, so these ships offer a wide variety of itineraries. And the destinations are as wide as our world. From the Caribbean to Alaska, Europe to Asia and points in between, there are cruises to take you to places you have probably never heard of!
In many ways, the itinerary influences the feel of the cruise. For example, in the Caribbean, a typical weeklong cruise spends 3 days in ports and 3 days on the ship. The ports offer fun and relaxing activities like visiting a beach or touring an island. The ship is in large part a floating resort, and the vacation is a lot like taking a vacation at a beach resort, except it’s floating instead of on a shoreline. Instead of waking to the same view each day, each port offers a new view and new things to see and do. And the sea days are spent at the pool, the spa, or on other shipboard activities.
European itineraries tend to be more port intensive, so much so that I always always look forward to a restful and relaxing sea day. Most days are spent off the ship, with a return at dinner time, some evening entertainment, a few hours of sleep, and then on to the next destination. You pack and unpack once, and the ship takes you to your destination while you sleep at night. The downside can be that you don’t get a lot of time in any one place since the ship has to move on to the next port. But many itineraries today overnight as many as three nights at the more important and popular ports so there’s time to see quite a bit at those. And there can be an upside to a short time in port: it’s not uncommon to get to a port expecting to love it and want more time there, to find that a day was enough. If you still want more time there – that’s a great place for your next vacation!
There are many great reasons to take a cruise. Here’s a few of my favorites:
Rekindle Romance – Fine dining, quiet time on the balcony, relax at the spa, try something new at the wine bar. Visit a winery, or tour a castle. There’s so many ways to reconnect with your loved one on a cruise!
Make Family Memories – Whether it’s just you and the kids, or Grandparents and the rest of the extended family join in, there’s lots of fun on board and off for the family to share.
Have Fun with Your Friends – Cruises are a great way for a group of friends to travel together!There’s staterooms to meet everyone’s needs, and sights to thrill everyone’s interests. When the day is done, come to dinner and share your experiences. A cruise offers the right amount of together time, and apart time.
It’s a Great Value – Your cruise fare includes stateroom accommodations, meals, and on board activities and entertainment. Increasingly, cruise lines offer amenities like beverage packages, shore excursions and on board spending to sweeten the deal. When you look at all you get for the cost, it’s a great value!
It’s Convenient – Pack and unpack once, and see a region! Someone cleans up after you, makes your meals, entertains you – and takes you to some of the most beautiful places on earth!
Makes the Inaccessible, Accessible – Some places can best or only be accessed by ship, making a cruise the perfect way to see some amazing places like the Galapagos, Antarctica, southwest Alaska.
Whether you’re ready for your first cruise, or your next cruise, I’m here to help you find the perfect cruise for you!