The interest in taking a cruise has been on the rise over the last decade, pushing the industry to expand beyond its traditional offering of the weekend or weeklong cruise in the Mediterranean or the Caribbean.
Now, you can cruise through rivers, along continental coasts, the Arctic and Antarctic regions, take Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific trips just for fun, and so much more. These days it is inevitable to see ads with happy and relaxed people onboard a cruise, so it makes you wonder, "Should I go on a cruise too?"
Cruise vacations are not for everyone, but here are a few pros and cons of cruising that will let you know if a cruise is for you.
- It takes away most, if not all the planning headaches of your trip since almost everything is taken care by the ship and its crew. All you need to do is select the travel dates, cabin and activities you want to do.
- It is like an all-inclusive vacation where many activities (on the ship), all foods, and several drinks are included in your price. Depending on the cruise, alcohol and sodas may or may not be included. Activities outside the cruise come with an additional cost, but often the cruise line offers a discount.
- Cruises give travelers a taste of what life in that country is like by focusing on local culture as well as its "can’t miss" sites.
- It makes it easier to visit more countries in a shorter time and for less money - especially countries that are expensive to fly in to.
- You can relax and do everything or nothing. Chill in the pool all day? Sure! Exercise? You can do that too!
- Bigger cruises offer a wide culinary selection, so you can taste something different every day of your trip.
- Cruising offers good opportunities to experience cities you wouldn't normally visit on a land vacation or on their own.
- Don’t like packing every time you move to a new city? Don’t worry, on a cruise you only unpack once.
- Cruises are excellent places to meet new people. Whether it is a small or a big cruise, it is easy to bump into the same people now and then, which makes it possible to establish a casual conversation.
- On the opposite end, you could also decide to spend your time on board on your own and seclude in less crowded areas.
- Like the commercials show, it is easy to have a good time. Most people lose some of their inhibitions and act younger than usual since they feel like all they have to do is enjoy their time on board.
All this sounds wonderful, right? But, wait for it, as cruising also has its downsides.
- You never have enough time to fully enjoy a destination as you would by staying there for a night or two in a house or local hotel.
- It is hard to get off the beaten path since usually these types of trips require more time. A cruise limits you on what you can do at every destination you visit.
- Do you get seasick? Uh oh! You might want to take enough Dramamine because you might need them if the sea gets rough, or if there’s bad weather.
- Don’t like to carry formal clothes when traveling? Here you might have to. Some cruises require a formal evening dress for the Captain’s Night Dinner.
- It’s hard to go with the flow once you reach port. You must be at the tenders at a certain time, and you only have X amount of hours to visit each destination, so you must choose what to do and see in advance.
- Don’t like cramped spaces? Your room, unless you pay for one of the upper suites, will be small and cramped. Cruises do their best at fitting the most rooms in the least space possible.
- You must be sure you’re traveling with the right person, as you’ll be spending a lot of time together in a small room.
- Sometimes it is hard to find an isolated/quiet place onboard.
- Cruise prices might seem low at first, but once you add the taxes, tips, and additional activities not included in the price, you can easily double or triple the initial quote.
In the end, you have to do your research carefully, not only about the type of cruise you should take but also how compatible you might be with that type of cruise. Some cruises target a younger audience, other target explorers, other retired travelers, and so on.
So what do you think, is a cruise a "yay" or a "nay" for you?
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