Whether you’ve already sailed the Caribbean Sea or you’re completely new to the idea of embarking on a voyage with your friends or family, cruises are a mixed bag of experiences. They can be delightfully simple, all-inclusive, superbly fun and diverse. The adventure, however, does come at a certain price. That being said, it may end up being your best vacation nonetheless, or something you’d altogether avoid for the sake of the traditional beach getaway for a week or two!
Before you make up your mind, let’s take a look at the ups and downs of cruising your way through a vacation, and how you can make the most of the available options you have on the market.
Pro: Never a dull moment
It’s enough to see the destinations on the list, and you’ll likely be hooked – from roaming the numerous, exotic islands of the Pacific Ocean to various river cruises in Europe! These voyages are far from monotonous and slow; each and every itinerary has a unique set of activities that are offered on a daily basis, and most of them are included in the price of the journey. Although, it’s best to make sure beforehand so that you can count on certain expenses if you’d like to take part in specific activities.
Poolside hang outs, cocktail parties in the evening, dance classes, basketball or volleyball, rock climbing, various performances -- you name it! A certain cruise probably has it somewhere on its itinerary. Another thing worth mentioning is fine dining since you’ll have access to versatile meals you probably never had the chance to taste before.
Con: The price tag
The main downside of this experience is that it definitely doesn’t come cheap compared to your standard vacation in a resort or an European city. While no one can argue that the price range is wide, and you can choose from the most affordable, but less luxurious cruising options to those that are designed to be as prestigious as possible, all of them are more expensive than a traditional vacation.
A possible solution to this issue is to start putting some money away on the side for a planned cruise a year from now, or you can join the mailing list of your favorite cruise lines to be updated on regular offers, in which case you’ll know when a particularly affordable option comes up.
Pro: Meeting new people
From small, intimate cruise ships that can accommodate no more than a few hundred people, all the way to massive ocean-conquering beasts that will carry you and several thousand other guests, you will constantly have the opportunity to meet new people on board. You can even take your pick from family-friendly, no-kids-allowed, and culture-rich cruise lines, and go from adventure to relaxation mode in no time.
For the busiest bees among you, you’ll be happy to learn that there’s the option of last minute cruises so that you don’t have to spend months planning with your friends. When everything is ready for you, simply set sail and have fun! With so many excursions, exciting harbor stops, classes and activities, you’ll likely meet new people in the matter of a single day.
Yes, there are many destinations to choose from as well as a whole range of activities, but many can feel limited in space with so many guests roaming around constantly. When the ship travels at full capacity, it can get pretty crowded. And despite their best efforts, some activities and classes will constantly be fully booked, so you might have to settle for something a little less interesting.
Another limitation you’ll experience is time: whenever you make a stop at a new destination, you cannot explore to your heart’s content as you would be able to if you had visited the location on your own. You need to respect the timetable of the ship, and in order to visit many destinations at a time, you need to make some sacrifices.
Pro: Many destinations on a single trip
What these cruises lack in focus, however, they make up for in diversity! While you might not be able to spend a week in each location on your itinerary (and you will want to!), you’ll get a taste of each culture and be able to decide whether you’d love to come back next year for the duration of your entire vacation, or if you’d rather skip the experience.
It’s a great way to scout for perfect travel destinations before you make a commitment all the while enjoying the comfort and luxury that you would find in any beachside resort. And finally, it’s a unique way to get immersed into various, authentic cultures and enrich your journey with many destinations.
Marie Nieves is a travel blogger who loves unusual trips, active holidays, gadgets and creative ideas. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag.
Most of her free time at home she spends walking her Labrador Retriever named Max. She is an avid lover of photography who loves to talk about her experiences.