Let me begin by telling you that I may be a bit biased writing this since I’ve been on several cruises on several different cruise lines. I’ll admit that ever since I was a wee young girl watching the 1970’s TV show “The Love Boat”, I’ve always wanted to take a cruise. At age 33 I finally took my first cruise and wow, was I hooked from then on. With that said, even if you didn’t grow up knowing that someday you would take a cruise, a cruise is a vacation that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. Why you ask? Where do I begin…
Let’s face it, we all want to get the best value out of any purchase that we make, and that most certainly includes our vacation. Cruising offers great value to travelers because of its all-inclusive cost. What does that all-inclusive cost provide? A lot! Let’s start with the obvious – your stateroom is included in the cost. Most meals are also included. Some basic non-alcoholic drinks are included, such as tap water, milk, tea, coffee, lemonade and iced tea (this may vary by cruise line, and there are several types of beverage packages you can purchase). A variety of entertainment is also included. I think one of the biggest values of a cruise is that for one price you get to see multiple destinations that if priced out separately, would cost a lot more to visit.
One of the things I love most about a cruise is that you can do as little or as much on a cruise as you desire. There are endless activities to keep anyone on the go on a cruise ship. You can enjoy nightly entertainment that may include Broadway-style shows, musical acts, comedians, magicians, and you can even get involved as a participant or just be a spectator in one of the game shows that several cruises feature (always a favorite of mine). When not in port, you can try your luck at the casino since most ships have full casinos with slot machines and table games. If you enjoy showing off your knowledge of random facts or music intel, you can participate in many different trivia games around the ship (also a great way to meet and mingle with other passengers). For those who like to stay in shape, you can visit the gym, take a run or a walk with a fantastic view on the upper deck, and on some cruise ships you may even be able to play some basketball or do some rock climbing. Want to just relax while you’re onboard? No problem. Spend a day getting pampered at the spa or just finding a lounge chair or hammock for the afternoon to read a good book, sunbathe, swim and enjoy a soak in one of the many hot tubs.
And parents, don’t worry, there’s a ton of stuff to do for kids of all ages as well. Some of the bigger cruise ships nowadays are like floating waterparks and amusement parks offering up activities such as swishing down waterslides, surfing, kiddy pools, zip lining, bumper cars and mini golf, just to name a few. There’s a new ship debuting in 2020 that will even have the world’s first rollercoaster at sea. Most cruise lines have a kid’s club onboard broken out by age group. This is a great way for kids to stay active and have fun while getting the chance to hang out with other kids their own age, giving mom and dad some alone time to enjoy.
This may arguably be one of the most popular parts of any cruise. Today’s cruise ships offer several tempting dining choices all across the ship. I promise that you will never go hungry during your cruise. Most ships have a main dining room with multiple dinner courses offering up a variety of delicious cuisines to choose from. There are also more casual dining options like the buffet serving up breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks throughout the day. The main dining room and buffet are all included in the cost of your cruise, but if you want to try something different and pay a small upcharge, there are usually a handful of specialty dining restaurants where the menu and offerings are a bit higher quality with a theme such as a steak house, a French restaurant, an Italian Bistro or an Asian culinary experience.
Visit Different Ports of Call Stress Free
Traveling to multiple destinations during your vacation can be stressful, but another huge benefit to cruising is that you can visit several different countries while only having to unpack once and letting someone else do the “driving”. Imagine going to bed each night and waking up the next morning as your ship is quietly pulling into a new and beautiful port that is just waiting to be discovered. Each cruise line offers several different excursions in each port of call that you visit during your journey. How would you like to swim with dolphins in the Caribbean or take a cooking lesson in Sicily or learn and watch how crab fisherman catch crab on a real crab-fishing boat in Alaska? There is an excursion for virtually every level of interest ranging from relaxed, to educational, to high adventure.
Make New Friends & Lasting Memories
I don’t know what it is about a cruise, but without fail you always seem to meet interesting people that become friends well beyond your cruise vacation. On any given cruise you will meet interesting people from all parts of the globe. I love chatting with new people and learning about where they come from, what their cruise experience has been like and sharing laughs while making new memories together. There are people whom I’ve met on various cruises that I still connect with on Facebook and email.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture that cruising really does offer something for everyone. Cruising is all about options, so stay tuned for my next blog where I’ll dive into how to choose the right cruise for your vacation.