Advantages of Traveling on a Cruise
Hello, nice to meet you. I’m Sadie: cruising’s biggest fan. Having been a long-time fan of cruising I’m going to bring you a list of the biggest perks, tips, and every reason why you SHOULD take a cruise for your next vacation.
Where Have I Cruised
I am by no means a platinum accredited cruiser, but I have done my fair share. Living if Florida has its perks! I saved on airfare by only living a few hours drive from most ports. While having had a flexible schedule as a server opened up my availability for last minute deals, and even some Disney cast member discounts for Disney cruises!
I have mostly been to the Caribbean and Bahamas since all of the cruises I have taken have been out of Florida. When I choose my itinerary my main consideration is the ports of call available to explore. I’m less of a private-island or day-at-sea advocate and opt instead to travel to several different islands.
Places I have Been While Cruising:
- Key West, Florida
- Nassau, Bahamas
- Belize City, Belize
- Roatan, Honduras
- Cozumel, Mexico
- Costa Maya, Mexico
- Willemstad, Curacao
- Aruba (The whole island!)
- Disney’s Castaway Cay-Private Island
- Royal Caribbean’s Coco Cay-Private Island
Favorite’s definitely include Cozumel in Mexico and Aruba! Least favorites I would have to include Nassau, Bahamas. But to be fair, I’ve been there on four different cruises when really all you need is one day.
Book, Pay, Forget!
My favorite part about cruising is that you handle all the planning beforehand so that it’s pure fun in the sun once you’re actually on the ship. That means all the stress of planning you can do months or even years in advance. Once you’ve made all your payments you can enjoy an all-inclusive, pre-paid vacation.
Before you book your cruise here are a few things to think about:
Which cruise line should you choose?
Choosing a cruise line is important depending on the the party joining you for the cruise. If you have kids a Disney or Royal Caribbean cruise may be the better cruise. If you’d prefer a child-free environment Virgin Cruises is an exclusively adult only cruise line. If your group is elderly Viking or Holland America might be a better choice. Carnival Cruise Line is known as being “the Walmart of the sea,” which on first impression sounds like a bad thing but really it’s a HUGE positive. Who goes to Walmart? Everyone. What do they have at Walmart? Everything. How expensive is Walmart? CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP!
There are cruises that fit your specific party too: adult only cruises, singles cruises, gay cruises, and senior cruises just to name a few. Cruise lines out there range from spring-break fun, to high-class luxury. There is something for everyone!
Which dates are you available to cruise on?
Cruises happen almost all year round, so it’s a perfect fit if you can only get one-two weeks off whether in December or July! Just keep in mind, certain places are only available at certain times of the year. For example: Alaska cruises usually only take place during the summer when the weather is milder. The seas in the Caribbean also tend to be milder in the first half of the year. So while there may be a cruise to Mexico in October, the hurricane-season waters can be pretty choppy! Something to keep in mind if you are more prone to motion sickness.
Which itinerary best suites your needs?
If you want to party for spring break head to Mexico or a private island. If you want to experience a fjord cruise in colder weather try out a cruise to Alaska or Norway. Only have a few days? There are 2-3 day getaways. On the flip side you can take a world-wide cruise as long as a year! There is every time frame in between. My favorite amount of time is 5-8 days. If there are a lot of ports of call I like 7-8 days. If more days at sea 4-5 days is usually enough for us. Some like to cruise for the ships themselves and could care less about the actual ports.
Different cruise itinerary destinations include:
- Costa Rica
- Panama Canal
- Arctic Circle
- Private Islands
- Full Days at Sea
- AND EVEN MORE
Which cruise line/itineraries fit your budget?
You can find cruises in the off-season, August-November, for pretty cheap! We cruised for 5-days for only $200 per person in September on Carnival Cruise Line. The cruise line you choose is also a big component of what you’ll spend. In my opinion Disney Cruise Line is by far the best, but it is also comes with a high price tag. Carnival and Royal Caribbean, having more ships, have better itineraries that go to a more diverse list of locations for a lower price, but are not nearly as luxurious and can be annoying with their constant up-charges.
Can you get decent flights/can you drive to the cruise port?
The cruise itself isn’t the only expense you’ll have to worry about before travel. If you don’t live near the cruise port of choice choosing flights to the desired city is an important, and sometimes pricey addition. The good news is most cruise lines have ports near almost every coast. Be it in Florida, Texas, New England, California, or Washington there’ll probably be something near you. If you live equally far from all coasts (shoutout to my Midwestern homies) consider starting with the price of the flight and working backwards, or look into a land-sea package, giving you a bit more bang for your buck and taking care of your hotel fares while on land and transportation to the cruise port later. Disney offers these with packages to the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disney Cruise Line. Some cruise lines like Royal Caribbean include flight bookings and protection directly through them as well, so you can feel more secure in your purchase if something were to happen.
What, if any, excursions would you like to book?
Excursions while at the ports also cost extra outside your base cruise fare. They are typically the recommended option because they are backed by the cruise line and covered if anything goes wrong. It is good to book your excursions through the cruise line if you have any issues with the activity that you need refunded. Another beneficial reason to book through the cruise line; if the excursion is late coming back to the ship, you can enjoy your time worry free knowing the ship will not leave without you. For a higher price cruise lines ensure your excursions are safe, guided, and insured or your money back.
What To Do While on a Cruise
Okay you’ve picked your perfect cruise line, chose the ideal itinerary, purchased your flights, and booked your cruise! So now what? Another ideal aspect of cruising is that there is always something to do for everyone.
For Those who Party Hard
Cruises typically host different dance parties and adult clubs. If you’re one to get your groove on karaoke nights, silent discos, and all night ragers are all events available on board. And since you’re in one spot it’s the perfect place to let loose! No driving transportation needed. Alcohol packages are offered on select cruise lines as well, though I’ve found they are typically not worth the price. Either way, alcohol is aboard!
For Those who Need to Keep the Kids Entertained
Cruise lines like Disney and Royal Caribbean offer clubs specifically for kids. Check them in and leave them in the safe and secure hands of the professionals on board. This gives you the chance to unwind and have some much-needed adult time while the kids are having the time of their lives! Even if you’d rather stick with your kids there is plenty for them to do. On Disney cruises they can meet characters, play games, mini golf, or take part in special ship-specific activities like the Muppets Mystery Detective search-and-find game on the Disney Dream. (That last one’s fun for adults too, we shamelessly played it on our Disney Cruise and had the time of our life.) On Royal Caribbean certain ships offer things from ice skating, rock climbing, the VR bungee cord experience, and laser tag. Most cruises offer activities like swimming, trivia, shuffle board, movies, some kind of basketball or sports court and much, much more. As a former child-cruiser, I personally enjoyed just running around parent free and bed-timeless with my siblings and the other kids we met on the cruise. Just being on a giant moving vessel in the middle of the sea was enough to satisfy my younger self.
For the Explorer
If you are one to visit new places for the culture and history there is plenty to find on each island or port you visit. Excursions to visit popular cultural sites, landmarks, and monuments are typically available while cruising. A few examples include visiting the Mayan ruins in Mexico, or a historic tour through town in Aruba. For me cruising biggest benefit is that it allows you to see a lot of different places in a short amount of time.
For the Thrill Seeker
There are tons of options on and off board for the thrill seeker in your party. Excursions typically include activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, zip lining, and jet skiing. On board, depending on the ship and cruise line, you can find activities like rock climbing, waterslides, and on some Royal Caribbean ships the wave runner surfing simulator.
For those who Need some Good R and R
Ah the most popular activity claimed on the cruise: the layout. Grab a recliner and a drink, catch the rays, and relax to the rhythm of the ocean. Every cruise ship I have ever been on has included an adults only area where you can escape from load music and screaming kids. Same goes for most ports of call! Relax on a white sand beach in the Caribbean, or take a break at an adults only reserved area.
Another relaxation staple of cruising is to take a visit to the on-board spa. Get a massage, facial, or mani-pedi. Relax in the spa lounge areas and hot tubs after your treatment for all-day long leisure.
For the Foodie
If anything, the unlimited food is worth the cost of cruising alone! Buffets for lunch and breakfast, fine dining style dinners, and constant options for ice cream, pizza, and room service mean never going hungry at sea. Most ships also offer some more upscale restaurants for an additional price. Not to mention the authentic food offerings at the ports of call. Food and cruising go hand in hand.
What’s Included on My Cruise?
After paying for you cruise and booking your excursions what else is included in your fare price?
Accommodation and Transportation:
If you compare the price you would pay to fly to each port of call and stay at high-end resorts along the way it’ll typically be much more than the price of a standard cruise. Along with cost of entry and port fees, the connivence alone is worth the cost. Travel and accommodation are both completely included!
We’ve covered food previously. I just wanted to reiterate that you can take a cruise and not spend any additional money on food. It is completely included! Sure, there are more expensive up-charge options like alcohol and the premium restaurants. But if you want to cut costs it is possible to disembark very overfed for no additional cost.
On Board Entertainment
Free shows, parties, games, and events are almost always available on board your cruise for no extra charge! Disney Cruise Line offers some of the best nightly entertainment in Broadway quality Disney musicals. Carnival has the best comedy shows available nightly with an array of different comedians to match all styles, including kid-friendly and adult only shows. Pool-side games and competitions are offered during days at sea. And, one of my personal cruise favorites, the Love and Marriage audience participation show always results in hilarity as the chosen couples are asked to predict each others answers to some very intimate questions.
Cleaning and Ammenities
Cruise line’s staff ensure you are safe and comfortable throughout your entire stay. Your room is typically turned down 1-2 times a day, the deck and hall areas constantly cleaned, and wait staff willing and able to help you out with any need that may arise. You’re paying for the change to relax and unwind without having to worry about cleaning up and fending for yourself.
Still not convinced? Sure, cruising isn’t for everyone. But if you are someone who wants to get out there and see the world, but the planning and budgeting yourself all seems to stressful, cruising is a great alternative to essential get a guided tour through the great blue seas.
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