To Cruise or Not To Cruise?

Some people like to cruise. Some people don’t. Some are in between.

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At first, I disliked cruising. I could not for the life of me imagine myself stuck on one of those huge boats with thousands of people. Why would anyone want to do that? I would much rather be on my own where I can control when to go, where to go, how long I can stay at a certain place and who I chose to be with.

And then there was that first cruise that changed at how I view cruising. When our friends (a couple) invited us to join their large family on a weekend cruise to the Bahamas, we felt it was the right time. Not only were we with experienced cruisers, but we were in the company of friends as well. They said it was safer for first timers to go on a 3-day cruise with friends because if you didn’t like it, you only have 3 days to suffer. Plus, we got our tickets at a really good deal so it was almost a win-win.

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Our first cruise ship otherwise known as the party cruise

On that note, let me share with you MY yays and nays to cruising. And this is in no particular order.

Yays!

  • No hassle, stress free vacation. Once you paid your tickets, accommodations, dining and on board entertainment are all taken care of. Choosing a shore excursion is a different matter altogether.
  • You get spoiled by the staff. From your room stewards, to the dining staff, to the bar staff, to the room service staff, even the activities director and entertainers, to just about any staff you meet ready and willing to please your cruising needs. And those towel animals are just so stinkin’ cute!
  • All you can eat food at any time of the day or night. ‘Nuff said.
  • Set itinerary. You know what time you embark and disembark, which place you’ll dock next, how long you are going to be on that port, how many sea days (if any) you have, all activities and entertainment on board.
  • The variety of food choices in one setting, American, Italian, seafood, Asian, barbecue/grill, a salad bar and a wide assortment of sweets and desserts.
  • You don’t have to worry about how to get home when you have had a little too much to drink because you don’t have to drive hence, giving most everyone an excuse to party the night away. Just make sure you don’t fall off the boat!
  • There is no cellphone service unless 1. you are on a US territory (Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands) and 2. you purchase their ridiculously expensive wifi/internet on board, which means, you are totally disconnected from the outside world! Pure vacation bliss!
  • Cruising is almost like being in an all-inclusive resort, only floating in the ocean.
  • You get to play dress up one or two nights, depending on the length of your cruise. This is a chance to wear that three piece suit or your floor length evening gown. Looking glamorous is the name of the game.
  • If you are into gambling (I’m not), a casino is ready and available once the ship reaches international waters.
  • Duty free shopping.

Nays!

  • You don’t have the freedom to do whatever you please. There is an itinerary for everything (see above).
  • You risk coming into contact with “strange” people. Of course, you can avoid them but being confined in a boat for a couple of days, there is always a chance you run into them again unless you stay inside your cabin forever.
  • If you are used to being spontaneous and changing plans the last minute, cruising is not for you.
  • Trying out local cuisine and snacks of the country you are visiting is almost out of the question as they only serve you typical standard food/snacks.
  • Sometimes when you visit a place, you realize you like it more than you expected but because your time off the ship is limited, you don’t get to do much. You don’t want to be left behind after everyone has embarked! The ship is not going to wait for you.
  • A cruise ship is like a floating petri dish. With the thousands of people milling around, you’ll never know what bacteria or virus is growing at the moment. Outbreaks can occur and when it does, it can get nasty.
  • Big rough waves can be too much for some people. Seasickness is no joke. Not to mention trying to walk and stay balanced while the ship is swaying side to side.
  • Some cruise ships have rooms the size of a walk in closet. And don’t get me started on the bathrooms. I’m lucky I’m petite.
  • It can get expensive if you don’t watch your spending. Sure, everything is included after you paid for your tickets but remember, alcohol and soda are not included, shore excursions aren’t, and so are those $20 photos, souvenirs, casino expenses and other odds and ends. It can rack up. Make sure you check your statements accurately. Most cruise ships add a daily tip/service charge or that expense that is not supposed to be there.
  • Shore excursions if purchased from the ship are outrageously expensive! It is best if you wait till you get to the port and check out local tour guides. You can also do advance online research for tours you may be interested in. Or this is your chance to be brave and explore independently.
  • If you fall off the ship, accidentally or not, you may or may not be found.
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My 5th cruise otherwise remembered as the slowest most relaxing cruise in history!

Hubby and I agreed we could never be on a cruise ship all by ourselves. It would have to be with friends or family. If we decide to travel to a place, we (I, most especially) would rather fly there and stay for a couple of days.

Whichever side you are on, as long as you are having FUN and having a meaningful and learning experience while traveling, then that is what truly matters.

 

10 thoughts on “To Cruise or Not To Cruise?

  1. I’ve done a few cruises and worked many years in the cruise industry. I always say that a cruise is a great way to relax, eat awesome food, get drunk and be entertained. It is a terrible way to travel. I think it depends on what your goal is.

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  2. Bacterias? closet like rooms? alcohol non included? this is why “cruising in the Bahamas” always sounded like a VIP senior trip to me πŸ˜‰ I am not cruising material at all, and essentially because I hate the idea of being stuck in a place, especially a boat. But I can understand that some people like it though, for all the pros you listed.

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    1. Too bad alcohol is not included because they are expensive onboard. Although you can bring a bottle of wine in your carry on but you just have to pay for a corkage fee if you drink it in their restaurants. I’ve learned a trick or two on how to smuggle alcohol on the ship. πŸ˜‰ hehe… Lots of “wise and experienced” cruisers do it. I won’t do it by myself but for the sake of friendship, I might. Yeah, I can totally see you as not cruise material at all. You would go crazy!

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  3. Well, I was that person in your first paragraph, but with health issues that make it less easy to be spontaneous, I am giving cruising a go this year…..very possibly I may not repeat the experience but then again I might! Who knows. I am going with friends for this first trip.

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  4. Great post Belle – I’ve never experienced a cruise simply because my husband would not even hear of it. Of course I could always go with girlfriends or family or whatever, but the idea of being stuck on a giant float for a period of time would probably never appeal. My husband is just not one to have an agenda and would go stir crazy….having said that, he never wanted to go to those all-inclusive resorts either, but when our girls were younger they begged, so we went to the Dominican for a whole week, and he actually did relax and enjoy it, but we’ve never gone again :). It must have been nice for you to have accompanied your friends for just 3-4 days. Perhaps I’ll look into that, there are enough ships leaving from here and they are shorter. Thanks for your insights πŸ™‚

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    1. I remember you told me that story when you went to an all inclusive at the DR. The things we do for children eh? πŸ˜‰ But yes, there are definitely people who are strictly non-cruisers at all. And I don’t blame them. Whatever “floats your boat”… oops! Pardon the cliche. πŸ™‚

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