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Is A Cruise Vacation Right For You?
In my experience, it depends on the destination and purpose of the vacation

Photo of starboard side of cruise ship

've experienced cruising all over the world on different lines like Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Disney. From the Pacific Coast and Caribbean islands to Europe and even through the Baltics, cruising has allowed me to get a taste of multiple destinations in a single trip. But this style of vacation isn't for everyone, so let me break down the pros and cons to help you decide if it's the right vacation for you.

 

The Pros of Cruising:

  1. Sample Multiple Destinations: One of the biggest draws is being able to visit numerous cities and countries while only having to unpack once. I got to experience incredible places like St. Petersburg and Moscow that I may not have visited independently.

  2. Cultural Experience: Cruising allows you to mingle with fellow passengers from around the world and get a taste of different cuisines, cultures, and people.

  3. Cost Effective: Seeing multiple destinations via a cruise is often more economical than traveling to each locale separately when you factor in lodging, transportation, and food costs that are included.

  4. Convenience: Your accommodation, transportation, meals, and entertainment are all bundled into your cruise fare, creating a hassle-free vacation experience.

  5. Onboard Activities: Larger, newer ships are ideal with their vast array of activities from kids clubs to adult-only spaces, giving you the best of both worlds whether traveling with or without children.

  6. Excursions: Experiences that might have been sold out months in advance can often be obtainable if booked through an onboard excursion.

 

The Cons of Cruising:

  1. Crowds: While the largest ships reduce feeling overcrowded, cruise ships by nature put you in close quarters with thousands of others.

  2. Shorter Port Stops: Port stops are often too short to fully immerse yourself in the local culture and cuisine of each destination and sometimes are a significant drive from the area you hope to explore.

  3. Upcharges: While basics are bundled in, some specialty restaurants, activities, and nuances do come with extra fees.

  4. Getting On/Off: Tendering processes and lines to disembark and re-board at each port add hassle and times are rigid.

  5. Excursions: You don’t have control over your day. The restaurants and stops are pre-determined and often lengthier than expected. 

 

The Bottom Line: If you want an efficient way to sample multiple locales and cultures without the hassle of constantly packing/unpacking, a cruise could be perfect - especially for families or picky eaters. The combination of diverse activities, abundant food options, and unique experiences checks a lot of boxes.

However, if you're looking to fully immerse yourself in a destination, or if crowds are a major turn-off, you may want to bypass cruising in favor of a land-based trip focused on a single locale.

As an example, for Caribbean destinations, I personally prefer flying direct and staying at an island resort if my goal is to simply unwind on the beach. But for exploring Europe or Asia or other distant regions efficiently, cruising provides an unbeatable sampler and allows me to determine where I want to return to spend more time.

Ultimately, your travel preferences and goals should dictate whether cruising fits your vacation needs and style. But if you can cruise with friends or a group, or need entertainment for your kids so you can have time to unwind too, it can truly be a unique and unforgettable way to see the world.

Cruising Gallery

Cruising Gallery

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