The Case for Cruising
If you’ve never been on a cruise, you might have a lot of questions about the experience, and a lot of preconceptions that may or may not be true. The reality is, there are many different types of cruising. If you think it’s not for you, you might be surprised at what’s out there.
Something for Everyone, Part I
As stated above, the cruising world offers a vast array of experiences. Your preconception might be of a megaship that’s more like a floating city. Yes, those exist. What you might not know about them is that there are plenty of places onboard to find some peace and quiet. While the kids can spend entire days climbing rock walls and riding waves in surf simulators, adults can be relaxing on the veranda or in an exclusive lounge in a separate deluxe block of staterooms. The dining options aren’t limited to one buffet: There are specialty restaurants offering the spectrum of culinary traditions. The entertainment options also appeal across generations, with family shows at earlier hours so children can enjoy, plus later options that feature music you’ve heard of and no cartoon characters.
Something for Everyone, Part II
The section above describes just one type of cruise ship. There are mid-size ships with around 700-900 passengers. There are small ships that carry a couple hundred guests or fewer. There are yachts that attract a few dozen like-minded travelers and can even be chartered for private groups. There are cruises that sail along rivers instead of oceans. The level of service and cuisine can be quite deluxe and gourmet, shattering some of the more negative notions of what cruising is and who cruising is for. There are enough options that cruising is for anyone and everyone.
A Floating Hotel
This is an old adage, but it’s almost impossible to overstate just how convenient cruising is: You only have to unpack once. You stay where you are and the destinations essentially come to you. (Obviously you’re moving to the destinations, but you’re having too much fun on board to notice.) You have a nice room that remains the same, with great restaurants and lounges down the hall. There’s no worrying about how to get from Point A to Point B; instead you can enjoy all the amenities as you go. In the ports you want to see most, there are often overnights, not only allowing plenty of time but coming at a comparably lower price than a hotel night, with meals included.
Cover a Lot of Ground
Cruise ships get around quickly, so you can get a taste of many destinations on one trip. This can be good if you’re visiting Europe for the first time and wanting to sample as many cultures as possible. It’s also good for getting around islands. A Caribbean cruise visits a variety of islands — there are Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean options — to help you find a favorite. The same is true for getting around French Polynesia, the Galapagos and Hawaii, as well as large chunks of Asia. If you’re so inclined and have the time, there are world cruises that can take you all the around the globe (or segments you opt for).
Not only can smaller ships get to ports that larger ships cannot, expedition ships can take you to places that are extremely difficult to reach otherwise. If you want to experience Antarctica without taking on an extreme physical challenge or some highly advanced field of study, you’re getting there by expedition ship. Many of these, such as around the Galapagos or in the Arctic, focus on wildlife you won’t see elsewhere.