If you are thinking about cruising, or have booked your first cruise holiday, here is all the information you need to make the most of your nautical escape.
Cruising is a fantastic way of seeing the world, though sometimes can be a nightmare. The trick is to know what sort of things will be going on, as well as not having too many expectations. It can be a juggling act, but the preparation will make your journey more rewarding. Whether it be a cruise in the Pacific, the Caribbean or on the Nile, there is a cruise for everyone.
Advantages of Cruising
There are many advantages to taking a cruise holiday. Firstly, you have your stateroom. Here is your home for the voyage. Rather than having to pack, unpack, repack and unpack again, having your room move with you has many benefits. Your home for the voyage may not be large, but it is yours. Your room steward will keep it cleared, the bed made and the bathroom clean. You will miss the steward more than anyone else after returning home. Having your own room also means you can travel with more of the comforts of home safely, such as a laptop computer for unloading digital photographs, or a larger selection of clothing to wear.
A huge advantage of cruising has to be the food. At home, someone has to cook, clean and clear away the meals. On board, this is done for you by a team of miracle workers. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will all be included in the one price of your cruise. There will be numerous options for dining as well, from restaurants where you book your table, through to barbecue meals on the deck. If you desire something slightly different, there will also be other options for dining or snacking on available, which will be reasonably priced, from fresh pizza, gourmet ice-creams or eating at a celebrity chef’s restaurant.
Cruising with kids has advantages as well. With entertaining and somewhat educational children’s programs, you can let the kids have their own fun while you sun yourself on the deck. Most children’s or teen programs run from the morning through to the evening meal, and provide a win-win scenario for parents and their offspring alike. These programs are also included in the price of your cruise.
Each evening will bring about another round of entertainment. From the free Broadway-style shows, comedy clubs, dances, themed parties to the live music, there are so many wonderful options for your entertainment. Most shows play twice nightly, so you can choose when to see the show, or whether to view the same show twice.
Also, the destinations are an advantage. While you only have a short time in each port of call, you also have the benefit of being able to travel ashore with just one small bag. Shore tours are available from the ship, or feel free to explore the destinations on your own. The locations will all be picked for their diversity, entertainment, beauty, cultural or adventure experience, so you are bound to have a great time, wherever you stop.
Lastly, cruise vacations have come down to an affordable option for most people. With cheaper rates, as well as cruise sales, most people can find a cruise within their budget. Given the fact that food and entertainment are factored in, as well as childcare in some cases, it can become a more appealing option than backpacking or camping holidays.
Disadvantages of Cruising
While there are many advantages, it pays to be aware of the disadvantages of cruising as well. It can be annoying to find somewhere quiet to sit, when all of a sudden an ice carving exhibition sets up around you, or when you feel like swimming, but the pool is filled with a crew versus cruiser volleyball tournament. I guess the best advice is to read your ship newspaper daily and plan your relaxation around the events, but it can often take you by surprise.
Another disadvantage is one not often publicized, the possibility of not docking at your planned port of call. Sometimes due to weather conditions or to avoid weather patterns, the ship will redirect, or stop at alternative ports of call. If you have made plans to do something in a particular place, you may need to rearrange these. The change of plans can be aggravating for other passengers, and it can bring the morale of the ship down.
Finally, the confines of the ship itself can be a disadvantage. When you have been at sea for a while, the ship becomes a trap, as there is nowhere else to go to. This breaks when you reach port, but you can feel a little suffocated when at sea for a number of straight days at a time. The ship will organize numerous entertainments during this time, but be prepared to see repeating patterns. Dance classes will be full, so don’t join in if you are not happy with being in a large group. Do take the opportunity to join in dances, quizzes or other classes because it is a great way of meeting new people.
This article continues in part 2.