When we first decided to take a cruise, we headed to a travel advisor (TA) in our area who specializes in cruising. And if you have never cruised before using a TA is the best way to start. There is so much to choose from. That first cruise was over 20 years ago. We now have quite a few cruises under our belt and choose cruising as a way of travel for many different reasons. Read on to see why.
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Why Do We Choose Cruising As a Way Of Travel?
Cruising allows you to see many places in a short period. On a seven-day cruise, you can visit 4 to 5 Caribbean islands. On a two-week cruise in Europe, you can see three countries and seven or more cities. You unpack just once, and you don’t have to worry about transportation.
These are the primary reasons cruising is very appealing to many people with busy work schedules and limited vacation time each year.
Yes, you only get snippets of each city and country you visit. But cruising is a way to test the waters and find out if you want to spend more time in a particular region.
Maybe you find yourself in love with the Amalfi Coast and decide to go back there and rent or buy a home. Or you find you really can’t look at another Senior Frog’s and choose to decline your best buddies’ push to buy that time-share in Cancun.
Is Cruising Addictive?
We sat with Randi our TA and now good friend for about an hour as she asked us questions about our likes and dislikes and got to know us. Randi recommended Celebrity Cruises and, in particular, a seven-day Caribbean cruise on Celebrity Century.
Almost everyone starts on a seven-day Caribbean Cruise (that or Mexico); this is how you get your feet wet. The baby steps of a short, sunny cruise are how the industry gets you hooked.
From the boarding (called embarkation on a ship) where we were greeted with a glass of “Bubbly,” to the room (we had a sky suite, also called a mini-suite on other lines), to the excursions, to the very hospitable staff, to the food and yes, even the formal nights. We loved it all.
Cruising set the hook; we took the bait, hook, line, and sinker! We thought, “Now we know why people choose cruising as a way of travel.”
Cruising for Travel Combined With Land Tours
We’ve always interspersed our cruising with land tours in Europe. It was inevitable that we would eventually combine the two. I remember one cruise vividly, in particular for the port of Istanbul. Usually, the ship sails in the night so the guests get to enjoy the day in port.
We sailed into Istanbul under cover of darkness. I woke up the next morning, walked out onto our balcony, and had the most overwhelming feeling of being in a magical and exotic place. Istanbul did not let me down. Not then and not in the two times I have visited this magical city since.
You can go high brow and see all the cultural sights a city has to offer, like museums, castles, and archeological ruins. Or be a foodie and visit markets, vineyards, and restaurants, and even have local cooking lessons.
Cruises Often Create “Special Experiences”
In Barcelona, we were on a “Captain’s Club Reunion Cruise” when Celebrity treated us to a fantastic evening of live, local music and drink at the beautiful Codorniu Caves
First, there was a warm welcome from the Captain of the ship on the lavish grounds with Cava (Spain’s sparkling wine) and Tapas. Then all were seated, and the flamenco dancers performed while we enjoyed a dinner of fabulous Catalan specialties.
Tailor Your Cruise Experience to You!
You can have a DIY (do it yourself) cruise. Jump off the ship in port… maybe find a couple of other cruisers to join you… grab a local taxi driver and have them show you around to their favorite spots.
You can even choose to do nothing, sit on the deck, and stare at the ocean for hours on end. There are amazing sunsets at sea!
There Are Many Things To Do On a Cruise Ship
Onboard, there are always things going on. On the smaller vessels like Azamara, there are often great guest lecturers, discussing the historical events of the ports you will be visiting.
On a “wine” cruise on the Pacific coast of America, we enjoyed a blind wine tasting where you sampled wines and guessed their variety. Thank goodness there were good sommeliers around to give hints as most of us would never have gotten half correct.
Sometimes the entertainment is kitsch like mini-Broadway shows ( think Les Mis or West Side Story). Sometimes you end up with unexpectedly good shows, like a comedian or violinist or even a “Cirque de Solei” type act.
Trivia, bingo, and silly game show replicas are prevalent… Karaoke and Line Dancing always draw a big crowd. If you go to these offerings with a sense of humor and good intentions, you will always have fun.
More recently, with better technology, there is excellent internet (for a price) and even movies on the “Big Screen Under the Stars.” How much cooler can it get than watching “Bohemian Rhapsody” while sailing under a starry sky on the open sea?
Planning Longer Cruises
On a cruise a few years ago, I remarked to my husband as we stepped foot onboard the Reflection “this feels like coming home.”
During that cruise, we planned for our first Trans-Atlantic crossing. It was a pricey booking as most “Crossing” cruises are. But we were curious to see how nearly a week of sea days would feel. Would the crossing be fun or boring?
Here is a good cruise “hack” … Cruising on any line’s older ships will be more affordable… This is an excellent way to stretch your cruising dollars.
In our long-range plans, we think we’d like to book a “round the world cruise” eventually. We thought it would be good to test the “Can we last on a ship for 30 days with as many as 15 sea days?” theory. So coming next year we are doing a partial circumnavigation of South America. This cruise starts in Buenas Aires, Argentina, and ends in Los Angeles, California.
Cruisers Are Happy People
Cruisers are a happy bunch. They come from all over the world. You often will find yourself seated beside someone who doesn’t speak your language.
On a river cruise in China, my husband and I were two of maybe only four English-speaking people on the boat (the other two were from England). We were seated with five Chinese … We found out later that this unusual seating accommodation was because most of the passengers on this cruise were Canadiens who primarily spoke French.
The nine of us sat each night at dinner with our language-translating books on hand, communicating as best we could. A few of the Chinese members spoke a little English, and my husband knows a little Mandarin… from there, we used phrases from the back of those travel books and, of course, universal sign language.
On a few cruises, they’ve announced the number of different countries that are represented onboard… It’s always a large number; people who cruise are indeed Citizens of the World. We are happy to see the world and share our joy in doing so.
So Why Should You Choose Cruising As A Way Of Travel?
From the personalized expertise of travel advisors guiding your initial steps to the addictive charm that sets in from the first cruise, you will love the convenience, variety, and joy that cruising offers.
You unpack just once and can explore multiple destinations, whether it’s a seven-day Caribbean escapade or an extended South American circumnavigation. Cruise personnel and local guides give you insights into the special experiences, onboard activities, and the unique camaraderie among cruisers.
Join us as we navigate through the seas of discovery, revealing cruising as a way of travel isn’t just a vacation—it’s a lifestyle choice that promises boundless adventures and a global community of happy, diverse explorers.