With so many different ways to travel these days, it can be hard at times to choose the best way to see the country you want to visit. Train? Bus? Road trip? Tour group? Cruise? Cruising has become a popular option for travel for a number of reasons. One reason being the affordability. There are so many different vendors offering cruises at a fraction of the retail price that it’s hard to turn down a cruise as a vacation option. A lot of people I talk to still think that cruising is very expensive. And it can be. But it doesn’t have to be. I booked a cruise for the second week of December and with taxes the total price per person was around $630.00 USD. That’s including all meals, accommodation, and transportation to each island. Not to mention onboard entertainment options. A pretty cheap vacation if you ask me.
But cruising isn’t for every situation and for every person. For me personally, while I have cruised Europe, it’s not my preferred method of seeing that continent. For Europe I prefer doing a solo trek using public transportation or a tour group. So how do you choose when and where to cruise? Here are a few things about cruising to consider.
Cruising is easy
If you are short on planning time, or simply don’t want to spend the time to plan a vacation, then cruising is a great option. You just choose where you want to go, choose which company you want to cruise with and how long you want to be gone for, and then book it. Then you have a whole vacation ready to go as simple as that. The simplicity of cruising is what prompted me to book my upcoming Caribbean cruise. I wanted to get away but didn’t have the time (or reliable internet) with which to plan all the little details of a vacation. You can plan your cruise down to the minute if you prefer, or you can simply board the ship and take each day as it comes. I usually do a little planning of shore excursions and things to see on the islands I will be visiting, but it’s not necessary.
Cruising can be very inexpensive
When all of the different factors are considered, cruising can be a very affordable vacation option. Considering that everything is taken care of, all-inclusive style, the value for money of a cruise is very good. If you were to book your own transportation to several different islands, along with the level of accommodation that a cruise ship provides, and all-you-can-eat meals, the cost would be significantly higher. Not to mention you would have to do all that groundwork yourself.
Cruising is a great way to see a lot of different places in a short timeframe
When you cruise you generally wake up in a new port each morning. And depending on where you are, that’s also usually a new country that you are in. If you are short on time but want to see a sampling of several different countries, then this is a good option for you.
Cruising can limit your interaction with locals
While there are several pluses to cruising, there are also several downsides to cruising. If you are looking for a genuinely local experience, cruising won’t be your best option. Whirling into town for 8-9 hours and then leaving again will hardly give you time to get to know the locals. You will probably see them at souvenir stands hawking their wares and trying to hassle you into buying something, but that’s all they will see you as: money. If you want to truly get to know locals you will have to spend some time living among them and talking to them. Eating where they eat and shopping where they shop. A cruise doesn’t afford you this opportunity.
Cruising doesn’t give you the chance to really see the country
If you are only in a country for a day you will really have a hard time getting a feel for the pulse of the country. You might get a tiny slice of the culture, but all the little nuances that you pick up with time won’t be there. You won’t truly get to know what the country is like and you will hardly have time to see the varying topographical features that it offers. While one day in a country is better than none, to truly get to see a bit of a country you need at least a few days (and preferably much more).
Cruising puts a damper on trying local foods
One of the things I love about traveling is trying the local foods. But when I cruise I have a hard time buying local foods because I have an entire ship full of restaurants offering me free food back at the port. For a Scottish girl like me, that’s hard to resist. Why buy food when I have free food onboard? I have to admit that when I cruise I don’t eat very much local food. And that’s a shame because trying the local cuisine is such a big part of travel. But since I paid for an all-inclusive experience, I feel like I’m wasting money if I don’t eat on the ship.
Those are just a few things to consider when trying to decide whether or not to cruise. While I love cruising, there’s a time and a place for it, and I definitely wouldn’t cruise for the majority of my travels. But for seeing the Caribbean I highly recommend a cruise. It’s easy and cheap and keeps you from being bored on any one island.
Have you cruised? What are your favorite cruise destinations?