St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
I went on my first cruise without any idea of what to expect – aside from the fact that I was going to be on a boat in the Caribbean for seven days. I soon learned that cruises are essentially floating resorts, conveniently transporting you to destinations while you wine, dine and soak up the sun. But if that’s not enough to convince you, here’s my list of reasons why you should cruise:
1. It’s a combination of relaxation and adventure
On days that the ship docks, you can sign up for a group excursion or explore the port at your own leisure. While days at sea allow you to soak up the sun from the pool deck, wander the cruise ship or choose from a variety of onboard entertainment.
2. Visit multiple cities and countries without the hassle
Unlike other types of travel, you won’t have to worry about organising and paying for airline tickets, airport tariffs, taxis fares, and accommodation. With a cruise, once you’ve booked almost everything else is taken care of! However, you need to get yourself to the departure port. Once you’re there, the all-encompassing vessel will transport you to a number of destinations without any of the aforementioned hassles or extra expenses.
3. There’s no time wasted in transit
You won’t be wasting any precious holiday time waiting at airports or onboard flights, which means you also won’t be losing sleep in an awkward plane chair. On a cruise, the captain will be heading to the next destination as you enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep in your cabin or while you’re relaxing by the pool.
4. Cruises are a carefree and convenient way of travelling
Alongside ditching the hassles and expenses of typical travel, a cruise houses everything you’ll need for your getaway. From all your meals and accommodation to activities and events to keep you entertained from morning until night, everything you’ll need is onboard. And most importantly, you’ll only have to unpack (and repack) your bags once!
5. Cruises aim to appease all types of travellers
Cruises are great for all travellers of any age. There’s mingling events for singles, mystery and treasure hunts for the children, art auctions for the art lovers, and inclusivity meets exclusivity with adult only retreats allowing for some quiet relaxation. At night, all ages can gaze at the night sky from the pool deck, or get their hands on some late-night pizza. While adults can have a drink at one of the many bars, dance at the nightclub, enjoy a comedy show, or try their luck at the onboard casino.
6. There is unlimited food – and it’s all surprisingly delicious!
If you’re worried about choice, you might be surprised to discover the variety of cuisines and dining options onboard your ship. From a sit-down buffet area to late-night pizza bars to elegant dining rooms, you will have a number of places where you can eat and an abundance of delicious foods to chose from. And, there’s no need to be worried about any food allergies or intolerance as many cruises can cater for those with special dietary requirements.
7. Cruises are good value for money
Cruises are all-round good value for money, but it’s always important to make certain you know what’s included in your package. Generally, all meals (including room service), entertainment (events and shows, not including shore excursions), and accommodation are included in what I consider reasonable prices (based on my cruise, approximately USD 100 per day). Cruise packages include all the basics, with the option to purchase add-ons or upgrade.
8. Visit a lot of destinations in a short period of time
Cruises are a great way to visit many destinations in a small amount of time. While the time you spend at each port of call is limited, cruises offer the rare opportunity to sample a number of places, which allows you to narrow down destinations that you may (or may not) want to visit more extensively in the future.
9. A cruise can be a safer way of seeing certain parts of the world
Just like group tours, rather than being left to fend for yourself, cruises offer a sense of security when travelling to certain parts of the world. With the experienced staff who provide information and safety advice, each port of call can be enjoyed to its fullest while knowing you are well-informed about your destination.
Please consider that all my observations are based on a cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines in 2014, and may not be the same with other companies or ships.