Travel Thoughts: Cruising
Cruising. Judging by content on the internet, most people either love it or hate it. With 25 days of cruising now under our belts – a paltry number compared to some of the people we’ve met while cruising! - we are pretty confident in saying we love it. Sure, there are some things we don’t like (that’s for another post) and we’ve been on one we considered quite “meh,” but, in general, we both think cruising is a fantastic way to travel. Here’s why.
Cruising is a great first foray into traveling, especially internationally. For us, we have only travelled out of the U.S. together – there was no extensive international travel in the care-free days of our youth. That’s scary. Boarding a boat with a couple thousand of your fellow Americans and at least another thousand people who came from foreign countries to work on the ship is not so scary. To note, I do remember it being slightly nerve-wracking at the end of our first cruise trying to get back into the United States. Justin got pulled out of line! I had gone through ahead of him and had no issues, but he was escorted to another desk where they were seriously scrutinizing his passport. That was six years ago, so neither of us really remember why now and Justin isn’t feeling creative enough to tell a wild tale, but the incident did cause me an extra few minutes of concern. Not too many, though, as I was already safe back in the states and we really hadn’t been dating that long anyway. [Edit: Hey. --Justin]
Planning and traveling is much more simplified. On our recent trip to San Francisco, we had to take a bunch of flights, one of which was cancelled, get a rental car, navigate around, book a hotel, then change that hotel, figure out where we could get some late night grub when we got there (which incidentally made me ill), decide where we wanted to eat for every meal or if we were going to make food, which would have required a grocery run, and finally we could start planning the fun stuff we wanted to do. And that’s not even the full list of things we had to coordinate! With a cruise, yes, most of the time we still have to book a flight and coordinate some travel plans on either side of the cruise, but once it’s booked, we know how we’re getting to our destinations, we know where we are going to sleep, we know where our next meal can come from, and we’ve got a team of cruise staff whose sole purpose is to help us have a good trip. After that, we can make our plans at sea and at port as complicated or simple as we want. Just as long as we make it back to the boat before it leaves port!
Cruising provides the ability to have different kinds of vacations – all in the same trip. Each day can be as laid back, adventurous, or ‘authentic’ as we want. We’ve gone snorkeling and zip lining and swimming with dolphins, all on pricey, cruise-encouraged excursions. We’ve started trying to explore places on our own. We’ve also just laid on the beach and, once, not even gotten off the boat!
Speaking of different kinds of things, there’s all of the glorious food! Standard ‘American’ fair, my personal favorite: Mongolian grill, junk food, healthy food, gourmet food, and new food. I’m braver about trying new foods on a cruise because it usually doesn’t cost extra money and, in the event of a disastrous outcome, there are plenty of bathrooms nearby, although that sure would put a damper on the rest of the cruise! It was on a cruise that I learned that I actually do like Escargots and not just because the word sounds pretty! I’ve also learned that, even in an adventurous mood, I can only manage a nibble of something when it still has feet on it. Never again, frog legs, never again.
Continuing the food theme, one of the biggest perks that actually drove Justin and I to explore cruising to begin with is that we can ‘taste test’ the destinations. When we were first finally funded enough to plan a big trip together, we couldn’t decide where to go. Cruising seemed like a way to check out some of the places we might like to return for a longer stay while seeing more than we might have otherwise. Good thing we did, as we’ve been to a couple of islands and cities that we hope to never return to. And on the flip side, several more we’d like to come back to for a much longer visit.
Finally, it’s not just about the Caribbean. While we’ve now been to enough ports as to be on a personal quest to visit all of the Caribbean islands (even if not by cruise!), there are ports all over the world. We are dreaming about a 15 day Hawaii cruise, an adventurous Alaska cruise, and a European cruise. There are river cruises within countries and ocean-cross cruises to add to the list. If we manage to make our millions and still aren’t tired of cruising by then, we can even go on a never-ending World cruise . Oh, the possibilities!
For all of the above reasons, some more, and a few less, we daresay that cruising is the best way to travel. Of course, we plan to keep on challenging that thought to see if we can knock it down to only ‘one of the best’!
Cruising: love it or hate it? Or kind of want to try it? Let us know your thoughts about cruising and other ‘best ways to travel’ in the comments!
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