Have you considered taking a cruise vacation but just aren’t sure if it would be right for you? With all the cruise lines available, all the cruise destinations, the range of prices, there is a cruise for just about everyone.
Do you commute to work every day, sitting in traffic for perhaps hours? Think about it, on a cruise you don’t drive anywhere for 7, 10, 14 days or more. Now, even if you were on a bus tour with no driving yourself, you haul your luggage or at least pack and unpack it at each stop. On a cruise, you check your luggage when you check in and it magically appears in your cabin, stateroom, or suite. You unpack once, feeling at home for the duration of the cruise. The cruise staff will tell you when to place your bags outside your accommodations at the end of the cruise and, just a magically, your luggage will be waiting for you on shore at a designated pick-up point. Taking a cruise vacation frees you from some of the hassles of traveling.
If you take a driving vacation, there’s always the question of where to stop to eat. All meals are included in the price of your cruise and great food is one of the main attractions of taking a cruise. Most contemporary cruises take into account the modern casual lifestyle and provide a variety of restaurants and snack bars on board. Typically, there is a varied and plentiful breakfast and lunch buffet similar to what you find in Las Vegas. Or you can eat breakfast or lunch in one of the ship’s restaurants, ordering exactly what you want from the ample menu, prepared fresh for you. Restaurants are usually open for meals for extended hours and buffets are generally open all day and into the night. Have you heard of the midnight buffet available on some cruises?
Dinner is an important event on a cruise ship, a tradition dating back to the late 1800’s when cruises were for royalty and the wealthy who expected elegant formal dinners. Again, in today’s lifestyle the elegant dinner is optional, and for those who prefer to dine casually, the dinner buffet is available usually until 9 pm. Most cruise ships offer excellent cuisine, especially at dinner, in the main dining room or rooms plus offer meals at upscale specialty restaurants at additional cost. Cruise lines base much of their reputation on their food service, and terms such as “world class cuisine” and “gourmet meals” are combined with “impeccable service” to insure that the onboard dining experience is truly memorable. Many cruises still offer one or more optional formal dinners where ladies where long formal gowns or other evening dresses and gentlemen wear tuxedos or dark suits.
Once onboard your cruise vessel, there are activities 24 hours a day. Modern cruise ships boast state-of-the-art 700 plus seat theatres for quality shows and entertainment, all included in the cruise price. There is unique entertainment in the theatre every evening of the cruise. Most ships also have a number of themed bars, lounges, and discos with live entertainment that are open into the early morning hours. Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks are seldom included in the cruise price. Most ships also provide a casino that is open while the ship is in international waters.
If night life isn’t your style, you can enjoy the onboard pool, spa, library, fitness center, and other amenities. Many cruises now offer instructional classes on a variety of topics during the day. If you have children on the cruise, there are usually play areas and programs geared to different age groups.
Did we forget about the cruise destination itself? Cruises typically stop at a different port of call each day or every other day, depending upon distances and sailing time between points of interest. You may stay aboard the ship all day or disembark at any stop. You are free to explore each destination on your own as long as you return to the ship by the designated time.
Also cruise lines offer a variety of shore excursions at additional cost. These adventures are geared toward the unique features of the destination. For example, Caribbean cruises offer snorkeling, diving or beach excursions while Alaskan cruises offer helicopter tours or dogsled trips. For the less adventuresome, normally there are bus tours or supervised shopping excursions in the local port. Everything, including meal stops, is prearranged. All you need to do is find the correct line onshore and an experienced guide handles the rest of your tour.
With all these great services available at a reasonable cost, why not take a cruise vacation?