Cruise Getaway: Your Next Vacay?
So you've been thinking about going on a cruise but have heard horror stories about food, seasickness, and who knows what else!?! Back in 2015 I did a Cruise FAQ and since I just finished my 17th cruise I thought I'd provide an update and some more info about cruising! Scroll down to get my honest thoughts about cruise getaways, my favorite itineraries, and more.
Over the past two years I've traveled a ton: a solo adventure in Europe, a few cruises, and some fun group trips in Mexico. In discussing cruises with friends and fellow passengers there are two real draws of cruising: SAFETY + VALUE.
- They're "safe" - you always know what to expect (food onboard, service, accommodations, etc.) Tons of structure with little room for error. And, no language barrier.
- Truly SAFE. When onboard or with a cruise planned excursion, you'll never find yourself in an unsafe, uncomfortable, or strange situation.
This makes cruises AMAZING for families with little ones. I honestly cannot imagine traveling out of the country with a child under 5 unless it was on a cruise. Cruises make it very easy for parents - there's kid's clubs, babysitting services, kid friendly rooms, food for every palette, and fun activities and games.
On the other hand, if you're more of an adventurous type and are looking for the thrill of spontaneity plus really diving into the culture of your destination, then cruising may not be for you. As I get older I'm falling more and more into this camp, which is why I typically book solo or land travel on either side of my cruise itineraries.
Nowadays love cruises because it gives me a chance to see many places in a short amount of time and can be a good little teaser into future, longer adventures! That brings me to the value:
Cruises are hands down a bang for your buck when you take into account luxury accommodations, premium food (24hrs a day), activities + entertainment, and amenities. When priced out, most cruises end up costing less than $100 a day per person for ALL of the above. I don't know where the heck in the world you could stay at a luxury hotel, eat 3 amazing meals a day (more if you felt like it) and see a theatre or comedy show every night for under $100 a day and that doesn't even take into account being transported from port to port every evening. And this my friends, is why people love cruising!
Cruises allow you to see so many incredible places without the hassle of booking transfers, multiple hotels, or being a slave to Trip Advisor.
CRUISE LINES + ITINERARIES
There are a plethora of Cruise Lines out there, so I can only imagine how hard it can be to decide once you finally make the decision that you actually want to go on a cruise. I personally have only cruised on Princess or Seabourn and cannot provide 1st hand knowledge of other lines, however, based on things I've heard and read, here's how I would look at them:
- Princess Cruise Lines - great value, high-end accommodations, fit for families and young couples as well as older clientele (there's something for everyone), incredible food, amazing itineraries, and fun atmosphere
- Carnival Cruise Lines + Royal Caribbean- rumor has it these are more of the party and "active" ships, great for college kids as well as families with children; most of their ships have water slides! I believe the price point may be lower for these lines vs. others.
- Holland America - appears to be more inline with Princess but with less itineraries to choose from
- Seabourn Cruises - SUPER luxury with a price point to match. Smaller ships with roughly 600 passengers vs. the 2K on regular cruise lines. Alcohol is included and customer service is next level. Because of the price point, clientele skews older.
- Disney Cruises - I mean, it's Disney so I think it's pretty obvious what to expect. If you don't have kids not sure why you would come anywhere NEAR these ships - hah!
Give a quick look at each of their websites and you can instantly get a feel for their vibe and clientele.
For me, I associate cruises with tropical or very warm locations. We did Alaska a few years back and it was not my cup of tea BUT I know tons of people who love it. My all time faves are the Caribbean (Western is #1) and Mediterranean cruises that stop in Greece! After our Greece stops I made it my mission to get back to Santorini and Mykonos for a full immersive trip in the next few years. Here are some posts I've done over the years about our trips:
Like anything, deciding to go on a cruise, which line, and where are all based on personal preference. If you go on one just make sure you have an appetite because the food is TOO good and never ending. (below: sample of our recent cruise dinner menu below) Have cruise Qs? You know where to find me!