Sunday, September 23, 2007

How Cruises Are Different from Other Vacations

If you're trying to decide whether or not to book a cruise, you may want to look at all the ways cruises are different from other vacation options. Those differences are likely what will make you a fan (or convince you that cruises just aren't for you).

1. The most obvious difference is that on a cruise you sail from destination to destination instead of hopping a plane, train, bus, or renting a car.

Most people don't get excited about traveling by plane, bus, etc. since it involves being squeezed into a seat next to a) squirming kids b) someone who hogs the arm rest or c) someone who wants to chat with you the whole time. You have little to do but read, daydream, and try to ignore your obnoxious seatmates until you arrive at your destination.

With a cruise, you have your own private cabin to call yours, and--better yet--the whole ship to wander through and explore while you are in transit. There are tons of things to do to keep you entertained, such as casinos, swimming pools, fitness centers, fine dining, massages, comedy shows, classes, and more.

2. With cruises, you're usually limited to coastal destinations.

Though some cruise lines offer excursions that will also take you inland for part of your vacation, for the most part, you're not going to be climbing any Alps to look for mountain goats. It is possible, however, to find river cruises in many parts of the world. For example, there are a couple outfits that sail the Mississippi River in the U.S. using replicas of the
old steam-powered paddle boats that Mark Twain rode on.

3. You get to visit several cities, but only have to unpack once.

This may very well be the coolest part of cruises, at least in my eyes. Speaking as someone who did one of the big Rick Steves see-all-of-Europe-in-three-weeks tours, packing and unpacking every two days can get a little old!

4. Prices are "all inclusive" and cover the majority of your expenses.

When you pay for a cruise, the ticket prices includes your cabin, meals, entertainment shows, and of course the cruise itself. However, you can expect the cruise lines to try and sell you lots of extras. And, for example, drinks and shore excursions aren't included (but you can explore on your own if you want to save money).

5. You don't get to spend a lot of time in any one place.

If you like the idea of staying somewhere for a week or more and really getting a feel for that one town, then you may not enjoy a cruise. Cruises are all about visiting one destination for a day and then moving onto the next place.

These are just some of the ways cruises are different from most other types of vacations. Let's hope this helps you decide whether the cruise life is right for you.

No comments: