Many people think cruising is for retired people or worse for kids let loose on a spring break. While most definitely these two groups of people do cruise, this type of vacation has become more and more popular amongst young adults, couples, singles, families and especially big companies who would like to treat their employees to a nice vacation.
I will be honest, working on a cruise ship for 20 years does make me a bit biased, but up until I started cruising myself, I couldn’t quite comprehend what the big hype was all about and failed to see the charm of it all. Well, these days are gone, now I can not wait to throw away my uniform and switch roles- board a cruise ship as his Highness- THE GUEST. Yes, the guest is a king, no matter what sex, age, religion or walk of life. Cruising – from a luxurious, extravagant adventure – has become one of the most popular vacations, whether you are on a budget or you have some $$$ to spend- you will be treated like a royalty, every need met and then some while onboard a cruiseship
Well, for once, cruising is quite inexpensive. Traditionally the food and entertainment will be included in the price, so you can have a bed, full board, amenities (like pools, Jacuzzis, flow riders, ice-skating, rock climbing, inline skating, bumper cards, water slides, observatories, zip line, flying, diving, cooking, ballroom dance lessons, etc) and activities (games, trivia, quests, etc) for as little as $30.00 a day…. If you want to book tours, have alcoholic beverages, shop or indulge in the spa, get pictures or pieces of Art, rent tuxedo or do your laundry, this will cost you extra, but you can certainly cruise without much effort of financing.
Secondly, you get to see at least 3 to 15 (or even more) different places in various countries all over the world, depending on the length of your voyage. Nothing can beat the feeling when you wake up every morning in the same bed for the whole cruise, but in a different country or even a continent, without the need to pack and re-pack, go through tedious airport nuisence or long lines to see customs and immigration officials. You get a nice taster of some of the most exotic and hot spots in the world and of course if you like the vibe of the place, you can come here again on your own or yet on another cruise. The opposite is also true- if you are not too impressed with a port, you won’t need to spend a whole week of your valuable vacation stuck in there, but sail away to the next exciting destination. Many of us believe the glossy brochures and promising web site when planning our vacation, but more often than not once at the property our expectations are not met, let alone exceeded. At least on a cruise, you have a choice of several holiday destinations where you are bound to like at least one and if you are like me (finding some unique and interesting in every place) you will love it all.
While cruising you will discover foreign lands and cultures, you will try the local cuisine, sign up for extreme sports and activities you never thought you would experience in a life time. You will bring great souvenirs, fun stories and pictures you can post on Facebook, Flicker or Pinterest as soon as you take them… You will feel like a professional photographer working for National Geographic on a remote and exclusive location…
There is also something for everyone. You can be as private as you want to be, or you can be in the midst of the action- there are activities for every age group and I have never seen anyone who would claim they were bored. Lots of people cruise by themselves and they are equally entertained and happy to meet new acquaintances and friends, as the families who have a reunion or those celebrating a special occasion.
Contrary to the believe that ships are small and crowded, I can assure you that every ship has places where you can find solitude or on the contrary- you are a party animal, then without a doubt you are in the right place.
While cruising everyone meets similar minded people and makes friends amongst the guests and crew. I can not tell you how many times I have been approached by people who want to share how wonderful the crew was and how they would like to “adopt” their waiter, room attendant, etc. Myself, I have made hundreds of friends that I keep in touch with and I am grateful for my job to gee me the opportunity to meet such great people.
The service onboard may be of the highest quality and some times where amenities are deficient, crew more than make up for it. Guests return to the same ship or cruiseline over and over again, because they love the crew and feel part of the onboard family. I have been in numerous 4 and 5 star hotels in over 200 cities in 58 different countries and I can honestly say that the service on cruise ships is better than any hotel, resort or airline- the collective goal of hundreds of crew to satisfy their guests every need certainly leaves you impressed and I am sure those who have cruised at least once will agree fully.
There are even elderly guests, who rather be on a cruise ship amongst young, energetic and friendly employees, they consider family, than in a special home, where they can not afford the fees.
In short, you get the best value for what you pay and we see more and more people return and choose cruising over standard resort vacations, especially when the cruise line offers a membership and great perks for their returning customers.
You still don’t believe me? Check out the social media and how many stunning pictures are taken from people while cruising or how many sites exist for “frequent floaters” sharing ideas, feedback and suggestions.
Is this type of vacation for me? Who goes on a cruise?
Well… basically EVERYONE. There are lots of singles, who want to get away from it all or looking for a short romance/earth shattering experience and subsequent lifetime relationships, honeymooners, young families with little ones, big family reunions, elderly guests and of course cruise lines can accommodate Charters and larger groups who want the ships to themselves. Throughout my career I have seen various different types of groups charting the ship, like the Heavy Metal one (attracting die hard heavy metal fans and some of the most popular metal bands), Budweiser (lots of beer and live concerts), Swingers (self-explanatory), Atlantis (gay and lesbian clientele) and many others, offering their guests a great venue for specific activities in a non-judgmental atmosphere.
If you worry that you will be under or overwhelmed, don’t be – there is always something to do onboard for every age group, different people to meet and activities to join that appeal to every taste and satisfy every interest. However if you are someone who rather have piece and quiet, avoid the time of the year when there are major holidays, school breaks or it is high season for the ports you are visiting.