Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cruising: Love it or Hate it?

Do you love to go on cruises? Or do you hate the crowds and the possibility that you'll get stuck in the middle of the ocean? This writer for Yahoo! Travel gives some good reasons to love and hate traveling by cruise ship.

Love: It’s a vacation sampler
You know those appetizer samples you get at finer bars and theme restaurants, where a little of everything on the menu comes on one appetizing plate? Well, cruises are the appetizer samplers of vacations — each port of call gives you a little taste of a tourist destination. If you find one you like, you can take a longer trip there in the future. On a European cruise, Barcelona can be your mozzarella sticks, Naples your potato skins, St. Tropez your onion rings; nibble on them all now, feast on one later.

Hate: The cruise-operated tours
Being tied to a prearranged itinerary for six hours is a special version of hell for me. I did it once, and after several excruciating (and expensive) hours of being trapped on a bus with an operator who would not stop talking, my wife and I were openly contemplating a suicide pact. If you have no choice but to take a group tour for reasons of accessibility or safety, then by all means do it. But if you’re physically able to get around, and if the area you’re visiting supports self-transportation (i.e., it has reliable taxis or nearby car rental agencies, or it’s a port area that you can easily navigate on foot), I recommend going it alone. It’s cheaper and more conducive to mental health.

Love: There’s a bar at every turn
You are never more than a few steps from your next cocktail. Modern-day ships make a ton of money from alcohol sales, so it’s in their interest to make bars as convenient as possible. And they are; cruise ship bars are visible, accessible, and oh so inviting.

Hate: There’s delicious food at every turn
To take a cruise is to be surrounded by temptation with no means of escape. And for those of us who try to be at least somewhat good on vacations, cruises present numerous culinary temptations. You can spend an entire cruise fighting what will eventually be a losing battle to maintain your food discipline.

Love: The workout opportunities
The gyms I see on most cruise ships invariably are nicer, better equipped, and offer more interesting classes than the ones I belong to at home. But there are other areas where you can get your workout on. I’m a big fan of jogging along the tracks that many ships have along their upper decks. And for a little added workout, you can take the stairs between decks instead of elevators.

Hate: The onboard shows
I’m sure the performers are talented. But after a day of running around the port of call, assembling in an auditorium at a given time looks too much like “making plans.” And Vacation Me is allergic to “making plans.”

Love: No pressure
When you’re on a cruise ship, you’re free of that “Isn't there something I should be doing/seeing/experiencing?” vacation pressure that accompanies other trips. When you’re at sea, you’re free to follow your bliss at your own pace, guilt free.

Personally I have only been on one cruise and I didn't think it was all that bad. It was with Carnival and we went to Cozumel and the Yucatan Peninsula. 

Do you love to cruise? 

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