Growing up, I had the privilege of going on many cruises because my parents absolutely loved to cruise. As an adult, and a mom, I had never planned a cruise vacation until a few years ago, wanting my kids to experience the difference between a resort vacation and an adventure at sea. We took a Caribbean cruise from Miami to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Grand Turk, St.Thomas and St. John. It was amazing family bonding time; however, after the trip, I couldn’t help but reflect on the pros and cons of cruising. For me personally, the pros as cons weigh pretty evenly, and I believe it really comes down to personal preferences.
So consider my list a personality cruise quiz. Write down a plus for each statement that sounds appealing to you, and a minus for the ones that would cause you to jump overboard. You will quickly realize if you are a cruiser or not.
My personal List of Pros:
- Cost— Prior to cruising, you will know the entire cost upfront–Besides alcohol and souvenirs, you know exactly what you are spending which makes budgeting for the trip much more manageable.
2. Food— There’s no doubt that on a cruise, you will indulge in an abundance of delicious and gourmet food–knowing you’ve paid a fixed price for all you can eat, you may be very tempted to order all fifteen desserts on the menu every single evening–not that we’ve ever thought of doing anything as gluttonous as that:(
3. Destinations–A pro of cruising is the fact that you will get to test out several new destinations rather than being in one location for an entire week–Our last cruise took us to five Caribbean Islands opposed to our typical resort vacations, remaining in only one location.
4. Family Bonding–Cruises are Great for multi-generational vacations–we’ve cruised with kids, teens, 20 somethings, middle aged people such as myself and seniors–and, yes, there’s a plethora of activities for all age groups every hour of the day.
5. Social–You will definitely meet many new people–at dinner, poolside, at shows, at the bar, on the lunch buffet line, etc…some you may even maintain future communication with–and I’m not even talking about single’s cruises!
6. Limited Wifi–On a cruise, you can guarantee your kids will be active since there is limited if any wifi at sea. Furthermore, you can’t check work emails, not that you’d really want to I’d hope.
7. Stress Free Planning–Since dinner times, port excursions, and major cruise events are typically pre- planned, you’re only decision will which cocktail you’re going to enjoy poolside.
8. Fresh Air--There’s a magical feeling you get sailing at sea–looking out into the vast blue sea, breathing in the fresh salty air, or feeling the evening ocean breeze and gazing at a million of stars, as you stroll along the tranquil moonlit deck at night.
- Cost--A Caribbean cruise for us typically costs around $6000 compared to an all-inclusive Caribbean week averaging around $4000.
2. Weight Gain–This is almost a guarantee! You will gain weight–on average I gain 4-10 pounds per cruise. Ugggghhh!
3. Missed Opportunities–On a cruise, you only get a sneak preview of each destination and for me, personally, there is something to be said for wandering lovely streets in exotic locales without a care in the world, living like the locals and discovering restaurants and shops. If you really want to get a sense of local life in a location, a cruise won’t do it for you. Cruisers are required to be back on the ship at a certain time, which leaves little leisure time in certain ports. The only cruise that did not feel rushed on was a cruise from New York to Bermuda since we docked there for several days, but typically you are in one destination for no more than 8-10 hours.
4. Seasickness–I’ve been on the upper deck with a barf bag more than once–the worst being that New York to Bermuda cruise. I can recall our dinner plates smashing to the floor and watching the horizon constantly sway out of sight. The medical seasick patch definitely helps with, as long as blurred vision and constant thirst don’t bother you.
5. Crowds–lots and lots of crowds–at buffets, at shows, disembarking, embarking…you get the idea.
6. Claustrophobic rooms–unless you book a suite with a balcony
7. Cheesy Factor–Some cruises can be a quite bit cheesy-corny shows, ridiculous activities–be ready to laugh at yourself, unless you book a high-end luxury liner
So as you can see, there are slightly more pros than cons in my opinion. The key for me is that I don’t view a cruise as a traveling vacation. It is not comparable to a month on Bali or backpacking through Europe. If you view cruising as a niche of its own, you really won’t be disappointed.
So what’s the verdict? Are you a cruiser or not?