I am a huge fan of cruising. Once you've been on a cruise, it's easy to get hooked. In fact, cruising has one of the highest retention rates in the travel industry. This means once people cruise, they come back time and time again. I am one of those people. So here are my top eight reasons to stretch your sea legs!
I love an excellent adventure. But I love to get settled into once place. On a cruise, I like settling into my stateroom and not seeing my suitcase again until the departure day. The housekeepers on cruise ships are fantastic. They clean, tidy and in some cases leave little surprises (like chocolate or creatively folded towels) in your stateroom!
Way To Begin to Explore
Travel can be expensive, and cruising is an affordable way to start your world exploration of Europe, the Caribbean, you name it. I have found over the years that cruising is an excellent way to determine whether or not you want to return to a particular destination. I found this to be true with Ephesus, Turkey. I love that place and I discovered it from a cruise! If water is close to the destination, then chances are high you can get there on a ship.
All Inclusive and Buy As You Go
On a cruise, culinary delights are included in your vacation. In some cases, everything is included, but most mass market cruise lines and itineraries include the basic fare and plenty of it. This means you don’t have to eat at a premium restaurant if you prefer not to. A premium restaurant in “cruise speak” is a high-quality restaurant on board the ship where, by paying a nominal fee per person, you can select steaks, seafood, French cuisine or sushi (just to name a few delicacies). But again, you choose how much you want to spend on these extras...and some choose none at all.
River or Ocean
Ocean cruising became popular in in America in the 1980’s. Ocean cruises in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Europe and Alaska remain the most popular cruises, and for good reason. However, river cruising has exploded in popularity in the last two decades. River cruises are an excellent way to get closer to exotic ports all over the world. Just imagine yourself dancing to the Danube Waltz on the Danube River or learning about Portugal's port wine production on the Douro River...
Kids Are Happy
Cruise lines understand the importance of keeping the kids happy! And most of them do an excellent job. Sure, you would expect Disney to do well with the kiddos, but you may be surprised to learn that Royal Caribbean and Carnival (among others) have extensive programs for kids of all ages. They also offer in-cabin babysitting! Do your homework and then select a cruise line and itinerary that the kids will love!
Active As You Want
Some experienced cruisers I’ve talked to never leave the ship! Hard to believe, but for them, they’ve already been to the ports the ship is visiting. Cruise ships are a means to get somewhere but over the years, they’ve developed into destinations unto themselves. This is where the flexibility really comes into play. While on board you can go to the pool, the casino, the adults' area, the spa or shop in the on board boutiques. Or, you can opt to do absolutely nothing. I mean it. If you want to rest, take in a little sun and be pampered, then a cruise is an excellent idea.
Ah, yes, the spa. Each mass market cruise line has developed an expansive and invigorating spa. We’re talking massages, wraps and cucumbers in the eyes! And that’s jut the beginning. I suggest booking early for the optimal spa appointment times on your at sea days.
Departure City Options
I live in the Northeast and in Knoxville, which means, I have lots of options when it comes to departure cities. Miami and the Atlantic coast have the most choices when it comes to cruise lines and itineraries. But Charleston, Baltimore, NYC, Galveston and San Diego are just of the few of the departure cities from where you can be whisked away to paradise!
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I am on a mission to get you traveling more often. This blog is a reflection of my mission. I travel (on average) 30 weeks per year hosting and producing a television series for PBS. In addition, I host a weekly radio show and produce original travel videos for online distribution. I am very fortunate for these opportunities and it is my hope you will join me on my travels!