Why take a cruise?

Feb 1st, 2009, 09:52 PM
  #1  
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Why take a cruise?

I've never been on a cruise, have never wanted to take a cruise, and often wonder why people prefer cruises to actually spending time in countries / cities.

Besides sitting at a table with folks you've never met, or paying extra for a "premium" meal, and other banalities, what makes a cruise so popular?

What does a day trip sponsered by the cruise line to a specific place, especially when it is escorted by a tourist oriented tour guide help you learn about the place you are touring?

What makes a cruise "magical" to all you folks?

Rastaguytoday is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 08:11 AM
  #2  
 
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I enjoy cruises. I also like to travel and have a longer experience. Cruises are a good way to sample several places that might be difficult to visit individually without packing and repacking frquently. Your food and lodging are right there. It can be a lot of fun. Then there are those who only like to party and see a cruise as a week long drunken haze. Some cruise lines are famous for this. I have talked with people who have been on 35 or more cruises. That I can't really understand if seeing the world in any depth is a goal. To me the best is to travel frquently, and mix a few cruises in. Try one, you may like it.
Aristotle is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 08:16 AM
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Part II. shore excursions are a pet peeve. You rarely get what you pay for from a cruise line. You are better off on your own. AT least you have less chance of a guide with his own agenda. Usually commercial.
Don't cruise for the food, unless you pick one the upscale lines and pay big time. The food is good and abumdant, but of a quality like a national not-quite-fast food chains.
And if you do go to drink, take plenty of money.
Aristotle is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 09:23 AM
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Many cruise lines have flexible dining. You can sit at a table for 2 or if you have a biger group, you can all sit together and dine at pretty much any time you like.

There is something "magical" about waking up in a different country or port each morning. Last year we did a Med. cruise and visited Rome, Florence, Naples, Venice, Sicily, Dubrovnik, Barcelona and Monte Carlo. Let me see you do that in 12 nights by land.

Some cities were repeats and some were new. Probably wouldn't ever get to some of those destinations if we had to do it on our own. Better to get a flavor of a destination than to never get there at all. We only unpacked and packed once.

You can arrange private tours on your own in advance of your arrival at any given port or you can tour on your own as we did in Venice and Dubrovnik. The cruise ship tour options are numerous, sometimes as many as 50 or 60 different tours and obviously very convenient.

Lastly the "sea days", those where you are not in port, (we had 3 on our Med. cruise) are also "magical" and very relaxing, particularly if you are fortunate enough to have good weather.
Frank is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 10:06 AM
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We like both land vacations and cruises. Each has it's benefits.

What we like about a cruise is having a floating hotel. It's wonderful not to have to pack and unpack to go to multiple places.

We've been together for 40+ years, so we've heard all of each other's stories--we enjoy meeting and having dinner with new people. Our favorite cruise line doesn't charge for the specialty restaurants, so that's not an issue for us.

Although we don't generally take the ship's shore excursions, we do like having a tour guide sometimes to inform us and answer questions.
abram is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 11:55 AM
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I like cruises. I like independent vacations. I do not find either "magical".

Cruises we liked and why - Bermuda, since the ship docked for 3 days in Bermuda and the fare was far less than hotel and meals would have been for 4 of us.

Alaska - after spending 8 days on land on our own, we liked seeing what could only be seen by sea.

I expect to like a 4-night Bahamas cruise scheduled for March because it is going to be a 3-generation (age 18 to 80) woman's thing and we will not need to worry about accomodating varying tastes. I also am exhausted from work and intend to do little more than eat, sleep, read, and tan. Even having to make decisions about where to do any of these activities would be too much.

I do not prefer cruises to spending time in countries - in past couple of years I have been to 4 National Parks, London, Florida, Nova Scotia - to mention a few.

But just like sometimes I am in the mood for a take-out pizza and sometimes for a really nice sit-down dinner and sometimes a quality meal at home - each type vacation has its time and place.
gail is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 01:07 PM
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Rastaguytoday: (andwhatwillyoubetomorrow) . I think you have a jaded viewpoint about cruises. I mean why can't you enjoy a meal with people you have never met? If this was a problem then don't you think cruise lines would have stopped this traditional practice? Actually for most it works quite well, as long as you are socialble and on a vacation folks tend to be that way anyhow. They want to have a good time. Thats why they are there. We still keep in touch with some tablemates we've met over the yrs. Yes there is nominal charge for the speciality restaurants. So what. Most people are willing to pay that and actually the "regular" food is pretty good. And what are the other "banalities" you are referring to may I ask. Is that what you think of cruising and cruise fans? And why can't you learn about where you are from a ship sponsored tour guide? Apparently you don't know that in many cases the tour guide is a local who has alot of knowledge to share. Our guide in St. Petersburg was practically a walking, talking encyclopedia about this great city and its history. The cruise lines don't just hire anybody to be a tour guide you know. For example look up or google Dr. Michael Poole. He was our guide for a whale/dolphin watch in Bora Bora. His credentials are very impressive. You'll see. All I can say is try a cruise sometime and be opened minded about it. Cheers, Larry.
jacketwatch is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 02:41 PM
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I agree with Frank in that there is something "magical" about waking up in a different port every morning.

We love to go to Europe and drive around at our leisure and do so often, but our Med. cruise was one of our best experiences.

Just not having to pack and unpack and be in a different hotel every few days was very relaxing. Not to mention, I don't think we ever would have seen Elba or Corsica on our own.

It was very nice getting a "taste" of different places and choosing where we would like to return.

We have now gone on 4 cruises, all on the smaller sail boats(some with 150 passengers, and one with 350 passengers). Once to the Med. and 3 times to the Caribbean, and enjoyed every one.

There is also something "magical" about the sails going up and drifting out to sea.

Our next cruise will be from Portugal to Barbados on the "Windsurf". Maybe this year, maybe next, but we will do it.It's on both of our "bucket lists".

IMO, if you're thinking about a cruise, just make sure you find the ship that is right for you.
TPAYT is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 11:30 PM
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It's different, try it, you might like it. Won't hurt much. What have you got to lose?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 11:51 AM
  #10  
 
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When you have people going on vacation who's range in age varies wildly, there is no better vacation out there.
GoTravel is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 03:12 PM
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What does he have to lose? Vacation time and money.
abram is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 04:09 PM
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Agree with abram. I know cruising is not for everybody. Some (very few people) don't like it. So unless you have lots of vacation and can afford hit and miss, try it. Otherwise, stick with what you like.
spurs is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 08:47 PM
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abram - oh, so you know the poster.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2009, 11:17 PM
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One of the problems with trying a cruise is that most people take a short 3-4 day cruise to check it out. That is what we did - by circumstance husband had business meeting on cruise ship and company paid for us to go.

It was a cheap weekend cruise from Miami to Bahamas. After 24 hours we were laughing saying we knew cruising was not for us - too loud, too much herding from place to place, too many drunks, too many rude people at the buffet - all the stereotypes.

Since then have taken several longer and more expensive cruises - and the atmosphere was totally different. This is something to keep in mind if anyone books a short cruise to check out cruising.
gail is offline  
Feb 5th, 2009, 10:37 AM
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tom, I don't understand what you mean by my knoweing the poster.

Any of us have money and time at stake if we go on a vacation we don't like.
abram is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 11:10 AM
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Cruises are a good value. The price includes your transportation, food and lodging.

I like cruises for ports that can be seen well in one day. I prefer independent travel to cities that need a few days to cover.
bdjtbenson is offline  
Feb 7th, 2009, 07:04 PM
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Hi there,

Just my 2 cents:

Pros:

You get to see a lot of different places in a relatively short period of time. Like one person already mentioned, you get a flavor of the place, whether you'd like to return, etc. We had a stop in Jamaica one one cruise and found the locals really pushy and generally an unpleasant experience, imagine paying for a land vacation and being stuck there for 7 days!

You get a consistent good quality of amenities and entertainment. Food is available 24/7, many selection, theatre shows, onboard activities. So you'd never be bored on a ship theoretically but its up to you how active or non-active you'd like to be. Some people just relax by the pool all week. So there's something for everyone. Your kids (if any) would have their own activities, and each family member would have a range of things they could do. We've only booked excursions through the cruise ship and while they are more expensive, there is a wide range of the types of tours. There are shopping and hiking tours, ecological themed tours, 4x4 safaris, catamaran tours, or just ones to take you to the beach! On the other side of that, if you are truly adventurous you can go scuba diving (if you are certified) or snuba and snorkeling type activities as well.

You get to control the social aspect of your cruise as well. You can meet lots of people (or not) at dinner time being seated at large tables for 10 or request a smaller table with just your cruisemates or family...its totally up to you. We have done tables of 10, 4 (another couple we didn't know) and one cruise with family and friends. There are a myriad of options depending on your preference. We met nothing but great people on our 1st cruise with 10 people, they were all exceptionally nice and entertaining and it actually was a highlight. One cruise we were stuck with one couple that were nice, but had nothing in common with so by the end of the cruise it was good to say goodbye. Find out what works for you.

Convenient, already mentioned, no packing and unpacking, logistical planning to get to place to place, etc. which is nice, you're waited on hand and foot and the crew are always accommodating and welcoming. You will get used to a standard of cleanliness after having the great stateroom attendants and wait staff.

Cons

You will meet all kinds on board. Naturally, like any land based vacation this holds true. I am going on a cruise soon (the 1st time with our infant) and we have received nothing but grief from some of the people on cruise critic who believe babies should be kept at home. While this changes the context of cruising for us a bit because now we have to worry about how our baby is going to affect those less appreciative of a child's presence, I still will give it one old college try. I am hoping the people on board would not be as rude as the people online...I don't recommend that website btw LOL. This situation would be easily solved by choosing your cruiseline carefully, some are more children oriented, most are targeted in some way... Our 1st cruise we stopped at the cruiseline's private island and one of the cruisers demanded a local climb up a tree to get her a coconut for a drink. Even though there were plenty already picked for sale, she wanted a 'fresh' one and she tipped him $1 US. That was truly appalling and shocking to us to see.

You don't get to see every place in depth, but I don't think that's the point of the cruise. If you truly want to experience a destination I believe you do have to take a land vacation, to experience the culture and food and sites properly. I see the cruise as a 'tasting menu' of destinations we can shortlist to return to if we truly enjoyed it.

I don't find cruises particularly magical, I take both land and cruise vacations and like to switch it up from time to time. I think the key is to find a cruise line that works for you and your preferences!

I hope that helps you


asschergirl is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 12:08 PM
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I've taken a handful of cruises and enjoyed them, but mostly we travel independently on land. My top answers to "Why take a cruise?" are:

1. A cruise may be the single best option for a particular destination. For example, the Galapagos Islands, or Antarctica.

2. You are physically or mentally unable to travel independently. In this respect the cruise acts like a bus tour, except that the "bus" is quite a bit larger and the loos are nicer.

3. There is something ineffably romantic about being at sea.

Your mileage may, of course, differ.
QueScaisJe is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 11:30 AM
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"Last year we did a Med. cruise and visited Rome, Florence, Naples, Venice, Sicily, Dubrovnik, Barcelona and Monte Carlo. Let me see you do that in 12 nights by land." I've visited all of those places by land except Florence, but I certainly didn't do it in 12 nights, and frankly, I would hate to do 8 places in 12 nights.

I don't buy the idea that you get the "flavor" of a place when you arrive with several hundred, if not thousands, of other people for a few hours. I've been in Dubrovnik and in Rhodes when one of the cruise ships made port, and I can tell you that they were quite different before and after. I bet those "rude" people in Jamaica were a lot more polite after the hordes left.

Unpacking every night isn't a necessary result of traveling on land. If you travel independently you can stay as long as you like in one place and do day trips. I just booked for a month in France, and I'm only staying in six places.

As for other downsides of cruising, eating local rather than on board is a big part of travel for me, plus all the tipping I keep reading about would really annoy me. And I travel solo, and cruise prices (especially for the small boats) are mostly geared for couples. Much cheaper for me to travel on land by train or bus - or even plane these days.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 13th, 2009, 01:51 PM
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Why Cruise?
1. Good value.
2. Consider a ship as a "moving hotel", unpack and pack only once for the entire journey.
3. Travel from City (Port) to City in comfort - much more room and luxury than flying first class
4. See and sample different places
5. Take same cruise many times but see different sights each time. example: cruise through Corzumel several times but have yet explore the island so far.
6. Cruise is "retro" - except it's better. Think "Orient Express".
7. Meet new people.
8. Do things that you normally woudn't do as you will never meet those people ever again.
9. If you don't like a port. That's only one stop. Saty on the ship and do something else.
10. Food? It's not a big deal. It's just hotel banquet food.

The list can go on much much longer.
The bottom line:

If you are a happy person, you can walk around the block by your house every day for 7 days and have a wonderful time for a week, as relaxing as an expensive holiday. If you are a crabby person, you can have the most wonderful trip anywhere and you will find faults and be unhappy.

Lower your expectation, try it. Yes, it's only money but you can't take it with you when the time comes.
Eschew is offline  

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