A Cruise is our Favorite Vacation

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We love to cruise.   Yes, we have heard all of the nightmare stories, but they don’t point to a systemic problem in the industry.   There are plane crashes but they don’t stop us from flying.  There are car wrecks every day but they don’t stop us from driving.  We have been on about fifteen cruises and we have never had a bad one.  Some were better than others but they were all good.

Okay, let’s talk cost.  When you figure in what you get on a cruise ship, you can’t get nearly the same on a vacation to a tourist site on your own?  On a cruise you have a comfortable room, the bathroom is smaller,  but the room itself is as good as a hotel room.   The difference is that this room travels with you from place to beautiful place.

On vacation you face the same question at least once or twice a day, where am I going to eat?  Most of the time it means getting in the car and driving to a restaurant with the thousands of other people vacation.  Driving down the main street of a beach area at dinner time is like being in a big city rush hour.  Once you get to the restaurant you have to decide what you will eat and what it costs.  On a cruise ship you have at least one and sometimes several themed buffets on deck.  You also have the well decorated and comfortable dining rooms for a service that matches good restaurants in any town.  If you don’t feel like moving, there is room service.  This is all included in the price of the cruise.  Lobster is on the menu in the dining room at least once during the cruise.  You may order as many lobster tails as you like, try that in a beach restaurant.  I ate three lobster tails one night on the ship.  You may have as many portions of anything on the menu and there will be some great things on the menu like chateaubriand and crème brulee. You won’t end up in a situation where you want a big steak but your friend’s vacation budget calls for a burger.

How about entertainment.  You finished your meal and now you want to have some fun.  At a resort you, once again, have to drive somewhere unless you’re satisfied with the street minstrels and the band playing on the little stage by the beach.  When you get to the venue it will be time to dig out the wallet again and pay big money for a concert or a cover to get into a bar.  On the cruise ship all of the venues are free.  This includes the theater.  The theater hosts Broadway type musical performances, and Los Vegas style acts.  The acts include singers, dancers, acrobats, and magicians.  There is also a piano bar, a karaoke bar,  Dancing in a club inside and on deck and there is always a party going on deck.  Many ships also have a movie theater.  Also most ships have a casino.  This is only place onboard where you can use cash, no gambling in not included in the price.

Add up what you’re paying for a vacation in a resort area and then look at the price of the cruises.  I believe you will see the advantage that cruising offers.  I hadn’t even mentioned the day time activities, the swimming pools, the hot tub, the water slide, the gym, the running track, are just a few things available.  The staff is always on deck during the days at sea to provide entertaining games and little shows.

2010 Jult Cruise 0412010 Jult Cruise 033Boy, I haven’t even gotten to the ports of call.  One of the biggest advantages of a cruise is that, while you’re having fun, you a sailing to some amazing places and seeing some sights that you can only see from a ship.  We have sailed by the Statue of Liberty and we’ve seen the New York City skyline the way my grandparents saw it when the first laid their eyes on America.  We’ve sailed by the Rock of Gibraltar as we transited from the Atlantic Ocean into the Mediterranean Sea.  We have seen all of beautiful Caribbean islands and the Mexican resorts, and we have seen the glaciers and the towns of Alaska.  Those are only of few of the sights that we have seen from a cruise ship.  Next major place we’ll see will be the Panama Canal.  That will happen this year.

2010 Jult Cruise 050IMG_1951

This ship is a Carnival ship that we were on in 2010.  It was docked in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada.  The second picture is of Cathy and me at the top of the Rock of Gibraltar.  That’s a Barbary ape in the background.

IMG_0888 Of course I needed to throw in a tropical setting.  This is a picture of Freeport in the Bahamas.

I had mentioned that everything is included in the price the cruise, and that’s true, but it doesn’t mean you can’t break the bank on a cruise ship of you’re not careful.  There are several things that you would pay for, but not with cash, or your normal credit card.  You are given a ship card when you board.  This card is used for ID to get on and off the ship.  It is also used as a credit card while you are onboard.  It doesn’t look or feel like your normal credit card so it is easy to forget that you are spending real money when you are using it.  The things that it is mostly used for are drinks and excursions.  Soda and alcoholic drinks are not included in the cruise price, you pay for them when you order them and you pay with the card.  If you normally drink alcohol or soda, you can run up a rather large bill in a week on a cruise ship.

The excursion are tours that are provided by the ship for each port of call.  It’s nice to go out and see the places but it is expensive to use the excursions.  It is a lot cheaper to do a little research to use the local tourist options.  I do have to mention a word of warning.  If you are on a sponsored excursion and something happens, the ship will wait for you.  If you are off on your own and something happens, you will return to the dock and find it empty.  You will able to board the ship again at its next port of call but it will be up to you to get there.

That’s my case for cruising.  If you plan and check online, you can get some good cruise deals that will give you a real bang for your vacation dollar.

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About

Pete is a retired software developer, a writer, and a martial arts instructor. He lives in Maryland with his wife Cathy and they are enjoying their retirement. Pete is the author of four novels, "The Teacher", 500 Years from Home", and "The Long Journey Home" are available at Lulu.com; and "Pioneers" in available at the Kindle Book Store.

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Posted in Cruising, Travel, Vacation

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