What do I think of cruising? I know a number of people who think that a cruise is the only way to go. And it is. For some destinations. Do you want to experience a vacation with multiple stops like Alaska or the Mediterranean? Then a cruise is the way to go. We took an Alaskan cruisea while back and it was an efficient way to experience Alaska. But a cruise is not the best way to go for me. As a matter of fact, a cruise makes me feel slightly short-changed; gypped.
First, let’s talk cost. For years I’ve heard people talk about how cheap cruises are, however, I disagree. I think they are way overpriced. Maybe I just expect too much. But yes, I would like a room with a window or a balcony so I can see the ocean we’re floating on. That just upped the price. And yes, I would like to be able to eat at different restaurants instead of the buffet for every single meal. There went the price again. Would I like to take any excursions while ported?
Of course! And there goes the price some more. Ok, so to save some money, I’m going to pass on the drink plan that covers drinks, costs additional, and is required to be purchased for everyone in your stateroom whether they drink or not. Besides, I don’t need to over-imbibe every day. Wrong! (Not the over-imbibing part.) Do you have any idea what a beer costs on a cruise ship? $14! That’s higher than ballpark prices. And a Bailey’s with decaf while cruising through Glacier Bay set me back $28! That was an expensive morning without even leaving the ship. I didn’t do the math during the trip because I was afraid it would bring me to tears. Update: I have now done the math. If you ever intend to drink more than three cocktails in a day, you’d better buy the liquor plan. By day 4, I already knew we could have vacayed for 2 1/2 extra weeks in the Caribbean or had a really nice Sandals Resorts trip based on what we had already spent just on beer and cocktails!
Second, let’s talk claustrophobia. I don’t necessarily mean in the sense that the ship felt small. I can actually feel claustrophobic on a small island. The ship was huge, it even had a pool and rock wall on the top level. I mean claustrophobia in the sense of knowing that you are limited by boundaries. Knowing that you’ve already walked the entire ship 10 times in a day and you will NOT see anything different until the next port. There are only so many times I want to sit at the Ice Bar, watch another show in the theater, or donate more money in the casino in a day. And I don’t want to go watch TV in my room. I can do that at home.
Finally, while I think a cruise is a good way to see multiple places in a short period of time, if you’re on the cruise because there’s one place on the itinerary you really want to visit, be prepared to only spend a few hours there. The hours you are ported at a location really only give you enough time to take an excursion (maybe two if you’re there longer). If you are really hoping to immerse yourself in a particular place, you should really just take the entire trip there.
Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to travel in comfort from port to port, even while sleeping, eating, or getting a massage in the spa. So maybe that was worth some of the cost. And I’m sure it was the best way to see the glaciers calving in Glacier Bay. Aside from that, I’m just as happy hopping a plane to my location, getting there quickly, spending as much time as I want sight-seeing and experiencing the culture and even having money left over to go do it again somewhere else later. Bon Voyage!