As an experienced cruiser, I've got tons of tips to make your next cruise vacation a breeze.
Okay, so the next holiday you take might be a little while off all things considered. Cruise holidays may even be looking a little less attractive to you after the Coronavirus. But if you are still reserving your judgment until everything settles a little bit then there are a few things worth considering before you pick a land holiday over a cruise holiday. Before you decide on which choice suits you more, here are my top 10 reasons to take a cruise instead of sticking with land-based holidays or vacations, so you can decide what suits you best.
1. It’s the journey!
Not always the destination that lures some people to take holidays. I enjoy a touch of both but not everyone is like that. Say you live on the mainland of Australia then you have the choice to potentially get on a cruise without flying and the same thing stands for mainland Americans also. When you choose to cruise then the time spent getting to your ports is part of the holiday and a great time for you to relax with your loved ones or even just catch up on a good book. I think that is one of the reasons that I love cruises so much is that I can just get on the ship and partake of a little time just for me. Grab a little sun, whilst the captain takes me to my islands of choice. It means that you don’t have to spend your time queuing at airports, racing for transfers, or feeling in time whilst you wait for your delayed flight. The moment you step onto a cruise ship you can pretty much do whatever you want.
Go grab a cocktail or take some happy snaps on the deck or go grab some food and just chill out on the Lido deck. Whilst you’re laying down with a cool drink by the pool you can look up at the sky and think of those poor people crammed next to each other on their plane to just one location. The benefits of cutting out the struggle of destination-based travel for the journey based cruise travel would seem to be clear, what do you think?
2. Destinations, plural!
I guess when it comes to travel, yes, you can go wherever you want and whenever you choose, but usually, if you are travelling by land or air you are heading to one location. Being pinned to that one location can at times be pretty expensive and time-consuming. When it comes to where to go on a cruise, there is a whole lot of opportunity and usually, depending on the length of your cruise you are likely to be seeing more than one location on your holiday.
Some people love going to one place and sticking around for the whole length of their holiday but cruises offer the chance to walk up to a new location or island almost every day. This gives you more time to see more things and to experience a piece of multiple cultures. All the benefit of staying in a nice hotel with none of the downsides of being stuck in one location.
Staying in one location isn’t a bad thing, it allows for a chance to visit all of the spots of interest in that area, and really get a feel for the area. In doing this though you are potentially committing to a fair bit of time researching figuring out locations, distances and time for reaching them, and making sure you cover all of the bases as far as being able to get around to them all. I personally find that once I get to my holiday destination, I feel like I can just chill and not move. The temptation to just do nothing can be strong, and the opportunity to embrace all that the location offers can fade into nothingness.
Inversely a cruise ship vacation offers a choice of excursions and opportunities that are structured, scheduled and tailored to suit for you, by tourism experts that love to ensure that the various locations you visit are shown in their best light and that their clients are given the best experience. A lot of the research on what’s the most popular in any one location is already done and the tourism companies have been vetted by the cruise lines.
Doing a little research will help you get the most out of your port days and it will pay you back in spades.
4. Where I lay my head - Accommodation
Right, I can’t lie and tell you that the average stateroom on a cruise ship is as big if not bigger than those that you could get on a land-based holiday. You are likely to only find the equal of a luxury hotel room if you are willing to pay extra to have a suite.
Unfortunately on a cruise ship space is finite. Smaller cabins though equals more shared spaces and facilitates to entertain you. The general idea is that if you are happy to sacrifice the room space than you get access to a bunch of facilities and there is also the added benefit of not having to unpack and repack at every location you visit, so you can put your stuff away and not have to live out of your suitcase which can so often happen when you are travelling.
Just remember to be creative with the space you have and you will learn that it isn’t really that small. Put your suitcase under the bed or in the wardrobe (depending on the ship) and make use of the drawers. I even take some magnetic hooks with me when I go on a cruise, these are great when you want to hang up your freshly laundered clothing or if you want to string up some decorations around your stateroom.
5. Facilities - Access a little of everything.
Of course, you will find that between each ship there is bound to be a fair bit of variation in the things that are available onboard when it comes to facilities. I guess really, in that regard it isn’t any different to what you would find when booking a hotel. Where what is on offer at each hotel can be quite different.
Being on the ship for the majority of your holiday does mean that you will have to take into consideration if the ship’s facilities meet your short and medium-length needs and requirements. Given it isn’t like you can literally jump ship whenever you like. It does pay to make time to think about these kinds of requirements as it isn’t like a hotel where if you realise something isn’t meeting the needs you can just rebook somewhere else and pull up stumps and shift to a hotel that will meet your needs.
The thing that appeals to me the most about cruising is that there is this kind of variety in facilities and ships for that matter. There is something out there that will appeal to just about every traveller.
If you want something top end and boujee, then you can go for the Silversea, Cunard or Seabourn cruise lines, where what you are getting is the equal of a 5-star land hotel. Next level down, I would say was the likes of Celebrity Cruises (one of my favourites when I want to relax and disconnect), these guys give you access to the more leading edge of luxury cruising without the super high-end price tag.
Then I would say you would have the likes of the Carnival Cruise line and followed by P&O Cruises which are your more family-focused and, cheap and cheerful style cruises. family-friendly cruises that in my experience are the most comparable to land-based hotels and resorts would have to be Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, and as mentioned previously Carnival. The variety is kind of endless once you start linking onboard facilities with your chosen travel itinerary, so take your time and enjoy this time when you are making your selection.
Hotel entertainment can be anything but entertaining in my experience. In Australia, your more likely to find a wall of poker machines than a theatre space that is well utilised for decent shows.
Luckily on cruise ships that doesn’t have to be the case, with shows being put on most nights that will have you laughing and even tapping your foot along to the songs that we all love. Participation is also an option for the brave if you want to take part in a little bit of stage hypnosis for example.
Royal Caribbean cruise ships will give you the opportunity to watch broadway type shows, even some waterbased shows in the Aquatheater on their Oasis-class ships like the Allure of the Seas. My particular favourite would have to be the ice skating spectacular, where you get to watch some truly captivating stories told through dance and movement on the ice.
The more cost-effective and companies with ships unable to house large theatres and ice rinks still offer various forms of entertainment, and rest assured smaller doesn’t mean that you have to put up with a drop in the quality of the shows with the likes of Carnival Cruise Lines able to put on some engaging productions to keep you captivated of an evening.
7. Food for all
Food glorious food. When it comes to access to food I think this is where cruise ships excel. Only luxury hotels on land that offer all-inclusive options tend to give you access to food for all of your meals. This option usually comes at an increased expense, unfortunately, which can be a little prohibitive when you are holidaying as a family.
When it comes to cruising, you will find that there is quite a bit of food available for the cost of your cruise fare. A lot of people tend to remark of the overall quality of the food found on cruise ships is of a high standard and options are flexible enough for anyone to find a meal that suits their tastes. Cruises, in general, tend to allow you to try a lot of different meals. So if you are not sure if you will like one particular main don’t be afraid to get another different on and share with a loved one if you do love the new thing that you decided to try.
The small to medium size cruise ships are likely to give you access to the relaxed buffet format as well as the more formal table service. The larger and super large ships are more likely to give you access to a wide range of eating options with the majority of them being included in the price of your fare.
Some cruise ships even a have specialty restaurants on board with food and recipes based on those of well-known chefs and restaurant franchises.
I won’t ignore the fact that on land you have to option to access a vast array of restaurants if you want to. But it is worthwhile keeping in mind potential need to book far in advance for a particular evening meal and the fact that it is quite unluckily for you to have those meals included in your hotel costs or even to receive a discount by staying locally. You do however have the option to shop around more and find an option that suits your mood.
8. Fun for all ages - access to child-friendly options
When it comes to cruise lines, all age groups are generally well catered for, on cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, P&O and Carnival cruise ships, with access to fantastic and varied facilities and activities.
To find an equivalent to this on land you are looking at some limited options and likely some options that you are going to encounter large groups of people and long wait times to access entertainment options.
9. Service with a smile
Levels of service is a thing that you will not is different when you step on a cruise ship with the ratio between staff and passengers being something like 1 staff member to every 3 passengers on board. This ratio can be even better on the smaller, more luxurious cruise lines where the ratio is likely to be 1 to 1.
Super ships are not likely to cater to such a standard when it comes to service, just because of the sheer number of passengers that are on board but you will still be likely to find that you get bar staff that will remember your favourite order when you walk up to the bar and your cabin stewards will always try to greet you by name if you happen to cross their path throughout your day.
10. Opportunities for everyone to have some fun
I have left this one till last because I think it is the most important and one of the bigger benefits of cruising the open seas. It is the fact that everyone in the family has the opportunity to find something for themselves when on a cruise. Mum can take some time out for a spa treatment or even some quiet time on the pool deck with a nice cocktail and a good book. Dad can take some time out with a nice beer on the top deck or in the craft beer pub in the promenade, or if he wants he can spend some time teaching the kids who is boss on the arcade games.
When it comes to onshore holidays these kind of entertainment opportunities are not always available at the hotel or resort and this means that the hotel becomes your anchor and you have to travel afield to find options for fun and relaxation. Being on a cruise ship makes these opportunities more fluid and I believe more relaxing.
Comment below, why do you think cruising holidays are more superior than land-based holidays
Suzanne Holmes on July 27, 2020:
Wonderfull would not travel any other way ,
Ollie May on July 27, 2020:
Don’t forget unpack once no cooking every thing at hand. Way to go
Danny from India on July 27, 2020:
Yes, cruise excursions are stunning and out worldly. I have never been on a cruise but will make it a point to travel once.
Liz Westwood from UK on July 27, 2020:
At a time when cruise travel has taken a big hit, you do a great job at setting out the argument for cruising. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for cruise travel. What tempts me is the opportunity to visit multiple destinations without moving hotels.