I guess this really is the question…especially as cruises have become a popular way of travelling. Which I guess makes sense, as you can see a lot of places in a short amount of time…but they also have some disadvantages.
I have never been on a big cruise liner, and I’m not sure my cruise experience in Croatia, was really a cruise, as the boat was really small and not everything was included on the boat. Anyway, the question is not around my Croatia cruise but rather the big cruise liner cruises…where there are 1000’s of people.
We have just booked our first cruise with Royal Caribbean (which is a Discovery Credit Card partner I might add…just incase you didn’t know, so you can get up to 20% back on your cruise…just a side FYI). We are actually going on a family cruise, as it’s my father-in-law’s 60th this year…so we will be celebrating on a cruise liner. Our cruise is of the Baltic Sea (Amsterdam – Skagen – Tallinn – St Petersburg – Helsinki – Stockholm – Copenhagen – Amsterdam). So looking forward to St Petersburg, Ive always wanted to go to Russia.
So, because we have been booking everything for this holiday, it got me thinking about cruises…Are they the best way to travel? And, are they value for money in comparison to organising everything yourself?
I think, it really depends on how you like to travel…I am a wonderer, I like to visit as many different places as I can in a trip and I love to soak in the culture of the places…eat the local food, walk around the streets, visit the local spots…that kind of thing. But that is not everyone’s idea of a holiday.
So to assist anyone considering a cruise, below is my list of pro’s & con’s for cruising
1.Only unpack once
There is no need to unpack & repack constantly, as you are in one room in a moving hotel. Definitely makes it a little more relaxing.
You get a small taste of a city, to see if you enjoy it and would like to go back again at another time for a deep dive. Or, for some people they prefer a quantity over quality holiday, that is, they want to visit as many cities as possible, in as shorter time as possible. It’s all about personal taste.
3.You know the costs upfront
Beacuse, you can pay for your accommodation, food, drinks & excursions upfront, you know exactly how much your holiday is, and there are no surprise costs involved. Other than anything you would like to spend while on-land, but again that’s a choice, based on your available budget and can be controlled.
4.Variety of entertainment
On most cruise liners there are pools, arcades, gyms, table tennis tables, sports courts, mini golf, etc…as you can see the list can just go on and on. So, you will definitely find something that you enjoy, that will keep you busy for hours. In addition, they put on shows on some evenings…so you are sure to find something that tickles your fancy.
This could be a pro or a con…depending on how stretchy your pants are! But, there is food available almost 24/7 and normally a few options, sit down, buffet, smart, casual, etc. Again you are sure to find food that will please your taste buds.
6.Ease of travel
You don’t need to worry about how you will get from city to city. That is all organised. All you need to do is sit back, sip on a cocktail and let the captain worry about getting you to the next place.
1.Not that cheap
A cruise is not necessarily the cheapest way to travel, even though it is pretty convenient. Drinks & excursions are not included in the accommodation cost. However, you are able to buy drinks packages on most boats, but again, they are not cheap. So, this is something you need to look at carefully when deciding if a cruise is for you.
2.Not enough time in the ports
There is definitely something magical about wondering the streets of a city, discovering hidden gems, like shops & restaurants…this is definitely something I love about travelling. But, as cruisers are required back on the boat at a certain time, it can leave very little extra leisure time in port for discovering places and wondering around. Depending on the city, there might only be time to see all the sights and not much else.
3.Not as relaxing as you would think
This obviously depends on if you are wanting to visit and get off at every port…which I am assuming you do. Therefore, it can be quite rushed, as the cruise itineraries are normally jam packed, so that you are able to visit as many different cities/towns as possible. The only rest days are your cruising days and depending on the cruise you choose, there might not be that many…which will mean you will need a holiday after your holiday! Which is something to keep in mind when choosing your cruise.
4.Lack of personal space
This will not affect everyone, but for people that are less social, there isn’t a lot of space for you to be alone. You are often within close proximity to other passengers…which might make some people feel cramped and uncomfortable. Keep in mind, depending on your room choice, the rooms are not huge but more than adequate. But I’m sure if you spent the whole evening in your room, you would feel quite claustrophobic, especially if you have an interior room without a window. Again, just something to keep in mind if you do not like to spend a lot of time with other people.
The weather is unpredictable and uncontrollable, so you could be caught in a bit of a storm at sea…which can cause the boat to rock a bit, and cause some sea-sickness. This can be uncomfortable and potentially ruin your day, if you are like me and prone to sea-sickness. So, make sure you have some medication with you and try book your cruise during the season that storms are infrequent.
A cruise is probably not suited to everyone…and I would think that it is fantastic, not only for mature travellers but also travellers with young kids. Purely because you are not having to move around a lot and the boat has plenty activities to keep everyone busy.
BUT…I do not see why you shouldn’t at least try it, especially if you get the opportunity…you never know you might just fall in love with cruising. As, with all modes of travel there are disadvantages and advantages. You just need to find what suits you and your likes and dislikes.
I’m not against cruising, but I do feel that I would probably enjoy a road trip more…but that’s just me. As part of this trip to Europe for the cruise, myself and my husband are going to use backpacks as our only form of luggage for a week in Europe after the cruise…and that’s not something I would have ever thought possible…so at the end of the day…anything is possible 🙂
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