Is Cruising the Ultimate Vacation?
I’m wrapping up my second cruise this year and although I’m by no means an expert compared with the veteran cruisers I’ve met recently (many whom have cruised more than 10 times), both experiences have led me to the same conclusion…
I’m not a cruiser.
Talking with people on a cruise, I feel like a minority. I’ve heard the phrase “cruising is the only way to travel” at least five times this cruise alone. I met a back-to-backer (someone who stays on the ship for back-to-back cruises,) a couple who have cruised over 40 times, and another who said “living on a cruise ship is cheaper than the retirement home.”
There is no doubt about it, people LOVE to cruise.
And part of me totally gets it. You are on a giant city with people waiting on your every need. There’s food available around the clock, a pool, a spa, a gym, activities, and in the case of the ship I’m on currently, even a rock wall to climb. There’s baby sitting services if you have your kids, a casino for those who like to gamble and a theater for shows and movies. All this is available to you while sailing to exotic destinations like Bermuda or the Caribbean.
On paper it all sounds amazing and for many, it is.
For me, however, it’s a floating resort I can’t escape. When I travel I like to be in control of where I go and what I see. I like to talk to locals and change my plans on a whim. I like to explore cities on foot, take pictures of the scenery and experience as many new things as possible.
On a cruise ship my exploration is limited, anything I want to experience costs an arm and a leg, and there are only so many photos I can take of open water before I don’t even bother to take my camera out of the room.
Sure, most cruises include at least one port of call, but your time at them is usually quite limited and you can’t wander off too far in fear the ship will leave without you if you’re late or get lost.
Maybe I’m just too young for the allure of cruising, as my experience on both ships has been alongside many people twice my age. Cruising caters to those who want to simply relax and frankly, I may be too active for it. I want to wake up and run in a new city, not lap the upper deck a few times, weaving in and out of lounge chairs. I want to try new ethnic cuisine, and not the kind prepared for a buffet line. I want to explore new cities that don’t feel like their whole purpose is to take advantage of me. And frankly, I want to set my own daily agenda, not be confined by the cruise director’s attempt at fun activities.
Note: Yesterday I waited 30 minutes to witness a hugely disappointing belly flop contest.
At the end of the day I want to arrive at my vacation destination as quickly as possible (or be in control of my own road trip) and do whatever it is I want to do when I get there.
I feel like I’m being a grump about this but it’s the truth and funny enough, The Husband agrees with me. He even jokingly said, “It’s a once every 10 years type of vacation.”
Look at us. We had a AWESOME time. We just don’t have any desire to do it again anytime soon. For us, cruising is NOT the ultimate vacation. Is it for you?