I spent my first year as a travel consultant, begrudgingly learning, talking, and selling cruises. I love travel, and am passionate about my experiences, after all I spent the previous 5 years, working full time talking about either ocean cruises or river cruises and traveling that way too. But I was also a little distracted, I had been exposed to the vast world of travel where there were African Safaris, All Inclusive Vacations, Adventure Tours, Spa/Yoga retreats, Voluntourism, Slow Travel, Private Jet Trips, Culinary Trips, a whole niche towards Biking Tours just to name a few! The world of travel had opened tenfold and I was excited about it all. I kept thinking I will keep learning about this to help my clients but this is not for me. Turns out, that was silly. As excited as I was about all the new opportunities to expand my knowledge and expertise, it didn’t mean I had to abandon cruising at all. Cruising in fact is one of my favorite ways to travel. While I recognize there are infinite ways you can vacation (many of them I still arrange and love to do myself) I have really embraced my love for cruising as being one of the best ways to travel and here are some of the reasons why.
I have 3 weeks of vacation a year, it does not seem like I will be spending 3 months in a Paris flat buying baguettes, wine and cheese from the corner shop, as I experience life as a true Parisian. I’m working towards that. However, I am still someone who wants to travel a lot, they sometimes say it is a Millennial trait but I have yet to find many who would respond “no, I’d rather not go anywhere” I am a little impatient though. I’m 26, I have places to see – I need to maximize my cultural experiences vs time spent away from the office. Slow travel, as much as I’d love to do it, is not something I currently have the luxury of time for. Taking a cruise is a fantastic way to “touch” a lot of cities and countries I really want to visit, including some I had no idea I wanted to see, in a short amount of time. It also helps me decide where I definitely need to go back and spend more time (looking at you Penang).
There is a cruise ship/cruise line for (almost) everybody. I am using the term cruise vaguely when I say this. To many of my non travel friends cruising is a big Carnival ship, lots of booze and vague memories of tequila and a horrible decision or two in a port in Mexico. Yes, that is one type of a cruise you can take but quite honestly, I have never sold a Carnival cruise in the almost 2 years I have been doing this, so there are obviously more ships in the sea. My personal favorite types of cruising so far has been the smaller ship cruising, like river cruising, or the approximately 1000 passenger ships or less on the oceans. I am intrigued by Royal Caribbean’s new Quantum of The Seas (you had me at wifi good enough to stream Netflix). There are ships for almost every type of vacationer, each have their strengths, and a great Travel Consultant will make sure the ship, and cruise you go on fits your vacation priorities. I sometimes remind clients, you can go on a Caribbean cruise for $800 for a week, or $18,000 for the week, and people do both and everything in between. One size does not fit all but there is something out there for most.
Not only are there a variety of cruise ships/cruise lines but there are cruise lines with select itineraries geared towards dozens of different travel styles, hobbies, and interests. Have you ever been to a Jazz festival? What about going on a Jazz cruise? Do you knit, go on a cruise with knitting classes. There are cruises that are more geared towards adventure travel, on expedition ships. Photography themed, and cruises around international events like the Monaco Grand Prix are also popular. You can find certain cruise dates that may have an emphasis on food and wine, or chocolate. There is even a few Electronic Dance Music cruises! If that doesn’t convince you there is a cruise for everything I do not know what will.
Cruises allow you to use your free time, the way you want to. They are especially great for multiple generational family vacations since there are so many cruise lines with something to do for everyone. Cruise ships have plenty to offer in terms of activities, excursions, places to eat, unwind, watch movies, shows etc. it offers everyone an option whether they want to be spending time rock climbing, learning the constellations, discussing new EU regulations, figure out how to use an iPad, or simply relaxing by a pool. You don’t even have to miss a pilates workout anymore, and some of the most innovative, relaxing new spas are on the seas.
One of the main appeals to cruising is the destinations they will be visiting. No one should feel like the only option they have when cruising is to take a shore excursion offered through the cruise line. Yes, cruise lines normally have a huge variety of shore excursions to choose from but that is not for everybody. A lot of those tours are 40 passenger busses, or walking tours that take you to highlights, and maybe a souvenir shop. Most of the time, I have no interest in doing that and there are plenty of alternatives if you are like me. I love reading some of the latest articles about the destinations I’m visiting and put together my own list of places to visit. I look at the itinerary to find what time the ship will be in port, and try and plan generous amounts of time to get back. Although, I have cut it close once or twice, but I find if you check the time a lot, have a good plan B and hopefully you are working with a great Travel Consultant, you should be in a pretty good place. I also find myself splurging a bit more on private shore excursions, or small group tours when there is a highlight I want to see. Sometimes I find other inexpensive/free things to do I just noticed they take a little more leg work to properly vet. You have to use common sense. My thoughts, the destination is often times the most important factor when it comes to traveling and cruising still allows you to experience that destination the way you want.
Cruises often start and end in cities accessible to making extending your travels easy.Do not forget to think about your time before and after your cruise. Whenever I have had the opportunity I have spent time before and after the cruise visiting either the city I was in, or using it as a jumping of point to visit surrounding areas. After ending a river cruise in Amsterdam, I went on to visit a friend in London and we went from there to Edinburgh and Dublin before I came home. Especially with international cruises, when you are traveling all that way, you might as well maximize the time you can spend.
Cruising is a great way to travel, even if at first consideration you do not see yourself as someone who would go on a cruise it may be because you haven’t found the right cruise for what you want to do. There are so many reasons cruising is a convenient, fun and interesting way to see the world, I’ve only touched upon some.
If you have any questions email me Rebecca@Call2Cruise.com or do some searching yourself first – use my dedicated Cruise-Only website to get information on some of my favorite cruise lines, but don’t forget to reach out so I can help really help you make your vacation a memorable one.
Until next time,