I have a love/hate relationship with cruising. I've been on 10 cruises to date. I've stayed in inside cabins, ocean views, and balconies. The shortest cruise I've been on has been a one-night “Cruise to Nowhere”, and the longest has been a 10-night Southern Caribbean cruise. Cruising isn't for everyone, and even I'm a little burned out on them right now. But there are some really great reasons to book a cruise vacation.
If you're able to sail in the off season, there are some deals to be had! I've always read travel advice telling me the only time to cruise to Alaska is in July or August. It'll be too cold in May or September they said! I booked a 7-night Inside Passage cruise round-trip from Vancouver, BC for mid-May and when we docked in Juneau it was 78 degrees! They were getting sleet at home in Pennsylvania and here I was in a t-shirt in Alaska! Our cruise fare? $499pp plus taxes.
^^^Glaciers and hot pea soup! What's not to love?
@donvee doesn't like to fly, and I decided that I'd like to go to Bermuda for our anniversary one year. We drove three hours to Baltimore and were able to take a cruise from there. The cost was much lower than flying to Bermuda and staying in a hotel and we still got to spend enough time there to swim at a pink sand beach, climb to the top of a lighthouse, and see the Unfinished Church and snorkel in Tobacco Bay the next day.
The food. My God. There's so much of it. You could go to a sit down meal in a beautiful dining room with top-notch service. And then you could go to the buffet. Or any of the specialty restaurants on board the ship. There's pizza, sushi, Italian, Mexican, and somewhere there's usually a 24-hour soft serve ice cream machine. Sometimes the food can be mediocre (and sometimes it can be as bad as an Old Country Buffet), but those are the days when you order room service and all is forgiven.
I usually find the desserts to be hit-or-miss, especially the cakes. On my last cruise there was a crepe station in the buffet almost every night. The sweet woman would make me the most delicious Nutella crepes with whipped cream. I miss her. On a cruise last year with MSC I fell in love with panna cotta. Each day there was some version of it waiting to tempt me at lunch or dinner.
One year while traveling from New York City to the Bahamas with @donvee and his family, he decided to bring along a lucha libre mask. We had so much fun going around the ship getting pictures with him in his suit and mask. People thought we were crazy, but no more crazier than the guy dressed up as Santa asking people to sit on his lap.
The things I dislike the most about cruising: the constant pressure to buy shit. Some cruise lines more than others are always trying to get you to their shops, or their beer/wine/liquor tastings, and the most annoying has to be the piece of garbage tanzanite jewelry sales (more rare than diamonds they say). Otherwise, if you can deal with a few rude passengers now and again, you'll be fine. Just don't cruise from the South during Spring Break. 1700 running, screaming children is no vacation for me (although we paid a whopping $636 for a 7-night cruise for the two of us).
I'm thinking about booking a cruise to Cuba soon since it seems like the easiest way for Americans to visit the country. My dream is to do a cruise to Antarctica one day (hopefully soon). I've cruised with Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, and MSC. The favorite cruise line is Holland America, but the most beautiful ship I've been on has been the MSC Divina.
Have you cruised before? What was your favorite cruise line? Or your favorite destination?