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Here's What I Learned After Taking 3 Cruises

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

In the travel community, bringing up cruises is always a hot topic. For some people, it's the way they spend their limited vacation time each year to relax. However, plenty of people detest cruises and often, by extension, the hordes of people who travel that way. There is often this notion that if you stay in a resort or take a cruise, you're not a "real traveler" which is a huge problem I will dedicate a blog post to in the future. No one has to validate or prove that they are a real traveler. Everyone travels their own way, and for some people, it's via cruise ship. I've had the pressure of taking 3 cruises over the past several years, and I thought I would share my thoughts on cruises, as well as what I've learned.

Firstly, I need to acknowledge that cruises are not one size fits all. There are a much wider variety of cruises out there than one might think. Cruises can be as short as 2 nights or as long as a year. They exist all over the world, and operate on every continent. There are so many different cruise lines that cater to different segments of the market and provide different services. There are booze cruises, voyages, couples cruises, singles cruises, and so many more. There are budget cruises, as well as luxury cruises. There are very small cruise ships as well as mega ships. My point is that cruises are a much more diverse and nuanced segment of the travel industry than people expect. You might go on one cruise and hate it because it wasn't made for you, and love a different one because it catered to the things you enjoy.

I've been on 7 day, 5 day, and 3 day cruises, all sailing out of Florida. So my expertise only stretches so far. Different lengths of cruises work for different people. I personally think the 5 day cruise itinerary is the right one for me, but I would do the others again as well. No matter which cruise length you decide on, the experience is relatively the same. The Caribbean cruises almost always visit island ports such as Key West, Cozumel, Nassau, and Ocho Rios. Passengers get to spend a day in beach port, getting a taste of what each destination is like. This is great because it can help you think of future destinations to visit for a full length trip. The con is that one day in each place is often not enough to figure out if you want to revisit a location.

You wouldn't believe how massive a cruise ship is (both from the outside and on the inside) unless you've been on one. The multitude of activities and amenities offered means you're very unlikely to be bored on a cruise. Spas, gyms, restaurants, shops, excursions while in ports, and even more extreme activities like ziplining and bumper cars are being offered on some vessels. You can do as much or as little as you like while on a cruise, and I find them relaxing. It's a good idea to find out what is offered (and what's complimentary with your cruise ticket) before you travel. If not having a gym onboard is a deal breaker for you, for example, it's better to know that ahead of time.

Figuring out which type of cruise line appeals to you is important. On MSC, the food is a lot more Mediterranean. The pizza on MSC cruise lines is the best pizza I have ever tasted in my time on this earth. However, the quality of their burgers and hot dogs is lower than lines like Carnival or Royal Caribbean. The type of cruise line or ship you choose is unlikely to make or break your trip, but doing a bit of research on both of those things before you book your trip is a good idea. As I said before, I find cruises very relaxing. Sitting on the deck outside, eating from the buffets, and enjoying the ports are all great ways to recharge. Cruises can also be extremely energizing if you want them to be; there are plenty of ways to be active and moving around.

I personally will take another cruise in the future. While backpacking is my favorite way to travel (and it's also the cheapest), a cruise is something I'd love to take with family members or a close friend for relaxation purposes. Some of my favorite parts of cruising include the sail away party on the first day, the comedy shows at night, and the wide variety of food available on board. Whether you love or hate cruises is entirely your opinion. I just wish people would take one before making up their mind. While I understand not everyone has this luxury and travel funds for most people (including myself) are limited, cruise bashing has become common lately and it's getting old. I would recommend everyone take a cruise to decide if they enjoy it; I think most people would be pleasantly surprised by how relaxing and enjoyable it can be.

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