As somebody who loves to travel and also frequently talks to other travelers, the general opinion of that cruises are boring and that though you are technically traveling, you don’t ever actually “experience” the places you go. So if you love to travel, why take one?
1. Easy to plan with large groups
Cruises are by far the easiest vacation to plan, they already provide for you lodging, meals, entertainment, and options for things to do ashore. Essentially, no matter the group you’re going with, there’s something for everyone and all you have to organize is your flight from various places to get there.
2. It’s relaxing
This goes hand in hand with how easy to plan stuff is. You can spend 10+ hours in a lounge chair reading if you want to! Parents? There’s a kid care where your kids still have supervised fun but you still get to relax! There’s no where you really have to be so relax all you want!
Our balcony room on the Carnival Magic
3. Experience multiple islands to decide which ones you might be interested visiting more later
Here is one that I think should really be mentioned to the travel snobs who think they’re too good for cruises. (You can use this argument if you need to) Yes you only have a day or even less in ports, but have you spent 5 days at a beach resort on an island? It’s the same idea if you want to do anything interesting on the island, you end up taking excursions/ tours. Most smaller Caribbean islands quite fairly can be explored in a day as well and don’t need a full week. By taking a cruise you get snap shots of different islands and from there you can decide if there is more to do and see to require a full on visit at a future date.
4. It’s a foodie’s paradise
And I can’t say this enough really… but my favorite parts of a cruise are relaxing and… EATING! The dining rooms provide breakfast and dinners with multiple courses and options every day! For lunch, most ships have a multitude of specialized food stands along with a buffet line. Example of fine dining for me:
Breakfast: Brulee’d grapefruit, coffee, pineapple juice, a croissant, Omelet and or Avocado Toast, finished with a vanilla French toast.
For lunch options we’d enjoy burritos/ tacos, Guy Ferreri’s sponsored burgers and/ or BBQ, and pizza!
For dinner, back to sit down we’d get a soup (hot or chilled), another small appetizer, then salmon/prime rib/ lobster/ shrimp pastas/ or special “port of call” delicacies, and for dessert the crowning jewel: Baked Alaska or cheesecakes, and so many other options. Then you add in 24/7 pizza and ice cream cones for a midnight snack… you may gain pounds but you’ll never eat as well as you do on a cruise.
5. Great entertainment
From karaoke, piano bars, big production shows, trivia nights, shopping specials, art auctions, bingo, small live music everywhere, and standup comedy… cruise ships are built to entertain.
On days at sea you have so many different choices of entertainment, be it specific kid activities, pools, water slides and splash pads, exercising, ropes courses, mini golf/ deck games, trivia games inside, gambling, sleeping, and my favorite: eating. Every evening there’s a movie on the lido deck under the stars, a large production show in the theater, and comedians doing standup comedy.
Braden scoring one for his team while playing basketball somewhere in the middle of the Caribbean
6. Awesome Value for everything
Awesome value (most of the time)- If you aren’t traveling over a holiday, they really can be a steal. (just not if you plan on drinking… seriously that’s where they make their money.) This is particularly a great way to vacation if you live near a cruise port as well and don’t have to buy flights. (I would cruise way more if I didn’t have to fly to a port)
While most of the time cruises are priced low, if you wish to travel during holiday seasons, the prices will be higher. (although not any higher than traveling other places)
They can be crowded ( again especially around holidays or on new ships). Even on the Carnival Magic at full capacity I didn’t feel terribly crowded. We just ate in the dining room more to avoid the buffet lines on the lido deck and made sure to get up early enough to snag some lounge chairs.
Shore excursions are limited time, expensive, and can be underwhelming. Counter argument here is to skip the excursion and explore the port, take a taxi, or book an adventure with a local company. (just be aware of your port times and what you realistically have time for)
Maybe not for those with motion sickness. Tip:
use a motion sickness patch or non drowsy pill. Also book your stateroom on a lower deck towards the center of the ship.
Avoid Hurricane season (late summer) if possible and if looking at touring Alaska, the Mediterranean, or destinations further North, book during the warmest months for those sites to ensure you will get quality time in the sun on the deck.
Non edited/ filtered view of the sunset from our private balcony
Which cruise line to choose?
Carnival: Very family friendly with awesome kid care activities, fun deck amenities, foods, and larger state rooms. Not to mention one of the friendliest to the budget so if paying for more family members, this goes a long way.
Princess Cruises: The older adult crowd but still fairly budget friendly. This cruise line is also owned by Carnival, specializes in longer cruises, and includes activities like cooking classes and even history lectures. (So.. not the most kid friendly)
Royal Caribbean: Another budget/ family friendly option- a toss up when it comes to which is better, but from what I’ve heard and read- carnival offers a lot more entertainment nightly than Royal Caribbean.
Disney Cruises: Over priced for the value but if you LOVE Disney (particualarly love Disney characters) than this might be for you. Excelllent entertainment but food and service wise- not really any better than the cheaper options.
Holland America: Rated one of the best for service with 1 member of staff for every 2-3 guests. This cruise line has some family friendly ships and some that are more adult oriented. Just make sure you check out the type of ship when you’re booking. Food and entertainment were not rated any higher than other cruise lines.
Celebrity Cruises– The highest rated cruise line for entertainment, service, food, overall value. I have no personal experience or know anyone that has been on one but I have eyed a few of their Mediterranean itineraries.
Whichever line you go with,
(try to get a private balcony) explore online what the cruise ship has to offer as far as included dining and entertainment before you book so you know if it will fit with your family’s idea of fun. There’s definitely a cruise out there for everyone.