Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Good and the Bad of Cruise Travel

Cruise Deck of the Celebrity Summit

Like anything, cruises have their ups and downs... and I'm not just talking about the motion in the ocean. Personally, I love cruises for the many positives they offer but I recognize the negatives as well.  The good news is that cruises offer many options for all types of people.  I will highlight the pros and cons so those of you who are new to cruising can decide if cruise travel is right for you. 


One benefit of cruise travel is the food. There usually a handful of restaurants and dining rooms on a cruise ship. On most cruises, you eat for free in the majority of these, with the exception of a few specialty restaurants that they charge for. Usually the food is really good, especially the evening meals in the main dining rooms where I've had everything from steaks, to frog legs, to lobster. The only problem I've had with the food, is trying not to gain weight on the trip from eating so much!


The toughest thing to swallow on cruises is the beverages. Not that the beverages are bad,  but that they are rather expensive. There are usually a handful of different beverages that you can drink for free which usually includes water, lemonade, iced tea and coffee. There's usually a soda deal where you buy a commemorative cup and then you can drink unlimited soda for $6 or $7 a day. Alcoholic beverages will put you in the poor house, and any liquor bought on shore will be confiscated until the trip is over. My wife's foo foo drinks on board rang up for a jaw dropping $12 - $15 each. So if you are looking to get smashed your entire vacation, cruises probably aren't the cheapest places to do that.


It's really cool being able to see a bunch of different places on a single vacation. Personally, I'm not really a fan of the days at sea. So when I book a cruise, I look for ones where the stops are close together which limits the days at sea. The last couple cruises I went on only had one day at sea on each of the seven day cruises.

This can also be a negative aspect for some people. Some people argue that you don't really have enough time at the locations to really experience them. Obviously the longer you are a place, the greater your experience will be there. However, I don't think think it really takes away from the experience you do have at each destination. You just need to choose what you would like to do most at each destination and make the best of that port of call.

The downside about cruise travel, is that you are on somebody else's schedule. Either you make it back to the ship by the time they set, or they will leave you behind.


With traditional destination travel, what activities you partake in are limited to what's available in the area you are staying. With a cruise, you can visit some very diverse destinations which offer a wide variety of shore excursions. On a single trip, you could hike through the jungles of Dominica, smoke a Cuban cigar on the beach in St. Maarten, and go scuba diving in Bonaire... just to name a few. You can experience a bunch of different cultures, or indulge in your favorite activities.

Overall Value

If you compare what it costs to stay on a cruise ship to a hotel room at a tourist destination, the room on a cruise ship is usually a lot cheaper. Then, figure in that the majority of your meals are free on the cruise ship the value starts to sky rocket. Cruises typically charge a flat rate per person per day for gratuity, which can save you some money too. But, you might want to tip a little extra when you get good service.

When it comes to deciding whether cruise travel is right for you or not, it is entirely up to you. Hopefully I have made that decision a little easier for you, though.

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