To Cruise, Or Not To Cruise?

The Pro’s And Con’s Of Cruises</h6 > If you’ve never taken a cruise before but are considering seeing what all the fuss is about, then this article is for you!

Cruises are a multi-million-pound industry here in the UK, and with so many exotic destinations to choose from, it’s easy to see why so many people opt to sail away on holiday every year.

There’s always the flipside of any coin and cruise vacations are no exception. Bearing in mind there are a multitude of cruises to suit all budgets, what are the general pro’s and con’s of sailing in comparison to your usual flight and hotel break? Read on to discover the great and not so great features of cruise holidays.

The Good Bits!

Cruising is definitely for those looking for pure relaxation. They really do spoil you on a cruise. Someone takes care of your cooking, cleaning, entertainment, everything!

From mini-cruises to Belgium for some chocolate sampling to extended around the world trips, there are so many amazing destinations that cruise companies go to. One of the best parts about taking a cruise is that you can visit several destinations in a single break, so you can get a taste for several countries during your holiday.

The Food

Cruises are also famed for their amazing food and multitude of difference restaurants, so you’ll be spoilt for choice! All meals are usually included and as it is paid for in advance eating a fancy dinner every night (for sit-down packages) without seeing a bill can make you feel very decadent and pampered. Not to forget that some cruises offer speciality restaurants and feature celebrity chefs.

The Entertainment

Modern cruise ships are more like floating holiday resorts or cities with an array of fantastic activities, pools and bars, so there’s always plenty to do for guests of any age. Some even have their own cinemas or rock climbing walls, so it’s easy to keep little ones entertained.

The Destinations

It might be fun traveling by train, different ferries, or even by car but these type of trips can be time consuming when it comes to a multi-destination holiday, and better suited for people who have time in their hands. In this regard, cruising is especially good for visiting places that are hard to get to over land.

If you want to see lots of different places in the world, a cruise will surely provide you the opportunity to tick many off your list. You will get direct access to some of the most popular places in the world and have just enough time there to taste different cultures in a single trip.  Cruising gives you great opportunity to sample and discover destinations. Just dipping in for a day can give you an experience of the place potentially, for a return trip.

You get to travel to many exotic places while staying in a luxurious hotel with no need to change rooms or unpack during the trip!

The Not So Good Bits

Cruise prices are NOT necessary all-inclusive. Although meals and some entertainment are covered in the price of your cruise ticket, the cost of those little extras such as drinks, supplements for the high-end restaurants and spa treatments can mount up, so you could end up with a big bill at the end of your holiday if you’re not careful. Many ships do not accept cash and ask guests to sign for additional products or services, so it’s easy to overspend.

One of the key minefields in this area is the drink package. Drink packages are expensive if you do not drink a lot taking into consideration that you probably won’t utilise it as much on shore days. Just when you’ve decided freedom to sample brightly coloured cocktails, assorted beers and wines is worth the splurge, annoying fine prints of the packages catches you out. But, considering the high prices of individual drinks including gratuities is going a la carte a better option? That is for you to do the calculations before booking.

Another run-away cost area is shore excursions. They are a great way of exploring each destination with all transport and tour guides arranged by the cruise company, but they can be expensive. Do your research on each port before you leave to see if you could get a better deal by arranging your own off-ship adventures.

Limited Shore Time

Unfortunately, you’re only given a limited time in each port, so you’ll need to manage your time carefully to get the most out of each place you visit. If you’re late back to the ship because you’ve lost track of time, you might find that it’s sailed without you and it’s up to you to meet it at the next port to continue with the cruise.

You may feel you never have enough time at destinations especially when you’ve fallen in love with places that you would like to stay a week. And sometimes, you may feel that because there is limited shore time, you really do not want to spend it with a whole herd of people on arrival.

Claustrophobia And Trapped

It can get lonely on cruises, with no hiding place if you aren’t enjoying yourself, unless you’re traveling family or friends. Strangers can feel like friends during moments or when dining together as it is not often or easy to meet people with whom you can feel relaxed with. More often than not, by the time you find some potential friends, you’ve come to cruise end.

If you have not done enough research before booking the cruise, you may find yourself trapped on a cruise with mediocre food. And if none of the on-board activities are of interest, or are too expensive, you might find yourself twiddling your thumbs a lot.

Cruise ships rely on satellites for Internet access. This can mean snail paced Internet connections. On the positive side, it is harder for the office to contact you on a cruise.

To prevent this becoming a problem, make sure you do your research and choose a package that suits you and your travel companions in all aspects of cuisine, activities and budgets.