Open Ticket Would You Ever Go On A Cruise? Stephanie Spitler

It seems like lately, the news has been filled with horrific tales of cruises gone terribly wrong. From the nightmare of being adrift for days in the Gulf of Mexico on the Carnival Triumph, to the crash (and partial sinking) last year of Italian cruise ship the Costa Concordia, there seem to be no shortage of modern-day cruise disasters. But there has always been an element of danger associated with cruising on the open seas. Even booking a trip on a luxury liner (ahem, Titanic) is no guarantee of smooth sailing. And yet, I have friends who swear by cruises and use them as their go-to vacation of choice.

I admit it; I’ve never taken a cruise. The longest boat ride I’ve ever been on was an afternoon-long whale watching trip in Cape Cod, and let’s just say that the seasickness was so bad I have not been out on the water much since then. (When you seriously consider kissing the solid ground in relief after a boat trip, I think it’s safe to say you plan to avoid that awful-rocking-pukey feeling for the rest of your life.) Not to mention, you’d think that since I was leaned over the railing, staring at the water for most of the trip, I would’ve seen more whales!

Even in spite of my seasickness, I’ve always been fascinated by cruises. There is something appealing to me about boarding a gigantic ship and using it as a home base to explore different destinations. I love the fact that you unpack once, instead of having to lug all of your gear to each different destination. I also like that you don’t have to worry about getting to every different city/island/port; you just sit back on your deck chair, enjoy the ocean breezes, and let the ship do the work. There are no train schedules to decipher or flights to catch.

There are a few things that give me pause, though. I’m someone who likes to explore and wander and be in control of my precious vacation destiny, and I worry that having a pre-determined time crunch (I have to be back on the boat in 6 hours!) would seriously impede my enjoyment of whatever port we were in. Also, is a few hours really enough to get a sense of a place? If I want to stay longer, I’m out of luck. But maybe the cruise is the point, and the ports are just meant to be nice day trips, rather than the focus of the journey.

Like I said, I have friends who love cruises. I feel like I’d have to try a cruise before I could really pass judgment on them. I can definitely see the appeal of an island-hopping vacation, but I think for places where I’d want to see and do more than relax on a sandy beach soaking up the sun, I might stick with a more traditional sightseeing route.

Have you ever been on a cruise? If so, what did you think?

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  1. I guess theese incidents happen because of cost efficiancy and low margins. (like when the cheap airlines allmost crash their planes, in Europe, because of having too little fuel aboard)
    I´ve traveled to Finland and Denmark by ferry from Sweden. There are also daycrueses there and back if you want to paty on board.
    The best trip I had on a ship was with an old steamer cruising silently through the Gothenburg arcipelago.

  2. Even with the recent trauma with Carnival… I would still take a cruise. I can’t wait to take a cruise. I’ve only been on Carnival cruise lines once. The rest of my cruises have been on Holland America- who are top-notch, in my opinion. My worse experience was traveling during hurricane season, we were delayed for like 2 days at sea because of the storms. The boat worked fine, only issue was some food items became unavailable because supplies ran out. Other than that… My favorite cruise experience was traveling New England coast up to Canada leaving from Boston!

  3. I worked on four cruise ships and totally loved it! I got to travel to Israel, Egypt, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Russia, and Finland. So many awesome lifelong memories.

  4. My family and I took our second cruise this past summer and it was awesome. My fiance and I are looking to take one for our honeymoon next year. I think after this blows over, the cruise ships will be under tighter regulations and even safer. Not to mention…cheaper.

  5. A few years ago me, my hubby and 3 kids, ages 8, 6 and 3, cruised the Mexican Riviera (on the Carnival ship Splendor) with our best friends and their 4 kids, ages 12, 10, 8 and 6. On the whole it was an amazing family vacation. All the kids enjoyed the activities geared toward their individual age groups and even made new friends while on the boat. We set up an excursion at the Mazatlan stop with a tour guide named Mazatlan Frank. He was great to work with and saved us quite a bit of money by going through him instead of going through the cruise sponsored excursion. It was fabulous to unpack our kids stuff once and not have to worry about packing up multiple times throughout the vacation. My only 2 complaints, and they by no means will stop me from cruising again, are: 1. getting on the ship initially required lugging our plethora of bags and stuff as well as some car travel weary children through an enormous line that seemed to take FOREVER. 2. We got the cheap rooms which were fine and very comfortable but we soon found out that we were directly below the main theater and stage so we got to listen to the grinding of the the stage as it changed for different acts and could hear the music really loud in our rooms. This would have been less of a problem if we were there without our kids who went to bed pretty early. On the whole I would do it again in a heart beat. It was worth every penny!

  6. While a cruise isn’t always my go-to vacation because of several of the reasons that you list (particularly the limited time in each spot – sometimes it can be frustrating to only have a few hours at each location), but I’ve been on four cruises in my life and had an absolute blast on each and every one. In fact, I sailed the Triumph myself way back in 2002, and it was a great ship. Could the awfulness that happened to them this time happen to me? Perhaps. But considering how many hundreds (thousands?) of cruise ships are sailing around the world on any given day and something like this happens about once every few years, the chances are pretty low. Therefore, I will continue to consider cruising among my vacation choices in the future.

  7. I actually worked for Disney Cruise Line for some months and that ended up being one of the best experiences of my life. The ship wasn’t always rocky even though it was the eldest and smallest of the fleet. And if you did feel sick, you could always head to the medical centre and they’d give you sea sickness pills that worked wonders! (they saved me from sickness on many working nights during some rocky sailings)
    Depending on the itinerary of the cruise, you get more than 6 hours to visit a port of call. Some ships even do late nights or overnights stays.
    And if you don’t want to just relax on a sandy beach, you can always look up the shore excursions offered on the ship. They’re safe time-wise (you’re never gonna miss the ship), and usually focus on sightseeing, the main attractions of that port of call, or even something more adventurous (depending on the city).
    I have cruised as a guest as well, and while it wasn’t as magical as the experience I provided my guests on Disney, it’s still very nice. You basically got everything you could possibly need on the ship!
    And since Chelsea mentioned the stars, I have to tell you that there is nothing like seeing the sunrise or sunset in the middle of the ocean. It’s absolutely magnificent!

  8. I went on a cruise with Carnival last year in early March. It was actually the Triumph that has been on the news this past week/month-ish, and it was a blast! Before I went on it, I went to the doctor and told her about my sea sickness. They were good at getting me a preventative medication, so that was taken care of. When we arrived to the port in Galveston, TX, there was such a high energy atmosphere; everyone was excited. The boat was beautiful. The best was at night. Imagine the stars at night while being in an aread with NO light pollution. Yea. The cool thing was that they played Titanic at midnight under the starry sky. Ahh! It was just amazing. And the staff was amazing. There is so much to do. And honestly, it isn’t really that expensive. If you want to go, I think it is okay to book the cheap rooms because it isn’t like you are ever in them. Overall, I loved my experience, and accidents happen. I know a lot of people think it is too unsafe and blah blah blah, but I say it is worth it times a million! Ahh, Stephanie! I hope you get to go on one soon!

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