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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