Cruising...set your own agenda, destination and match lifestyle preferences by choosing the ship that is right for you. Some travelers prefer to contact a familiar travel agent who already knows their particular tastes while others wade through all the choices like we enjoy doing. The ship will have a roster of daily activities (more or less) keeping their typical clientele in mind.
Of course there are numerous port excursions available as alternative activities while the more adventurous disembark at each port and simply explore. Some have done their homework on the internet and know what they want to see and do, whether it is strolling through cluttered streets or viewing a cascading waterfall.
There are more options to consider than just destinations. You have different classes of
ships to deal with. Some are all inclusive and include all shore
excursions, gratuities, wine and other liquors. These are priced more
for the affluent and offer amazing service and luxurious accommodations. A few
like Oceania, Regent and Seaborn fall into this elite category...if you can
afford it, it will be a wonderful experience.
Seen below is Regent's Seven Seas Marinier
We tend to cruise in the mid-range of ships which is more in our price arena, whereby we can then have a balcony or a suite. We've so far cruised with Celebrity, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian...(we're trying Princess in January) all of which fall into this niche that we enjoy. We did try Carnival in the Caribbean but like Disney, the number of youngsters aboard made it more family oriented than we, in the "boomer generation", prefer.
Seen below is Royal Caribbean's Splendor of the Seas
Our love of this mode of traveling has a number of elements to it. For example, no food preparation for the duration of the cruise (usually 1-2 weeks), whiling away the day in relaxation or exploration and most importantly, lacing together diverse cultural locations with the common thread being the ship. The opportunity exists to be either catapulted into a state of geographical dislocation, having your senses bombarded by vibrant cultural mixing...or being morphed into a whimsical wonderland each time the ship docks.
Either way, you experience an eclectic menu of ports of call, which you can add to your lists of (1) must return, (2) maybe come back, (3)forget it. We loved Rome so much that we eventually returned twice even though it was 2 years after our original visit because it was placed on our list: (1) must return. Malta and Cartagena, Colombia are also on that list...waiting for us...but Rome was at the top of the list.
Activities on-board range from Bingo to lessons in basket weaving in order to keep you occupied and happy, mainly during "at sea" days, although there are still activities for those that choose not to go ashore in every port.
Some people don't like to get "tendered" ashore and will only disembark when they are tied to the dock. The tenders are small boats that shuttle you to land while being anchored offshore. They are reasonably fast and safe. The ship's crew is attentive and gets passengers off and on quickly. However, those prone to motion sickness tend to avoid them. Another option is sunbathing or lounging around the pool and the area is quieter with so many passengers absent.
When we start discussing another cruise, I find that my mind goes into overdrive and I have to scythe through the collage of memories to think of another global menu. Many of you know what I'm describing and if you wish to share your seafaring adventures and experiences simply do it below............
Norwegian Jade in Valletta, Malta harbor
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