For those that think of themselves as proper, hardcore travellers, cruises are inherently uncool. They are either overrun by greying retirees, or drunken young partygoers. They’re not for people serious about getting out there and seeing the destinations or getting immersed into the culture; it’s all about the journey and the cruising life.
If I’m being honest, I have to say that the cruising life doesn’t sound too bad to me. I was ten years old when I went on my first, and only, Pacific cruise. I remember having a great time in the wave pool, meeting lots of other kids, playing games, and watching shows every night with dinner. My parents had a great time too – the kids were out of their hair and they had a chance to relax. The only glitch was my little brother’s motion sickness. It wasn’t much fun for him, being cooped up in a windowless cabin.
In many ways, a cruising holiday is just like a resort holiday, with the added bonus of seeing a new destination or new scenery every few days. Granted, proper, hardcore travellers think that resorts are also inherently uncool. However, resort and cruise holidays appeal to many types of people. If you’re after a relaxing time away, but still want the option of having a decent variety of activities on hand should your mood take you, a cruise is worth considering. This is especially true if your idea of a holiday doesn’t involve seeing a load of identical looking European churches and cathedrals, spending days out in the African desert in the hope of one momentary glimpse of a leopard, or braving the chicken buses of Guatemala as they weave at breakneck speed on mountain passes while your life flashes before your eyes
If you’re after a fuss-free holiday, a cruise will usually include all your meals (and on bigger ships, a myriad of restaurant choices), entertainment such as music performances or dance shows, and activities that might include such as golf, movie theatre, ice skating, casino, gyms, night clubs, a day spa, and of course, more pools than you can wave a cocktail umbrella at. However, if it is adventure or something different that you’re after, then perhaps a cruise to see the wilderness of Antarctica or the Galapagos Islands, an iconic cruise like the Nile River or through the Panama Canal, or the beautiful scenery of the Norwegian fjords.
But there are downsides to the cruising life. It’s not all pina coladas and stuff-yourself-buffet good times on a cruise. Firstly, it’s not that much fun if you, like my little bro, suffer from sea sickness. Once you’re on, that’s it, there’s no getting off until you next get into port. Once you arrive at the next port, you’ll probably be shepherded around for 12 hours, following which you get back onboard to sail off for the next destination. Unlike backpacking, if you like it somewhere, there’s no option to stay a little longer (although this can be said of all tours anyway). Lastly, after a good few days, you’re likely to suffer from proper cabin fever. You’ll probably get sick of sleeping in that tiny room, sick of the same buffet food, and sick of being in a floating hotel when all you want to have is your feet on firm ground.
So are cruises cool or uncool? I think that they get a bad rap sometimes (although sometimes this is deserved), but there are a lot of pluses when it comes to the cruising life. Hard core travellers will probably never think that cruising is an acceptable way to travel, but hey, for some people, it’s not so much about the destination. It’s about having a proper break from the daily grind. A cruise would be a great escape.
Where do I sign up?