Angela Borden | Jan 18, 2019
After lots of pressure from well-meaning friends who can't believe I've lived this long without taking a cruise, I decided to find out if I should add it to my bucket list for travel.
To get the lowdown on cruising, I recently spent time talking with experienced cruisers to learn more about it. Turns out, there are four key questions you can ask yourself to help you decide if it's worth doing.
On a cruise, you are going to be with people (most of whom you will not know) a majority of the time. Whether you know them or not could be good or bad depending on how talented you are at sizing up people and gravitating towards travel companions with whom you'll get along well. (I didn't include family here, because you don't get to choose them you're pretty much stuck with them – how to lose annoying family members while on a cruise is a topic for another blog).
While eating dinner, hanging at the pool, watching the shows, walking around the boat and participating in the long list of fun ship activities, you will be with people, sometimes a large number of them. If you like to people watch, there will be no shortage of views. This does not mean that you are going to be stampeded or feel you are part of a herd while you're on-board the ship. But, it is something to consider, especially if you're not into crowds.Worried about catching a virus while on a cruise?
The cruise lines are very vigilant about this. For example, be prepared to have hand sanitizer pumped into your hands multiple times if you are in a buffet line.Side note for people who love to lay by the pool all day (not me):
One person I spoke with confessed to me that she had to fiercely stake out and guard her spot at the pool early each morning. Apparently, people can be creative about relocating items intended to designate a “saved” spot. She also said the pool was a very busy place with many swimmers and sun worshipers constantly gathered around, waiting to pounce on an empty chair
If you like to get a lot for your money, cruising can be a great vacation option for you. It allows you to travel to and experience an assortment of cool destinations for an economical price. That being said, there are a variety of options for cruising, from the very luxurious and naturally more expensive to more affordable options. All in all, it's still a good deal when you consider travel expense to get to the awesome destinations included on cruise itineraries, wonderful food and drink (I heard only positive comments about both of these) along the way, and great service. You don't have to lift a finger doing much of anything while you're on the ship!
If you really want a deal on a cruise, now is a great time to investigate your options. We're currently in the middle of wave season, the time when cruise companies offer different types of deals. It typically runs from January through March, and it's a great time to plan an escape to a warm weather destination while you're dealing with cold, wintry weather at home.
This could go both ways. If you go on a cruise mainly to lay around, eat and be pampered, then you can certainly do this. And you won't need to worry about a schedule (other than staking out your poolside spot early in the day). You will be waited on hand and foot, and you can be a slug the entire time. But if you want to do excursions of any type, you'll need to stick to the ship's schedule to ensure you get there on time and return on time, or you could get left. Yes, they really will leave you.
I spoke with one person who refuses to take a cruise again because of this very reason. He apparently had to do some major hustling to avoid being left by the ship. Quite honestly, he's a bit of a control freak and decided he is better off being in charge of his own vacation timetable.
If you are a person who perpetually runs late, choose an excursion sponsored by the cruise line. Word has it, they're more likely to wait for you than if you choose an unrelated excursion.
Cruising definitely has something for everyone. Because of the variety of locations you can visit, the things you can do both off and on the boat, and the long menu of food and drink selections, you have many choices.Protip - choose and pay for any excursions well ahead of time.
They fill up fast, and you don't want to miss out.
You can spend time doing things as a group or separately, with options for everyone's interest and activity level.Choose the kind of cabin you like based on your travel style.
If you think you will hang out in your room a lot staring at the ocean, spring for a room with a large window and a veranda. Most people I talked to said they were rarely in their room, mainly only to sleep and shower. Older travelers on Alaskan cruises seemed to lean more toward wanting a room with a view.Think about the type of cruise you want, then spend time researching the ship and the cruise.
There are cruises which cater to different age groups, families, singles, and special interests. My sister-in-law, believe it or not, went on a cruise for sewing enthusiasts (no joke – they offered needlepoint classes and other sewing activities).Cruising if a great way to learn about different cultures.
The staff on cruise ships are generally very pleasant, and they are from all over the world. If you are interested in learning about people from different backgrounds and cultures, you can talk with them to learn about their experiences and their lives back home.
The Disney cruises seem to be particularly wonderful for families. They offer a long list of activities for kiddos and have efficient security and supervision procedures, so parents can do their own thing without worrying about their children's safety.
If you're concerned about finding the best cruise for you, check out Cruise Critic. Their site provides loads of information on individual cruises, activities, and ships.
Bon voyage to you if you're ready to set sail, and if you've decided cruising is not for you, happy trails! No matter where you go or what you do, consider protecting your investment with travel insurance. If something goes awry on your trip, you'll be glad you did.
Angela Borden has been a member of the Seven Corners team since 2007. She originally joined as an underwriter, later transition to marketing to explore her passion for making all things insurance less confusing and more fun. (Is that possible?) When she's not working, Angela loves traveling and spending time with her family, including her two adorable dogs.