Travel

9 Reasons Why We Love Cruising

Our family has been cruising for more than 20 years.  My first cruise was when I was in my 20s and that hooked us all for life.  Every time I start to plan a vacation I always come back to cruises.  Here are the 9 reasons why!

norwegian escape in bermuda

Norwegian Escape in Bermuda

9 Reasons Why We Love Cruising

Value

We find cruising gives us the biggest bang for our buck!  Hands down.  In our early days when we just wanted to get on the ship, so we would book an inside cabin.  At that time we paid $399US each plus flights and we lived like a King and Queen for a week.  Regardless of the cabin, you choose you have access to all of the same amenities.  Suite passengers do have a few extra perks, but for the most part, everyone can do all of the same things.  You get 3 meals a day in the dining, round-the-clock options through room service, and almost around the clock in the Windjammer.  Shows, pools, kids club, along with all of the islands – there really isn’t a better vacation deal to be had.  Plus if you watch for the cruise line’s sales they will throw in extras like wifi, specialty dining, beverage packages, and onboard credits.  Yes, many of these come included with an all-inclusive, but the value is increased when you look at the fact that the ship takes you to a variety of destinations. 

Food

Yes, the main and best reason is the food.  I have yet to find a resort at the same price point that provides the number of food options that we get on a cruise.  Many cruises are going to specialty additional fee restaurants, but the free options onboard are always consistently fantastic.  Italian, Asian, Southern, Bar food, most cruises have a large number of options geared towards a variety of cuisines.  Meals in the main dining room mirror this as well as specialty days in the Windjammer, which is the ship’s main buffet.   I am incredibly fussy about food, but I always gain 5lbs on every cruise as there is no shortage of options for passengers with a variety of dietary restrictions including picky kids.

Dinner Animator's Palate on Disney Dream

Dinner Animator’s Palate on Disney Dream

We rarely pay extra for anything as we find that we are happy with what is included.  We only do specialty dining if it is included in our package.  The cost, however, is less than what you would pay for a gourmet meal at home so it is a nice splurge if you are celebrating something special. 

Activities

Cruiseships built today are truly floating cities with a variety of shops, spas, pools, casino, and even a chapel if you decide to get married.  We always have a long list of things we would like to do onboard from relaxing to hitting the waterslides. 

Pool Deck Harmony of the Seas

Pool Deck(beach pool) Harmony of the Seas

Cabins do get a bad rap for how small they are but I think these cruise lines do a fantastic job of designing a space that is incredibly functional.  We sleep 4 in our cabin and it never feels cramped as there is always the balcony space to enjoy if you need some peace and quiet.

Harmony of the seas balcony cabin

Harmony of the seas balcony cabin

Kid’s Activities

Some ships are floating wonderlands for kids.  From the sports court, rock climbing walls, and mini-golf to waterslides and surfing simulators my kids are never bored. One ship has a go-kart track and Carnival is building a ship that will have a roller coaster!

Flowrider oasis class ships

Flowrider Harmony of the seas

In fact, we often need to bring them back to the room mid-day to recharge for the evening.  When they were little they would BEG to go to the kids club, now they hang out with the older kids in a more sophisticated Teen space that includes a DJ and Video games.

When we cruised with Disney their kid’s club had a recreated version of Andy’s room AND the Millenium falcon.  There were always tears when it was time to leave. 

Andys room Disney Cruise Line

Andys Room Disney Cruise Line

Experiences

We can’t forget that these boats actually go places!  This is the best way for you to see the world quickly and pick the destination you would like to revisit.  Some ports are great to experience for one day, while others need more time.  We love that you get to learn so much about an island or city which gives our kids an appreciation of how diverse our world is. 

Vendor in Falmouth

Vendor in Falmouth

The ship also offers unique experiences that you can book to learn more about your port.  Catamaran trips, underwater explorations, island tours, beach trips, shopping excursions, and animal encounters there is an incredible range of ways to explore each location.  You can also just get off the ship, walk around and hail a cab.  We have honestly learned more from our cab drivers.  Their knowledge of the city and its history is important to hear. Then you head to a new location the next day!

Entertainment

From comedy shows, aerial acrobats, and broadway productions – there is an incredible variety of entertainment onboard.  Often you can watch 2-3 different shows a night.  We have watched the main show in the theater, stopped by the dueling pianos in the lounge, and then took in the late-night comedian.  In between, you will see shows like the newlywed game, or fun trivia contests in some of the smaller lounges. Karaoke, bingo, and deck parties!  Disney is famous for their pirate party and we have loved the white party on Norwegian and their themed deck parties.  When do you ever get the chance to dance under the stars on a ship?

Pirate deck party Disney Dream

Pirate deck party Disney Dream

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships have a water show that should not be missed AND an indoor skating spectacular.  While on our Disney cruise we saw the most beautiful production of frozen and enjoy first-run movies in the theater. 

Aqua Show Harmony of the Seas

Aqua Show Harmony of the Seas

Shopping

Both on and off the ship, shopping is the best when you cruise.  Each island specializes in different things but you can find a lot of cool things to bring home.  We aren’t huge souvenir buyers but we do like to shop for lower-priced items like liquor, electronics, and jewelry when we are cruising.  Onboard most ships do offer a variety of items at a range of prices.  You can get a new Fossil watch or splurge on a Movado or Tag Heuer.

My husband actually purchased my engagement ring while we were in St. Thomas more than 20 years ago and proposed at the beach hours later.  

In past cruises, I have upgraded my cameras, purchased lenses at a fraction of the price and purchased rings and bracelets. 

Education

We learn so much when we travel to new cities, and see different cultures, and people.  Cruising gives you the opportunity to see a lot quicker as most ships visit 3-5 ports in 7 days.  Even while you walk through the city you can see the homes the locals live in, the vehicles they drive, the food stands set up on the side of the road, and the goods in the stores.  Each location may have a different currency and they may speak different languages.  Islands like Aruba and Curacao are dutch owned so they have a more Europen feel, while Barbados has a completely different vibe. 

I would like to say my kids learn a lot from cruising, but to be honest we do too.  Geography, history, culture, with some new skills thrown when we do an excursion that is outside of our skillset.

Travel The World With Ease

Want to visit Asia but don’t want to plan a bunch of hotels and flights?  Take a cruise!  Regardless of the hemisphere, there is an itinerary that fits your goals and you only need to make one reservation.  The simplicity of seeing the world is honestly a cruise’s number one value.  You unpack once and then you’re off.  At the end of the day, you come back to your home base where your food is included as well as all of your entertainment.  It’s like booking a 5-star hotel in every city!

Are Cruises Safe?

With COVID I am seeing that people call cruises a ‘floating Petri dish’.  In order to get on board, you need to provide a negative COVID test, which is more than what most Caribbean resorts are offering currently.  There is more assurance that the passengers you are cruising with are healthy.  Additionally, there is constant handrail/elevator cleaning, mandatory handwash before entering the buffet, and sanitization stations throughout the ship.  Your chances of getting Covid here are much lower than if you went to a resort. 

 

About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of GrowingYourBaby.com and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

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