If travel is all about having amazing experiences, creating great memories, and jumping off the hamster wheel to discover the world, then I think cruising is a great way to condense memories, adventure, and discovery into a short space of time.
Yet cruising as a mode of travel often invokes strong responses in people; There’s the “Ahhh Yes!” gang and the “Eeuw No-way-never!” mob.
To tell you the truth, in the 30 or so years we’ve been traveling, we’ve mostly favored overland travel and have been camp and canvas supporters with the occasional 5-star hotel thrown in if possible – but cruisers? No way.
Then we went on a 104-night world cruise.
We were virgin cruisers. Our friends took up bets to see if we’d come back alive and/or still married. In truth, they were hoping for spurious tales about how awful being on a ship with 2,000 other passengers might be.
“Why spend three and a half months at sea? What for? In a floating city – Why?” they asked. And at the time we couldn’t really answer their questions.
But now we can, and I have to say we are total cruise converts.
1. Cruising is so Easy!
Cruising really is an easy way to travel and you only have to unpack once.
You’re waited on hand and foot, the food is fabulous and you don’t have to worry about restaurant or hotel bookings. Plus you have no worries about how you’re going to get to the next destination.
2. No flights! No planes to catch!
Once you’re on board your cruise around the world, you don’t have to catch any more planes. Think of that! No more cramped seats. No more rushing to get to an airport on time. No more taxis or rental cars to get you there.
No more delayed flights. No more crappy in-flight meals. No more angst. Your ship is now your plane with every conceivable amenity to make your journey comfortable.
3. You have more time for yourself
Traveling overland requires thought, planning and often extra energy to accept delays and travel hassles.
On a world cruise everything is taken care of so you have plenty of time to catch up on things you haven’t had time for at home – like researching your next destination, reading the books that have been stacking up on your bedside table, getting to grips with the craft you never had the time for, or getting stuck into a course you’ve been wanting to do.
4. Visa and entry hassles are minimal
Because the cruise ship (mostly) takes care of the visas you’re going to need, and you (generally) don’t have to go through passport controls when getting on and off the ship, most of your entries and exits into different countries is quick and painless. (But do check which visas are covered by the ship and which aren’t particularly if you’re on a long cruise.)
5. No more arguments about where to go or what to see.
I don’t know about you, but we often end up in a huff with each other if we go on a holiday which requires us both to come up with decisions about where to go and what to see.
“Let’s do this,” one of us will say, and the other will go, “Umm how about doing this instead.”
And the other replies, “Hmm maybe, but how about doing this rather?”
In the end, exhausted by the decision making we end up not doing anything at all.
But on a cruise around the world, you don’t need to plan your own trips and tours if you don’t want to because there’s probably a shore excursion and advisory desk on board with plenty of ready-made touring options.
So for us, it would come down to overarching questions like, did we want to do something energetic, something adventurous, something cultural or even just go on a coach tour. And if we both wanted to do different things – we could!
6. There are plenty of options to keep fit.
People expected us to come back fat. “But you didn’t put on any weight on the world cruise” they said in slightly disappointed tones. Nope, because we took advantage of the many exercise options.
We had the promenade deck for power walking and jogging, a well-equipped gym where we could work off calories on the exercise machines, as well as yoga, pilates, spinning, Thai Chi, Zumba, dancing, and stretching or abs classes to choose from. Plus we nearly always booked energetic shore excursions.
Plus we nearly always booked energetic shore excursions.
7. You get a unique kind of immediate cultural immersion
I was worried about only having a short amount of time in each place. Now while this is mostly true the thing I found about cruising is that it allows you to immerse yourself quickly in different cultures.
Ship’s Tours are designed to show you the very best of a place, or a particular aspect of that place, in the shortest amount of time.
Of course, you can explore under your own steam if you wish – research while you’re at sea, and dive in deep to the culture when you get there.
But what only having a short time really means is that you become very focused on doing and seeing as much as you can, totally depleting your energy bank, because you know that when you get back on board ship all you have to do is sink into a hot tub with a long cold cocktail, or dine under the stars and talk about the wonderful memories you’ve just created!
8. No need to search for a local doctor in a foreign country if you fall sick.
There’s a resident Doctor and support medical staff on board the cruise ship so you can rest assured if you have any health concerns
(Tip: Do not forget to take out travel health insurance cover because onboard medical can be expensive).
Read More: 15 tips for buying the best travel insurance policy
9. Convenience shopping for personal basics is covered on board.
On Princess Cruise ships there are convenience shops which sell all the small things you might need on a daily basis; from hair shampoo to suncream, to toothpaste to chocolate and lollies, to water bottles, to birthday cards and more. So no more having to set out in a foreign country in search of a shop selling familiar hair shampoo, for instance.
So no more having to set out in a foreign country in search of a shop selling familiar hair shampoo, for instance.
10. No need to search for ATM’s or change currency every few days
On board ship you should have no currency concerns – you should be able to use your cruise card to swipe for anything which isn’t included in your cruise deal, and when you go ashore if you’re not going to use your credit card, you may find that there’s an ATM temporarily set up on the ship dispensing local currency (but be warned, this can be a fairly costly option of getting local currency).
Relevant Reading: How to transfer money overseas with the best exchange rate and no fees
11. You’re on a luxury floating hotel
It was incredible knowing that really we were on a very luxurious floating hotel carrying us from one amazing destination to the next.
The heart of Sea Princess was the Atrium, spread over 4 levels where there was always something going on. Grand and theatrical in design with glass lifts and palm trees we often saw musicians playing, or a retail promotion or a fruit carving demonstration in full swing.
Elsewhere there were bars, and restaurants, a plush theatre, a cabaret lounge, a casino and all manner of things to keep us entertained.
Did we feel cramped by all the other passengers? Actually no. It was incredible how people seem to spread out and we never felt hemmed in by people.
12. You can choose what kind of accommodation you prefer
Most cruise ships will offer a variety of cabins and staterooms.
We had a cabin with a balcony which was lovely to sit out on when we wanted to be alone, or if we wanted to watch a new destination come into view from the comfort of our bed, or if we wanted to invite our neighbors over for a sundowner.
Plus it gave us a bit more space to work as we had two laptops and lots of blogging paraphernalia.
13. Fabulous Amenities
Depending on the cruise you book, you’ll hopefully find, as we did, that the amenities and services on board are luxurious and comprehensive.
On Sea Princess, there was a fabulous spa offering relaxing treatments, a hairdresser (which didn’t cost the earth), and a boutique selling clothes at what I considered were reasonable prices.
Then there were theatres staging fantastic productions, a casino, a variety of great restaurants and bars, a well-stocked library, an internet cafe, and on each accommodation deck a coin laundromat with 2 irons and ironing boards (ahem, not that I did much ironing 😉
14. Five Star Resort facilities with benefits
The adults-only deck on Sea Princess was called The Sanctuary and it really was.
Tucked away at the top of the ship it was a place to day dream where you were pampered with tasty morsels of food throughout the day as you gazed out across the ocean. And when you’re bored with that you could pop to the pool deck or jump in one of the hot tubs.
15. There’s on tap entertainment
You don’t have to get in the car, worry about parking or worry about drink-driving. Just glam up (if you wish) and walk out from your stateroom.
Most round the world cruise ships will offer a variety of entertainment. I think this is where you need to be careful when deciding which ship to cruise on. On Sea Princess. there was non-stop high-quality entertainment from singers and dancers to comedians.
There were novelty acts and there were also tribute shows, folkloric acts, and bands from around the world.
16. Learn and come back enriched
A big thing on Princess Cruises are the enrichment lectures which I really enjoyed – especially the ones on positive psychology. But there were so many to choose from – such as, the history of opera, a palmist talking about palm reading, a man who in real life was a horse whisperer talking about animal psychology, and lots of informative lectures about the destinations we were visiting.
But there were so many to choose from – such as, the history of opera, a palmist talking about palm reading, a man who in real life was a horse whisperer talking about animal psychology, and lots of informative lectures about the destinations we were visiting.
You’ll also probably have time to visit the library – or maybe do that eCourse you’ve been meaning to complete.
17. Daily activities
If you’re like us then each sea day you’ll probably plan out what you want to do each day. There are likely to be a range of organized daily activities and events to attend.
You might find there are cooking demonstrations, music or choir practices, card schools, arts and crafts classes, dance classes, zumba classes, and much more. There’s no need to be bored.
18. Morning TV and Media
And let’s not forget the daily Wake Show (Princess Cruises answer to breakfast TV) and the Princess Patter a daily newsletter which is delivered to your Stateroom each night.
19. Destinations and Tours
I loved the fantastic sail-aways – watching exotic destinations fade from view as the party band played on and the champagne flowed was just amazing. I’ll never ever forget leaving the very beautiful Polynesian island of Moorea or sailing under Sydney’s iconic harbor bridge.
But I also loved the excitement of cruising towards a new destination, full of eager anticipation about what we would discover.
You might cruise to adventure, or a tropical island, or be lucky enough to see orca whales in Antarctica. Perhaps you’ll get to haggle in a bustling souk, or visit one of the wonders of the world.
You might, like us, be lucky enough to sail past the Statue of Liberty as the sun is rising.
You can cruise to the most magical, mystical, iconic and diverse destinations you can imagine. If you choose a world cruise, as we did with Princess Cruises, then you’ll visit multiple places. We visited 5 continents, 27 countries, and 39 different destinations.
On board, we were offered a comprehensive tour program and could choose from a variety of ship’s shore excursions including culture, food, adventure, photographic, scenic, art or wine.
Or, if you’re super organized, you might plan and book independent tours before you leave home. Be warned, though, if an independent tour fails to get back to port in time for the ship’s departure then the ship probably won’t wait for you. If you book a ship’s tour, in all likelihood it will.
Be warned, though, if an independent tour fails to get back to port in time for the ship’s departure then the ship probably won’t wait for you. If you book a ship’s tour, in all likelihood it will.
So decide beforehand what the likely risks are – if the ship is a long way from the city you’re visiting, could there be a train strike that day (in Italy this could happen!). I couldn’t imagine anything worse than your new mates waving you goodbye from their balcony!
20. You’ll make great friends for life
You just don’t know who you’re going to meet on a round the world cruise, and you’re moved from the comfort zone of your regular friends to mixing, dining and touring with a whole new range of people.
We were lucky to meet adventurous baby boomers, energetic youngsters wonderful tour guides, and interesting crew members with wonderful stories to tell, many of whom became friends for life.
21. So much Scrumptious Food
Oh, where to start?
If you don’t like the food on a cruise, then really there’s no hope! Fabulous eateries, celebrity chefs, buffets, cordon bleu steakhouses, pizza joints, a la carte dining, a bakery and poolside bbq’s and themed nights – you name it, there are so many dining experiences on a large ship.
After a long cruise, you may well come back changed.
The Princess Cruises tagline invited us to Come Back New. And when we first got onboard we actually thought we’d probably just come back fatter and flabbier.
But to tell you the truth we didn’t.
We came back fitter and slimmer and much more knowledgeable about the world.
And the memories – oh WOW. Don’t get me started on those!
Maybe you’d like to read more about our incredible 104 night World Cruise over on my blog Lifestyle Fifty or check out the cruising options with Princess Cruises, (of whom I was a guest).
Have you done a cruise? Where to? Or if you’ve got any questions about cruising, I’ll gladly try and answer them in the comments section below.
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- The Ultimate Cruise Packing checklist
- 6 day memorable Western Caribbean Cruise
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Thanks for reading!