Growing up, my family vacations consisted of piling into our vehicle and hitting the road to go visit family or friends. We never really traveled to exotic locations or went on exciting vacations. I’d have to say that this type of “vacation” is what a good 75% of Americans think of when they think of taking a vacation. They try to save money, by driving somewhere, staying with friends or family and keeping things simple at a mediocre hotel. Many of us think a cruise is something exotic and spectacular (if you’ve never been on a cruise before and don’t live near a major cruise center) which makes it seem out of reach as a typical vacation option for many of us. This is only a perspective coming from a Georgia boy with family scattered all across the southeast and northeast.
I was fortunate enough to take a job working for one of the major cruise lines for over 5 years, luckily I was able to work shoreside. Based on my experiences I wanted to share why cruising can really be one of the best vacation options for your family if done right. Here are some reasons why cruising is pretty awesome these days!
–There is something for everyone: Whether you are going with your 8 and 16 year old and just so happen to be dragging grannie and gramps along for the fun, there will be something for all of them to enjoy. The best part is you can choose to do the activities with them or on your own. Cruises these days make sure that they have activities catered to different age brackets and they generally keep each age bracket with 5 years of each other. Meaning that they know exactly who they are offering the activity to. For example, the teen/kids programs offer video game parties targeting certain ages and at the other end of the spectrum, certain cruise lines offer formal dancing partners for the elderly to enjoy. Off the ship is similar in the excursion choices. Cruise lines actually hand pick the excisions that are offered through the cruise line to ensure they match with the crowds on the ships.
–Cost: Sometimes when people who have never cruised before compare it to the cost of a typical run of the mill low cost hotel stay, it might seem on the high end, but there is a reason it usually costs more than a typical hotel stay… its about 80-90% all-inclusive. I use that range because most everything is free on most major cruise lines (food, shows, activities, and some beverages). The part that is not included is the beverages. So if you add up what you’d typically spend for food on vacation, which is usually going out to eat for every meal plus snacks, you usually end up spending more than on a cruise! Keep an eye on how much you spend for drinks on a ship and you’ll be alright! Stay tuned for part 2: How to cruise like a pro for some cruising tips!
–Location: Almost 100% cruises are going to go to somewhere pretty special! Let’s face it, they want to take you somewhere you’ll never forget! This is an added bonus because memories can last a lifetime! The world is too small not to explore as much as you can. A vacation is meant to be a chance for you to escape from the every day life that we lead. Sometimes a trip to visit family and friends just doesn’t cut it. You need a breathtaking view to make your jaw drop! Most cruise lines even have their own private island where you can find solitude and explore your own stretch of white sane beach between your toes!
Don’t get me wrong though there are some places that you need to just set down an anchor and stay for a few days in a beach side villa, but if you are looking for a great alternative to a run of the mill road trip, drive a little further and find a cruise port!
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