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Jan 07

Cruising: Your Best Vacation Value

If you’ve never taken a cruise, you’re missing out on a truly great vacation opportunity. No other trip offers the combination of value, service and destinations that your floating hotel does. For those whose only exposure to cruises has been re-runs of “The Love Boat,” let me dispel a few myths for you.

I’ll be Bored/Trapped on the Ship

The "Princess Patter," a list of everything going on for the day, is several pages long.

The “Princess Patter,” a list of everything going on for the day, is several pages long.

 

You will have an issue with activities on the ship: You won’t have time to do everything. It goes way beyond shows and a few pools. Cruises now have everything from educational opportunities onboard to cooking classes. Every cruise line will pass out a 5-6 page flyer listing the next day’s activities, and there is always something happening, even if it is trivia on deck (Sadly, shuffleboard seems to be on the way out.). If you want to shop, they make it easy for you. Cruise stores have gone upscale and offer far more than the trinkets that they used to sell. To get to the stores, you’ll probably walk through the art gallery, which displays what they will be showing at art auctions throughout the cruise (Do your homework before buying valuable art on the ship, though.). And, of course, there are full-sized spas and gyms. Even if you feel like just sitting and relaxing by the pool (There will likely be several.), the ship may have a giant screen playing first-run movies.

Options on Royal Caribbean for kids and kids at heart.

Options on Royal Caribbean for kids and kids at heart.

I’ll get sick

Probably not. Seasickness and the Norovirus are the ones that I hear most about. I can’t guarantee you that you won’t ever get sick on a ship, but your probability of doing so is far less than the media would have you believe.

In terms of seasickness, stabilizing technology, particularly on the larger ships. On our last cruise, our cabin was all the way at the bow of the ship (one of the worst places for motion) and we couldn’t feel any movement, with the exception of one night when it was particularly rocky (and we did just fine on that night). If you’re nervous, pick a cabin that is lower and toward the center of the ship. Even if you do suffer from motion sickness on the cruise, there are a number of remedies, including the ubiquitous Scopolamine patches. But the truth is that engineering has solved a lot of the problems related to motion.

Norovirus happens. And while you only seem to read of it on cruise ships, that’s not because the ships are the only place that people get it, but rather, because of the stringent reporting requirements that cruise lines face. You could just as easily (or more easily) get sick in a hotel or on an airplane.

It’s Too Expensive

The Silver Whisper's Owner's Suite. I bet the orange juice is freshly squeezed.

The Silver Whisper’s Owner’s Suite. I bet the orange juice is freshly squeezed.

What, you think paying almost $200,000 per person for Silversea’s Owner’s Suite on the 116-day world cruise is a lot? Yeah, me too.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go down that road. A family of four can pull off a week-long cruise for about $2,500 total. Think of what that includes: Your lodging, all your meals (at the main dining room, buffet, grill or any number of other restaurants) and your entertainment. They’ll clean your cabin every day, offer all day events for your kids in the play area while you relax by the pool (Sorry, the drinks with little umbrellas cost extra.). There are going to be additional gratuities in the fare but, after all is said and done, you’ll still do it for under $3,000 on some good cruise lines, such as Princess, Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. You’ll get to visit several destinations along the way and either the cruise line, your travel agent or both might throw in a shipboard credit for you.

February, 2017 on Princess Cruises in an Oceanview cabin

February, 2017 on Princess Cruises in an Oceanview cabin

What’s the downside? Probably the biggest one is a small cabin (The inside cabin above is about 200 square feet, total.), but you will be spending so little time there that it won’t make much of a difference.

And if you want to split the difference, you can get a suite on that world cruise for a mere $60,000 per person.

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