Cruise vacations are a popular vacation choice these days, with more and more travelers trying a cruise for the first time or going back for more. In Matching The Right Cruise With The Right Traveler, we detailed the steps of how to go about picking a specific cruise line, ship and sailing date that would bring the best odds of maximizing your cruise travel experience. Regardless of the cruise line, ship or itinerary, whether sailing in an ocean or on a river, there are some good reasons for choosing to cruise in the first place. As we dive in to wave season, that time of the year when many travelers will plan their travel for 2015 and beyond, let’s highlight some reasons why so many choose to cruise.
A great way to “leave it all behind”- Cruise lines orchestrate their own version of the onboard experience really well. Passengers that embrace all a cruise has to offer come away refreshed, relaxed, rejuvenated and often a bit changed as people in a good way that no other vacation option offers. As the ship sails away from shore, guests are encouraged to leave their land-based cares behind. Those guests who really get into it will gain a clarity on life that is hard to duplicate on land. The flexibility available on board allows each person to take away from the experience what they need from it. Some want a high-energy active vacation. Others want quiet, relaxing time alone. Those guests and everyone in-between can get exactly what they need on a cruise vacation.
On rivers, a similar interest in orchestrating a memorable experience is shared by river cruise lines. Different than ocean ships which have an intense menu of onboard programming, much of the focus of a river cruise is off the ship at the significant places ships stop as they sail the original highways of Europe, Asia, North America and elsewhere.
Safe And Secure– Cruise lines go to great lengths to insure our safety. From the moment we arrive at the pier until we’re on our way back home, security is ever-present. I like hearing the occasional story of some passenger kicked off the ship in a foreign port because they did something bad. As opposed to other methods of travel, cruise ships by nature are highly secure. The controlled access around ocean cruise ships allows security levels to be strictly enforced. Since 9/11 cruise lines have maintained a 300 foot “no float” zone around ships to keep private vessels away. They installed surveillance cameras darn near everywhere on their ships. The ability to secure cruise ships in foreign ports is a major factor in the decision to call there.
Travelers who want a more informal setting might choose a river cruise instead. With far fewer passengers, intense security measures are not needed and cruise travelers pretty much walk on and off the ship at their leisure.
Environmental Commitment– Sure, they’re far from perfect and we don’t have to look far to find critics of the potential negative environmental impact cruise ships could have. The cruise industry has been fighting a bad reputation from years ago when some were caught dumping garbage in the ocean. Today, ongoing programs on major cruise lines are quite impressive and include intense recycling efforts, use of solar power, using shoreside electric power while in port so they can turn off their diesel burning engines and more.
Jobs where there were no jobs– The cruise industry employs crew members and shore-side personnel from all over the world. Many of those on board come from nations where making ends meet is a daily struggle. The wages and care they receive on a ship are far superior to what they would find back home, if they could find a job or medical care at all. It’s not an easy life and crew members sign on by contract for months at sea, knowing full well they will not see loved ones at home for quite some time. But they come back again and again for contract after contract, sending money back home and supporting families that might otherwise be in dire straights.
For more reasons to cruise, check this video