Cruising….another way of vacationing

While I am traveling this week and part of next week I will be republishing some of my older and earlier posts.  It seems that I can’t always get to a computer – it might be because the sun and surf are calling my name.  Thank you for continuing to read some of these older posts.

Cruising is a wonderful way to take a vacation for many of us.  You can do as much or as little as you want and yet you are still on vacation and visiting several different countries while staying on the ship.  For some of my friends that are mobility challenged, this is ideal.  For others that are very active it is ideal as well.  For families there is so much to do for kids, adults and their parents.

I’ve taken many Caribbean cruises and have enjoyed them.  Most of them were not spectacular but more of an enjoyable vacation, good food, entertainment as well as seeing a different island each day.   After a number of Caribbean cruises it seemed to us that the islands all tended to blend in to each other and was difficult to distinguish one from the other….If this is Tuesday it must be Martinique.

Royal-Caribbean

Nevertheless, there are so many great benefits about cruising.  I do enjoy seeing something different each day without the hassle of packing and unpacking  I always know where I am going to sleep at night and not have to drive or walk or sit at an internet cafe to find lodging for the night.

carnival

Same benefit for meals.  Although we are generally not being served regional food from the area that we are cruising to,  we do know where we are going to eat every night. There are several dining options on a cruise ship but the two primary ones are fixed seating and open dining. With fixed seating you eat at the same time, same table and the same table mates every night. There is Early Seating and Late Seating and you need to let your travel agent know which you want at booking.  Generally that works out for me but one time my daughter and I were cruising and at our table was a couple my age (the parents) and a couple her age (their daughter and her fiance). They were on a back to back cruise and the younger couple was going to get married on the second portion of their cruise. All through dinner they talked about the upcoming wedding. We were very happy for them but it was not a conversation that we felt part of and nor should we. We went to the dining room maitre d’ and requested another table.  We were fortunate that the new table had both passengers my age and my daughter’s age.  You do not have to sit and suffer.  The other main option is Open Dining or Anytime dining.  Theoretically you could go to the other dining room any time and get a table.  In theory that sounds great but it doesn’t always happen that way.  Many people do like to dine at 6:30 and you can get a table after they dine if you prefer a little later.  You can make reservations but not for any time you want.  With this type of dining you will be seated at a different table every night and with different people.  Blogger Hubby and I did it that way one time when we were traveling by ourselves.  It was a great way to meet other people.  We found one couple that we really liked and arranged to make a reservation with them for the following night.  Other dining options are to eat at the Lido buffet or one of the specialty restaurants that have an extra charge for and in my opinion it is well worth it.  We always do a specialty restaurant once per cruise.  The last option is room service of which there is no charge for but you do need to tip the person bringing your food to your room.  A nice dinner on your balcony watching the sun set is a very romantic option.

celebrityOn the ships there are many venues for entertainment.  Whether it is in a lounge for classical music, the Piano Bar for a rocking good time, the movie theatre to see a first rate movie, listening or dancing to a small band, the casino for a spin with Lady Luck, or the theatre for a production show – there is always something to do.

norwegian

In addition to these cruise lines, there is also Celebrity, Norwegian Cruise Line, Crystal, Costa, Disney Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas, and others as well as smaller cruise lines such as Oceania and Azamara.

Holland America

When choosing to cruise, learn about the different personalities that each cruise line has and see if it fits in with your needs, expectations and personality.  Some are geared to the younger crowd, some to the young, the middle-agers, some to a senior crowd and some to families. They all do have a combination of ages which makes it convenient for family trips but generally with an emphasis on one of the age groups.

What is not included in your cruise price is any wine, beer, specialty coffees, smoothies, hard liquor that you consume.  Some lines allow you to bring wine and champagne on board with Celebrity allowing 2 bottles per stateroom and Holland America allowing you unlimited.  I also bring on board soft drinks for my consumption and bottled water.  If you choose to play the casino or Bingo, those charges are not included in your cruise and would be extra.  Also any tours you take while on land is not included.

In future posts I’ll talk about how to book a cruise and how to book excursions  either booking with the cruise line or on your own.

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