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To Cruise Or Not to Cruise: That is the question

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My opinion is that you are a “cruise person” or you’re not. People who love cruises can’t get enough of them. They love the one stop shopping aspect of cruising. You have your hotel, your meals, your entertainment, and your itinerary all provided on the floating hotel called a cruise ship.

The super duper cruise ships have spas, pools, gyms and casinos. That sounds great, huh? I thought so, too, until I went on one of those mega ships to the Caribbean. It was an extended family affair with adults and kids of all ages. We had four stops on our journey to various island paradises.

The first day on the ship, we hit bad weather and I spent the entire day in my shoe box size cabin reeling from motion sickness. I accidentally overdosed on my seasick medication (due to poor eyesight and not reading the label close enough). This put me in a pseudo-like coma so I was forced to stay in bed. My family would come to visit from time to time and I would see their faces but hardly able to converse or lift my head off the pillow. The meds did eventually wear off, but the bad weather forced the captain to cancel our first tropical island stop.

Feeling better by evening, we all ventured to the dining hall. You are greeted by two hand sanitizing dispensers that would make any germa-phobe cringe. I found the food to be mediocre at best (but then again, I’m a serious foodie).

The next morning my sister-in-law and I head to the Spa to make appointments for luxury treatments. I was really looking forward to that. The massage was okay, but I wasn’t prepared for the hard sell afterwards from my masseuse hocking all the spa products they used. I was tough and didn’t succumb to the pressure. I was fairly certain my sister-in-law who was in the next room wouldn’t either, but was I ever surprised when she came out of the room with a tote bag full of overpriced spa products!

Then it was off to the pool for some relaxing and reading. So I thought, until I circled the pool a dozen times in search for a lounge chair. Having no luck securing a lounger, I headed to the dining hall for lunch. Again, the food was disappointing, but lots of it. If you like quantity over quality, you’re all set.

The next day arrive at our first island destination—Grand Cayman Island. I was psyched not having been there before. So, we all pile into the tender which takes us from our mega-ship to the island. It was a beautiful, sunny day and we all wore our bathing suits ready for a nice, relaxing day at the beach.

First thing, we have to find the beach. Oh, we have to take a taxi to the beach. Okay, we flag down a couple taxis and head off. Finally, we see it, a beautiful white sand Caribbean beach. We begin walking down the beach in search of a spot and some chairs. Oh, you want chairs—sorry, all the chairs belong to the resorts and are off limits to the orphan cruise people. Now that I’m middle aged, I’m not so keen on laying on a beach towel on the sand for hours. Oh, well, we tried.

Next we decide to go to town for a nice lunch. We did manage to find an open air restaurant with great margaritas—the highlight of the day! After lunch, we look at our watches and realize we must quickly hoof it back to the tender or we’ll miss our ride back to our mother ship.

Okay, maybe I’m painting an unfair picture of cruising. I’m sure that other people’s experiences are very different from mine. I just don’t see the advantages of cruising over staying on dry land at a beautiful resort, with a car, a beach with chairs, and wonderful cuisine. Maybe it’s just me, but after that cruise, you can call me a forever land lover!

While our travel club does a very special cruise to Alaska which is a perfect destination for this type of trip, most of our adventures are private, land based tours. I always felt the best way to experience a country and its culture is to immerse yourself among the people, cities, towns, & landscapes. Most cruises limit these opportunities significantly.


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10 Replies to “To Cruise Or Not to Cruise: That is the question”

Donna Hull
November 27, 2011
Maybe you went on the wrong cruise for you. I would never step on board one of those mega cruise ships. EVER. A cruise on a smaller line, especially the all-inclusive ones, is a totally different experience. No shoebox-sized cabins, most everyone gets a balcony, the food rivals 5-star dining and there is never a hard sell about anything. Another option is a small ship adventure cruise in Alaska with lots of active excursions and like-minded travelers. Those are a blast!
November 29, 2011
Thanks for the great advice Donna! Smaller cruise lines and more options for active excursions sounds like a great alternative.
March 8, 2012
I've never been on a cruise! But I would like to go sometime :)
    March 9, 2012
    They can be real fun but if you are a true travel lover its more of a vacation not a travel experience. Unless you go on a river cruise or small cruise experience the big ones are all about food, drink, & social--dont go on a cruise if you want to experience a specific country or culture...
I would be willing to give a smaller ship a try, but the experience you have described on a mega ship sounds like a terrible vacation.
    March 9, 2012
    Yeah I agree--I really have no desire to go on the big ships anymore but the river cruises sound like they could be really cool--especially like cruising the Nile in Egypt!
March 9, 2012
I'm not that keen on cruising, at least not when there's lots of sea days. It just gets too boring. But my kids love it, so we do the occasional one. Like Donna says, it's best with a smaller ship.
    March 9, 2012
    Totally agree! Haven't been on a smaller ship yet but hope to soon...
We're not big mega cruise people either. Recently, we took a riverboat cruise down the Peruvian Amazon (14 guests) and found it adventurous and totally to our liking.
    May 8, 2012
    yeah the small river cruises sound amazing!!!
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