I’ve always thought that cruising is right for everyone. But I was wrong.
After speaking to a friend who just returned from his first cruise, I rethought my assumptions.
While cruising has a lot to offer all ages, it’s not necessarily the best way to travel if you’re all about the destinations. Here’s why:
Itineraries change. Weather, a damaged pier, a government travel ban or a passenger with a life-threatening condition are just some of the reasons you may not make it to the port you lusted after. On one of our early cruises, we almost didn't get to Grand Cayman because the sea was rough and getting into the tender proved tough.
Tenders take forever. If the port you long for requires tenders, know that the process of getting on and off, and back and forth to the ship eats up significant time.
Crappy weather can rain on your parade. I planned one cruise just for a stop in Martinique. When we got there, it poured. All day.
It could be Sunday or a holiday. If the pouring rain in Martinique wasn’t enough, it was also Sunday. The sole thing open was the supermarket. Another trip, we went to St. Maarten, only to discover it was a national holiday. But no parades or costumes. Just a half-empty city.
The stay may be short. In San Juan on one trip, we had to rush back to make a 1:30 p.m. deadline. While port stays of 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. may work for early birds, it doesn’t for night owls.
Excursion diversion. An excursion to ruins may sound great online, but you could spend most of the day getting there and back. Our first time in San Juan, we planned a visit to the Bacardi factory. The bus ride was long, the wait for the tour was long, and the tour was short. And so was the time we had left to actually see the city.
One of the neat things about cruising is that you can visit interesting ports, and hit multiple ports in one trip. But to view the cruise ship as merely transportation can set the traveler up for disappointment. Cruising is as much about the ship as the ports.
If that weren’t true, cruisers wouldn’t salivate as they do at the thought of a new ship debut.
So, go for the journey as much as the destination. You’ll have double the fun and none of the disappointment.