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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Making the Cruise Your Own

Every time I tell my mother I’m taking a Caribbean cruise, she asks the same thing, “Why do you like cruising so much?” Since I’m about to go on #13, you can imagine I’ve heard this quite a bit.

 It’s a fair question and I thought I’d attempt to answer it, and in the process, maybe convince some people flirting with the idea of cruising to give it a try. So, here goes:

·        You can make your cruise your own. You may be sharing space with a lot of other people, but your experience will be truly your own.  

You can spend the entire trip glued to a lounge chair by the pool, a novel resting on your navel, or holed up in your cabin living on (free!) room service.

Or, run from ping pong to basketball to pool Marco Polo. Play the slots, down some shots or comb the shops.

Dance ‘til dawn, karaoke with the crowd or flip channels on your stateroom TV.

It’s totally up to you.

·        It’s a great value. Do the math—plan a virtual trip on land and add up the cost of airfare, transportation to and from the hotel, rental car, hotel, food and entertainment. Then compare it to the cost of a cruise.
·        It’s the Caribbean. Around-the-year warmth, water so clear and blue that it seems almost unnatural, sand so soft it feels like talcum powder. What more needs to be said?

Table with a water view on HAL's Zuiderdam
·        It’s not flying. I’ve said this before. Boarding the ship generally takes minutes, not hours. There are no luggage restrictions—you can take whatever can fit in your little cabin. And you unpack just once. Your biggest responsibility every day is getting out of bed. And you don’t even really have to do that.
·        A water view everywhere, all the time. Some people go to great lengths to find a restaurant or hotel by the water. Think of it—on a cruise, you can have a water view at all three meals, and every time in between.

·        It’s stress-free travel. No searching for restaurants, running from one hotel to another, lugging luggage, navigating new streets. Cruising is the ultimate in relaxation. Partly because the cost of using a cell phone and Internet is so high, it forces you into detox.

All kidding aside, few experiences can match the serenity of sitting on your balcony, chilled white wine in hand, staring at the sea. We’ve fallen asleep out there so many times that “Want to sit on the verandah?” has come to mean “Want to take a nap?”
If I could sum it all up in one sentence, it would be this: it’s perhaps the only vacation where when it’s over, you don’t feel like you need another one.