As I prepare to plan my next vacation, I realize that this one will most likely be a big one for us. We are currently looking for a vacation in Europe or Alaska for next year. I have already traveled to Europe by land and had a blast. But now I find myself looking at the benefits of taking a cruise versus doing it the traditional way.
Cruise Benefits and Drawbacks
One of the most important factors that we cannot ignore is the benefit that the cruise vacation offers port wise. You simply go to sleep and wake up in a different location while avoiding all the nightmare of traveling by car, train or air. Having your accommodations combined with your transportation and not having to worry about the planning is a huge plus. Cruises offer an unrivaled opportunity to visit multiple destinations with ease and convenience. While on this topic, I would like the note that the typical hotel in Europe offers smaller accommodations, and some cruise rooms are actually nicer than some of the rooms that I have stayed in.
As far as food goes, pretty much everything you will ever want to eat is included in your cruise fare. The only meals you have to consider are while you’re in port and far away from the ship. The cost of this could add up, so that is something to keep in mind. For those wishing to experience something better than their main dining room offerings, you can always go to one of their upscale venues for an additional charge.
One of the biggest benefits of cruises are sea days, they are your time to relax and enjoy your vacation. On most of my land vacations, I have found myself rushing and doing something, just to make the most out of the trip. I usually got home and felt like I needed another vacation from my vacation. This has never happened to me while on a cruise. I usually get back home relaxed and ready to start working again. Not that I want to go back to work, but at least I was relaxed. Sea days are unlike anything out there. My personal favorite is to sit on the balcony and just watch the world go by while having a drink and working on my computer. Need I say more?
Cruises offer something very unique that a land vacation will never offer. There is a vibe and an atmosphere that you will only experience on a cruise. Most of the people aboard the cruise are on vacation and they are all there to have a great time. There are activities everywhere and lots of people to share your daily adventures and other thoughts with.
Limited time on port
The biggest drawback with a cruise is the limited time in port. There are a couple of options to ensure that you make the most of your time. On tender ports, we tend to book ship tours to make sure we can disembark fast and without a hassle. Doing your research ahead of time is crucial to make the most out of your day. But for itineraries with larger cities, one can’t stop and wonder if taking a land vacation would be a better option to experience much more.
You can finalize your day enjoying what you like the most. Whether it is the shows, relaxing on the in the Jacuzzi, or having your favorite drink with new friends.
Up until the recent year I was a strict land vacation traveler. I am really good at searching for good economic hotels, and planning nearly every second of my vacation. Land vacations hold their charm and can in essence offer you much more time exploring the cities. This is especially good for large cities that come to life at night, and offer unlimited possibilities.
However, traveling from city to city can prove to be a real pain in the butt. Especially when you’re traveling with bags and moving around by train or airplane. I have to admit that this was one of my least favorite parts of traveling through Europe by land.
I think that one of my favorite things, is trying out the local cuisine all the time. Of course, this is also available while you’re on a cruise, but just not all the time.
No time constraints
Time management is not a big of an issue, you can pretty much do whatever you want and not have to worry about making it back to the ship on time. Sometimes I tend to worry and look at the time constantly to make sure that the ship is not leaving without us. This might be something that is important to you, if you’re a nervous person.
Both vacations offer their individual style and romance. I very much enjoy cruising as I do traveling by land as well. You have to really think and consider on what type of vacation you want before making a commitment. If you’re thinking in remote areas like Alaska, cruising offers an unrivaled opportunity. However, if you’re considering a vacation through Europe, then the situation changes, and you really have to put some thought into it.
As far as finances go, you can spend a lot of money or go cheap on both. It depends what you want, like everything in life you have to look at your budget. I have spent a lot of money on some cruises, while on others I have had deals that you could never achieve on land vacations. It all really depends on your traveling style.
No one ever said life choices were easy. But thankfully for us, no matter what choice we make for our vacations, one thing is for sure, we will have a blast!