Oceans and Rivers and Glaciers…oh my! How does one choose a cruise vacation?
There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right cruise for this vacation. And yes, I did say “this vacation” because what’s right this time may not be the right choice next time.
For example, if you are taking the kids & grandkids to celebrate a milestone and your 8-year-old granddaughter just HAS to meet a Disney Princess then clearly a wine cruise on a river boat in the south of France isn’t the best choice this time…Maybe next year when it’s just the two of you.
If your teenager is horrified at the idea of being forced into vacationing with the family, then a ship that caters to families and has a great teen program is definitely the best choice for this time.
And then where to go…oh the horror! Pick a continent…any continent. Literally.
Why not have the kids give their input on what they’d like to see. Cruises are a very affordable way of travelling the world. With your lodging, food and entertainment included, the out of pocket expenses are reduced when visiting the more expensive destinations. Adding beverage & internet packages further help to keep costs under control and keep those pesky kids from hating their family vacation.
If you are looking to cross off a bucket-list item, odds are it can be done on a cruise.
Glacier trekking in Alaska – check
Caving in Central America – check
Penguin viewing in Antarctica – check
Watching the sun set in Santorini – check
Diving on the Great Barrier Reef – check
Seeing the Northern Lights – check (well…maybe…that depends on Mother Nature)
One of my bucket-list items was to have a glass of wine overlooking the Sea from Positano on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. I checked that one off easily using a shore excursion while on a Mediterranean cruise.
Ocean or River? Again, this has everything to do with what you’d like to experience on your cruise this time.
Ocean cruises touch the coast of every continent and offer shore excursions inland. Sometimes they’re docked at ports (some nicer…others are utilitarian) and sometimes you must “tender in”. This means the ship remains anchored offshore and you board the smaller tender boats in groups to be taken ashore. Ocean ships are typically large (800-6,000 guests) and offer a wealth of onboard activities to appeal to every age.
River cruises literally cruise inland plying the waterways between picturesque towns and cities. They dock in the middle of everything allowing guests to be immersed in the culture of the country the moment they disembark. River cruises are smaller boats (250 or fewer guests) and don’t have a lot of amenities onboard. They focus more on the cultural experiences with talks given by local experts, walking or bicycling tours and demonstrations.
And the themes! If you are interested in something, there’s probably a cruise themed for it. There are in excess of 500 theme cruises out there. Here are just a few: Running, Poker, Knitting, Motorcycles, Dancing, Music, Golf, Sports, Mysteries, Wellness, Sci-Fi and so much more.