For many years, taking a cruise for a family vacation was considered an expensive luxury that few people could afford. Most people hardly ever considered a vacation cruise as an option for themselves. Times have changed, though, as more and more people are discovering that cruising is a great value for a family vacation.
1. What you get
The price you pay for your cruise includes a huge number of things. It covers your accommodations (cabin) for the duration of the cruise, all of the food you can eat, and a huge variety of shipboard amenities and activities. A good way to see the value of what you get for yourself is to compare the direct costs of a cruise with the direct costs of a typical vacation. Add up the cost of comparable travel, hotel, food, and activities, you will quickly see that the price of a cruise is indeed a bargain when you take into consideration everything that you get.
2. Shipboard amenities
Modern cruise ships have an amazing array of amenities. Nearly all ships have the expected swimming pools, restaurants, bars, and other common attractions. More and more, though, cruise ships offer other amenities that may surprise you. These may include:
o Wine, cigar and specialty bars
o Ice skating rink
o Rock climbing wall
o Luxury spa
o Modern fitness facility
o Jogging track
o Game room
o Broadway entertainment
o Multi-room staterooms
o Specialty facilities for special needs
o Miniature golf
Each ship is different, so find out the amenities on whatever ship you are considering and select the one that best matches your wants and needs.
3. Shipboard activities
Activities abound on a cruise ship, and it is the rare person indeed who can manage to take part in all of them. There is literally something for everyone to do on a cruise ship, so you can be assured you will always be occupied and entertained.
The list of shipboard activities will vary, but these items are some typical examples:
o Dance lessons
o Ping pong
o Skeet shooting
o Lectures and workshops
o History and culture of ports of call
o Arts and crafts
o Photography classes
o Sports and game competitions
o Scavenger hunts
o Discussion groups
o Mix and mingle hour
o Wine tasting
o Painting lessons
o Clay and pottery lessons
The list goes on and on, and changes regularly. Some cruises are even considered “theme” cruises, where activities are designed around a particular topic or special interest.
4. Ports of call
Being on a cruise ship is like being at a fine resort with great food, lots of fun, and exceptional facilities. In addition to all of this, though, a cruise also takes you to one or more ports of call. At each stop, you can experience the culture of a location, explore the area, go on a special excursion, and then return to the comfort of your floating hotel.
Some cruises visit only a handful of locations, while others stop at four, five, or even more places. You can choose a cruise that goes to as many or as few ports of call as you like. Many cruise aficionados say that cruising is a great way to see a wide variety of places and determine which ones they would like to go back and visit for a more extended stay.
A cruise is a great value because it offers so many choices. You can do as much or as little as you like, and be very spontaneous about participating in activities. You have the freedom to relax and do nothing or spend your time being busy – it’s all up to you.
One thing is for certain – when you go on a cruise, you will seldom be bored. Some people return from their cruise saying they want to do it again because they didn’t have time to do all of the activities they wanted, while others return and want to do it again because they had a great time doing absolutely nothing. Cruising truly does offer something for everyone.