Over the years the Lucky Bugs have tried many different types of vacations but we always end up going back to a cruise as our top choice for so many reasons, here are a few:
1. The Cost – when planning a vacation, many of us often look at the “bottom line,” which usually includes flights, hotels, entertainment and a basic food allowance, but when planning a cruise a large portion of the cost includes most of these factors in the fare. The Lucky Bugs love cruising for so many reasons but cost has to be one of the top ones. When comparing a cruise to another option, there are not many vacations that offer the same “bang for your buck.” Just for an example, one of our favourite cruises is a “California Coastal” which is 7 days in length at a cost of $500 or $600 per person for the week (cheapest inside cabin). You can see how accommodations, 3+ meals a day and entertainment for $70-$80 a day is a great deal. Obviously these rates will go up depending on your room choices, if you plan on drinking alcohol, etc. however there are definitely lots of deals to be found when looking for a cruise.
2. The Ports – this is another top reason. How many times have you wanted to go somewhere and the planning and researching is so overwhelming you just say, “forget it – I’ll stick with Florida” (for the 10th time)? On a cruise everything is done for you, you basically just have to choose an itinerary and show up. With a cruise you get an overview of several ports in one trip and if you fall in love with one it’s easy to plan an extended stay there on your next trip, or vice versa, what if you hate everything about a port? – instead of wasting a lot of money and vacation time you can just get right back on the ship and grab a snack and a chair by the pool (or not even get off the ship for that matter.) Best example for this, if you’re looking for a Caribbean vacation I can’t think of a better way to see 3 or 4 different islands in a one week trip or in our case, our Mediterranean cruise introduced us to the island of Santorini and that is where we will focus for a week next Spring.
3. The Food -lets all admit it, a large part of a vacation is the food. There is definitely no shortage of food options when on a cruise, and other than some “specialty restaurants” that implement a cover charge – everything is included. Whether you want a formal sit down meal in the dining room, an informal stop at the buffet, or you just want to grab a burger by the pool – there is something for everyone at any time – even room service. Another perk of cruising is if you are not an adventurous eater and you are visiting a country where you are unsure about what you like or want to eat, you can always go back to the ship and you will not go hungry. And last but not least regarding food, if you’re anything like us and have “dessert indecisiveness,” a cruise is the perfect way to cure that problem – just get one of each!
4. Comfort & Convenience- we like our comfort and call us “spoiled” but there is a great feeling in knowing that after a long day of sightseeing and exploring you can get back onto the ship and relax in a “comfy” air conditioned room, and maybe even enjoy a movie or a game of BINGO. No surprises. Another benefit of cruising is only unpacking once, you get to explore several different locations without having to pack and unpack over and over every day or two.
5. Entertainment -this is where it is all up to you, you can do as little or as much as you wish. There is no shortage of entertainment on these huge cruise ships ranging from Broadway style live shows, pool parties, BINGO (and most ships even have a casino), nightclubs and dancing, movies (some outdoors “under the stars”), crafting and cooking classes/demonstrations, shopping and more. And if you would rather be left alone, believe it or not these ships are so big that it is usually not difficult to find a lounger to yourself.
6. Safety -the Lucky Bugs have cruised several times over the years and not once (travelling as a mom and daughter) have we ever felt unsafe. Yes, you will sometimes see the odd incident on the news of the person that has gone missing or has “fallen” overboard but these are very rare occasions and I think it is safe to say for the most part that cruising is a very safe way to travel, especially as a single. In all of our cruising experiences everyone seems quite friendly and happy to be part of the ship community.
7. Service -there are not many places in the world where you will encounter the kind of service that you will experience on a cruise ship. Friendly, helpful, professional are some of the words I think of. These people work very hard and play a large role in your shipboard experience, whether it’s a server in the dining room, a room attendant or a shore excursion advisor and whether it’s tearing apart the bathroom drain to look for your ring (yes this happened), or always leaving a chocolate on your pillow – they go above and beyond so please be sure to include gratuities into your budget when planning a cruise.
8. Excursions -though Baby Bug and I usually prefer to do our own thing while in port, if that is not your thing the cruise line makes it very easy to choose what you would like to do while in port. They offer a large variety of tours that range from short overview type bus or walking tours to in-depth guided tours of all of the “must sees” of the area. Again, the process of deciding on what you want to do while in port can be quite overwhelming so the ship’s tours help to narrow it down and simplifies things. Of course, there is always the option of “winging it” on your own if your a little more adventurous.
9. Kid’s Clubs -I must admit that on our very first cruise I was very reluctant to enrol Baby Bug in our voyage’s kid’s club for a couple of reasons: 1. the whole point of a family vacation is to spend time together so why would I put her in a babysitting service?, and 2. “who were these people and what would they do with my kid?”, so we did not use this fabulous service. Fast forward a few years, we gave it a try and the kid’s club quickly became the highlight of Baby Bug’s trips. So many great activities including talent shows, colouring a t shirt, scavenger hunts and more. As an “only bug” the social aspect of the kid’s club was also a great way to meet some friends from all over the world.
10. Weather -What? Everyone knows that there are no guarantees when booking a vacation – especially when it comes to the weather but cruises are actually a little less of a risk. Cruise ships are constantly receiving the latest in weather reports and in many cases can avoid terrible weather by changing their path, or even the port.