Our vacation of choice is cruising. We absolutely love it.
In college, I took a cruise with girlfriends. Four girls 20-21 in an inside stateroom. It was cramped, but who spends time in their room anyways? We partied and had a great time. At that time, we were some of the youngest on our cruise ship and that was great! We closed the bar each night and our final night some of us stayed up to watch the boat come into port. The memories from that spring break have stuck with me for a long time.
In 2011 I *finally* convinced my hubby to go somewhere other than Maine. We took our first cruise as a couple. And for us, it really was a delayed honeymoon. We’d been married nearly 3 years and hadn’t had that dream honeymoon so many take after getting married. We’d been trying to get pregnant for nearly two years with no success and it was time for a break. So we went on a cruise. Well then the hubs fell in love! After military deployments, he hadn’t been keen on leaving the country, but what better way than to be on a moving hotel??
That cruise was also my first time in an oceanside balcony room as well as a much larger ship than 2002. We had the *best* time! We visited (almost) all new places for me and enjoyed every minute of our time together. We came home re-energized and re-vitalized and excited to plan our next one.
Our next cruise didn’t happen until 2016. But it was worth the wait! With a nearly two year old, time just the two of us was far and few between, so this vacation was exactly the rejuvenation we needed! We visited some old and new places. We slept in, we napped, we laid on the adults only deck in the sun, we took evening walks. Every minute was everything I could ask for and more.
And now, we’re sharing cruising with our son and our friends and their daughter. In a few weeks we will go on my fourth, hubby’s third, and B’s first cruise. I can’t wait! I’m excited for our first *real* family vacation. Albeit a little stressed about having an almost three year old on a big moving ship…and a plan…and an airport…and cities (remember, we live in the middle of nowhere). It should be interesting!
So why cruising? How could you not love having everything you need in walking distance? And when you open your door, the ocean view is right there. And in the meantime, you’re docking in beautiful tropical islands! And if you don’t like the island, wait 8 hours, you’ll be on the ocean again, and in a day or two in another beautiful tropical port. It’s been a great way for our family to experience new places while still feeling “safe” on a ship. Not to mention, the food! OMG! The FOOD!! Delicious and almost all of it is included. And that that isn’t, you don’t *have* to eat at those places. And now, most cruise lines have drink packages that either are included when you book certain trips or you can purchase. So all your alcohol is included, too!
Most people we know love all inclusive resorts. For us, laying on the beach all day really isn’t our cup of tea. And we want to see more than one place. We want to visit different islands and see new things. Enter your moving hotel! And most of the big ships nowadays have amazing entertainment, too! One of our cruises had a Cirque du Soleil show on board! I mean, how awesome is that? A circus at sea! And dinner while you watch! I can’t say enough about how awesome cruising is. I don’t know that any vacation can live up to it for us.
Add in the fact that there are so many ships to choose from! You can choose if you want to be on a big city of a ship, have more entertainment, have a themed cruise, or have an awesome water park. The possibilities are endless. We choose mid-sized ships that are big enough to have plenty to do but small enough to not feel like you’ll never see the same person twice. We choose destinations that usually include 1-2 new stops that we have not visited before.
So far we have been to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Nassau, and Tortola (and I have been to San Juan and Great Stirrup Cay). We have gone snorkeling, on a glass bottom boat, to a rum factory, to beaches, and zip lining. We have toured some of the most beautiful places in the world without having to put more thought in than to pick a cruise ship.
The price tag also isn’t bad at all! Our average cruise for a standard ocean view balcony has run around $3000-3500. Not bad when you plan a year in advance and make monthly payments on it either. There are some other added expenses such as your flight, any car services, extra restaurants, and shore excursions, but some are avoidable (other than getting *to* the port obviously) and unnecessary.
If you haven’t checked out cruising, I highly recommend it. If you want more information, feel free to contact me or post questions here!