Ten Best Reasons to Take a Cruise

Julie Royce's picture

With Christmas preparations under control and every bedroom in our house filled with company, I’m basking in the joys of the season. I’m also letting my mind drift ahead to January, February and March when the San Francisco Bay Area can be downright chilly. Thoughts of cold weather catapult my mind into fantasy mode: How about a week someplace warm as a relaxing antidote to holiday hectic?

Ten Best Reasons to Take a Cruise
My husband and I will probably book another cruise so I thought this might be a good time to share my thoughts about the cruise experience. Beginning this month I’m posting a three-part series on cruise vacations: Ten Advantages, Ten Drawbacks, and a Dozen Tips to make the process easier.

Taking on supplies for the cruise. From Ten Best Reasons to Take a Cruise

Taking on supplies for the cruise

Ten Advantages to Cruising:

1.    Value. 

The cost of your cruise includes lodging, transportation, food, entertainment, and a floating resort. Dollar for dollar a cruise is an amazing value.  With many cruise lines competing for business in a tough economy, you can find incredible deals, especially if your schedule is flexible.

2.    No shortage of Activities

Aboard ship there is no excuse for boredom.  Cruise directors feel an obligation to keep passengers active and happy.  In addition to the musical shows, comedians and other entertainment, you can expect top-notch gyms, pools, hot tubs, spas, cooking demos, ballroom dancing, games, guest lecturers, movies, casinos, a library, nightclubs, and wine tasting. Often there are art auctions, and although you may have no interest in purchasing art, you might find the experience provides interesting insights as well as free champagne and prizes. You can assume there will be something happening every minute.  On a cruise of the Mexican Riviera I was a less-than-enthusiastic attendee at a napkin folding class. I thought it was the waste of an hour, but it fit nicely into a free slot before dinner.  Now every holiday season I grab the handout from that class, smile at the memories, and make special linen sculptures for my dinner table. A cruise is your chance to try something you might never have thought of doing. The problem won’t be finding enough to do, it will be choosing between options.

3.    Easy to Plan. 

Once you have made the decision of where you want to go, paid your money, and read the brochure, you are pretty much done with your responsibilities. Someone else shoulders the scheduling burdens and attends to glitches that arise.

Looking back at Seattle on our Alaskan cruise. From Ten Best Reasons to Take a Cruise

Looking back at Seattle on our Alaskan cruise

4.    No Driving. 

If you are a daily victim of rush hour commutes in Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C. or any of a dozen other metropolitan freeway  systems, it will be a relief to forego the hassle of traffic jams and the rush to be some place on time.  If you are late into port, the cruise line will make the necessary adjustments with excursion providers.

5.    Avoid the problem of choosing hotels. 

Choosing a hotel can be a crap-shoot. Last year we took a month-long vacation to Australia and New Zealand.  The first two weeks we planned everything ourselves, including car rentals, sightseeing excursions, and booking rooms.  We stayed in two hotels that I would rate four stars and two where I was constantly looking for bed bugs and wondering how clean the sheets were.  The literature made all four read about the same and the respective costs didn’t highlight the differences. The last two weeks of vacation we cruised New Zealand. We knew exactly what our room would be like: small, clean, and serviceable. We appreciated the advantage of unpacking once, shaking out our clothes, and then not worrying about packing again until we were ready to disembark.

6.    Service/Pampering. 

We have traveled on three cruise lines. Amenities varied. Prices varied. Lengths of cruise varied. But the service staffs were consistently excellent. Keeping their cool, always wearing a smile and pampering guests seem second nature to cruise line employees. A job requirement for the housekeeping staff is a sixth sense and an extra set of eyes. Every time we left our room, our housekeeper slipped in, remade the bed, neatenized the bathroom, and in the early evening left mints and the cruise newspaper for the next day’s activities. The food service employees accommodated all dietary restrictions.

The Hubbard Glacier. From Ten Best Reasons to Take a Cruise

The Hubbard Glacier

7.    You get more travel time. 

How is that possible?  A day only has twenty-four hours and you can’t stretch it to thirty no matter how you try. Or can you? During our New Zealand cruise we pulled into a new port nearly every morning.  Bright and early we were off to explore.  We had travelled while we slept, making our dreaming hours serve double duty.

8.    The Dining Options. 

If you haven’t cruised before, the copious quantities of food will initially overwhelm you. The possibilities are varied and delicious, and in the main dining room you can expect gracious service.  At every port fresh food is loaded aboard.  You can eat casual, you can eat fancy. You can eat early, you can eat late. You can overeat, or you can exercise moderation. (That part about moderation is a lie to see if you were paying attention.)  Recently food service became a far greater consideration for us in choosing a cruise over other travel options.  My husband is on a severely restricted diet and eating in restaurants is like stepping gingerly through a mine field.  Dietary concerns were a non-issue aboard ship. The chef visited our table each night and discussed options for my husband’s dinner the next evening. No extra charge and this additional attention was proffered with a smile.

9.    Set pricing.

You know ahead of time what your trip will cost. You will, however, need to factor in tipping, excursions and other extras, or you may end up shocked at the final price of your steal-of-a-deal cruise. 

10.    You will see the highlights of each port of call. 

Someone else is paid to find interesting places to visit. It is their job to deliver activities to suit all tastes and provide the best overall experience in each port.


The Hubbard Glacier. From Ten Best Reasons to Take a Cruise

The Hubbard Glacier


Click through to read an article where I discuss the flip side of the coin, the drawbacks to the cruise experience. And read our article, Cruising Travel Hacks You Didn’t Know.



Julie Albrecht Royce, Travel Adventures Editor, is the author of Traveling Michigan's Sunset Coast and Traveling Michigan's Thumb, both published by Thunder Bay Press. She writes a monthly column for Wandering Educators.





All photos courtesy and copyright Bob & Julie Royce