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Cruising…And What IS To Like

As a follow-up to yesterday’s blog — Cruising, What’s Not To Like? — we thought it made sense to point out why we do like cruising. Again, at the risk of stating the obvious, these come from a long list of “likes” that have emerged from years of being on cruise ships… 

The value: When you add up the costs of flying, renting a car and eating, you’re probably getting close to what you’d spend on taking an average cruise with an average cabin on one of the big ocean ships. If you want to spend more — as you would for business class or a bigger car — you can upgrade from inside stateroom to oceanview to balcony to suite, but none of that compares to sitting in a coach-class airplane seat for hours.

Seeing the world: There are usually borders to be observed (Caribbean, Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, etc.) but cruise ships make it easy to go to an area and see many places Venicethat would be more problematic to reach by air or on land. Beyond that, with re-positioning cruises you can really “do” a lot of places if that’s your motivation and while we haven’t been on one we imagine that around-the-world cruises are easier for the same reason.

Food: Another subjective one, but we could count the bad meals (or mediocre meals) we’ve had on cruise ships. Considering the mass number of people that have to be satisfied, with different tastes and allergies, cruise-ship chefs do a remarkable job of keeping everybody happy,.

Unpacking:  Whether it’s an ocean cruise ship or a river cruise ship, being able to unpack your suitcases and leave everything in the same place for a week or more is like staying in Room-Verandaa hotel for that length of time. The difference is that these hotels are on the move and consequently, so are you. Maybe that’s why people call cruise ships floating hotels!

Options: When you’re on a ship, you can do as much or as little as you like. We tend to do much. We’re more likely to be found in a theater for a show or on a shore excursion than sitting in a stateroom or a bar or library. But having all the options is appealing.

People: Everybody’s different, of course, but we’ve made many friends among crew members who work on ships. While we’re not anti-social, we do find people working on ships and living in ports more interesting than fellow passengers. We’ve made a few friends there, too, but the social aspect has never been a motivation for taking a cruise.

Getting there: In this age, flying has become much less fun. We usually still have to fly to get to a port, but imagine how many flights you’d take if you wanted to visit Peru, Chile and Argentina — or France, Italy and Spain — on one trip.

And those are just the high points!

Today at portsandbows.com: Check our our report from Vietnam on the Amadara

Holland America Veendam
7 nights
September 26, 2015
Quebec City, Charlottetown, Sydney, Halifax, Bar Harbor, Boston
Inside: $729
Cost per day: $104
www.hollandamerica.com

Why Cruise Travel Agents Are A Good Idea

Our colleague at Ports and Bows, Phil Reimer, probably posts more cruise deals on line than any unbiased cruise writer in the business. And every time he does, accompanying the listing is his sage advice:

Check with a travel agent who specializes in cruises.

The reason is twofold. 

One is that the travel agent can do all the work for you, once you provide a couple of preferences…such as where you want to go, what kind of ship you like and how much you want to spend. In most cases, this spadework is usually done at no cost to you, as travel agents earn commissions from cruise lines.

Two is that cruise lines discount cruises for travel agents and agree to some perks. They will certainly be different from perks the cruise lines themselves promote in selling cruises, and sometimes they're better. Sometimes, too, travel agents include perks of their own.

So don't take our word for it…take Phil's. He is expert at such things.

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Two Holland America ships on the move

Carnival Imagination
3 nights
August 21, 2014
Los Angeles (return): Ensenada
Inside: $169
Cost per day: $103
www.carnival.com

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