For folks of any income level, taking a cruise is one of the most luxurious and exhilarating vacation options.
If you are really being honest with yourself, you don’t really need to come up with any specific reasons to go on a cruise. Boarding a state-of-the-art sea vessel packed from stem to stern with the latest amenities and conveniences shouldn’t take that much convincing. Still, no one should ever travel without doing their due diligence, which includes determining whether or not what you are considering should be done at all. So, that means we have to look at all the reasons to go on a cruise. Not the least of which is that they all have a pretty spectacular view.
A Bit About Cruises: A Supposedly Fun Thing
There have been thousands of hours of video and millions of words devoted to describing the experience of taking a cruise. Perhaps the most famous piece of writing about a cruise ship is the late author David Foster Wallace’s 1997 essay for Harpers known as “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.” He traveled on the Celebrity Cruises ship, The Zenith. This ship which ended its notorious career being hauled into shore by four French tugboats. The essay is, unquestionably, a critique of cruises, travel-writing, the excess of the modern Western world, and a masterwork of nonfiction literature. However, once something becomes literature it, arguably, shifts into the sort of art form that is at least as much about the writer as it is its subject.
So, if this is your only exposure to what it’s like on a cruise, you can be forgiven for not being eager to give them a try. However, for likely the majority of those who undergo this experience, people tend to have a good time on a cruise. Most folks aren’t a talented writer sent to document an experience which seems almost designed to make them uncomfortable. In fact, modern cruises spend a lot of time thinking about comfort and how to best present their abundance in ways that don’t seem garish or intimidating. Which brings us to another important thing to consider about the purpose of a cruise: what the traveler expects.
What Luxury Travelers Want
At some point during the seven-season run of the AMC drama Mad Men, the main character, Jon Hamm’s Don Draper, courted the business of a fictional version of the real-life Conrad Hilton. The show is about advertising executives in the 1960s, so naturally the presentation is of an ad campaign for the Hilton hotel chain. You can watch the clip below to see how it all shakes out, but the character’s preamble to the proposed ad campaign is a spot-on analysis of how most travelers from the Western world approach vacation. They want to go to a new place, an exotic place, but not necessarily giving up the creature comforts they enjoy at home (and maybe not even then).
This is what makes a cruise such a great option for people of means and those with more modest incomes. It is a way to ensure that no matter where you travel, you are going to enjoy a certain level of comfort and convenience no matter where you end up. You won’t have to worry about exchange rates or places closing, but can avail yourself of the many options on the cruise ship whenever your heart desires. Many lines also offer personal concierge services to better your experience both on and off the ship.
Why Should You Go On A Cruise? Here Are The Top Twenty Reasons to Go on a Cruise ASAP
Below we list our top twenty reasons to go on a cruise. From the logistical to the practical to the financial to existential, we cover all the bases. If you find yourself on-the-fence about whether or not to give a cruise a try, check out the list below and see how many apply to you.
1. Save Time When Planning
How often have you gone on vacation only to arrive at your destination faced with a heavily regimented schedule that feels more hectic than anything back at the office? Sometimes planning the perfect vacation can be more trouble than its worth, and all too often the experience never matches up to what you expect. When it comes to planning a cruise, it couldn’t really be any easier, and thereby, it's one of the top reasons to go on a cruise.
Sure, you have to do your research into the cruise lines (and our reviews are a great place to start). Once you know which cruise line you’re going to travel, pick a destination, pick a food and drink package, and you are all set. If you like a regimented schedule on vacation, the cruise ship provides that with both on-ship and off-ship activities. If you prefer a more spontaneous getaway, the ship can accommodate that, too.
2. You Can Save Money…
If you were to try to individually travel to the destinations a cruise ship travels to, you’d find that the bill would be much higher than anyone would want. Travel and lodging aside, you’d still need to pay for food, activities, and other incidental expenses. So, one of the main reasons to go on a cruise is to reduce the number of times you have to pay.
Off-ship you’ll need cash, but for the most part you will not have to pay for food or drink on the ship. You’ll have to spend money in the shops, of course, but your food and drinks are covered. If you enjoy alcohol, you will have to buy those drinks. However, the cruises also offer packages for those drinks as well. You’ll pay a flat rate and then you’re free to get as many sheets to the wind as you can handle.
3. …Or You Can Splurge
While saving money is one of the main reasons to go on a cruise, you can also find a way to splurge if that’s what you want to do. Some people like to go as big as they can on their holidays, and sometimes that means they pay top-dollar for a travel experience. For example, you can go to the Seadream Yacht Club. They offer cruises – though they don’t call them that – for small groups or private charters. These are certainly not money-saving trips, but rather the kind of sea-faring luxury that would not have been imaginable three decades ago. If you’re not looking to spare expenses, you can do go the chartered cruise route, which is still cheaper and less of a headache than actually owning a ship.
4. There’s Never an Off-Season
One of the best things about cruise ships being large, floating hotels is that they can stay on-the-move. This means that no matter when you are able to get time-off, you can usually find a number of cruise options to choose from. One of the main reasons to go on a cruise is because every week there are dozens of ships leaving ports every week.
So, whether it is the dog days of summer, the dead of winter, or the Ides of March, you will have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to cruise lines and destinations. Because the tropical destinations are in the tropics, the weather is rarely a concern for those destinations. Other places, such as Alaska or Australia are great year-round.
5. Your Cabin Is Your Ultimate Home Base
One thing that makes vacations so hectic is getting to and from your destination. If there is more than one destination on your trip, you’re literally living out of a suitcase. When you are on a cruise ship, however, you don’t have to worry about that. Once you get to your cabin, you’ll only have to unpack once, making it one of the top reasons to go on a cruise.
Your cabin is your home-away-from-home and remains a consistent refuge no matter where the ship heads. Is the deck too crowded? No worries, go to your cabin. Dining hall too packed? Order room service and watch TV. Exhausted from all the off-ship exploring you did? Grab a nap. No matter what you need, your cabin is your refuge.
6. Plenty of Different Destinations and Sizes
There is a cruise ship for you, whether you want travel 2,999 of your best pals to a tropical hot spot or take a cruise with a handful of others to tour Galapagos Island flora and fauna. It doesn’t matter whether you want to see endless archipelagos or go whale-watching at the North Pole, there are cruises that can accommodate you.
One of the best reasons to go on a cruise, even more than one, is the opportunity you have to travel to places that would be laborious to go to otherwise. No matter what sort of vacation you want to have you can realize it. Even if you decide halfway through that instead of tropical beaches you want shopping, gambling, and nightlife, you can have it all. There is a cruise fit for every taste, and you can find it with just a quick internet search or phone call.
7. Varied Trip Lengths
Sometimes you want to get away from your life for as many days as possible. Other times you want a quick break from things for a few days. Whichever your mood or schedule allows for, you can find a cruise that will work. Of course, you have to be practical. If your port is in Florida and you only have the weekend, you won’t be traveling to Bali. However, you’ll have just the right amount of time for a quick jaunt to the Carribbean or even a trio of days enjoying all the amenities on the ship.
Similarly, if you want to do a lot of traveling for an extended period of time, the cruise ship allows for that and offers consistency of service. You will only have to unpack one time, and no matter where you end up there will be something familiar. So, whether for just a few days or a whole month, there is a cruise that can deliver it. The flexibility of options makes this one of the prime reasons to go on a cruise.
8. Multiple Destinations in a Single Trip
If you are only going on a short cruise, you will see some exotic locales and wonderful places to visit. However, if you are on a longer cruise, you will see those and then some. Most cruises make port in more than one place, allowing you to wake up in a different city or country each day. Typically, the destinations are close by, but sometimes there is a day or two of travel on the water during the trip.
What’s great is that even if you feel you were rushed out of a port too quickly, there is almost certainly a cruise option for next time that offers more time at specific destinations. Multiple destinations can mean a somewhat hectic schedule. Still, one of the reasons to go on a cruise is that the slower pace of travel can help reduce the stress of trying to keep up with all you want to do.
9. A Good Place to Experiment with Different Cuisine
Let’s say your mother never tried sushi before. This is on-purpose, because she doesn’t like the idea of eating raw fish. You’re probably never going to get her into a sushi restaurant to give it a try. At least, you won’t on land. On a cruise ship, she’d be something of a captive dining companion. Since all the food is covered when the tickets are purchased, you could definitely convince her to give it a try.
There is so much food, all of it just up-for-grabs, on a cruise ship you can try foods of all kinds. There is no reason to fight with your traveling companions about where to go, because the dining room offers all sorts of options. You can get a taste of the local cuisine of your destination off ship (and you should), but you can also sample it on the ship. So, while you go on a foodie adventure, your picky-eater kids can have burgers and fries every day. Regardless of your tastes, the availability of new cuisines provides one of the best reasons to go on a cruise.
10. The Ship Is Like a Mobile City
One some cruises, there are villages and towns you’ll go to that could likely fit all of their inhabitants and most of their stuff on the ship. These cruise ships, even the mid-size ones, are massive vessels. They have hundreds or thousands of rooms, quarters for the staff, shops, recreation areas, offices, engineering sections, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Even the smaller ships, save for those who take fewer than two dozen passengers, are like small towns. They have cafés and shops just like the big ships.
To some travelers, especially those who are trying to escape the city, this may sound like a bad thing. It’s not. Because this allows you to enjoy “city” levels of comfort and convenience on the open water. Forget to refill your medicine before you boarded the ship? Don’t worry, there is a pharmacist on board. Need rain gear on an overcast day at a port? Pick some up on the ship’s shopping deck before leaving. Want to get a bottle of vodka and just get wasted looking at the ship slicing through the ocean water? Hit up the duty-free shop. Whatever you need, you can likely find on the ship.
11. Taking Your Time to Travel
Anyone who has ever been on vacation knows what a nightmare it can be to get to and from the airport or the train station. If you have to rush to start off your vacation, it can set a harried and frustrating tone for the whole trip. One of the best reasons to go on a cruise is right there in the name: it’s a cruise. It’s not a speedboat or anything like that. It’s a giant floating resort, and no matter where you are going it’s going to take some time.
This relaxed pace of travel may seem strange in a world of instant gratification. But, the leisurely pace set by a cruise can help you feel less rushed, too. Of course, cruise ships run on a schedule, too. But short of literally missing the boat when it’s time to leave, you are essentially in charge of what you do and when. Want to take a yoga class or a martial arts lesson but you missed it? Chances are there is another session the next day or even later that evening. Instead of worrying about doing everything they have to offer, use the cruise to indulge only in the things you really, really want to do.
12. Tourist Friendly Travel
It can be difficult to be a responsible traveler, especially when it comes to not being an intruder in the places you visit. For example, some people may want to see “authentic” villages, farms, temples, and the like. However, not all of these places are welcoming to visitors. For example, if your next-door neighbors allowed their friends to walk in and out of their house, it doesn’t mean those visitors have free reign to walk in your place and rummage around in the drawers. The ports that cruise ships visit depend on tourism for their economies, and they welcome the visitors. You don’t have to worry about learning key phrases in another language, haggling for accommodations, or any of that. You don’t have to worry about anything, really, except having a good time. And, that provides one of the most convincing reasons to go on a cruise.
13. Family Friendly Travel
There are two types of vacations. There are the vacations where you choose to go someplace exciting, and then there are the vacations where you have to bring the kids. Family vacations are usually driven by the kids’ interests, and that makes sense. If your kids are miserable, no matter where you are, you aren’t going to have a good time either.
Thanks to the myriad opportunities for distraction on a cruise ship, it is one of those vacations that can be both types. We’ll get more into what’s specifically geared towards kids below. What we hope to get across here is that a cruise is a place where you can both enjoy yourself and time with your kids. Hiking on an island, checking out cool wildlife on shore, playing sports on the deck, or just eating a bunch of dessert for dinner. There are plenty of opportunities for families to have fun together on these ships, giving you several great reasons to go on a cruise.
14. Childcare and Activities for Kids
Of course, what makes that time together as a family special is that there is time apart. With a cruise, the fact that your kids are with you doesn’t have to drive all that you do. There are plenty of ways to steal some time for yourself without worrying that you are short-changing your kids. See, these cruise ships offer day care services. They care for your kids much in the way that any professional daycare would. But this daycare is on a cruise ship. There are child-friendly activities that allow them to make friends and have fun without the grown-ups around. So, don’t feel guilty for taking time to yourself. The kids will likely be trying to ditch you, making the alone time one of the top reasons to go on a cruise!
15. Gambling on the Open Waters
If your kids are off enjoying themselves without you, or you didn’t bring any children, then consider checking out the casino. Most cruise ships offer a casino and all the fun that goes along with it once the ship is underway. Typically, you will find slot machines and basic table games. However, a lot of cruise lines will offer specialty games if there is enough interest.
The stakes aren’t that high, but it’s not about the jackpot. No, it’s about the atmosphere, the ambience, and the thrill of the games. In fact, if gambling is your passion (and you’ve got the scratch to support the habit), you can find gambling-exclusive cruises with on ship games and destinations great for gamblers. Just, like the song says, know when to walk away, because on a ship there aren’t many places to run.
16. A Great Time for Those Who Love Water Sports
Traveling by ship is a unique experience, because while you are surrounded as far as the eye can see by water, you don’t want to get in it. This is why almost every cruise ship comes equipped with a number of swimming pools, hot tubs, and even waterslides. The deck of a cruise ship can be like a waterpark. Kids will find these to be perfect reasons to go on a cruise.
You can find wavepools so powerful you can even “surf” on them. If you swim like a fish, you won’t have to worry about feeling like one out of water on a cruise. Also, if you make port somewhere warm enough, you can indulge yourself in some ocean watersports. You can find jet skis, motorized surfboards, parasailing, or anything else you can think of near the port.
17. Deck Activities Everyone Can Enjoy
Of course, not everyone enjoys being in the water, especially if they are on the ocean. Luckily, most of these ships boast decks large enough to have entire waterparks on them and still have room left over. The open-air decks are loaded with activities, from games to dances to “drive-in” movie nights. Yet, even though there are more activities than you could do in one trip on the decks alone, you can still find a nice quiet patch of deck for yourself. It may seem clichéd, but there are few pleasures like sitting in a deck chair, the sea at your back, as you read a good book. Whether you want relaxation or action, the many activities are great reasons to go on a cruise.
18. An Accessible Vacation for Everyone
Not too long ago, if you or someone in your traveling party lived with a disability, a cruise may have been not a possibility for you. Yet, in recent years, most cruise ships have realized that these folks were being underserved. That is why on cruise ships today, disabled patrons will find not just that accommodations have been made, but that the staff has been trained to address their unique needs. That is one of the great things about a cruise ship is that no matter where you go, the state-of-the-art facilities and conveniences go with you everywhere.
19. A Great Exotic or Romantic Getaway
Dark nights on the ocean, sunrise at sea, and staring out of your window or standing on the balcony if you have one, can be some of the most romantic things you’ve ever experienced. A cruise is a fantastic location for a romantic, exotic vacation, and thus one of the best reasons to go on a cruise.. You can visit new places, disembark and experience it all first hand, and be back on the ship in time for dinner and dancing. You can take a long hike up a mountain, and then relax in the spa with couples’ massage or relax in the sauna. You can have a romantic dinner for two at one of the ship’s many eating establishments or have a romantic dinner for two in your cabin. There are plenty of activities for couples to get their much-needed space, or you can ignore it all and just enjoy each other’s company in your room.
20. A Great Social Vacation
One thing that makes the Wallace essay above so entertaining are the characters he includes in the story. He sees the same folks over and over again, and while that helps him on his literary journey it’s actually very nice in real life. No one wants to go on vacation with a giant crowd, but a cruise is one way to get away with that. You can be as private as you’d like, but even these big ships are only so big.
You’re going to see the same folks around your room, in the dining rooms, and around deck. We very rarely, especially as adults, get the opportunity to make new friendships. A cruise is a great place to meet and travel with people, but still have enough space that you don’t feel like roommates. You could end up with regular cruise companions, new pen pals, or you could never speak to them again and find a whole new crew next time. Either way, the social dynamic provides top reasons to go on a cruise.
There are as many reasons to go on a cruise as there are reasons to go on vacation at all.
It can be easy to think of all the reasons why you wouldn’t want to go on a cruise, especially if you’ve never been on one before. However, there is no single cruise experience. It all varies based on the line you travel, the package you spring for, and where you’re headed. If you keep an open mind and don’t find a lot of choices overwhelming, you are almost certain to have a good time. Check out our in-depth reviews of specific cruise lines and dig through our travel section to find a worthy destination. Even if you think you won’t enjoy a cruise, you should still give it a try at least once. It’s a great way to see the world without leaving behind any of the comforts of home.
We hope you enjoyed the list and found it helpful. Leave us word in the comments with your own reasons why you want to go on a cruise. Have you been on one? Tell us all about your experience there! Don’t forget to share the article on social media so your friends can get in on the conversation.
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