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5 Reasons to Reconsider a Cruise for Your Next Vacation
Exciting itineraries and innovative amenities may change the way you think about cruising.
Whizz-bang features such as bowling alleys, zip lines and race car tracks and sailings to far-off locales across Northern Europe and Alaska are just a few reasons to get onboard. (Getty Images)
When you picture a cruise vacation, compact cabins, lackluster onboard cuisine and jampacked port towns may come to mind. While there's no one-size-fits-all cruise that's ideal for everyone, with today's innovative onboard amenities, diverse dining options, wellness offerings, high-tech services and exciting, far-flung itineraries, chances are, the widespread misconceptions and myths you've heard are outdated. After all, today's cruise lines cater to diverse travel styles, ages and budgets. So, if you've shrugged off the idea of setting sail in the past, here are five reasons why you should reconsider taking to the open seas in 2018.
[Read: The 2018 Best Cruise Lines.]
A Cruise Vacation Doesn't Have to Bust Your Budget
If you're on a tight travel budget, there are plenty of ways to stretch your dollars further on a cruise vacation. The predictable, all-inclusive rate of typical cruise itineraries covers the cost of lodging, along with three meals a day, plenty of entertainment and other amenities like supervised kids' clubs. Some cruise lines like MSC Cruises even let kids cruise for free on certain itineraries in the Caribbean and Europe. Better yet, seven-night Caribbean cruises on their most popular family ships start at under $450 per adult. And if you're able to drive to a cruise port, you can skip the cost of airfare altogether. Fortunately, many U.S.-based cruise lines offer itineraries from departing from popular port destinations other than Florida, such as Baltimore, Los Angeles and Seattle. So if you opt to drive instead of fly, you can easily shave thousands of dollars off your trip – even after paying for gas and parking near the cruise port.
There Are More Amenities Than Ever
If you don't like the idea of cruising on an old, outdated ship, there are plenty of new cruise ships debuting in 2018. These ships offer new tech-savvy features, updated floor plans and better pools, spas and amenities – often for less than you think. The new Carnival Horizon, debuting in April 2018, will offer bowling alleys, zip lines, race car tracks and its own brewhouse. Meanwhile, MSC Cruises long-awaited MSC Seaside ship is now offering sailings in the Caribbean and boasts perks such as a sprawling onboard water park, innovative staterooms and suites (some with hot tubs on a private balcony) and Broadway-style shows.
You Won't Agonize Over the Logistics
Planning a vacation can be stressful and time-consuming. After all, you have to select a hotel or resort, choose activities and set up transportation, pricing out each individual component as you go. Cruising, on the other hand, doesn't require you to sweat the details and logistics of your trip. With a cruise, you can count on a predictable, all-inclusive rate and enjoy food, fun and daily and nightly entertainment after unpacking your bag once. At most, you'll need to decide what to do at each port, whether that includes sightseeing in a city, booking an excursion or getting off the ship to simply walk around and take in your surroundings. And back on the ship, you can take your pick from relaxing or enriching activities, from surfing and rock climbing to cooking classes and wine tastings.
You Can Visit a Variety of Places Without Worrying About Carrying a Passport
If you want to explore multiple destinations, a cruise can offer a great way to see a variety of destinations for a low price. On a variety of Caribbean cruises departing from the U.S., you can often see four or five different islands and soak in unique cultures and landscapes. While on shore, you can take a historical tour to brush up on the local customs and explore can't-miss landmarks, before lounging along a white-sand beach. And according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, passports aren't required for cruise passengers on "closed loop" cruises – or cruises that depart from and return to the U.S. On closed-loop itineraries, you'll only need to provide proof of citizenship, such as a government-issued driver's license.
You Can Explore Exciting Destinations Around the World
Today's cruise lines offer itineraries to far-off destinations around the world that allow you to immerse yourself in vibrant cultures and places and focus on enrichment. In the Mediterranean, for example, you can stop in world-renowned cities such as Barcelona and Rome without having to worry about the logistics of getting from point A to B. Or you can cruise in Northern Europe and explore the fjords and tucked-away villages on an intimate river cruise, it you're longing to travel to hard-to-reach destinations that are easily accessible by smaller ship. What's more, on smaller vessels, you can cruise to Alaska's inside passage to spot amazing wildlife and dramatic glaciers.
17 Bucket-List Cruise Itineraries
About En Route
Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.
Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.
Edited by Liz Weiss.
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