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  • Carrie Finley-Bajak
  • "To cruise or not to cruise: why or why not?"

Carrie Finley-Bajak

Irvine, California

To cruise or not to cruise: why or why not?

Cruising is big business. Have you given it a try?

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  • Lyn C.

    Lyn C.

    I LOVE river cruises and have taken a number of them. Small ships, few people, no regimentation (sit whereever you want, everyone eats at the same time, etc.) Provides an opportuity to make friends which I have done. I have since traveled with a number of these people to other places. HATE big cruises. Too many people, too much regimentation, you get nickeled and dimed to death. Too expensive. Since you eat with the same people every night, little opportunity to make new friends. · (0 likelikes)

 

					
					
					
				

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  • Brett Domue

    top answer by

    I've now been on four official (including overnights) cruises:

    1) French Polynesia on Paul Gauguin

    2) Northern Caribbean with Celebrity

    3) Mediterranean with Holland America

    4) Kvarnar Bay (Croatia) with Katarina Line

    Still would love to do a European river cruise and a Panama Canal crossing, among other cruise destinations.

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  • claus andersen

    answered by

    I have ben on cruises with smaller boats on the Rio Douro in Portugal and Halong Bay Vietnam and Mekong Delta.

    This has all been on small boats which I really like, but I am not very keen on bigger cruise ships cause I don't like the crowds a big cruise ship creates when going ashore.

    These big crowds always attracts every scammer within 200 miles of the harbour and it's just too much mass tourism for me.

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    • Carrie F.

      Carrie F.

      I have seen those scammers that you describe as a cruiser and as a tourist on shore looking at the boats wondering how to avoid the crowds. I like what you said about small boats, a very good option for those looking for off the beaten track opportunities. · (0 likelikes)

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  • Christopher Barraud

    answered by

    Why or why not? Well, it depends on the type of person that you are. Some people love cruses and some hate them. The below list comes with the assumption that you're willing to spend money on a moderate to good quality holiday. Budget cruises and bad companies can throw a spanner in the works with ships running aground, virus outbreaks, icebergs getting in the way and chefs eating their loved ones.

    Yes, there are bad cruises, but traditional planes fall out of the sky and hotels can also ruin your holiday so neither activity in my mind is particularly worse than the other.

    5 reasons why cruise ships are great:

    1. The whole event is planned out for you, no need to stumble around looking through guide books and whatnot as someone else has sorted out your holiday for you.

    2. Food, food, food, food, food. You'll be well fed and won't have to worry about searching for food in remote places.

    3. No needing to pack your bags over and over again - you'll get to visit multiple places and only need to open your suitcase when you get on the ship. No lugging your bags from one city to the other.

    4. No dealing with shonky tour operators. When visiting foreign countries, you'll often find yourself dealing with bad tour companies trying to get you to visit their cousin's jewellery store.

    5 reasons why cruise ships are bad:

    1. You're a target for scammers when you come into port. Seemingly the prices of everything suddenly increase immediately after a cruise ship in spotted in the area.

    2. You can't escape. Well, technically you could but it would be a lot more expensive compared to packing your suitcases and walking to the next hotel.

    3. Sea sickness. Sure, the cruises are slow and they put in extra effort in not tipping over the ship, but if you have a sensitive stomach you might want to avoid any large bodies of water.

    4. Families with screaming children. On land a family can go away to a water park or some family activity. On board, they are limited and somehow always will seem to be within earshot.

    5. Tight timeframes. You'll only get around 6 hours at a port to explore. Not a lot of time at all if you're unfamiliar with the region.

    I could probably think up a 100 point list for the pros and cons but I'm trying to avoid writing novels on this site ;)

    In the end the most important thing is to figure out if you like a well-structured holiday or if you like getting lost and immersing yourself in the culture of a foreign land.

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    • Carrie F.

      Carrie F.

      You are a cruise guru. How did you get so smart on the pros and cons of cruising? · (0 likelikes)

    • Christopher B.

      Christopher B.

      Haha, I'm far from being a cruise guru - I haven't even been on one before! Not my style of holiday. I'm a travel addict, currently slow traveling the world. Today I'm in Bangkok, tomorrow I'll be in Penang. A fortnight ago I was in Japan. On the side I run a travel blog, am writing a travel related book and as well as act as a holiday consultant of sorts, so I've done a bit of research on cruises over the past few years. · (0 likelikes)

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  • Scott McNutt

    answered by

    I went on my first cruise in 2011 from Los Angeles to Ensenada. Ever since then I have been hooked on cruising. I have sailed 6 times and have my 7th coming up next month. My favorite itinerary was Seattle to Alaska in June 2012. It was the best vacation I have ever taken. I love being on the ocean viewing God's glorious creation. Having all your food and entertainment included is wonderful, too. I highly recommend cruising over land based vacations!Alaska

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  • Scott Wilkins

    answered by

    As former crew, I stopped counting at 100. The number of sailings I've been on is much, much higher.

    I've only got this to say: TRY IT.

    (More advice: Tip those that *deserve it*, not those that the cruise line says you are 'expected' to tip. And if you really want good service, tip at the start of the cruise not at the end.)

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  • Fadra Nally

    answered by

    I've been on three cruises (Celebrity Cruises Inc, Royal Caribbean International, and Disney Cruise Line). I never thought I'd like cruising, thinking I'd feel trapped or bored or crowded.

    Surprisingly, none of them are true. I recommend sticking with upscale cruise lines and booking a balcony cabin (believe it or not, there are bargains - I usually find them on vacationstogo.com).

    The food is excellent and you can surprisingly always find a corner of the ship to call your own. I recommend booking your own excursions for ports, however. You'll have a better, cheaper experience.

    It's really like a floating hotel. You're traveling but never have the need to pack!

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    • Carrie F.

      Carrie F.

      Where would you like to cruise to next? · (0 likelikes)

    • Fadra N.

      Fadra N.

      I've only done Caribbean cruises but I'm dying to do an Alaskan cruise!! · (0 likelikes)

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  • James Hudgins

    answered by

    It depends on the type person that you are, but don't knock it until you try it.

    If you don't like crowds then you might prefer a smaller to midsize cruise line or one of the river cruise lines or some of the cruise lines are offering the ship within a ship concept, for example: Norwegian Cruise Line's Haven is a separate section within the ship with it's own dining area and private entry, MSC's Yacht Club has earned rave revues, you get butler service, priority boarding, drinks, food and beverage package ect...it's almost like having an all-inclusive on a cruise at a reasonable price.

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    • James H.

      James H.

      MSC has a ship in Miami, that is called Davina, it has gotten some decent reviews especially the Yacht Club. The Davina was built in 2012, has a gorgeous atrium made of Svorski Crystal! Check it out on Utube, you can do a video tour! · (0 likelikes)

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  • Jenna Davis

    answered by

    Ahhh, what a controversial question!
    You know, I tried it once and hated it.. the longer story is on my blog if you want to give it a read: http://giveforgranted.com/2014/04/how-to-avoid-choosing-the-wrong-cruise-line/

    Though I have to say, I am willing to be open minded and try out an Alaska or Antarctica cruise, afterall... it is on my bucket list! :)

    AntarcticaMy word of advice: unless you're planning on paying big bucks, avoid the Carribean cruises at all costs!

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    • Carrie F.

      Carrie F.

      It is controversial, that's for sure. · (1 likelikes)

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  • Kristi Dabertin

    answered by

    I've done quite a few cruises, Alaska, Ecuador, 4 to Europe, and I've lost count on the Caribbean but I think it's 6. I'd do all but one of them again.

    I think in particular the Caribbean cruises make sense for us. We get to escape for a week out of the cold Chicago winter, you can go for a week and see 5 or 6 different places, you don't have to pack and repack, your traveling is done overnight while you are sleeping. In some of the ports you have to pick from a number of really interesting things, in some ports 8 hours is enough and I couldn't imagine staying in that spot for several days.

    Even flying from Chicago, there are quite a few places in the Caribbean that it takes all day to get to because there aren't direct flights or there are direct flights but you'd have to go to one place for a full week because they only fly on Saturday. We've looked into doing that many times and we always end up just booking a cruise instead.

    Europe is less appealing on a cruise ship, some of the ports, like Rome for example, you can't possibly see in a day. If it had been our 1st visit, I would have just been frustrated. I loved Orient Lines when they were running as most of their packages included a couple of days on either end to explore two of the cities and in the case of St. Petersburg, a couple of days docked there. Of course, you can also do that independent of the cruise ship.

    We book all of our own excursions so we are not herded like cattle with the cruise excursions. Even if traveling on land, the price of a guided tour would still cost the same amount as booking it as a cruise passenger.

    You can be as social or as antisocial as you want on a ship, there's nothing that says you have to do anything in particular. We started getting balcony rooms and spend our time out there enjoying the fresh air and catching up on reading.


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    • Carrie F.

      Carrie F.

      Great input. Thanks for the time it took to give so many details. · (0 likelikes)

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  • Jass Lim

    answered by

    I only tried short cruise trip from Singapore to Malaysia that lasts 3 Nights with Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas.


    Why I gave it a try?

    1) Because it was a Dreamworks Themed Cruise and I felt like a kid once again chasing all the mascots like Shrek, Madagascar animals, and many more just to take pictures with them.

    2) Non-stop, wide selection of dishes from popular Western, Indian, & Asian cuisines.

    3) Almost 24 hr entertainment guaranteed in different areas of the cruise ship.

    4) The experience of seeing the vast sea water and watching sunrise/sunset in a different perspective.

    5) Lastly, I booked because there's a promotion at that time - If not, I'd think twice because cruising is really expensive ;)

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  • Lynn Kanne

    answered by

    Here's one thing to know about cruising that might suggest choosing another form of travel: www.mddsfoundation.org.

    Cruising can cause Mal de Debarquement Syndrome, a rare balance disorder which causes the sensation of constant spinning and bobbing that can last for years after a cruise. For some people, this disorder is disabling to the point of needing to walk with a cane. Others have had to leave their jobs.

    My own case was less extreme, but I suffered for 3 years after a 7-day cruise to the Mexcian Riviera. Other things can cause MdDS, but travel by ship is the most common cause. Women in their 40s are most susceptible. Treatments are improving, but there's no guaranteed cure yet. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

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  • Ashley and Ryan R

    answered by

    We took a Mediterranean cruise last spring and it really was a love/hate experience. Cruises are a great way to see things you'd otherwise not be able to see for a good price, and have the comforts of a floating hotel and food source following you the whole way. What they don't tell you is how boring the days at sea can be locked on a ship with a bunch of people and limited things to do, or how everything turns into a cash grab, or how far away some cities actually are from the port you stop in, how limited your time is at certain ports, etc. Do your research and weigh the pros and cons, if you want to relax, see many places in one trip and have the comforts of "all inclusive" it might be for you.

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  • Linda Grossman

    answered by

    Being a little older (61), I adore cruising to see more places in a limited amount of time without having to pack and unpack a zillion times. Did a 30 day cruise, on Oceania, in January, 2014 and we were at 16 different ports - many countries (from Cape Town, South Africa to Singapore). Also, I prefer as small a ship as possible - more personalized service.

    I have also done 'regular' cruises - Caribbean, Alaska, Europe. Lots of fun. Repositioning cruises can be a very good bargain.

    Larger ships can offer more activities - it all depends on what you like to do!

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  • Carrie Finley-Bajak

    answered by

    I am a big fan of the sea, so cruising is an obvious choice. My advice is to pick a product that aligns to your lifestyle. That means, price, size of ship, and included amenities.

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  • Emily Nye

    answered by

    Before you pick a cruise, don't forget to check out the environmental record of the cruise lines you are considering!!

    Here is the 2013 cruise line Environmental Report Card to help with your choice:

    http://www.foe.org/cruise-report-card

    A smaller ship like Star Clippers would be my personal choice (http://www.starclippers.com/us-dom/).

    We can all be good citizens of the world and conscious travelers. Our choices of tours, cruises, etc. can make a BIG difference.

    For more, here is an article on cruises and the environment:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2009/09/a_supposedly_green_thing_i_might_do_again.html


    Cruises can be big polluters and there is very little regulation of pollution in international waters (and sadly there is tons of food waste from those all-you-can-eat buffets). CO2 emissions from the ships are a factor too.

    Whatever you choose, I hope this information is helpful!

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    • Carrie F.

      Carrie F.

      Very nice! How did you develop such a passion for sustainability? · (0 likelikes)

    • Emily N.

      Emily N.

      Hi Carrie! My best friend (and former housemate) is an environmental scientist. She really walks the walk, so it couldn't help but rub off on me. Plus, I love traveling and seeing incredible places - if there is a way to preserve these places and the ecosystems that support them, I'm in! Finally, I don't want to ignore the people affected by climate change and pollution. It is usually the world's poorest people who suffer the greatest effects, which stinks. So, yeah - I guess that's why! Hope that wasn't too much soapbox time! :) · (0 likelikes)

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