We just got back from a great vacation on a Cruise! We started cruising in 2010 and have really enjoyed the three cruises we have done. We have only cruised with Carnival so far and their loyalty program and great rates keep us coming back.
We have only cruised out of California ports and only to Mexico so far. For us these have made the most sense for best use of our time and money. We hope to eventually cruise to Alaska, the Bahamas and Caribbean.
These are the biggest four reasons why we love to cruise:
1. Affordable - Cruises are hands down one of the most affordable vacations, especially if you live near a port. I'll go into this more in a future post to show you what we spend on ours. Like any vacation, they can be as expensive as you make them too but there are some great ways to keep it very affordable.
For me, the affordability factor means I can really relax. I don't fret about if we spent too much at X. This is a big deal for me and I think helps me truly get my brain into relax mode.
2. Practically All-Inclusive - The cruise rate includes standard meals on board and basic drinks such as tea and coffee. Alcohol and soda are not included and you can choose a fancier meal for an extra charge. We have always found the included food to be good (hello lobster night) and have never purchased the upgraded meals. Room service is even included. We typically order coffee to our room and head out for the actual meal.
The cruise price also includes a good variety of entertainment. Typically there are nightly Vegas-style shows and comedy shows. There are also game-show type events and many activities happening on the ship. Mini golf, pools and hot tubs are also included on most ships. The ship we were just on had a "waterworks" area for kids with three very nice slides.
3. Floating Hotel/Resort - Some people use the ship like the floating hotel that it is and venture out at all the ports. Instead of moving hotels every day, the hotel moves for you. The time that you need to be back on ship is very firm, but most people don't have trouble with it.
We prefer to use the ship as a floating resort and stay on the ship most of the time. We love laying out and enjoying all the included amenities. It works out very well either way.
4. Limited phones - This is my husband's favorite part. Since you are in international ports and international waters there is limited cell phone use. We put our phones on airplane mode or turn them off when we set sail and don't even bother with the expensive international cell plans. The ship has a phone should there be an emergency and our loved once can call the ship should they need to. This allows us to literally unplug for the cruise.
We love to cruise and I'm looking forward to sharing more about our experiences in upcoming posts!