5. All Cruises Go to the Caribbean … Been There, Done That
Hey, the Caribbean’s a beautiful place. But once you’ve done the circuit, there isn’t much left to cruise for, right? Wrong. Cruises are available all over the world, in a wide range of climates, cultural regions and waterways. Lake and river cruises are options often overlooked. For example, I took a cruise down the Nile years ago with a teaching colleague. The river provided a cool breeze in between the day excursions to exotic ancient temples and souks throughout the country. The statues and 5,000-year-old paint jobs on the temple interiors were amazing, and it was nice to have a place to come back and have a drink after a hot day on our feet. The Red Sea is another locale overlooked by many North American cruise enthusiasts. Hopping on a boat to see that part of the world by water can bring dive experiences, adventure tours in Jordan’s world-famous Petra Desert and access to Egypt via the Sinai. Saudi Arabia also has excellent Red Sea diving, and can be scheduled as a stopover on your trip. Feel like something cooler? Try an Antarctic, Alaskan or Nordic cruise to enjoy ice formations and cold-weather sea life in the wild.
4. Cruises are Expensive
Sure, you can drop 20 grand or more to take your spouse on that solar eclipse cruise that passes by Easter Island. But there are plenty of other cruise packages available that don’t cost nearly as much, particularly if you book one within easy reach of a major airport hub. Cruising to the Bahamas from South Florida is extremely affordable — starting at less than $300 for a four-night cruise — and includes all of the elements typical cruise vacationers would expect. A little bit of money can take you to some very exotic places. For example, you can book a full-day cruise on one of the world’s amazing volcanic lakes, Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan, beginning at $99 per person (passage to Guatemala, of course, is not included). Several United States national parks are accessible by a brief, inexpensive boat cruise as well, including the Dry Tortugas and Isle Royale. Booking day passage is much more affordable than an entire week’s worth of cruising, and allows you to customize your nightly lodging between locations. (This option is arguably more appealing to the independent traveler.) Book your travel online to find the best deals for your destination.
3. Cruises are Stuffy, Formal Affairs
Many young people who have never taken a cruise fear that their romantic getaway will be invaded by hordes of senior citizens in formal wear. While those options certainly exist for travelers who prefer them, the truth is there are cruises suited for a variety of travelers, including the rock and roll crowd, vegan cruises and even family adventure getaways. If ecotourism appeals to you, most cruises that focus on that sort of thing attract a more casual crowd anyway. Whale-watching tours and cruises up the inside passage to Alaska are two such examples. Heading to the Galapagos in Ecuador is another.
2. Being Stuck on a Ship Will be Boring
Cruise lines typically offer a myriad of entertainment and leisure options for their on-ship guests. Spa treatments, casinos, author lectures, art auctions and more are available, along with outdoor games (basketball, miniature golf) and swimming pools. Other fun activities you might find on your cruise ship include skiing (yes, skiing) on the top deck, rock-climbing walls, rock concerts by famed performers such as Kiss, cooking classes and the ability to dance until dawn. Also remember that most cruises incorporate shore excursions, allowing you to experience the nature, archaeology and food culture of the various destinations you’ll be passing through. Factor in a great cocktail selection by which to peruse each day’s travel photos, and you’re in business.
1. Cruise Ships are Dangerous
Honestly, my response to this myth is similar to the one I provide most people when they express comparable concerns over the trips my husband and I take to the Middle East. While it’s true risk is somewhat inherent in any planned vacation getaway, it’s equally true that things can go wrong in any number of cities and towns in North America. Yes, there have been several highly publicized incidents on cruise ships in the past few years, but they are the rare exception, not the rule. If you practice security measures similar to those you’d use when visiting any hotel or new destination, you are no more at risk on a cruise ship than you would be anywhere else.