There are plenty of great and not-so-great comments about cruises. Hard-core “travelers” say that cruises are for tourists and not real travelers, being the luxury of comfort and getting pampered as one of the issues. There are, of course, the more important ones like health, crime, and safety. But when you’re curious about what really happens inside a cruise ship, sometimes you forget about all that debate and just go for it. I’m glad that I did.
After the first time my family and I joined a cruise, I told myself that doing so should henceforth be one of my travel priorities. Here’s why:
It’s well worth the money
Okay, so going on a cruise isn’t cheap, especially when you’re making money in Philippine pesos. When my my mother, my brother, my sister, and I went on a 5-day cruise going to the Bahamas, it costed us a total of $1,402.04 or $350.51 per person. At that time, 1 USD was about 47 PHP, so a total of 65,896 PHP. Mind you, this was considered as one of the cheapest cruise packages from one of the cheapest cruise lines!
So yeah, cruises cost a lot plus there’s the expense for airtickets going to the country/city of departure, and for some, for lodging the night before the departure. But I’d say that for what was included in our $350, or what was then P16,450/person, it was well worth the money.
For one, all of our food was free.
In those 5 days our breakfasts were always buffets, and our lunches and dinners were never short of fancy. We had Tea Time on some days too, so the desserts were endless.
Our meals always came in threes: appetizer, main dish, dessert.
For another, there were plenty of activities to choose from on each day.
Tea Time was one of my favorites (saying this only because it’s the only activity I have pictures of). It was a time when we’d just sit by the view of the sea, while nibbling at all the sweets and drinking all the Bigelow Tea we could. The real definition of chill.
But there were also activities like Bingo, or game shows and talent shows, or silly pool games like who can mix the best alcoholic drink – whatever you can think of. At night there were trivia games, comedy shows, dance parties, and musicals. The cruise personnel made sure that all their passengers got a copy of the day’s activities with their schedules and venues, so we didn’t have to scramble around, not sure what to do.
And my last reason for why it’s worth the money: the ammenities. Our ship had pools, water slides, a gym, a mini golf course, a library, a casino, plenty of bars, what have you! We were able to use all these without additional fees. So we realized that $350 for 5 nights with accommodation, free food, (some) free activities, and free access to ammenities was a bang for our buck.
It’s the easiest way to get around
This is where the argument, “traveling by cruise isn’t really traveling,” come in.
“Where’s the culture? Where’s the experience? How do you see the country?”
I get it. Cruises aren’t for everyone. Cruises are for people who’d like to be able to say that they’ve been somewhere without having to experience all that planning, booking, and figuring out transpo times and routes. It’s for people who’d like to go at their own liesurely pace. For me, if it gets you from one country or island to another, that’s traveling.
I didn’t worry about missing out on culture and experience, there was enough of that to go around inside the ship. We were basically immersed in a melting pot with ample chances to get to know people of different nationalities. We befriended interesting people during night parties, dinners, and just hanging around the casinos.
Even outside the ship and out on the islands, we were still able to enjoy ourselves through the number of excursions that the cruise offered (although with a cost). In which I encountered a donkey, which will probably be the only time I would do so. In which I was able to touch the incredibly fine, white sands of the Bahamas – probably also the only time I would do so. So no, cruises aren’t short on culture and experience.
My first and probably last encounter with a donkey!
Like I said, cruises aren’t for everyone but it was for me. Maybe it could be for you too?