Among the favorite places to spend vacations are the mountains and the beaches. B. J. and I love both the beaches and the mountains. We love the beach so much that we live near a beach and enjoy it to the utmost. There are other beaches that we love. Among our favorite beaches are Daytona, Pompano, Ft. Lauderdale, and Waikiki.
However, cruising has become the No. 2 vacation getaway. More and more, cruising is developing into the choice for vacations. Cruising is popular and that popularity is rising. Information from the Cruise Line International Association, Inc. Market Profile Survey for 2011 discovered that cruising ranks second as the most popular vacation behind land-based non-resort vacations. The survey found that almost 71 percent of the total vacation market has an interest in cruising. Survey respondents said that they will probably go on another cruise within the next three years.
Cruising is in our genes. We have cruised in Europe, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, the Atlantic and the Caribbean. In November this year, B. J. and I will set sail on our tenth cruise. From Port everglades, we will cruise to the Eastern Caribbean and visit Grand Turk in the Caicos Islands, San Juan Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, and Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. We have visited Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay on previous cruises.
What’s behind the popularity of cruising? One of the primary attractions to cruising is its comparative comfort. From the moment a luxury liner sets sail, cruisers are aboard a floating hotel. All of the cruiser’s desires are finely provided for within the interior of an elegant vessel. There is no bother with baggage, airport layovers, cramped seating, or scrunched up restrooms such as is the case with air travel.
B. J. and I like to drive on our stateside trips when we can in order to visit places we wouldn’t be able to if we were flying over them at 39,000 feet. One of the drawbacks, though, to driving is traffic. I could write some real horror stories about traffic.
There’s no traffic on the open seas, and cruisers can leave the “driving” up to the captain and arrange their days to do as little or as much as they like.
The comprehensive character of cruising encompasses dining. Perhaps one of the most desirable activities on a cruise is eating. On a cruise ship, the next meal is abundant, fundelicious and not far away. Not like land-based hotels and resorts, on an ocean-going resort, a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner is nearby and passengers don’t have to pack extra money for meals.
When B. J. and I cruise, we purchase cruise packages that include all-you-can-eat choices. This may be a bargain, since the price tag of food on non-cruise vacations is likely to be a major concern. According to a recent study, vacationers spend approximately $600 for food on a weeklong vacation. Relatively, cruising averages $1,500 per person which covers all the activities on board ship including the food.
Most cruises have a professional cruise director who leads guests in the goings-on. Some cruisers avoid planning a daily schedule to keep them busy. B. J. and I are among that number. We like to take a cruise a day at a time doing what we find the most fun at the time. Spontaneity is our cup of tea; if it feels good, do it.
A big boon to state-of-the-art luxury liners is that they arrange for ample and quality amusement. There are swimming pools, skating rinks, rock climbing walls, shuffleboard, tennis, stage shows, etc. There is something for almost every interest and age group.
For an additional fee, mariners can leave the ship and take specialized excursions at ports of call; B. J. and I do this. Nonetheless, those who want to stay on board and kick back and relax can do just that.
Cruising is indeed one of the most popular styles of vacations. Many people (we do sometimes) book cruise vacations through a travel agent. Cruising may be one of the most delightful vacations to plan and enjoy.