A cruise is vastly underrated, in my opinion.
Stereotypically, they’re for the elderly whose children have grown up, giving some sense of being a boring way of travel. Well, pretty much half of my childhood summer holidays were spent on cruises, and I’m here to tell you this is far from the truth. So when Planet Cruise got in touch with me to write about cruises, I was more than happy to set the record straight and encourage more people to go out there and experience this wonderful way of travel.
So why should you go on a cruise rather than your usual holiday?
Try something new
Surely a huge reason we love travel is because we love trying something new? If we’re willing to go backpacking (and let’s be honest, as amazing as it is, it’s also exhausting), stay at a fancy hotel, go on a road trip, then why wouldn’t we be willing to try out a cruise as well?
It’s just another form of travel, and as someone who’s done it a fair few times (think 10+ cruises), it really is a unique way to travel. Trying something new keeps you more aware, keeps you fascinated and in constant wonder… and that’s without even taking the actual destinations into account. What could be better?
Waking up in a new place every day
This has got to be my favourite part of cruising. It’s absolutely beautiful to wake up in a new city or a new country every day. One day you’ll be in Rome, the next you’re in Cannes and the following day you’re in Barcelona. Your mind is going a million miles a minute with all the culture and sights you’re soaking in on any given occasion. You can more efficiently gather your thoughts and the differences between each place you go as it’s all still so fresh in your mind.
I’ll be honest and acknowledge that it does suck you don’t get to spend more than an average of one day in a place, but my counter-argument to this is that it’s a great taster for where you might like to return to again someday. Even a weekend break in, say, Venice, won’t mean you’ve “done” that city and will never go back (I don’t believe in being “done” or having “completed” a place).
I even think sea days are nice: looking out and seeing only the horizon of the sea and sky? Now that’s a room with a view. Sunsets from cruise ships are some of the best I’ve ever seen.
Food, glorious food
One of the first things I think of when someone mentions a cruise is the food. You’re in for some gourmet dishes and lots of them. Let me give you a typical day of food (note that this is the case on P&O and Princess Cruises, the two cruise lines I’ve been on):
Early morning: Sit-down breakfast – choose from variations of a full English breakfast, waffles, pancakes, specials, a fruit smoothie, all the juice you can think of, croissants, pastries, fruit… basically, whatever is your preferred brekkie, from healthy to indulgent pig-out.
Mid-morning: Breakfast buffet – if you want a bit more of a lie in, there’s another breakfast option in the form of a buffet. I find the quality of the earlier, restaurant breakfast is better but the buffet is a great option for when you’re super tired… or if you didn’t get enough food before!
Lunch: Just like breakfast, you can either go to one of the restaurants for an a la carte lunch within an allotted time or head to the buffet again!
Afternoon tea: Usually where the buffet food is, around 4 or 5 pm they bring out the cakes, chocolates, finger sandwiches and pastries. This is one of my favourites!
Dinner: This is where we go full-out fancy cruise, with absolutely delicious multiple courses (5 or more) and some formal nights, which are one of my favourite things about cruises. Seeing a ship full of people looking amazing in their best gear gives off a really glamorous and happy vibe.
Snacks – there are midnight snacks, snacks throughout the day in the form of pizza, burgers, fries, ice cream and more found throughout the ships, usually on the deck by the pools. On the cruises I’ve been on there’s usually been a chocolate day where one restaurant will make your chocolate dreams come true – complete with chocolate fountains. It’s like a more refined Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
The best part: all of this is part of the price you pay on the cruise. All-inclusive is sometimes a wonderful thing and I encourage anyone on a cruise to eat as much as you can or want – you will never go hungry.
You might wonder what on earth is there to do on a cruise ship? Isn’t it just being stuck on a ship full of old people in the middle of the ocean? Well, not exactly. Thing is, if you’re going somewhere warm, you’ve got exactly what you’d have at a resort: swimming pools, places to sunbathe places to eat. And just think of your days you’re in port somewhere as the days you’re out exploring. It’s actually a good way of separating the busy days and relaxation days.
Cruise ships do provide a lot, and while there are things you might not be interested in (as with anywhere), there’s a lot you can partake in. For example, on cruises I tend to become a bit of a gym bunny, if only to balance out all that food I’m eating and the luxury of running on a treadmill while looking out at the ocean.
There are trivia nights, karaoke, talks on the places you’ll be visiting, dance classes, sports facilities (from basketball courts, golf and football to shuffleboard) comedy and theatre shows. On my last cruise on the Princess line, there were outdoor movie nights; you’d be given a blanket and popcorn, grab a sun lounger on the decks and peacefully watch the big screen under the stars.
Cruises are a great way to see the world and there’s a lot to love about them, particularly new destinations daily and amazing food. Whether it’s around the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Arctic, a weekend cruise to Bruges or even a World Cruise including South America and Australia, there’s something out there for everyone – don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.
I worked with Planet Cruise on this post, but all opinions and love of cruising is, of course, my own.