I always find it interesting to compare other types of vacations to a cruise. I truly feel that cruising is quite often the best value in a vacation. This is one of the reasons that cruising has has a huge growth in popularity in the last 30 years. So here’s a little comparison.
Last weekend my daughter and I traveled to Anaheim for a dance competition. We were there Wednesday to Sunday, so we’ll compare it to a 5 day, 4 night cruise.
Dance Competition: Entry Fees, Hotel Expenses, Food and Drinks about $1100.
5 Day Cruise for 2: Hotel, Food and Some Drinks $800 to $1100.
Comparison: In total value I ‘d have to say the cruise is still the better value. Not only do you get the lodging in a resort, but the food is all you can eat, the resort amenities and activities are numerous.
Dance Competition: Red Roof Inn
Cruise Ship: Usually an standard outisde cabin
Comparison: I have to give the edge to Red Roof in three areas. First is space. Most standard cruise ship cabins are under 200 sqft, where as the Red Roof room was at least twice that, probably even more than twice. Also the Red Roof wins in bedding comfort. I was lucky enough to stay in one of the newly remodeled rooms with new upgraded bedding. I found the bedding to be extremely comfortable, a nice surprise in a budget hotel. Finally, the room featured an empty fridge, and a microwave. Usually cruise ships have a mini bar and never a microwave. The cruise ship cabin would win out in terms of decor and overall appearance.
Dance Competition: Service??? Whats that? Seriously, we self catered our breakfast, lunches and even one dinner. We ate out three dinners at the Disney Land resort. The service was OK at the resort restruarnts, but nothing like the spot on service that one receives in a cruise ship dinning room.
At the hotel the room was always clean when we got back in the evenings, but I couldn’t even guess how timely the maid service was because we were gone most days until after 9:00 at night.
Cruise Ship: Our last two cruises have been on Celebrity, which stands out in my mind for the little things that the service staff does for you. They learn what you like and often offer it to you with-out you even having to ask. I think the compact layout of a cruise ship, over a sprawling resort area like Disney Land and Anaheim, contribute to the high level of service that one receives on a ship.
Dance Competition: Well there is no time for relaxation at a dance competition. One morning I had to get up at 5:30 to shampoo and curl my hair and be at the competition by 8:00. Then once I got there I had to help my daughter get her stage make-up on. (Have you ever tried putting false eyelashes on an 8 year old?) Then it is a matter of reading the program and skipping from one room to another to catch all the other performances from our dance studio. Dining at Disney Land was another problem. We went to the down town Disney area around 4:00 trying to get dinner before we had to be back at the competition for the dance workshops. One restaurant was seating for dinner but only outside (It was 111 degrees that day, so outside wasn’t going to cut it.) Another place was open but only serving salads as they had their electricity go out. I called the Disney Dining Hotline and they were able to get me into the Story Teller Restaurant at the Grand Californian resort. So we got in the car and drove down there for our dinner. We had an equally difficult time finding a place to eat the following night as we again had a short window for our dinner break. The only place we could get a spot was again at the Story Teller. It just seemed that the Disney Dining offerings weren’t in synch with the dance competition schedule. This made things kind of crazy.
Cruise Ship: What could be more relaxing than a cruise. For most of the day you decide what you want to do and when you want to do it. Even on lines that have pre-set traditional dinning times, everything else is pretty much scheduled around the dinning times, so you wouldn’t be scrambling to find a way to fit dining into your schedule.
Comparison: Well the big edge has to obviously go to the cruise ship. If you want to relax, I can’t think of a better place to do it.
Dance Competition: At the dance competition the entertainment run from 8:00 in the morning to almost 10:00 at night and it is non-stop energy and excitement. The quality of the dancing and performances is extremely professional.
Cruise Ship: You definitely get more variety on the cruise ship with singing, comedy, musicians, and dancing.
Comparison: I’ll give this one a tie. I was absolutely amazed at the quality of dancing at the competition. Also I loved all the productions shows on the last two Celebrity cruises.
Cruise Ships: There is a wide variety of opportunities for personal development on a cruise ship. They offer wine tasting classes, NASA lectures, naturalist lectures on the ports that will be visited, ball room dance lessons and even computer courses.
Dance Competition: If dancing is your thing this is the place to be. The judges evaluate the performances, offer an audio taped critique as well as written critiques of the performances. For young dancers it really helps them to developed their skills. The dance competition also offers workshops in many different styles of dance, stage make-up and auditioning.
Comparison: The dance competition definitely wins in development specifically regarding dancing, but in terms of personal development as a well rounded individual, the cruise ships win out.
Dance Competition: The dance competition helped me develop friendships with people I will see 4 and 5 days a week when I’m back home, the other mom’s of dancers and other adult dancers from my studio.
Cruises Ship: On cruises I have made many friends, but do to long distances between us, only a few of those friendships have flourished. The internet does seem to make the distances closer, but the still quite often cruise ship friendships end up being only temporary. I have been lucky enough on my last two cruises to make friends with about 5 or 6 couples that we still hear from regularly.
Comparison: I have to give the edge to the dance competition for developing friendships because the experience was shared with so many people that I see in class or at the studio almost 5 days a week. I look foreword to continuing my classes with these ladies. I hope the same holds true for my daughter, that she will develop deep friendships with the other girls on her dance team.
After my thoughtful comparison I would have to say that I hope to continue both cruising and my dance competitions. My son has been taking break dancing and will compete with the team next year. I hope that the dance competition can be something that the whole family can enjoy for years to come.
As far as cruising is concerned, It is still my favorite way to relax and my husbands favorite way to get away from it all. Cruising will also be something that the whole family will continue to enjoy, especially because of the value.