Why Cruising is Still My First Choice for a Vacation Experience

familycruise600Many of Carnival Triumph passengers have said that they would not choose to cruise again. By contrast, other passengers who were seasoned cruisers said that they are absolutely ready to cruise again. Many TV anchors, most of whom had never cruised, struggled to understand why someone would choose to do this. One online writer even accused the disembarking passengers of suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. I have to say that analogy couldn’t be further from the truth. As a 36 year veteran of cruising, I can honestly say though I wouldn’t look at this voyage as all “lollipops and roses”, I still will choose a cruise as my vacation experience of choice. I am gladly going on a cruise with my family in just a few weeks.

Incidents are Rare and All Travel Has Risks

Millions of people cruise every year, and though this incident was difficult for those on board, these types of incidents are rare. We are all more likely to be an auto accident or be injured at home than to experience a difficult cruise experience like this.

Memories

Over the past 35 years, cruising with my parents, my husband and my kids has created my fondest memories. I took 5 cruises as a child with my parents, grand-mothers, and sister. I remember the silly audience participation games, the fun shows, the wonderful waiters, amazing food and the spectacular midnight buffets. I have great memories of bonding with my olddrescode300parents and my sister over a relaxed dinner or playing a card game at sunset on the aft deck of the ship. My husband and I had wonderful start together on the Holland America Rotterdam for our honeymoon 20 years ago. We got a kick out of being the “young honeymooners” on the ship, and had fabulous evenings in the sing along piano bar. For our 10th anniversary we shared such an amazing time aboard the Celebrity Mercury, that we soon started cruising with our kids nearly every year. I can remember the joy my children expressed at getting dressed up for dinner and having a fabulous meal, complete with Sorbet course. I smile every time think about my son and husband getting up at the crack of dawn on our Alaska cruise to whale watch from the decks of the ship. My IMG_0908daughter and I shared a great time in Mexico searching for doll from each state dressed in the state costume. I laugh and have a sense of price when I think about my son, 13 at the time, play ing “Who Wants to be a Bazillionaire” game show on our trans-Atlantic cruise with intelligence and composure. When my daughter had her guitar drawing made into a glass work or art before her eyes on the Celebrity Solstice Hot Glass show, it was like magic for her. These are just some of the highlights from my past cruises, there are too many special moments to even list here. Cruising has created lasting bonding memories for me and my family.

Hospitality

The cruise ship crew members are the most gracious hosts in the hospitality industry. We have always felt like out cabin crew treated us better than our own families, cleaning the room and bathroom, making the bed daily. They have made every effort to make our stays as pleasant, relaxing and fun as thay can possibly be. When we return to a ship we have sailed before or cruise a new ship with a crew member with-whom we have sailed before, it is like seeing old friends. We have met waiters and staff who know our names by the second day of the cruise and remember our favorite drinks and appetizers. The crew always greet us with a smile and make us feel really special. Waiters have gone out of their way to keep our kids entertained during the long dinner times making puppets out of cloth napkins, origami out of paper napkins, or creating problem solving riddles with tooth picks or other common items. That warm gracious hospitality is one of the key factors that make cruising our favorite way to vacation.

Value and Enjoymentdiningtimes

We feel like there is no better value than a cruise vacation. Last year we were trying to decide what to do for a memorable family spring vacation this year. We looked at a trip flying to Hawaii and staying in a rental home, condo, or hotel for two weeks. We compared that type of vacation to the cost of two weeks on a Celebrity cruise ship doing back to back Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. When factoring the cost of dining out, buying and cooking our own food, a few entertainment options, airfare and a rental car, we came to the easy conclusion that the cruise, which includes meals, entertainment, housekeeping, and transportation from Florida to the Caribbean was a better value than the two weeks in Hawaii. We enjoy the musicians, the nightly productions, featured entertainers, and comedy shows. The activities staff on board the ship also keep both young and old engaged with pool side activities, scavenger hunts, pool side games, and theme parties. We also like the relaxing atmosphere on a cruise ship where we can do as little or as much as we like by either joining in all those activities or just sitting on our balcony enjoying the views of the ocean or the passing islands.

Family Time

50's party

50’s party

Perhaps one the most enjoyable aspects of a cruise for us is the quality family time. With all meals at the convenient located dining room or buffet area included, we enjoy the fact that we can enjoy our meals in a relaxing atmosphere with out having to prepare them, clean up afterwords or worry about the price. We love getting dressed up for formal nights and sharing a special night together. Sometimes we just love finding a spot in the card room to play a family board game or strategy game together. On a cruise ship, most venues are open to all ages, so we never feel like we need to leave the kids behind while we enjoy a band pool side or in a nightclub. We also love that for multiple generations we can enjoy doing independent activities on our own schedule with out having to drive all over. My Mother-in-law can visit the casino, the kids can play basketball or go to the pool, my husband can take in his ocean views, and I can attend a trivia game,IMG_1067 all the the same time. When those activities are over we can all come together with a 5 minute walk for a family game show, or all ages theme party. When we are at home and dispersed to our different activities, it can be an hour or so to get back home to be together.

The incident that happened on the Carnival Triumph is certainly the rare exception, many people including our family, enjoy fabulous cruise vacations year after year and look forward to their next opportunity to sail again and again.