Why I’ll Always Choose a Cruise Over Other Vacations – Best Life

As a travel writer, it’s no surprise that I spend a good part of the year on the go. Some of my favorite getaways have included lounging by the pool in Las Vegas, visiting coffee farms in Hawaii, sampling street food in Amsterdam, and improving my dance moves in Latin America. Nothing beats finding the perfect 24-hour restaurant in New York or gazing in awe at the Norwegian fjords. But I’m a fan of budget weekends as much as five-star luxury hotels.

As you can see, travel has been a big part of my life. I grew up road tripping with the family through the scenic Canadian Maritimes and driving south along the Coast Highway to the Florida Keys. I then became a great traveler for the simple pleasure of discovering distant destinations. And yet, if I had to name my favorite means of transport, it would be by sea. Read on to find out why I will always choose a cruise over other vacations.

RELATED: 5 Things You Should Never Bring On A Cruise, Experts Warn.

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If you book a cruise it is possible to spend a flat rate and stick to that initial base budget as most meals, entertainment and activities are included, in addition to accommodation, of course. When I compare these costs to doing something similar overland, cruises seem to be the best value.

For example, island hopping in Hawaii is one of my favorite getaways, but when I add up the costs of inter-island flights, multiple hotels, car rental, and of course, incredible dining experiences, vacation prices can quickly become unreasonable. Instead, I find incredible value in the Hawaiian Islands Dedicated Itinerary Norwegian Cruise Line offers. Each day is spent in a different region on the islands of Honolulu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii, so the experience is amazing and a fraction of the cost of booking all of these destinations in one land.

For this reason, I appreciate the all-inclusive approach to cruises. While many choose to indulge in specialty restaurants or pay for excursions, I often opted for the more economical route by taking advantage of any free offers available. Yet when I want an upgraded experience, I also appreciate being able to pre-book my specialty meals or activities. This way I know in advance how much my vacation package costs and only pay one bill.

Empty deck on cruise ship
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Whatever my vacation mood, there’s a cruise itinerary for it. In addition to wanting to discover several destinations, I am looking for wine tastings on board, Broadway shows on the production stage, quizzes or simply soaking up the sun on a pool deck.

For destinations, I tend to look for port-intensive itineraries with just enough days at sea to relax, while having full days to hang out in charming coastal towns in Alaska or Scotland. Some people prefer fast weekend cruises in the Caribbean as I favor crossings of 10 to 12 days to maximize my introduction to different cities.

For example, one of my favorite cruise experiences was sailing through Europe, Norway and the Baltic. It was a month-long trip, and I loved every minute of it, sampling food and cultural highlights in two dozen countries. I landed on this particular cruise partly because, for my first visit to Europe, I just couldn’t choose a single region to fly in. My cruise vacation didn’t make me choose.

Instead, I got a wonderful overview of each area, which prepared me for potential future visits. This can be especially useful when visiting a new area for the first time, as a cruise offers a sample of several cities. This way you can see and taste the highlights, without feeling tied down to any particular city. By exploring three, four or more cities in a country, you will discover which place(s) might be ideal to return to on another trip.

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On the flip side of a busy itinerary, cruises are my favorite vacation because they force me to slow down. You can find a way to party from morning till night on a boat, but with days at sea, there are only so many places you can go. And, meanwhile, nothing beats the sound of the ocean waves below, the glistening of the sun above, and a wide assortment of quiet corners just relax and enjoy the ride.

On land, I rarely take the time to indulge in a spa session, but on a cruise, I suddenly have the time and access to a wide range of spa services and relaxation facilities in my budget. I also have a lot of fun trying new ways to unwind, like attending pamper parties with free facials or taking a line dancing lesson on the pool deck. Although there is never a shortage of activities and events on a ship, I always feel like I relax a little more at sea.

Row of jet skis on the beach
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Since cruise ships have a captive audience, there can be an overwhelming variety of entertainment, games, stage performances and delicious restaurants.

Every time I go to sea, I aim to do at least one new thing, it’s the perfect opportunity to get out of my comfort zone. Whether it’s enjoying a celebrity chef meal at Rudi’s sea salt on Holland America or trying out the race cars at the Norwegian Bliss Speedway, spending a week on a cruise ship is the perfect environment to expand your horizons.

And there’s not much risk or commitment involved. Have you always wanted to play like a child in a trampoline park? Carnival Panorama has a super fun indoor Sky Zone for kids and adults. Want to learn salsa? Head to the Havana Club. Want to try surfing but are intimidated by Maui’s waves? Give to Royal Caribbean Flow Rider a chance.

Or, being adventurous could be as simple as trying the “40 Is The New 20” pomegranate cocktail at Carnival’s. alchemy bar instead of a traditional Old Fashioned. If you don’t like it, that’s what a drink package is for. With endless cocktail options, it’s okay to throw out one drink in favor of another, because it’s not like you’re adding more cost to this all-inclusive experience. Thanks to cruises, I’ve found a handful of new must-have drinks. Every time you order your new favorite ashore, you’ll always remember the first time you tried it on a cruise ship – and memories truly make the best vacation memories.

RELATED: This is the most dangerous place to cruise, experts say.

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