When I booked my first cruise, I was a little nervous about whether it was a good idea. The Costco travel brochure made it look like the perfect family vacation. But I’d heard horror stories about norovirus and spontaneous fires and people mysteriously disappearing overboard.
I kept asking myself: Are cruises fun, or am I going to feel like I’m trapped on a floating petri dish the whole time?
The price was right, though, so I slapped down my credit card and hoped for the best.
And the best is what I got. Which is why I’m now obsessed.
If you’re on the fence about whether you should take a cruise, let me try to convince you that it’ll be the best vacation you ever take.
- Should You Take a Cruise?
- Why Do People Like Cruises?
- What Do You Like About Cruises?
Should You Take a Cruise?
Cruises are not for everyone. First, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have aquaphobia?
- Are you a misanthrope?
- Do you categorically hate having fun?
If you answered yes to any of those, then you should probably stay on land. Rent an Airbnb in the woods or something.
Otherwise, you should definitely take a chance on a cruise vacation.
Obviously, I don’t know you personally, so I can’t speak to the specific reasons why a cruise might be right for you. What I can do is share with you the things that I love about cruising, and what keeps me slapping down my credit card again and again (and again… and again).
Why Do People Like Cruises?
(And by “people,” I mean “me.”)
1. You’re Completely Taken Care Of
Confession: I can be a bit of a stress case. I wear a lot of hats – writer, homeowner, spouse, dog mom, human mom – all of which come with a lot of responsibilities. In my workaday life, I can’t function properly without my Erin Condren planner and a lengthy to-do list.
On a cruise ship? There’s no need for a to-do list or a planner. Time has no meaning, unless you’re talking about the time you have to show up to dinner, which is conveniently printed on your keycard. Responsibilities are limited to eating, napping, and eating some more.
And the best part about all that eating is that someone else is doing the cooking. They’re also clearing the table and washing the dishes. Another someone else is making your bed and leaving adorable towel animals in your bathroom. Not just once but twice a day.
Plus, everyone is always smiling at you. Not in a creepy way, but in a “We’re so happy you’re here” kind of way. Your stateroom attendant remembers your name. The servers in the dining room remember how you like your steak cooked. Everyone makes you feel like you matter, and like your happiness is important. Happiness can be hard to prioritize in my workaday world. For some reason, “relaxation” never makes it onto my to-do list.
2. You Can Disconnect from the Rest of the World
The whole point of being on vacation is to relax, right? To take a break from your everyday life and hit the reset button, so you can return home refreshed and recharged.
But these days, it can be really hard to disconnect. That’s because it’s really hard to escape an internet connection. Even if you don’t have an international data plan, the luxury all-inclusive resort you’re staying at almost certainly has free Wi-Fi. And even if you say you’re going to unplug, it’ll take a whole lot of willpower not to sign into the network and check your email.
You don’t need willpower on a cruise ship. For one thing, there are no cell towers in international waters, so your 5G service will be completely out of reach. As for onboard Wi-Fi? It’s not reliable, and it’s definitely not cheap.
Many cruise lines (including my favorite, Royal Caribbean) charge extra for internet connectivity. On my last cruise, I actually paid for it, mainly to keep in touch with my dogsitter and make sure the puppers were doing okay. Yet half the time, my WhatsApp messages got stuck in the outbox, and I could never load any of the cute doggie photos that she sent to me. Frustrating? Sure. But it also meant I wasn’t wasting my precious ship time scrolling through TikTok. Instead, I was taking advantage of all the amazing activities the ship had to offer.
3. You’ll Never Be Bored (Unless You Want To Be)
There is no shortage of fun to be found on a cruise ship, no matter what flavor of fun you’re looking for. Do you like puzzles? Partake in a Sudoku competition. In the mood to get sporty? Grab a paddle and play some pickleball. Wanna veg out by the pool? There’s a sun-speckled lounge chair with your name on it.
That’s why when someone tells me they’re “not the cruising type,” I wonder what that could possibly mean. Because cruises are designed for pretty much everyone. On any given day, you can browse through a fine art gallery, sing your heart out at karaoke, or blow through your onboard credits at a bingo game. Trivia competitions, one-on-one basketball, classical guitar performances: you name it, it’s available on a cruise ship.
One of my personal favorite cruise activities is the napkin-folding class. Now I can take any square scrap of fabric and transform it into a three-dimensional banana in thirty seconds flat. (Thanks, Royal Caribbean!)
And that’s just what’s happening on the ship. There’s a whole world out there to explore at your ports of call.
4. You’ll Travel the World Without All the Hassle of Traveling the World
You ever hear that saying, “I need a vacation from my vacation?” That’s because some vacations can feel like a whole lot of work, especially if you’re traveling to more than one destination. There’s all the packing and unpacking, checking in and out of various hotels, and let’s not forget the transit from Point A to Point B. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
When you take a cruise, you’ll get to see lots of different places, but you’ll always have a home base to return to. Once you’re onboard, you can settle into your stateroom safe in the knowledge that you won’t have to pack up again until your vacation is over.
Meanwhile, you’ll be swiftly and stress-lessly transported from port to port, visiting multiple cities (and most likely countries) without having to live out of a suitcase. Instead of driving for hours on end or standing on yet another airport security line, you’ll spend your travel time taking in a comedy show or enjoying a cocktail in a piano bar. How’s that for stress-free?
5. You Can Get Some Much-Needed Adult Time
I love my child more than anything in this world, but sometimes Mommy needs a break from being Mommy. So for me, one of the biggest benefits of taking a cruise is the free childcare.
And it’s awesome childcare. Some of these ships have multi-story centers devoted to their kids’ clubs, complete with science labs and art studios. Together, the children play games and make craft projects, and while they’re having a blast with their newfound friends, you can go off and enjoy yourself guilt-free. After all, it’s your vacation, too.
My husband and I like to use this time to get a couples massage or grab a drink in the Solarium, which is the adults-only space on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise ships. That way, when the kids club is closed, we’re relaxed and refreshed and ready to go have a blast with our son.
6. You’ll Make Incredible Memories
Whether you’re cruising solo or taking a girls’ trip or on a family vacation with thirty of your closest relatives, there’s no doubt you’ll make amazing memories that will last a lifetime. And yes, that’s probably true of many vacations… but of all the travel scrapbooks I’ve compiled, my cruise scrapbooks are the ones I most often take down from the shelf to flip through. I love looking at the selfies we took on the shipwide scavenger hunt, and the finished crossword that won us first place in the competition. It reminds me of a time when relaxation was our most important priority and nothing else mattered but being happy.
What Do You Like About Cruises?
Let me know in the comments below. And if you want to keep in touch, sign up for the CruiseLetter.