Mexico was my first experience abroad, but it wasn’t the first time I flew in an airplane. My first time in an airplane was when I went on my honeymoon to hop aboard a Carnival Cruise. The novelty of flying has definitely worn off since then. Cruises are a great way to travel for some, but it’s not without its disadvantages. Here are some pros and cons of traveling by cruise.
Pro: visiting multiple places
Con: being rushed
Cruises are a great way to visit several different countries at once. However, you only have a limited amount of time in each country, so it’s impossible not to cram. You’re constantly rushed from one event to another making it difficult to relax. You’re also at the mercy of the cruise’s itinerary, so if you like the freedom of making your own schedule, a cruise is not for you.
Pro: multiple excursions and experiences
Con: paying more for off-boat activities
To really get the most out of the experience, I highly recommend doing the shore excursions. My husband (now ex) and I went on a cruise that made port in Cozumel, Mexico, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman. In Cozumel Mexico we chose to tour the ancient ruins. It was an incredible experience. In Jamaica, we climbed Dunn’s River Falls which is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. In the Cayman Islands, we were supposed to go paragliding, but the weather did not permit it. I’m so glad we did the excursions, but that’s another downside of cruising: expect to spend more money if you’re going to really enjoy the experience.
Pro: lodging, food, and itinerary arranged for you
Con: lots of waiting in line
Another benefit I’d say is how easy and organized it is to go from country to country. However, you have to wait in long lines and it seems like much of the trip is spent either standing in a line to board the ship, or standing in a line to go to dinner, or standing in a line to board the dock. It’s hard to escape the people around you, especially if you go during a busy season. I recommend going during the off seasons. We went on our cruise in January and I’m glad we did.
Pro: plenty of on-boat entertainment
Con: lack of freedom
Being trapped on the boat is another downside of cruises. I personally like having the freedom to move around as I please. Fortunately, there are plenty of entertainment and food options to keep you busy between ports. We watched some great shows, played games, hung out in the pool, and ate a ton of food while aboard. Some people also complain of sea sickness, but this can be easily remedied with the right medication. If you don’t mind being stuck in one place, then a cruise might be a good option for you.
I wouldn’t recommend a cruise to anybody. If you prefer to make your own schedule, get off the beaten path, take your time, and make your own arrangements then cruising is not for you. If you like having your itinerary organized for you, meals, lodging, and other necessities arranged, and seeing multiple countries for one price, then maybe it’s time you booked your first cruise.