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To cruise or not to cruise

View of the Cypriot-owned Louis Majesty cruise ship at Barcelona's port, Spain.
View of the Cypriot-owned Louis Majesty cruise ship at Barcelona's port, Spain.
AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

Every year millions of people decide to travel on cruise ships. Many are repeat customers. Most people wouldn't mind trying it. Others would never dream of it. Some are in between. 

Here are some pros and cons to help you establish whether you are a cruiser at heart. Or not.


  1. More relaxing: Cruise ship travel is more relaxing than land tourism. There are fewer hassles and unexpected problems. You don't have to spend hours in cramped vehicles going from one destination to another. There are also so many activities for each family member to do, that you won't be in each other's hair all the time.

  2. Destinations: On many cruises, you will get to see several destinations and countries on that one cruise. On land vacations, that is not usually that easy to do.

  3. Food: The food on cruises is usually much more superior to what you would get on land vacations.

  4. Pampering: The pampering you receive on cruises are at a higher level than treatment at most hotels.

  5. Unpacking: Some land vacations you pick may consist of several destinations which will require a lot of packing and unpacking. On cruises, you still get to visit many destinations, but you need to unpack only once.

  6. Exciting excursions: Many cruise lines pick a diverse selection of excursions at each port for you to choose. This often includes many unique experiences you wouldn't think of doing yourself or know about doing.


  1. Less exploration time: Most of your time will be aboard the ship. You won't have much time to absorb the local culture of everyday life.

  2. Fewer destination options: With a cruise, you are mainly limited to visiting coastal areas. Cruise ships cannot go inland whereas cars, trains, and planes can.

  3. Small cabins: Most cabin rooms are small. Try to find a ship that offers larger cabin room, or book a suite for more room for you to relax. Most cruise lines do offer larger cabins, but it all depends on how much you are willing to pay for them.

  4. Not all-inclusive: Even though many things are included on most cruise ships, most times alcohol, sodas, and specialty snacks are not. Not to mention the tips.

  5. Time constraints: At each port, passengers must return to the ship at a specific time.Mealtimes, special events, entertainment, and other cruise organized activities also run on set schedules. If your priority on vacation is to relax and "get away from it all" you may feel that cruising isn't relaxing enough, and you will be happier staying on one the islands, where you can explore on your own, following your own schedule -- or no schedule at all.

  6. Seasickness: can put a damper on your trip. Those prone to motion sickness should make sure they have medication with them. Particularly if the weather turns stormy, choppy waters can rock the ship and lead to seasickness or queasiness. While modern cruise ships use stabilizers which minimize the problem, those who are most prone to motion sickness may still find themselves battling nausea, dizziness, or headaches.


(courtesy of Howard Hillman)


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