I had always wanted to take a cruise.
Everyone I know who’s ever gone has loved it and had wonderful stories to share. It seemed like an easy and fun way to go to many different destinations and travel with others closer to my own age. I received some great advice from people about how to pick the cruise that was right for me.
I was the first person in my family to attend college. Like many boomer women, I did not follow a traditional path. I chose to not marry right out of high school and, instead, decided to travel and pursue a university degree.
Whether you’ll soon embark on your first or fiftieth cruise, there’s always something new to learn. Cruise lines change embarkation procedures, develop unique on board and shore side experiences, adjust gratuity amounts and monitor Homeland Security regulations.
It’s 2 in the afternoon and you are sitting on your private balcony, the wind playing around your feet. To your right is a cold glass of white wine, condensation dripping down the sparkling glass. All around you, the smell of the fresh ocean air recharges your batteries and sends your mind tumbling back to simpler times.
Asking a frequent traveler to pick the best cruise line in the world is like asking a mom to choose between her children. They’re all amazing! Besides, how can you really compare the various options?
Is the relaxed pace of a river cruise really comparable to the hustle and bustle of a 6000-passenger mega-ship, with casinos, movie theaters and climbing walls? Doesn’t it simply depend on the type of experience that you are looking for?
Statistically, cruising has one of the highest, if not the highest, vacation satisfaction rating. And it’s easy to understand why.
I remember wishing that I had created a cruise packing list before my first big adventure on the water. It was 1am and I had a splitting headache. Determined to get some sleep before my first day in a new city, I threw on my robe and hobbled down to the lobby, hoping to get some help from the woman at the reception desk.
I’ll admit that, when it comes to finding the best cruise, price is probably the first thing that most of us look at. This is completely natural. After all, if you don’t have the money to set foot on a luxury ship, what’s the point in researching the quality of its spa or the depth of its itinerary?
Travel, at its best, will heal your soul, broaden your mind and deepen your understanding of the world. While some people think that cruises merely involve beaches, umbrella drinks and pre-planned shore excursions, you can find unusual cruises that will forever change your perspective.
When the Program Director of my recent Viking Cruise, Sharon, said that the crew’s goal was to exceed our expectations, I didn’t pay too much attention. After all, who doesn’t claim to exceed their customers’ expectations?