September 21, 2019   2:05am
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Consider a Cruise — You Might be Pleasantly Surprised!

If you never thought you’d ever be thinking of taking a cruise, our constant traveler Susan may disabuse you of that notion. Here she tells you why she’s on board …

Many of you probably think that you will never be caught dead on a cruise – well, think again. Until a few years ago I felt the same way, until friends convinced us to join them on a sailing trip in the Baltic. Since then, we have “tested the waters” in Tahiti, the Mediterranean and the Adriatic (both multiple times), and this fall will head for Greece. Cruising – at least for us — is not the be all and end all for our travels, but a viable option to “throw in the mix.”

Some of the best reasons “to cruise” are:

It’s a great way to sample lots of places in a short time: Except for some ports (notably a 2 night/3 day stay in St. Petersburg on most Baltic sailings), cruising is not for in-depth exploration, as most port visits are for one day (sometimes overnight). However, many ports can easily be experienced in a day’s time, and it’s a great way to string together a bunch of sights you might otherwise not be able to squeeze in. And you get to approach wonderful ports from the water, as well as cruise surrounding areas, which can be quite exciting.

It’s stress free: You tour with minimal effort as the ship is your transportation (no running to the airport, finding your way on the auto route or lugging your stuff on the train). Further there is no packing and unpacking from sight-to-sight. And generally speaking, the “ethic” on ships is one of service and caring about guests. You will end up being spoiled!

It’s a great way to travel with friends (and meet new ones): As mentioned in a previous post, cruises are great ways to travel with friends as there are lots of options for both shared experiences and private time. It’s also a great way to make new friends. On most cruises you can be as independent or social as you wish. Without trying, we made fast friends with others and have traveled with them subsequently (and successfully).

Prices are in dollars: As noted in my previous posts, with the shrinking dollar cruises become more attractive because you are paying in greenbacks. Cruising is not usually a budget option, but these days it is a good value versus what you would pay for comparable lodgings, meals, etc. when you have to use the Euro. They are also a good value when compared to other places where resort costs are breathtakingly high. (Tahiti is such an example.)

GETTING STARTED

Selecting a cruise is a combination of the finding the right ship with the right itinerary for you. In my next posts I’ll focus, first, on ships and, next, on itineraries. Even with this information, finding the right cruise can be daunting. Once again I offer advice from a
previous post – contact a travel agent to help you figure out what to do. The cruise lines DO NOT undercut agent rates, so you may as well benefit from some expertise. Also look at Cruise Critic for an overview of what’s out there in terms of cruise lines and their various ships.

Bon Voyage!

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