Up until recently, I was definitely on the – “I think I’d go crazy – and sea sick – sitting on a boat all day” – side of the pro- / anti- cruiser debate. If it weren’t for the affordable price, and the raves from my roomates, I probably wouldn’t have ever made it on a real cruise.
Spring Break 2010, was our senior spring break and it had to be amazing. We booked the Carnival 5-day cruise from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, with 2 nights at sea and 2 nights in Cabo.
I didn’t really know what to expect, but after my experience I can vouch that a cruise ship is definitely like a mini-city: an endless amount of food-filled city.
The Carnival Elation is a beautiful boat, but from what I’ve read an heard, there are much pricier and more luxurious cruise lines out there. Carnival Elation served our needs well enough. The food was great every night, the staff we unbelievable, gambling was fun, and even some of the cheesy entertainment was worth while.
The pool was crowded every day with screaming kids, drunk college kids, and seniors, but we tried our best to zone it all out. The kids are especially annoying, but we’re all on a boat for a vacation, and we’re not going anywhere so we might as well stay positive. The chairs fill up fast, so we had to get there early. The drink prices definitely burn through your tab quickly, but we splurged because we are on vacay.
The activities and excursions should definitely not be booked through the boat. The prices the boat offers are ridiculous. We went snorkeling, ATV riding, parasailing experienced a booze cruise, saw whales (w/o the whale watching price tag) and souvenir shopping.
Pros of Cruising
1. Great Deals – One of the main reasons we went with the cruise was because we found a great deal on Carnival. For less than $300 each, we were able to have all our food for in addition to our room and on board activities.
2. Stress Free – From the moment you set on the boat, you are on vacation. Everything is taken care of. Fresh clean towels, room service, and food are all taken care of for you.
3. Many Destinations – Although we only made a stop in Cabo San Lucas, you can see many destinations on a cruise without ever needing to book another room. This makes packing and unpacking once for your multi-city trip that much easier.
4. Many Activities –Cruising is great family fun! You can lounge by the pool, try your luck at the casino, play some mini golf, dance in the night clubs, eat your heart out, or watch some of the many shows offered on the boat. Every day they have new activities to try out. Although some are a little corny, the majority are actually really cute and entertaining. The deck also offers many smaller activities aside from mini-golf such as ping-pong, large game pieces, and essentially any relaxed game. There are many options and the boat is huge! You could get lost roaming around it, and try to seeing the many different rooms and activities they have to offer you each day.
5. You’re on a boat! – Last but not least, you’re on a boat! If you haven’t done a cruise before, I think they’re cheap enough for everyone to try at least once. It’s a different traveling experience that is worth a try. Sea sickness tablets wear off the dizziness for those who need it and being on a boat in the fresh air traveling in the middle of the ocean is an experience you should try.
Now for the Cons of Cruising
1. Not Completely All-Inclusive: Sure, you get all you can eat food, but alcohol, specialty snacks, wine and even soda are pricey. Tips also add up quickly because the costs of drinks are expensive, and they’ll ad up quickly.
3. Privacy: Because of the rooms are small, you’ll want to wander the cruise ship, but you won’t be able to find any privacy or time to yourself.
4. Destination Ports Seem Fake: The ports are unfortunately not reflective of country culture, and you will have very little time to immerse into local culture, if at all.
5. Scheduling, Table Assignments: This is just a small irritation, but some people really don’t enjoy being locked down to a specific time for formal dining. There are, however, plenty of other options for casual dining.
Conclusion: As of now, we are definitely more of the non-cruiser, but we will inevitably go on more. They’re fun, relaxing, and great fun especially for families. It completely depends on what you want from your vacation, but if you want to get a sense of a different country, you can’t stop into port for 8 hours and simply check it off your list. We’ll definitely make our way back to Mexico for an extended trip outside of port.