Ever wonder why so many people return home raving about their latest sailing? If you're among those who are considering a first cruise -- but who hasn't yet taken the leap -- take a look at these ten reasons from Cruise Critic as to why a cruise can be the perfect vacation for just about anyone.
#1: A Cruise Vacation Offers Great Value
Cruises offer great value for your vacation dollar because the fares include nearly everything you'll need for a fantastic trip: food, accommodations, daytime and evening entertainment and transportation between travel destinations. We regularly see cruise deals on mainstream cruise lines for under $100 per person, per night, which is astonishingly cheaper than you'd spend on land for a hotel, dinner and a show.
On some lines, kids even sail free or at discounted rates when sharing a cabin with two adults. Looking for luxury? Upscale lines are even more inclusive, with alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, gratuities, shore tours, onboard spending credits, and even flights often bundled into the base price.
#2: See Multiple Destinations, Unpack Only Once
On a cruise, you unpack once and your floating hotel takes you from city to city or from island to island and there's no need to mess with train or ferry schedules, or lug your suitcase along cobblestone streets. Every morning, you'll wake up in a new place. Can't decide between St. Lucia and Barbados, or Italy or Spain? Why choose? Pick an itinerary that visits all the cities on your wish list.
#3: Cruise Ships are Family Friendly
From tots to teens, grandparents to grandkids, family cruises are fun for all ages. If you're struggling to find a vacation that your 5-, 10- and 15-year-olds will all love -- and that has adult activities, too -- ships now have extensive kids' facilities, split by age. Teens have their own cool hangouts, far away from the play areas for the little ones (and certainly a nice distance from parent-friendly pools and bars). How can you not love a trip that features video games and swimming pools, while offering time for families to be together at dinner or onshore excursions? And parents can even sneak in a romantic dinner alone, by taking advantage of late-night hours in the kids' club.
#4: Cruise Ships Come in All Shapes and Sizes
The ideal cruise ship for one person may be a mega-ship outfitted with onboard rock-climbing walls and outdoor movie theaters, while another will prefer an intimate ship with an upscale ambience and someone else will want the seafaring experience of a masted tall sailing ship. Luckily, all those different types of cruise ships exist.
From French Country Waterways' 12-person river barges to Royal Caribbean's 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas. More options range from the luxurious Seabourn Odyssey to the minimalist sailing ships of Star Clippers and even to ice-strengthened expedition ships like Hurtigruten's Fram. Read cruise reviews before you book to choose the best ship for you.
#5: Ships Offer a Variety of Onboard Activities