7 Reasons Cruises Aren’t Just for Retirees
Cruise ships get a bad rap. If you’re like me, you might have believed that they’re a bit of a lazy way to travel — that you don’t get to spend time in nature or allow you to get a real sense of a place, or that they lead to overcrowding in whatever town you land in. But while cruising is definitely different than, say, living out of your van for a year, my recent experience taught me that there are way more perks than naysayers would lead us to believe.
While I didn’t encounter many millennials on the cruise, I had a blast — and came to realize that retirees are having all the fun on these ships. Here are a few reasons young folks may need to reconsider their cruise ship cynicism.
1. You can see a ton of places… but you don’t have to move your stuff. Cruising has the feel of an international road trip, but without the backache of sitting too long in the car. I boarded the Viking Star Homelands cruise, and over seven days we docked in Berlin, Germany; Copenhagen and Ålborg in Denmark; and Stavanger, Eidfjord, and Bergen in Norway. Passengers who took the full 15-day trip also visited Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Tallin, Estonia; and Gdańsk. Where else could you get a taste of so many places without ever having to pack and move your stuff?
2. There’s help with planning your itinerary. No matter how old you are, sometimes the worst part of a vacation is when you get stuck being the person trying to organize everything: where should you go, what’s good to eat, what tours are in the area. Cruising gives you a leg up in that department because the cruises often have companies they work directly with to provide complementary add-on excursions for their clients. That means you get the benefit of having a full, interesting day, without having to worry about getting to the ship on time.
3. Cruises are getting on the adventure trend. If you think an older age demographic means you’ll be stuck on tour bus excursions, you’ve got it wrong: There are plenty of older folks who are happy to get their hearts pumping. With Viking, I went on a seven-mile kayaking trip through a fjord in Norway, explored a disintegrating lighthouse in Denmark, and had several excursion options for day hikes. If you really want to explore new-to-you places, there are adventure cruises all over the place, from the Amazon River with Delfin to Antarctica with Hurtigruten. Even REI has cruising expeditions packed with kayaking, snorkeling, and other outdoorsy activities.
4. There are cruises to suit any interest or age demographic. Admittedly, not all cruise ships are dominated by 60-somethings. There are just about as many cruises are there are types of people. Love EDM? Try the Holy Ship! cruise. Want your kids to be entertained? Royal Caribbean and Disney cruises are regularly praised by families with young children. If the sheer size of some cruises isn’t for you, look for smaller cruise ships, which can go in shallower waters that big cruise ships can’t reach. The Viking Star, for example, only held 930 passengers. That’s relatively small for an ocean liner, and that meant it could take us to scenic Eidfjord, which had a population of fewer than 1,000 people. Beyond a single large hotel, there were no signs of it being a tourist destination — perfect for someone who wants to see more than the travel hot spots.
5. They have all the perks of a resort. Some cruises really focus on wow-factor entertainment, like MSC Meraviglia‘s Cirque du Soleil performances, Norwegian Epic‘s Broadway performances, or Carnival Vista‘s waterpark and zip lines. But many of them have a few perks in common. Like a waterfront pool on your vacations? Cruises have those. Always book spa time? Set sail and get pampered. Room service? Fitness studios? inclusive dining? Check, check, check.
6. Cruises last as long as you want them to. Cruises don’t have to mean cashing in all of your vacation time. You can book a quick three- or four-day trip, a week, or several weeks. If you really want to go for it, there are even cruises that last nearly a year and travel around the world.
7. We could all use an excuse to disconnect. Regardless of our age, most of us would love to disconnect — but not everyone wants to head into the woods to do it. Because cruise ships often take passengers to foreign destinations and travel through the ocean, cell service and WiFi aren’t a given. Not having a signal makes it a whole lot easier to step away from your phone and enjoy the moment. Like sip a cocktail in an infinity pool while watching a landless horizon. See? Digital detoxing.
Have you taken a cruise lately? Tell us @BritandCo.
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