I recently went on my first cruise. When the idea of going on a cruise came up skepticism crept into my mind. I was accustomed to flying to my destination, not taking a ship and used to measuring travel times in hours not days. My perspective on travelling changed since taking that trip. Here are my five reasons why cruising is better than flying:
Travelling becomes a journey not a destination
Boarding a plane for most people is the first step in their travel plans. The flying part is really just a means to an end, to transition between our starting point and our destination. Unless someone really loves flying, focus is mainly kept on the destination.
Travelling by cruise ship is completely different and shifts the focus from destination to journey. Even before the trip starts it is marketed as much on the ports of call as it is on the enjoyment to be had on the journey itself.
An interesting side effect of changing the journey-destination perspective is the perception of time. On long flights, even with the best entertainment, I find myself checking the time to see when we would reach our destination. The situation is different on a cruise ship as the journey is the destination. From this point of view, we have already arrived.
Room to move around
Have you ever stopped to wonder that you are travelling right now, even if you are sitting still? We are all on a giant vehicle hurling through space but don’t usually stop to think of it because of the sheer size of the Earth. There is an enormous amount of room to move around.
Flying on a plane is about as cramped as driving in some cars. At least with a car you can pull over and stretch your legs. The seating area in a plane is quite limited and there is not much room to walk around. Especially on long flights this can be irritating.
Cruise ships on the other hand have an incredible amount of space to move around. You can stay in your room, sit in a dining room, walk on deck, or swim in a pool, watch a show at the theatre, the list goes on and on. The freedom and space to move is liberating compared to the cramped area on a plane.
Instead of being asked “Would you prefer peanuts or pretzels?” a more commonly asked question is “Steak, chicken or fish for dinner?” Perhaps the most surprising aspect of travelling via a cruise ship was the unbelievable selection of food to choose from. I usually grab something to eat before boarding the plane and then slowly enjoy what small snacks are offered. On a cruise however the variety of food is immense. There is chicken, steak, pork, fish, vegetables, fruit, desserts. There is something for everyone and in seemingly endless quantities.
When airlines introduced on demand movies with the individual touch screens I thought we had reached the pinnacle of travelling entertainment. I actually wished the flights were longer just to see more movies. On a cruise ship the entertainment is so diverse it may actually be possible to suffer from entertainment overload. Each room has a TV with standard TV shows as well as prescheduled movies. But that is just the beginning. There are Broadway styled live shows, standup comedy, magic shows, bingo games, trivia shows, dance lessons, and movies on a giant outdoor screen. The most difficult part of the trip was finding the time to try them all.
Less time spent entering and exiting countries
The usual process for entering and exiting countries involves paperwork, waiting in line and less time spent actually at your destination. Things were refreshingly different when travelling by cruise ship. A logistical benefit of travelling by sea was the streamlined process of entering and exiting countries. Since all the ports of call stops were less than a day, a special process was available. All of the approximately 2000 passengers were able to disembark the ship and walk straight into the country as if they were stepping off a bus. The distinction advantage of this was maximizing the amount of time available to experience a new country. Returning to the ship was the same process with a security check point on board the ship to check returning passengers.