This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cruising For A Vacation?

It’s already summer and yet I haven’t made travel plans. Air travel has become a never-ending obstacle course of hassles. Trains aren’t exactly convenient and road trips are no longer cheap. Without the traditional planes, trains, and automobiles—what is left?

Cruise lines. I’d always envisioned them as being glitzy “Bransons on water” filled with endless buffets, slot machines, and little else but changing scenery. I travel because I love being active and exploring other lands and cultures. Cruising, or so it seemed, was not for young, active, independent people like me. However, it looks like I’m the one that needs to take a second look. Apparently cruising has come a long way in the past few years.

Kathy and Roy Witman of Cruise Vacation Center went into business to spread the fun of cruising ( and change the opinion of people like me.) CVC is like a one-stop cruise shop. There’s a wide range of cruise industry information on their site plus you can compare all the major cruise lines and trips by destination, cruise length, price, and availability. I also like the fact that you can e-mail specific itineraries straight from their site which is immensely helpful.

Exploring their site has certainly shown me that cookie-cutter cruising is a thing of the past. Fun, excitement, multiple activities, and cultural excursions are part of the deal. If you book an Alaskan cruise, you can sign up for a glacial trek excursion. In Puerto Rico, you can venture to El Yunque rainforest. I always thought that cruising was more about the ship than the destinations— i.e. "get on the ship, make a stop for 15 minutes, get back on-board." I had no idea that cruising allowed for activities and excursions on land that I’d always had to arrange on my own.

Many of Royal Caribbean’s ships actually have ice skating, boxing, surf machines, and fitness centers on-board—in addition to high-class restaurants and other activities and amenities associated with cruising. (And I always thought I’d be the one stuck at the shrimp buffet waiting impatiently for the next port.)

Cruising hasn’t been immune to surging fuel costs, but overall it’s definitely still surprisingly affordable. I saw a 7-night Alaska cruise through Royal Caribbean starting out at $699 and Mediterranean cruises like 12 nights in the Greek Isles in the $2000-$3000 range. The Bahamas-- two nights starting at $199? Not bad, if I do say so myself. I’d written off cruising, but I may have to change my mind. After all, summer’s here and the travel bug is biting—badly.

Copyright © 2008 KLiedle
Photo credit: konaboy/flickr

No comments:

Post a Comment