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So, You’re Not a Cruiser
The holidays are long over, you’ve been working crazy long hours, and you’re just plain ready for a vacation – and you want to visit multiple places without depleting your kids’ college fund.

The holidays are long over, you’ve been working crazy long hours, and you’re just plain ready for a vacation – and you want to visit multiple places without depleting your kids’ college fund.
Sure, you have friends that brag about their cruises and how easy it is, but you have reasons why a cruise is DEFINITELY NOT the answer. Well, my friends you’re not alone.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard:

  • Large ships are like floating cities
  • The ports are overcrowded because multiple ships dock at the same time
  • I’ll get seasick
  • I’ll feel “stuck” on the ship
  • There’s not enough time in port, I won’t even be able to experience nightlife in certain destinations
  • I’ll only get a tiny glimpse into the destination
  • Entertainment is mediocre at best
  • Cruises are for old people
  • The excursions I like are expensive, touristy, and not authentic.

I’ll bet some of those comments resonate with you. Cruises are truly affordable when it comes to all that you get for the price: accommodations, meals, entertainment, and transportation to your next location. Put aside what you’re heard or experienced and let me introduce you to some cruise options that may not have hit your radar!

Expedition Cruising
This is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in a destination. Cruise destinations include the Arctic, Antarctic, the Galapagos, Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Latin America, Norway, Greenland, Iceland, and South America. Accommodations can be very basic to comfortable luxury. Cruise Lines to consider are Hurtigruten, Uncruise, Quark, Tauck, Silversea, and Ponant.

Number of Passengers: Passenger counts vary and can range from just 50 to 300 or so.
Cost: Costs vary and can start as low as $4000 per person, double occupancy. Keep in mind that accommodations, meals, and activities are included in the base fare.
Age Restrictions: For the most part, the cruises allow children. These are not Disney cruises, so entertainment will be limited. Expeditions on the small zodiac boats may have age restrictions for safety reasons.

Yachting

Of course, you can splurge and book a small yacht just for family and friends, yet there are other affordable choices that provide you with the feel of the yachting experience. Cruise destinations include the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Panama Canal, and Ocean crossings. Cruise Lines to consider are Crystal, Sea Dream, Ritz-Carlton, Star Clippers and Ponant.

Number of Passengers: Passenger counts vary and can range from 90 to over 260.
Cost: Costs vary and can start as low as $1500 per person.
Age Restrictions: Cruises are family friendly for most ages; however, there are typically not any children specific activities for younger travelers.

Barge Cruising

You’ve heard of river cruising, but a more intimate approach that allows for a deeper view into a specific region is barge cruising on canals in Europe. If you have the luxury of time, you may want to combine a barge cruise as a starting point for an extended visit to a specific region or country. Barge cruises are generally all-inclusive and are great for large or multi-gen families. If you reserve far enough in advance, you can charter the ship and have it all to yourself. Destinations include France, Ireland, Scotland, England and Italy. Cruise lines to consider include Abercrombie & Kent, Barge Lady, and CroisiEurope.

Number of Passengers: Passenger counts range from 8 to 20 guests.
Cost: Costs vary yet can start as low as $3700 per person.
Age Restrictions: Typically, the minimum age is 12 years old. If you charter the ship, there is usually no age limit.

River Cruising

A fantastic way to visit multiple destinations is to take a river cruise. Check in, unpack once, and you’re on your way! Many of you are familiar with the cruises in Europe, yet there are river cruises on other major rivers throughout the world. Destinations include Germany, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Hungary, France, Spain, Portugal, Egypt, Vietnam, Myanmar, Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania, and India.

Number of Passengers: Passenger counts vary and can range from 28 to almost 200.
Cost: Cost vary yet can start as low as $2000 per person.
Age Restrictions: Typically, the minimum age is 12 years old.

Think About It

I’ll bet that for every objection to cruising that I listed above, there is a cruise line that will overcome it through their unique style and offers. Cruises are for non-cruisers. Now is a good time to look and book. This is “Wave Season”, essentially, the Black Friday or cyber Monday of the cruise industry, except it’s better!! It lasts three months from January through March and is the best time of year to find promotions and discounts from the various cruise lines. Cruise lines offer deals on fares and extra amenities including onboard credits, prepaid gratuities, drink & dining packages, shore excursions, and air fares.

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