The 9 Best Things About Cruise Travel

Cruise travel is not for everyone; however, with hundreds of ships and hundreds of itineraries to choose from, there is a cruise line and cruise ship to suit most traveler's dream vacation. Although most cruise lovers can identify dozens of things they love about cruising, these 9 things about cruise travel will appeal to almost everyone.

  • 01 of 09

    Most important decisions are made before you leave home.

    Emerald Princess at Sea
    ••• Emerald Princess at Sea. Photo Courtesy of Princess Cruises

    Many people have stressful jobs and are very busy. When they get to their vacation destination, rest and relaxation should be their number one priority, not making decisions as to how long to stay, where to stay, where to eat, how to get from one place to the next, etc. Once you have planned the cruise and selected a cruise itinerary and cruise ship, these important vacation decisions are complete. Most cruise lines allow you to select dining options, shore excursions, and spa treatments before you even start the cruise. Therefore, you can just board the ship and relax.

  • 02 of 09

    You only have to unpack once.

    On a cruise, you only have to unpack one time
    ••• On a cruise, you only have to unpack one time. JW LTD/Getty Images

    For those who haven't learned to travel light (and you know who you are), unpacking one time is a treat. Anyone who has ever done a bus tour or road trip in a car will appreciate how wonderful it is to have your bed move with you to the next place you are visiting. Just think -- all that precious vacation time you spent pawing through your suitcase or lugging it through the lobby of another hotel lobby can be used for fun!

  • 03 of 09

    You get just a taste of several different cities and ports of call.

    Jost Van Dyke in the Caribbean
    ••• Jost Van Dyke in the Caribbean. Caribbean © Linda Garrison

    Most travelers love exploring new cities and ports of call. Cruise ships usually spend a day in each port of call. Although you get just a taste of most ports of call, it is amazing how much you can do and see in just one day! Many times you might want to spend more time in a port, but that just means you need to return for a longer stay.

  • 04 of 09

    You have the opportunity to meet the most interesting people.

    Cruise travelers are an interesting group of people. You'll meet people from all over the world and of almost all economic groups on a cruise. It is easy to strike up a conversation with someone in a lounge or over dinner because you already have something in common--your love of travel and your means of transportation.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Cruise ships travel the world via the seas, lakes, and rivers.

    Hong Kong Harbor at night
    ••• Hong Kong Harbor at night. Linda Garrison

    Cruise ships sail to all seven continents and travelers can enjoy many of the great rivers of the world in addition to the ocean ports. Many of the most important cities of the world are on a cruise itinerary, and other sites can be visited via pre- or post-cruise extensions. Some places like Antarctica, the Inside Passage of Alaska, or the Amazon River can best be seen from a ship. 

  • 06 of 09

    Food, service, and accommodation quality is consistent.

    Although some cruise ships are certainly better than others, you are almost always guaranteed a good basic level of food, service, and accommodations on a cruise. Room, board, entertainment, and transportation for less than $100 a day is a great vacation deal. Plus, you can order seconds of any dish you love on a cruise ship; you can't do that in a restaurant.

  • 07 of 09

    You are always near the water with a balcony cabin.

    Sipping champagne from your balcony on an Alaska cruise
    ••• Sipping champagne from your balcony on an Alaska cruise. Linda Garrison

    If you travel to a beach resort, the oceanfront rooms are very pricey. A balcony cabin is more expensive on a cruise ship too, but your oceanview is always changing. There's nothing more relaxing than sitting on the veranda of a balcony cabin with a good book, an ocean breeze, and an icy drink.

  • 08 of 09

    Almost everything is paid for before you leave home.

    Room, board, and transportation are often the three most expensive parts of a vacation. These are all included in your basic cruise price. Unfortunately, more and more cruise "extras" come with a price, but many of those you can avoid if you are truly on a budget.
    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    You can try exotic foods at no extra charge.

    A zodiac laden with fresh fruit returns to the Akademik Shuleykin in Raivavae port.
    ••• A zodiac laden with fresh fruit returns to the Akademik Shuleykin in Raivavae port. Tony Wheeler/Getty Images
    Have you ever gotten adventuresome in a restaurant and ordered "something new", only to find it was not to your liking? No problem if you are on a cruise ship, you can just order something else. Since you have already paid for your meals, you can afford to try foods you might never order in a restaurant for fear that you would be stuck paying for something you did not like. Go ahead, try that goose liver or sushi!

Only about 25 percent of North Americans have taken a cruise. With the wide variety of ships and destinations, maybe it's time you planned your first cruise!