woman standing with luggage at airport

Why Cruising Is the Best Hassle-free Vacation

When people want to go on vacation, sometimes price is the primary consideration. We’ll talk about that in another post. But perhaps just as important is how easy it is, not just to go on vacation, but how hassle-free the vacation actually is.

So in this post, I’m going to show you why a cruise is the most hassle-free vacation you can take.

Reasons why a cruise is the most hassle-free vacation:

  • Easy to plan
  • Flexible travel dates
  • You can make payments over time
  • Your meals are included
  • Finding places to eat is easy
  • Can accommodate special dietary needs
  • Entertainment is included
  • Activities on a cruise are free
  • Visit various destinations, unpack once
  • No need to rent cars
  • Room is cleaned twice a day

Let’s get into more detail to prove why cruises are the best hassle-free vacation you can take.

Easy to Plan

First out of the gate, a cruise is easy to plan. There are a couple of ways you can go about doing this.

The option that first comes to mind is to book it online yourself. There are big websites that book vacations of all kinds that you can use.

If you decide to book online, you’ll want to make sure you have the necessary passport information available for everyone that will travel with you. That includes children.

Should you decide to use a travel agent, it actually gets easier.

Your travel agent will guide you through the process, asking you the questions you’d need to ask yourself if you used a booking website. One of the best things about using a travel agent is that they will communicate to you any details that may change leading up to your cruise. That includes payments. We’ll get into that in a minute.

Flexible Travel Dates

Cruises are the ultimate in flexible travel dates vacation packages.

One of the great things about cruising is that you can travel just about all year long. That means whenever you’re available to go on a cruise, there is almost certainly going to be a cruise you can take.

That might mean considering a different cruise line than the one you originally planned. But cruise ships are like bus routes on public transportation. Once it gets to the end of the line, it turns back and makes the same run again.

Cruise ships do the same thing. Once it returns the passengers it has hosted back to the home port, it picks up new people and sets sail again. So there is a strong possibility that your favorite cruise line will be able to accommodate you.

This is particularly good for people that have to notify their job in January when they want to take vacation.

With a cruise, you can plan one years in advance. This actually brings us to the next reason why a cruise is a hassle-free vacation.

You Can Make Payments Over Time

One popular feature of cruising is the ability to make payments over time for your vacation. But even that doesn’t highlight just how awesome the arrangement is.

First, you only need a small deposit. Sometimes as low as $100.

Next, depending on how far out you booked your cruise, you can make payments on your vacation up until just over a month before you are scheduled to sail.

What’s great about this is that even if you miss a payment, you don’t lose all your money. Of course, that means you’ll need to come up with everything that’s left before that cutoff time mentioned in the last paragraph.

It’s not uncommon for experienced cruisers to book vacations two years or more in advance. This helps them budget.

Related to this perk is the fact that going on a cruise will cost you much, much less than staying at a resort on land.

Meals Are Included On a Cruise

8 shrimp in a bowl
Shrimp dinner dish on Norwegian Sky

A question that many first-time cruisers ask is, “Are meals included on a cruise?”

The answer to that question is a resounding, “YES!”

I’ll tell you, even though I’m an experienced cruiser, I have to put away everyday life to remember that food is included. Because in everyday life, anything you want to eat requires taking out the wallet.

When you get onboard, you’ll see eating places everywhere. Normally, when you see that many places to eat, you’d be in a mall food court. Where you would have to pay for anything you want to eat.

That’s not the case on a cruise ship. If you want it, eat it.

I should add a disclaimer to this. On smaller ships, just about anywhere there is food, it’s included in the cost.

On larger, newer ships there are establishments that do come at an extra cost. Even the casual food venues. For dinner, most ships have specialty restaurants that will cost extra. Expect to pay the same as you would for that type of food (French, Italian, Brazilian, etc.) as you would on land.

Don’t let that scare you away!

Most eating places on a cruise ship do not fall into that category. After you’ve made your final payment for your cruise, there are more than enough restaurants (including the main dining room) with a variety of food to choose from to convince you that you’ll need to renew your gym membership.

Finding Places to Eat Is Easy

That’s a good segway into our next point: finding places to eat on a cruise ship is easy.

We’ll start with the most convenient.

Room service.

As is the case in most hotels, room service menus will be scaled back from what you can order in the main dining room. But your choices and the quality of the food you’ll receive will still be top notch.

Depending on the cruise line, you may or may not have to pay a delivery fee. It’s not too expensive. And you won’t have to pay out of pocket. If a fee is charged, it will be added to your cabin account that you’ll settle on the last day of your cruise.

Another place you can always find food is at the pool area. This will usually be backyard BBQ and pool food – hamburger, hot dogs, etc. Some ships have specialty restaurants (still free) where you might be able to pick up tacos or other food.

The infamous buffet is yet another stop you can make to fill your belly.

Typically situated on the upper decks, the buffet is a popular place for families to eat during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eat as much as you want. No extra charge.

If you want to catch a sports match while enjoying your food, head over to the sports lounge. Each cruise line calls it something different. But if there are TVs and food, you’ve found the right spot.

The food here is also included in the price of your cruise. No hidden charges will show up on your account. Unless you get drinks and didn’t pay for the drink package. In that case, yeah, you’ll spend a little extra money.

Littered throughout the ship are places where you can get salads, sandwiches, sweets and other food items to enhance that feeling of being on vacation.

Finally, we get to the Main Dining Room. Despite all the cruises I’ve been on, I still am baffled as to why more people don’t take advantage of it.

Most new cruisers think that the Main Dining Room is just for dinner.

That couldn’t be more wrong!

The Main Dining Room (also known as the MDR) give you waiter service, real silverware, tablecloth – everything you’d experience for dinner.

The choices of food items, presentation, and quality are also going to be different than eating at the buffet too.

For example, if you get cranberry or orange juice in the buffet for breakfast, it’s going to be the kind that comes out of a dispenser.

Get those same drinks in the main dining room and you will instantly see and taste the quality difference. Dispenser orange juice vs fresh squeezed taste.

As you can see, finding places to eat on a cruise ship is a lot easier than on land. And you don’t have to pay extra for it.

Can Accommodate Special Dietary Restrictions

When on a cruise vacation, if you have special dietary restrictions, there’s no need to fear that you won’t be able to eat anything.

Before you finish your booking process, you’ll see a screen that asks if you have any special dietary requirement. If you are using a travel agent, they will ask you this also.

It’s important to fill out this form if you have special food you need to eat while on vacation. The cruise line takes this information and uses it to order the food for your sailing.

Whatever you do, don’t attempt to bring your own food with you and try to get on the cruise ship. It ain’t happening. You cannot bring outside food and expect the chefs on the ship to prepare it. That’s for logistic and food safety reasons.

But know that if you have special dietary restrictions while on your cruise vacation does not mean you won’t be able to enjoy your meals.

Entertainment Is Included

A favorite of many experienced cruiser is to go to a show after dinner. These shows are Las Vegas and Broadway quality productions.

And that’s the great part about sailing. Entertainment is included on a cruise. Because I want you to be fully informed, there are some instances where you will have to pay extra for the show.

For example, MSC Cruises has partnered with Cirque du Soleil to perform shows that can be seen exclusively on MSC cruise ships. It comes in the form of a dinner and a show. Thus the upcharge.

But for the most part, there are impressive performances that can be enjoyed on cruise ships.

I didn’t even get into the lounge acts that are also popular. Jazz trios and quartets, cover bands, and piano players taking audience request. Your entertainment choices won’t be a problem if you decide to take a cruise.

Activities On a Cruise Are Free

There is almost no end to the activities you can enjoy on a cruise. And these activities on cruise ships are free.

Play basketball, miniature golf, walk the ropes course high in the air, climb up a rock-climbing wall at sea – the list goes on and on.

If physical activities aren’t what you want to do on your cruise vacation, there are other activities to engage in.

TV game show type events are held where volunteers get prizes and awards to spend on the ship. There’s everything from classes to fold towels into animals, making flower arrangements, learning to create ice sculptures. Again, the list is extensive.

Now, planning for all these activities might sound like anything but a hassle-free vacation. But what makes this hassle-free is that each night after your room is made for the evening (more on that later) you are given a printed itinerary.

In the itinerary, it will list what activities are scheduled for the next day, what times they are and where they will be held. This allows you to plan your activities for the next day without having to know ahead of time what’s available as you would a land-based vacation.

Visit Various Destinations, Unpack Once

How much do you think it would cost to stay in San Juan, Puerto Rico then visit Sint Maarten, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands?

I don’t know either. But it would be a lot.

Even if you used San Juan as a base of operations, just getting to those other islands would add to the cost of your vacation. And if you’re traveling with a spouse and children, it’s not even worth considering.

On the other hand, if you booked a cruise, you’d unpack on the first day. After you enjoyed some of the activities on the ship and went to sleep, the next morning you’d be in a new location.

You walk down the gangway (if you’re new to cruising, this should help you understand cruise terms), enjoy the local scene, get back on the ship, eat, sleep and do it again in a day or two.

That’s the life of a person on a cruise.

There’s no need to pack up and book another hotel. Transportation to the next island happens while you sleep. And it’s all included in the cost of your cruise.

If nothing else, this makes cruising the most hassle-free vacation.

No Need to Rent Cars

This is in line with the previous point.

Because the ship takes you everywhere you will visit, there’s no need to rent a car.

You might be thinking that you should rent one when you stop in a new port. But it’s really not necessary. And here’s why.

For one, your ship will be docked for a day – maybe two. Because most of these places will be new to you, if you had to drive, you might waste most of your time trying to find your desired tourist attractions.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, if you aren’t back on the ship by the all-aboard time, the ship will leave you. And you’ll have to foot the cost of getting to the next port or getting back home.

The best way around this is to book an excursion through the cruise line. The great part about this is that, even if your party is late getting back to the ship, the cruise ship must wait for you.

That’s right. The cruise ship must wait for everyone to get back that booked an excursion through the cruise line.

You do, however, have the option to book an excursion on your own. In this case, the cruise ship does not have to wait for you if your excursion is delayed getting you back.

If you do decide to go this route, make sure the excursion company you book with has a guarantee that they will pay the cost of getting you back to your ship at the next port if they delay getting you to the ship on time.

Room Is Cleaned Twice a Day

towel shaped like an elephant
Towel shaped like elephant

Finally, the last thing I’ll list as a reason cruising is a hassle-free vacation is that your room is cleaned twice a day.

That might not sound like a big deal. After all, if you stay in a hotel, your room will be cleaned. Once. Hopefully. If they get to it before you get back to your room.

That’s not the way it works on a cruise. Hospitality is taken to the ultimate degree on a cruise ship.

When you leave in the morning for breakfast, your room steward will be in your cabin almost as soon as you leave it. In fact, by the time you eat breakfast, your bed will be made and your room will be clean.

This not only makes cruising hassle-free, it also makes for an awesome vacation.

When you come back after breakfast or later, it’s not uncommon to take a nap. Which means you’ll mess up the bed.

Sometime between the 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock timeframe, you’ll head off to dinner. When you return, your bed will be made again!

How awesome is that?

You had a good meal, enjoyed a show. Maybe you spent some time on the deck enjoying the sunset. Now you return to your cabin, tired and satisfied. And your bed is made. Maybe a chocolate is on the pillow, depending on the cruise line. You might even have a towel animal shaped for you.

Why Cruising Is the Best Way to Travel

Hopefully, I’ve shown you why cruising is the most hassle-free type of vacation you can take.

Most things, from food and entertainment, are included in the cost of your cruise.

Activities are abundant and included in the final payment for your cruise.

You’ll be able to visit a number of different locations and only have to unpack once. The longer your cruise, the more places you’ll be able to visit.

If you’re new to cruising, I hope this removes any remaining doubt that you should take one. If you’re an experienced cruiser, take to the comments and leave your reasons why cruising is the most hassle-free vacation you can take.

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