Taking Your First Cruise: A Primer

I've been cruising now for over 25 years and it's been a wonderful way to spend a vacation. There have been plenty of articles written about what to expect and how to prepare. This may offer a few insights and observations that duplicate those ideas. But, I figured that I might hit a nerve here…

I've been cruising now for over 25 years and it's been a wonderful way to spend a
vacation. There have been plenty of articles written about what to expect and how to
prepare. This may offer a few insights and observations that duplicate those ideas.
But, I figured that I might hit a nerve here of there.

The obvious decision you have to make is why cruise at all? Will not I get seasick?
Will not I get bored? Are not the rooms tiny? What if I fall overboard? What if there's a
fire? Is not it expensive?

Great questions, and here are the answers: Yes, maybe and so what? Anything
terrible might happen even if you decide to just stay home. But, cruising is like no
other vacation for the following reason: you're at sea. There, I said it. And what can
happen at sea? Yes, you could get seasick (unikely), drown (very unilaterally), or be
attacked by pirates (very, very unlikely). The modern ships have stabilizers that keep
it, her, um, stable. They are huge behemoths capable of carrying thousands of
passengers, take up city blocks, and can rise fourteen stories high. They have
spacious public areas with an assortment of dining, entertainment, swimming pools
and sporting activities. The cabins vary in size depending on budget but all contain
tv's, bathrooms with showers and storage.

The food is legendary: huge quantities at your disposal 24/7. The entertainment
can be terrific. The attendants are attentive. The crew is courteous. And the best
thing is the ports. They come to you while you sleep. The next morning, voila: a new
place to visit. The ship even docks at the port most times, or offers a short tender
(small shuttle boat) ride. Either way, in minutes, you're ashore. And the cruise line
provides many choices of port tours.

And the next best thing is that it's an all-inclusive vacation. With the exception
of alcohol, soft drinks and tipping, the base price covers everything. Excursions are
extra, though. But one can pay the basic charge and tips and not spend a penny
more, if desired.

A big plus for cruising is that you unpack only one time. And, because they go to
almost every major vacation spot, you can cruise your way around the world on
anything from 7 to 30 day adventures. As a novice, I would opt for a short, 3 or 4
day introductory jaunt. They depart from both coasts year-round. I would also
recommend leaving the kids at home this trip, it's far better to get acquainted with
the ins and outs without the extra stress. Enjoy the new venue and check out each
nook and cranny. If you like the experience, schedule something longer and you'll
probably have a larger ship to explore.

A final thought. If you are still apprehensive, talk to any travel agent and ask
your friends who have cruised. Read the cruise reviews on the Internet. But beware:
it can be very addicting and the minute you return, you'll probably be planning your
next trip.