Hot on the Forums: Sail for the Ship or Destinations?

April 9, 2014 | By | 12 Comments

Why do you cruise?
If you’re reading this on a sun-soaked balcony with a glass of something suitable in hand or sailing towards exciting unchartered territories, it might seem a stupid question.
But rather like the age-old chicken and egg conundrum, do you cruise to see the sea – and the ship – or do you adore popping into port? Which comes first when you’re booking a cruise?
I used to think cruising was about seeing different places – as many as possible in fact – and the ship was my transport and floating home, and a very pleasant one at that. But, after clocking up a few nautical miles, my perspective changed. And let’s face it; some Caribbean islands are pretty much the same, however decent the rum punch.
Previously hidden ship geek tendencies started to emerge. Instead of whetting my appetite with guidebooks, I began poring over cruise line websites, gleaning as much advance information as I could about my vessel of choice. I started to give the excursion desk a wider berth, choosing to spend more days on board. (And secretly pleased I did on my last trip to Santorini when the cable car broke down, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded at the top.)
My shifting perspective has been confirmed in the forums, where members such as N747KT report the joy of days at sea and, with apologies to Scarlett O’Hara, not giving a darn about the ports. For Aquaphobic, back-to-back transatlantic crossings in January on Cunard would top the cruising wish list.
Of course, sometimes a compromise has to be reached. “If I had my way, I would love to have a different port to visit every day with no sea days,” posted Johnrich

So over to you – do you cruise for the ship or the places you visit?
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    12 Responses to “Hot on the Forums: Sail for the Ship or Destinations?”

    1. Scott M
      April 9th, 2014 @ 2:31 pm

      Until I have been everywhere, I tend to choose an itinerary with new destinations that I have not been to. Hence, the 8 day southern Caribbean on Carnival Breeze that leaves this Saturday with myself and family on board. 4 islands that I have not been to (Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Curacao) I don’t mind being on and exploring the different ships, but I much prefer destinations that I have not been to before.

    2. ryba1985
      April 9th, 2014 @ 3:22 pm

      SHIP! If you sail out of NYC on a 10 day cruise, 6 of those days are at sea and only 4 are in port. I’d rather have the right ship since 60% of my time is spent on sea days.

    3. Evelyn
      April 10th, 2014 @ 9:49 am

      I believe the saying goes, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” That sums up the way I feel about cruising. Put me on any nice ship to anywhere, and I’m in my glory.

    4. Tylor
      April 10th, 2014 @ 9:57 am

      I cruise for the ship. If I was going just for the destination I would fly right to it.

    5. Gray Sullivan
      April 10th, 2014 @ 9:57 am

      Destination is my first priority. Maybe after I’ve seen everything, that will change. If the ship were first, I’d only sail on Celebrity Solstice class ships. My next cruise will be around South America and thru the Panama Canal because I’ve never been there. I selected Celebrity because it’s the best cruise line I’ve sailed on so far and I want to stick to the 3 lines I’ve used so that I can add to the perks.

    6. Trisha Carter
      April 10th, 2014 @ 10:18 am

      We do both. Sometimes we cruise for the ports of call. Other times we cruise for the ambiance of the ship.

      Regardless of the ways we enjoy our cruise we always enjoy our cruise.

    7. Ray Nicklas
      April 10th, 2014 @ 10:43 am

      Destinations are our priority, but not so many that the cruise become port-intense. We like our shore days interspersed with sea days. Having seen many Caribbean islands, one eventually concludes they are all about the same. But we should become world travelers. Go see the world! Fly to far-away departure ports, and cruise for 14 to 28 days, or longer. Europe, Asia, Down-under, South America, Africa all have sights and experiences to expand your horizons. And do not skimp on shore excursions to save a few dollars like we did when we first began cruising. If given a choice, don’t go back to the ship for dinner because you’ve paid for it. Eat on shore when there is opportunity. Hire a local guide, and go see the countryside, the towns, and talk to the people. Also, while guidebooks may have some usefulness, buy history books. If you are doing it right, you’ll become attached to everywhere you’ve been.

    8. Cherie Wright
      April 10th, 2014 @ 10:53 am

      I sail for many reasons and it depends on the trip whether I’m ship-centric or destination-centric. Definitely in Europe, South America, Africa or Asia where I still have so many bucket list items to see, I’m all about the destination. But for Transatlantic, Canada/New England, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexican Riviera and especially the Caribbean, I choose my ship by the spa and the other onboard amenities rather than the itinerary. But let me just say, there really is nothing like being out to sea with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face watching the waves from your balcony. . . the ocean itself is the real destination and most any ship will do for me!

    9. Charlie Engelberg
      April 10th, 2014 @ 11:00 am

      Depends on the destinations. When doing the Caribbean say on the Alure or the Oasis we don’t get off the ship. We wait for the ship to empty in port and have the pools and ship to ourselves. On the other hand when doing a cruise in the Mediterranean we’re off the ship the minute it docks.

    10. Joe Davis
      April 10th, 2014 @ 11:40 am

      We look for balance if possible. We love sea days on any of the Regent ships.

    11. Melissa
      April 10th, 2014 @ 1:31 pm

      The best thing about cruising is enjoying a fabulous, all inclusive vacation. I have to take both the ship and the destinations into consideration. When choosing a ship, it’s not just about the size and amenities, but the quality of the service and Crew/passenger ratio, and of course, THE FOOD! While I like to visit new tropical destinations, I love that I can choose to do a variety of things on land and prepare in advance how much I want to spend. If I can’t afford to do an excursion in a certain port, there are always tips on how to explore more cost effectively. Best of both worlds, you can leave the flying to the birds :)

    12. Jeff
      April 13th, 2014 @ 9:34 pm

      I too like a balance. Port of departure is important too. My wife and I want to go to Galveston and New Orleans again for cruises. In that case, the ship and the ports are not as important.
      I do want to visit all the Caribbean islands, and I need to get back to St. Martin for some unfinished business. So my 2016 Cruise will have to stop at St. Martin.
      The new Royal ships (Quantum and Anthem) could be interesting by themselves. However, I’m still not sold on a 10 day cruise to spend 6 of them at sea.
      Just call me wishy-washy

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