Cruising’s had some bad press recently with the Carnival Cruise debacle. But Emily Schauer is here to tell us that a cruise can be just the relaxing, indulgent experience you need right now, as she shares her transatlantic cruise experience returning home with Royal Caribbean.
Since I was a little girl I’ve dreamed of the glories of being out on the open ocean. The gentle rocking of the waves, the majestic sunsets, letting my imagination run with thoughts of being on the Titanic, the general magnificence that accompanies a cruise across the ocean.
I finally made that dream a reality as Royal Caribbean (www.royalcaribbean.com) carried me home from the Peace Corps, back to America by way of Barcelona, the Canary Islands, and Nassau.
I traveled the open ocean aboard the Navigator of the Seas, on a two-week transatlantic crossing – what they call a ‘repositioning’ voyage. On such a voyage Royal Caribbean – and other companies- offer discounted fares in order to break-even on the necessary return trip to the ship’s home port.
Here is what I found to be good, better and best about transatlantic cruises.
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The ports of call are very interesting places, that a traveler wouldn’t necessarily seek out on a more traditional vacation. For example, the Canary Islands are a beautiful string of volcanic islands in the ocean off of Morocco that offer a very exotic feel.
The port of call, though, is on par with any top European city, and, depending on your preferences, you can be an intrepid explorer in the mountains, or a tireless shopper in the city.
The amenities are pretty fantastic aboard a cruise ship. There is seemingly unlimited food; a spa and gym; activities for young children and teens; a variety of restaurants and drinking venues to grab your attention;and a full gamut of planned activities from Karaoke to Bingo.
There is also a top-notch menu in the dining rooms, which changes daily. The on-board service of every kind was fantastic, and the crew is extremely helpful in meeting any of your needs.
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The best part of being on the ocean is that you have the time to appreciate its beauty, and to experience the level of relaxation that nearly all vacationers seek.
There is no reason to be anywhere, at any time. Food is available 24/7; none of the activities are required; and there are quiet places all over the ship to hide away in.
Before You Go:
There are, however, a few things to consider before jumping on the next available crossing.
Top among those is that on a cruise, you have a very limited time to explore each port of call, sometimes as little as four hours. So if you’re the type of traveler who likes to delve deep into a new place, this may not be the vacation for you.
It is also important to consider the average demographic traveling the cruises. There tends to be a large proportion of retirees looking more for luxury than adventure. The ship is more akin to a floating resort than anything else.
Lastly, consider your stomach’s temperament. The cruise ships of today are designed for as little rocking as possible, but even technology can’t tame the mighty ocean. For those easily susceptible to sickness, some unease is inevitable.
For my own purposes, a trip across the ocean on the way home from Peace Corps was exactly what I needed. I took plenty of time to read and relax, and thoroughly enjoyed getting back into the comforts of American living. It was a supremely well-spent two weeks.
Have you taken a cruise? Tell us what you thought in the comments below!