Now is not the time to give up cruising
I had planned to write an article called “5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Cruising”, but given the current state of affairs, it seemed more fitting to candidly share why we won’t give up cruising.
A love for cruise travel is etched in our hearts here at CruiseTipsTV. However, the cruise industry has taken yet another huge hit, and many people may be apprehensive to hit the high seas anytime soon.
While this isn’t the first time the cruise industry has suffered a setback (and won’t be the last), this appears to be the most prolonged and devastating situation to ever impact travel, tourism as a whole, and the cruise industry.
In the United States alone, the cruise industry contributed nearly $53 Billion to the economy in 2018. And that’s just in the U.S.. In 2017, globally, the industry employed over 1.1 million people, and provided approximately $45.6 billion in salaries.
Certainly, it’s not just cruise travel on pause right now. Travel, worldwide, has virtually ceased, and we can only hope that in the coming months and years, it becomes safe again to venture out, explore the world, and create lifelong memories.
Here are 5 Reasons we’ll cruise again, and WHY we won’t give up cruising.
#1 – The Romance of the Sea
A silent sunrise passage through a glacial fjord. There probably has never been a better use of the phrase “indescribable beauty”. It’s so fitting when it comes to trying to relate the experience of cruising through fjords, and alongside glaciers in Alaska. There’s an overwhelming peace and stillness that accompanies and adds to the beauty of the experience. It is simply something that has to be done to appreciate the full magnitude.
The loud crash of the wake beneath the balcony at midnight. Cruise travelers often share how impactful and mesmerizing the passing wake can be, especially during the silent, late night hours. Something about the powerful ocean quiets the mind, and tunes us in to our inner calm.
The smell of salty air. You notice the salty scent as you glance at the aft wake, and STOP thinking, if just for a moment. Cruising engages the senses and provides an escape from the everyday routine. An escape from worry. An escape from the mundane.
The thrill of watching a port vanish into the distance. As you pull away from one destination, bound for the next, there’s a sense of adventure and mystery around what the next day holds.
No form of travel matches the romance of the sea, for our family.
We SO love the traditional elements of cruise travel. The custom of dressing in our best for formal night and the “entire trip is ahead of you” thrill of the sailaway party still bring the same joy they did on our first cruise together 17 years ago.
As much as we appreciate formal night, we understand there are many people that would rather not dress up… for any occasion. Well, the cruise industry understands this too, and the majority of lines have adjusted their formal night policies to accommodate those less inspired to dress up.
Cruise lines have managed to find a nice blend of tradition, and flexibility. It’s such a unique experience filled with sights and sounds that just can’t be matched on land. Oh, and does anyone else get chills down their spine when they hear the ships horn? I do! I just love that sound, and it’s just one more reason I won’t give up cruising.
#2 – Cruising is Safe
The media seems to relish piling on the bad news when it comes to cruising, and it may be tempting to think it’s time to give up cruising.
We believe that when cruise travel resumes, it will be the safest it has ever been. According to research by CLIA, we already know that cruise ships are 25 times safer than a typical city in the U.S..
The above comparison of violent crime rates at sea and onshore in the U.S. mainland is further evidence that “travel by sea aboard commercial cruise ships is exceptionally safe”.
Now, cruise lines are being forced to re-evaluate EVERY aspect of passenger and vessel safety, and the CDC will not allow them to resume until they’ve proven they can handle illness, outbreaks, and guest safety at an even higher level. How many other public areas will have to meet these intense standards?
Did you know that nearly 600,000 people sail on cruise ships every day? That’s right. Every day. While some media outlets would like you to believe otherwise, relatively FEW cruise ships (and people) were actually impacted by recent pandemic, as explained by CLIA:
“The fact remains that the vast majority of more than 270 cruise ships within the CLIA fleet were not affected by this virus. This is due, in large part, to the aggressive measures adopted by CLIA cruise lines based on prevailing guidance from global health authorities, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Those measures include rigorous screening protocols, enhanced sanitation measures and the availability of onboard medical care and treatment 24/7.”
But it’s not just about disease transmission. What about general “safety at sea”. The truth is, cruise travel is, and has long been, a safe way to travel. According to CLIA, data from the FBI supports the fact that “due to multiple layers of security, allegations of major crimes on cruise ships are extremely rare”.
Cruise operations are HEAVILY regulated with rigorous enforcement by outside authorities. The industry is regulated by: the IMO, International Labour Organization (ILO), and the World Health Organization (WHO). Also, agencies such as the U.S Coast Guard, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have full authority to regulate and enforce compliance for ships entering or departing from U.S. ports.
These regulations aren’t new. Cruises will only get more safe. If safety is a primary concern, then why give up cruising?
#3 – The Best Service We Know
Cruising will spoil you. Staff who know you by name, twice daily housekeeping services, and wonderful cuisine are a little too easy to get used to. Oh, and how about complimentary entertainment, full-service fitness centers, and childcare? Hmm…in the words of One Republic, “this has gotta be the good life!”.
My husband and I grew up with a true love for a good camping trip. And I mean, roughing it…no glamping, electricity or running water were part of our childhood camping adventures. Our family camping trips featured tents, remote camp-sights, propane-stove cookin’, and the occasional rattlesnake finding it’s way into camp.
In my case, I relished packing, on horseback, into the Sierra Mountains with all the men in my family, including my hardy 85 year old grandfather. We hauled everything we’d need to keep us alive for 5 nights (including luxuries like toilet paper) on horseback. No mobile phones, no connection with the outside world. The mosquitoes “loved” me, and the cold baths in the stream reminded me I was alive.
While I do miss camping with my “Gramper Don” and those late nights around the campfire, things have changed and our fast-paced lives call for more of a vacation. Oddly, I feel guilty even saying the word “vacation”, as if travel is only mean to be a gritty adventure. But adventure looks different for everyone.
Nevertheless, as we’ve gotten older, and our tolerance for blow up mattresses has well, shall we say, vanished….cruising has gifted us with the love of being pampered, affordably.
Sure, we still love the great outdoors & adrenaline filled experiences and adventure-travel are a big part of our lives. Yet, there’s something SO nice about coming “home” to a comfortable bed after a day of onshore exploration, while not having to think about cooking your own dinner…over a fire.
I promise, I’ll get to the point here.
On a cruise, the onboard staff and crew are incredibly special people. They are hired to tirelessly put the guest’s needs first to create outstanding travel experiences for those who choose to sail on their ship. Most of the time, we feel that the onboard team treats us like family.
For us, nothing matches the connections and bonds we have formed with the staff and crew aboard cruise ships. We talk about their loved ones, and little ones back home, learn about their home countries, and share ideas with one another about things to do in port.
As we get to know our new friends onboard cruise ships, they share with us just how impactful their jobs truly are. They are working uncommonly hard to provide for their loved ones back home, often earning for extended families who rely on their income and gratuities. They’ve chosen the sacrifice of long hours, and extended periods at sea because it affords them a lifestyle and earning potential they often can’t find in their home country.
There’s no question, the PEOPLE on cruises offer outstanding service, and it’s a strong argument for us to not give up cruising.
#4 – Seeing The World
For us, cruising is a relatively stress free way to see the world. Imagine traveling 2800 miles from Tokyo to Singapore and visiting 5 countries with JUST a carry-on suitcase. All while unpacking just ONCE.
Totally “do-able” on a cruise. And because meals and lodging are provided by the ship, cruises can be an excellent way to see the world on a predicable, set budget.
As a busy family of three (with a child and full time jobs), experiencing as many countries as we can while using as little vacation time as possible is a priority. What’s even better is just how MUCH of the grueling paperwork the cruise line handles for you when traveling internationally. Some lines even handle Visa’s and other complex necessities for a fraction of the cost and trouble of doing it yourself.
For example, cruise ship passengers visiting St. Petersburg, Russia are are permitted to visit Russian ports without a visa for a period of up to 72 hours. Here’s how it works: You are permitted to ashore without a visa during port calls, if you’re with an organized tour and accompanied at all times by a tour operator who has been licensed by Russian authorities. Cruise ships offer shore excursions that meet these requirements, or you can arrange them on your own with licensed shore excursion providers.
Perhaps what excites us the MOST, is that there are hundreds of countries to see by ship! A few of our dream destinations include Northern Europe, Antarctica, Asia, Tahiti and her Islands, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Russia and the Baltic Region, Greece and a full transit through the Panama Canal. Just to name a few!
#5 – Value Beyond Compare
Speaking of budgets, we’ve yet to discover a more economical way to experience travel. Cruise travel allows you to customize your vacation, and to travel on a budget in a way other forms of travel don’t.
You can choose between organized shored excursions, or inexpensive cab rides to a local beach, based on the budget for that trip. Want a drink package? Great! DO it! Looking to spend almost NOTHING more than the cruise fare. It can be done!
The wonderful thing about the value of cruise travel is you don’t have to give up a relaxing, inclusive experience to stay within your budget. Cruise vacations include pretty-much-unlimited food, exceptional service, and fantastic entertainment, day and night. You just can’t beat the value. Here are some quick tips to help you make that budget cruise happen!
How about you? Still want to give up cruising?
The reasons our family won’t give up on cruising are based on emotion, facts, experience, and a love for the industry. Are we biased? Heck yes! Do we love other forms of travel? Sure! But, the connection to cruise travel runs deep for us.
Cruises have allowed us to truly escape and connect as a family without worrying about the little details. That affords us more time together when we travel, as well as the freedom to seek out adventure and NEW experiences!
If you’re a cruise lover, maybe you, too, can relate to the deep connection and appreciation we experience when we cruise. Will that appreciation deepen when we’re back on ships? I believe it will.
Will you give up cruising, or are you forever in love with the romance of traveling by sea? Let us know! Please feel free to direct message us on Instagram or Facebook with your thoughts, and until next time, we’ll see you on the high seas!