The Cruising' Life & More
Cruising is a great way to see exotic, and not-so-exotic places in a very cost effective way. And it's fun! Well, it's fun if you don't mind vacationing with 4,000 complete strangers, some of whom are cast-offs from the Jerry Springer Show. In all seriousness, the crazies are few and far between and like any vacation there are a few pointers that can help you choose the right cruise.
The time of year you cruise will definitely determine the 'cruisers' you will be joined by. Go around spring break, Thanksgiving, Christmas or during the summer and you'll have lots of kids.
The 3-day cruises often have deal-seekers and partiers.
The longer, more expensive cruises tend to appeal to more seasoned, older travelers because they are a bit more expensive.
One cruise that I took with my mom and step-mom was out of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. That was an interesting crowd!
And once you cruise with a specific cruise line, you'll begin to receive special cruise offers for things such as casino cruises.
Bottomline, your cruise will be what you make it. We've cruised all times of the year and have loved every single one. If I were to choose my favorite time of year to cruise I would say it's over Christmas. Check out my post later this week about planning for a Christmas cruise!
Belize is a nation on the eastern coast of Central America, with Caribbean Sea shorelines to the east and dense jungle to the west. Offshore, the massive Belize Barrier Reef, dotted with hundreds of low-lying islands called cayes, hosts rich marine life. Belize’s jungle areas are home to Mayan ruins like Caracol, renowned for its towering pyramid; lagoon-side Lamanai; and Altun Ha, just outside Belize City.
St. Thomas is the gateway isle of the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. It's known for its beaches and snorkeling spots. Territorial capital Charlotte Amalie, founded by the Danish in the 1600s, is a busy cruise-ship port. Historic buildings include a 1679 watchtower called Blackbeard’s Castle, in reference to the area’s pirate history. On the harbor, 17th-century Fort Christian is now a local-history museum.
San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital and largest city, sits on the island's Atlantic coast. Its widest beach fronts the Isla Verde resort strip, known for its bars, nightclubs and casinos. Cobblestoned Old San Juan features colorful Spanish colonial buildings and 16th-century landmarks including El Morro and La Fortaleza, massive fortresses with sweeping ocean views, as well as the Paseo de la Princesa bayside promenade.
Grand Turk Island is the capital island of the Turks and Caicos archipelago, in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s dotted with the remains of salt ponds and windmills from the island’s sea salt industry, prevalent from the 17th to 20th century. The 19th-century Grand Turk Lighthouse is perched on a rocky bluff in the north. Beaches with clear water ring the island, which is home to wild horses and donkeys.
St Maarten, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is a country on the southern part of a Caribbean island shared with Saint Martin, a French overseas collectivity. Its natural features span lagoons, beaches and salt pans. The capital, Philipsburg, has cobblestone streets and colorful, colonial-style buildings lining its Front Street shopping area. The port is a popular cruise-ship stop.
St. Kitts is the larger of the 2 Caribbean islands that comprise the nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. It’s known for rainforested mountains and beaches of white, gray, and black sands. On its southwestern coast is the capital, Basseterre, and Georgian buildings from the colonial era. Anchoring Basseterre is the Circus, a plaza modeled after London’s Piccadilly Circus, complete with Victorian-style clock tower.
Progreso is a port city on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. It’s a common stop for cruise ships, which dock at its landmark long pier. An oceanfront promenade, the Malecón, is lined with beaches and thatch-roofed restaurants. The Faro de Puerto Progreso, built in 1893, is an active lighthouse. The city is a gateway to the inland Mayan archaeological sites of Chichén Itzá, Uxmal and Dzibilchaltún.
Ocho Rios is a port town on the north coast of Jamaica. A former fishing village, it’s now a resort with a cruise ship harbor and a busy bay beach that’s lined with hotels. The surrounding parish of Saint Ann is home to rainforest, rivers and waterfalls. Dunn’s River Falls is a terraced, 180m mountain waterfall with lagoon pools, surrounded by trees.