Even if you don’t have vacation plans — except maybe the required appearance at an upcoming family reunion — it’s fun to think about a vacation at sea.
It turns out that the vast majority of people recently surveyed about vacations who have never been on a cruise — 94 percent — said they’d like to try cruising. The survey of 1,000 Americans 18 and older was sponsored by Carnival Corporation.
It’s easy to see why. The 30 million people expected to cruise this year will tell you.
You can visit new places — as a third of those surveyed want to do (no packing or unpacking; no navigating unfamiliar roads in foreign countries).
You can cruise from a port near home and bring everyone in the family. Carnival carries 800,000 kids a year — more than any other cruise line — and offers organized programming for kids starting at age 2.
On the East Coast, Carnival Sunrise (now sailing after a $200 million renovation) will be based in New York City during the summer. On the West Coast, Carnival sails from San Diego and more ports to Baja and the Pacific coast of Mexico.
Princess has six ships sailing from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle or Vancouver to Alaska.
What’s on your wish list? Do you want an action-packed trip, romance or to kick back and relax with kids and grandkids? Do you want the chance for adventure—trekking on a glacier, ziplining? A large ship with all the bells and whistles or a more intimate experience?
Do you want it all? Planning a cruise is one time you will want to consult a travel agent because there are so many choices for every budget.
Who’s going? Thirty-eight percent of those surveyed said they would leave the kids behind for a perfect vacation. That’s a thought.
Another 37.4 percent said they want the kids along to make memories. (Check out the Taking the Kids 2019 Family Cruise Guide for what different cruise lines offer families.)
Cruise lines say you can have that perfect vacation (or near perfect) — and bring the kids — as there are morning-till-night organized activities for everyone, even on upscale lines. Holland America, for example, which specializes in multigenerational vacations, trains their staff to work with kids who have special challenges.
It’s Princess Cruises’ 50th year in Alaska and they’re running new shore excursions, onboard experiences and more programming designed to teach as well as entertain.
Carnival Cruise Line treat littles ones to a new Zumbini music and dance program and Seuss at Sea family activities. Teens love their hang-out spaces and programs, including special spa treatments.
Forty-five percent of the women (about a third of the men) surveyed said food and wine are important on vacation. Once you embark on a cruise, indulge your inner foodie; eat all the pizza and burgers you want or diet, with huge salad-laden buffets, vegan fare and specialty restaurants in partnership with celebrity chefs. Luxurious Seabourn, for example, features a grill run by Thomas Keller.
There’s food available all day and evening if you want to partake. (Tip: I commit to walking up and down the stairs on these big ships when I cruise so I don’t come home heavier than when I left.)
Or work it off at night. The evening entertainment is super; expect everything from Broadway-style shows to cabarets to karaoke. Of course, there is lots of dancing, casinos and discos late into the night.
That there are so many affordable options it may be a surprise to the 41 percent of those surveyed who report price would keep them from cruising.
Cruising is a bargain! Sample different islands on a Carnival Caribbean cruise on three- and four-day itineraries that start at less than $200 a person. If you’re considering a once in a lifetime Alaska adventure, Princess has sailings starting at less than $700 per person. Holland America will have 20 cruises to choose from heading to the Mexican Riviera starting in October, with rates from $699.
Hope to see you on board!