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A Growing Trend In Caribbean Cruising?

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Winter comes and cruisers minds turn to escaping to the warmth of the Caribbean. That statement has been true for many years, and continues to be true.

The cruise lines continue to bring the majority of their fleets to sail Caribbean itineraries during the winter months, and they continue to sail full, even with the growing numbers of ships in those fleets.

Almost every day multiple ships are tying up at piers or anchoring off of small islands throughout the Caribbean, delivering thousands of people to the area. However, there seems to be a growing tide; cruise ship passengers staying onboard during ports of call rather than touring the islands and booking other excursions.

It used to be, if you happened to stay on board the ship while in port, you were pretty much the only ones on board other than crew who were working.

These days it seems many more people are no longer cruising to visit the islands. The growing primary intent seems to be to enjoy the warmth of the Caribbean, but not the islands. A growing preference to simply enjoy it while staying on the ship. In addition there are more people who may disembark the ship in port for only a couple of hours; long enough to do a bit of shopping, and head back to the ship before lunch.

There is most likely a variety of reasons these people are deciding to stay on the ship , or quickly return to  the ship.

– One reason may be the fact these often small islands are being flooded with tourists. With multiple ships in port, many days the ships are dropping 10,000 -12,000 passengers onto an island where the infrastucture is incapapble of handling the crowds well.

– There is a segment of cruisers who cruise only in the Caribbean; some of this is due to the move to homeport cruising and their desire to avoid flying anywhere.

After multiple visits to the same islands, these people take a “been there, done that” attitude, and choose to remain on the ship.

– Another segment feel that since they have already pre–paid their food costs in their cruise fare, and therefore, even if they leave the ship for a short time, they should return to the ship by meal time, rather than pay extra for food in the islands.

– Over recent years the cruise line’s newer ship have added amenities and activities which make them more like land based resorts; adding water parks, flow riders, even ziplines, and rope courses. Making many of the activities available in the island port redundant in the minds of many cruisers.

The type of people who enjoy resort vacations, and land based all-inclusives, are very likely never to leave the property. That same attitude is becoming more common place on cruise ships.

There’s also the segment of cruisers who would prefer the ship  simply sailed out, and spent the entire length of the cruise at sea; enjoying lanquid days floating about. With the excpetion of “special” short voyages to introduce a ship (normally tied to some sort of charity event) cruises to nowhere are not allowed under American law. This results in those people who would prefer cruises to nowhere making them that by ignoring the fact the ship is docked or at anchor at an island.

It is more likely that it’s those people who are repeat cruisers who are choosing to stay on board more often. I think it’s likely first time cruisers will spend their days off of the ship.

No doubt there’s other reasons that this trend is growing, which I haven’t thought of, which our readers can add.

Are you one of the group more likely to stay on your ship while it’s in port, or will you make certain you are off of the ship, to experience as much of every island that you can?

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

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Comment from Tim Butler
Time February 7, 2012 at 1:18 am

There could be several factors here Kuki.
1. Lack of funds to enjoy shore excursions, the economy is tight and some might just figure the cruise is enough of a vacation.

2. Been there done that, like you posted.

3. Been there and didn’t feel safe there. The Misses and I went to Cartagena, Columbia and we didn’t feel safe on one cruise we took. We both said we might take another cruise that has Cartagena in the itinerary but we wouldn’t get off the ship.

I personally cruise so I can see the different port of calls, however, If I had 25-30 cruises under my belt with most going to the Caribbean then I might be one who would just stay on the ship too.

Comment from GHarkness
Time February 7, 2012 at 3:55 am

I am one of those that prefers to stay on the ship, but I like it better when everyone else goes ashore 🙂 One of the reasons that you haven’t mentioned is that I am a little concerned about sanitation practices in food production ashore and don’t want to come back with a case of Montezuma’s revenge.

Comment from Mark
Time February 9, 2012 at 10:45 am

We enjoy the pools and spa services more when there is no crowd. Spa treatments are cheaper too! We generally go ashore after lunch for a few hours after we’ve enjoyed a morning aboard a ship we’ve had to ourselves!

I think another reason is safety. I hate being aggressively propositioned by street vendors and tour leaders. In places like Belize, this can really wear on you and make you want to just go back to the ship.

Comment from Susan K.
Time February 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm

A lot of our friends cruise to enjoy the amenities aboard ships. However, we have been on 63 cruise and still we find ways to have adventures on shore.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time February 12, 2012 at 5:46 am

I too stay aboard as much as possible, having taken 79 cruises, at least 40-plus called at Caribbean ports. Should I disembark in port, if strictly for a little shopping and to visit several key sales people that I have come to love over my long tenure of visits.

One thing that drives me MAD – closing the MDR during port visits. I will only call them the “better” ships that keep the MDR open for all meals, be it in port or for other reasons. The next level “down” tends to close the MDR for breakfast on day of arrival to a port and certainly for lunch. I abhor the buffets, and from experience, no ship offers the ulimate dining experience at the “LIDO” buffet.

There are several places scattered throughout the Caribbean and Europe shoreside that we seek for meals appropriate to the time of day. One in Rome we have been dining at for over 40 years. and some in the Caribbean for nearly as long.

There are times that a shore excursion will
tempt us, and off we will go.

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