Was cruising your first taste of traveling outside of the states, & Canada, or have your been fortunate enough to see the world, before you stepped on a cruise ship?
Has cruising changed the way you visit the world? Would you now prefer to see those places in shorter spurts, with the ship as your hotel? Do you still plan vacations abroad as much as you have before you started cruising?
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I started seeing the world long before I started cruising. Truthfully, some parts of the world I first saw from a large gray ship known as an aircraft carrier; definitely a diffferent experience than a cruise ship.
Still, cruising has been the best way for Us to see the world. Since 2003, we have cruised Med (three times), Scandinavia, Asia (twice), Bermuda, and French Polynesia in addition to Caribbean and Alaskan cruises. However, you can't see the world just by cruising. Not everything is close to an ocean nor can you see everything in a two or even three day port visit. In the last few years, we have also taken long land trips to Africa and China.
One thing we have started adding are river cruises. We just cruised the Yangtze in China, will be doing a Christmas Markets river cruise Paris Amsterdam next December, and are considering a Nile cruise in 2010. River cruising in combination with land trips allow you to see more and still get some of the relaxation of cruising.
"The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."
F Scott Fitzgerald
Silversea Silver Explorer (23nts) - Kangerlussuaq, Greenland - Nome, Alaska - Aug 14
Seven Seas Voyager (30nts) - Dubai - Cape Town - Nov 14
We had done a good deal of international traveling well before we ever took our first cruise in 1976. We started with our honeymoon in Bermuda in 1968, followed by our first trip to Europe together in 1969, on the theory that we'd better get some travel under our belts before kids came along. But when they did, we kept right on going, thanks to accommodating grandparents, and other relatives and friends.
Once we did start cruising, we looked at it simply as another trick in the bag. The one thing we realized early on is that cruising is a great opportunity to give a destination the "once over" to see if it is a place we'd like to return to for a longer stay. But in no way did we ever consider becoming "cruise only" travelers, even though we've taken a couple dozen of them at this point.
2008, in fact, will be the first year in quite a while in which we won't have taken any cruises at all, although we do have one booked for 2009. Marc is right, you can't see the world in anything close to a comprehensive way just by cruising. And cruising seldom offers the opportunity to see anyplace in depth (except perhaps for embarkation and disembarkation ports).
Added to that, we have many, many friends all over the country and the world, and a good part of our travels have always involved visiting them--this year we did that almost exclusively. Obviously, you can't do that on a cruise in any meaningful way.
And let's not forget our own backyards. We have also made it a point to travel extensively within the US and to a lesser degree in Canada. So far I've been to 48 states and four provinces, and of course cruising can't help too much with that kind of wandering.
Bottom line: we'll continue to cruise, but we'll also continue to hop on planes to places that intrigue us just as we always have.
Did ALOT of travelling priot to going on a cruise ship. That will never change. Cruising is just a change, something differant , which is why we did it to begin with. I dont consider it really a way to see the world, you see highlights, the good parts, but land travel lets you see how people live, what they like, dont like, the culture and society. I have never been able to do that from a cruise , BUT I have seen things that I enjoyed and "highlights".
"If your number one goal is to make sure that everyone likes and approves of you, then you risk sacrificing your uniqueness and, therefore, your excellence."
I never would have seen parts of Central America if it were not for cruising. I consider it to be highly educational. I don't like snakes, bugs, rats, or any of that stuff and I know the cruiseline will not have those things in my cabin. It works well for me. It's such an easy way to travel and I'm a big fan of cruising!!!!!!!!!
We've never been able to afford international travel (unless you count Canada which we frequently visited in the seventies and dearly loved) until we went on our first cruise to the Caribbean in '06, '07 and now again in June all as a result of our Niece in New York who is, quite obviously, one of the people to whom I was referring in my post on BeenieWeenies thread on economics.
We would have never been able to see the islands and sights we have were it not for these fantastic and expensive vacations which are for us, the most magnificent gifts imaginable.
I traveled quite a bit for business and personal before I ever set foot on a cruise ship. I visited Japan, England, Germany, Mexico, other parts of the world and extensively traveled the old U.S.A.
I actually find cruising the "Sampler Platter of Travel". It is a great way to taste and sample different countries but, for the most part, does not give you the time required to truly experience a place. Six to eight hours just doesn't cut it.
However I find it the best way to see the world. It is also the best way for people who have health issues, like me, to still travel and have a base of operations that moves from one place to the other. It is about the best compromise you could ever come up with.
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"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
I've have been fortunate to visit most of the world, prior to cruising ( have been cruising since 1975) but I use a cruise to find out if I want to go back to the destination and spend time there...that's how I fell in love and have gone back to spend extensive land time in Santorini, Venice, Istanbul, Barbados, St Thomas, Brazil, Tortola
I've found that it's only as I've got older (36!) and earned more that I've been able to travel more extensively.
We only discovered the joys of cruising 3 years ago but agree with the others comments about how cruising is an excellent way to get a taster of other places.
However, we would have found it hard to visit parts of Australia and China on a cruise haha.
We still plan on doing land based holidays AND cruises for as long as we can
Radiance of the Seas San Diego to Vancouver
June 2010 Vision of the Seas Stockholm, Tallinn, St. Petersburg
January 2010 Golden Princess Hawai
May 2009 - Brilliance of the Seas Egypt and Eastern Med
September 2008 - Serenade of the Seas Alaska
December 2007 - Freedom of the Seas Eastern Caribbean
June 2007 - Voyager of the Seas Mediterranean
December 2005 - Explorer of the Seas Western Caribbean
Rob and I took went on our honeymoon, in 1972 to England and I visited a friend in the Netherlands three years ago. Most of my foreign travel has been aboard a cruise ship. I find that cruising tends to be the most economical way to travel. I like the idea of going to different ports to get a little insight into the life of people in another country. We always chose a different itinierary, even if it sometimes goes to a port we have been to. (there is always something new to see and do in each port and we keep an open mind). Years ago, cruising was mostly for the well-heeled; now, there are so many options opened to the middle class. With a little research, taking advantage of a down economy, there are cruise bargains out there!