You’ve probably had at least one or two friends who’ve come home raving about their wonderful cruise. At the same time, a number of cruise lines have been in the headlines in recent years for all the wrong reasons, possibly making you wonder if a cruise is really a good idea. The reality is, the media tends to sensationalize isolated incidents, and thousands of cruises depart from ports around the world embarking on adventures without a hitch. Of course, as with just about anything, there are advantages and disadvantages of cruising – consider some of these while deciding if it’s right for you.

One of the best reasons to go on a cruise is the opportunity to experience multiple destinations on one trip. You can sample a variety of places, determine which you like best and perhaps plan a return trip to explore it more in depth. This luxury helps you to avoid committing an entire vacation to one destination only to find it’s not your cup of tea. It also means you can avoid difficult decisions like whether to choose an island with breathtaking mountain scenery and waterfalls or one on which you’ll find idyllic beaches and clear waters that are perfect for snorkeling. A cruise can allow you to do both! Once you unpack, your floating hotel brings you from island to island, or city to city, with no need to lug that heavy suitcase all over. The only negative side is that if you particularly like one of the stops on the ship’s itinerary, you’ll probably have to leave before you’d like to.

Other than deciding which cruise line, cabin, and type of itinerary you’d like to experience, there are practically no difficult planning decisions to make. No worries about figuring out transportation and where you’ll stay each night, a cruise vacation is the total package. If necessary, your travel agent can even arrange your airfare to the departure port, or there may even be one within driving distance to eliminate that part of the planning. Is there a negative to having everything planned? Only if you’re the type of person who enjoys poring over travel guides for hours and diligently planning out each and every step of your vacation!

A cruise can be a great value for your vacation dollar, as the fare includes practically everything you need to have the ideal trip. Most travelers spend less money on a cruise than they would on a land vacation of similar quality. You don’t have to worry about counting your pennies while onboard, which means less stress, as all of your food, accommodations, and entertainment are already paid for. You’ll know the cost of your trip ahead of time, which can make budgeting much easier. And, the entertainment is likely to exceed your expectations – singers, dancers, and specialty performers such as magicians and comedians are good enough to rival some of the best shows in Vegas. Cruise venues with their plush seating and elegant theaters make it easy to forget that you’re even out at sea. There is also a “con” to this, as most cruise lines don’t include alcohol in an all-inclusive package, so if you plan to imbibe quite a bit you’ll need to factor that in as well.

The incredible and practically endless food options on a cruise are almost dizzying. In fact, cruise cuisine may be considered a pro as well as a con depending on your perspective. You don’t have to search for a place to eat; the food is delicious and plentiful at all hours of the day and night. You’ll have a wide range of places to choose from as far as where to eat and whether you’d like to be dressed up or go casual. So what’s the negative to all of this? There is a good chance you’ll gain a few pounds after a week of cruising, although you’ll love doing it. This is no time for a diet.

So what about the mysterious honeymoon deaths and illnesses that have miserably interrupted the vacations of some cruisers? Just like flying, incidents do happen, but they are few and far between. And, as with most accidents, misfortune is readily avoided by exercising good judgment and using some common sense. For example, most parents would hesitate to let their teenager run around any big city in the middle of the night — so it follows that they wouldn’t do that on a cruise ship either. And, needless to say, drinking to the point of not being able to function is never a good idea, no matter where you are.

As for preventing illnesses like those in the media as of late, washing hands frequently with warm water and soap should do the trick. The norovirus (the most common cause of gastroenteritis on and off cruise ship) can live on common surfaces, so washing up before eating, after using the bathroom, and especially after touching high-contact surfaces like stair railings will go a long way in helping you stay healthy.

There are few things in life that are 100 percent risk-free, but avoiding all risk means you’ll miss out on some of the very best adventures in life! Besides, being taxied from one exotic location to the next amid luxurious surroundings, fabulous food, and an endless number of things to do is hard to beat!

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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