By Michael Akana at Nov. 15. 2014.
      Romantic couple on beach looking out on cruise ships side by side

      Comparing Cruise Experiences

      Is short cruise is a good way to “test the waters.” If someone has never cruised before, they may try to take a short cruise to see how they like it. Is a short cruise a fair test of the cruising experience?

       

      Perhaps, but I don’t find it a fair measure of the cruising experience. Short cruises seem a bit rushed. The day of departure is all about getting aboard, going through muster stations and learning the layout of the ship. The first “real day” at sea, I’m just getting settled in. The day before disembarkation, I’m busy packing and wondering where the time went. The day of disembarkation is all about customs, immigrations, waiting in line again. On a seven day cruise there is time to relax and forget for a while that you will have disembark someday.

       

      Some people look for a short cruise because they can only get away from work for a limited time. Others seek low prices. Discuss with your travel agent exactly what it is you expect out of your vacation. There may be other ways of achieving their goals without compromising the vacation experience. What about a local departure?

       

      If the goal is price, departure from a local port saves on air fare. If the goal is getting more work in before and after the trip, there is a savings in travel time. In fact, we bring a Sprint-card-empowered computer for access to e-mail and work files while docked at domestic ports. I was able to give a convincing argument that a 10 Day voyage from the local San Francisco port over a holiday weekend actually gave more time for productivity for a telecommuter friend than would a 7 day departure involving a half day of flight each way. And yet….I would still rather go on a short cruise than not cruise.

       

      How do you budget your vacation? If you drink more than two sodas a day, perhaps a beverage card save you money.  Don’t shy away from a luxury brand just because the initial cruise fare is higher. As you move toward the luxury brands, wine, liquor and even shore excursions may be included. Consider the per diem cost of the cruise, after factoring in flight, hotel, and on board expenses. Four day cruises are often cheaper than a three day weekend cruise. Seven day cruises may have a lower per diem cost than shorter cruises.

       

      Of course, a short cruise may be exactly what you need, but don’t shy away from looking at longer cruises or luxury brands.

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