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It’s Friday! Why not make today the day you finally do something about that vacation you keep putting off? Block out the time on your calendar, pull out the brochures and make a decision. If taking a cruise has long been on your list but you’ve resisted, let lapsed lawyer and cruise industry expert Wendy London raise anchor on the concerns (and phobias) getting in your way.
1. I won’t be able to stay in touch. Cruise ships are communications rich. While it can be expensive, you can stay in touch with friends, family and even work. Internet cafes rank among the most popular places on the ships. For those who can’t leave home without their laptop, netbook or iPad, discreet hotspot signs can be found in the public areas on most ships and wireless services are increasingly being extended into passenger cabins. Phone your thing? Take your cellphone. You can text and chat all you want from any ocean, budget permitting. If you are a current events fiend, CNN, CNBC and sports channels are almost always there for the watching.
2. It’s for old folks. Wrong! Baby boomers, young retireds and families are the fastest growing sectors among cruise passengers. In fact, if you want a holiday away from the kids, pick your cruise carefully. Avoid the school holidays when the kid population on ships increases.
3. I’ll get fat. Take the stairs instead of the lifts and religiously visit the fitness center. Also, the walking track (usually perched above one of the upper decks) will be calibrated to tell you how many circuits equal a mile. But frankly, after the first week: Enough food, already! Also, avoid organized shore excursions that ferry you around by coach. It’s much more fun to set off on foot and explore.
4. It’s boring. What would you do at home? Go see a film? Plenty onboard. Go out for a meal? Food abounds. Play on your computer? See above. Go visit friends? Hundreds onboard! Read a book? Ship’s library, your Kindle or iPad or even those dog-eared paperbacks you brought along. Go shopping? There are shops and even sales and jumble sales onboard. Play bridge? Squads of bridge players. Missing your wrench? On one cruise, my husband and a new buddy tried to reverse engineer the fancy shower taps over the bathtub. (Not recommended, by the way!)
5. It’s expensive. Wrong again. Where else can you get your hotel room, food (all day long), entertainment, transportation and educational experiences for, let’s say, $100 a night per person? Discounting drives even that price down (and of course, you can pay a lot more, if you’d like).
If your resistance is beginning to melt, here are some links to sites where you can continue your research:
Finally, no, the crew doesn’t go home at night and no, the ship is not powered by a long electrical cable plugged into Miami. Go! It will be the best thing you’ve done in a really long time.
Wendy London is a tri-national (US/UK/NZ) lapsed lawyer and legal IT consultant who, for the past 16 years, has called New Zealand home. Following careers in legal publishing, legal IT and technology law, she is now following her passion: cruise tourism. Wendy, who has enjoyed 17 cruises (as of March 2011), provides consultancy services to the cruise sector, and is working toward a PhD on the New Zealand cruise industry at Victoria University, Wellington.
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