Thursday, October 9, 2014

Some Different Cruises

One of the most popular things that my friends do is go on a cruise.  Now, let me be more specific, they go on a Caribbean Cruise.  Sometimes they go to the Disney Island on one of their cruises.  Sometimes they go from Sandals Resort to Sandals Resort.  Sometimes they stop and visit some dolphins or go where their guides take them and things like that.  It's fun.  The ships are like theme parks with malls and casinos.  It's sometimes like Vegas on water.  I get it, there's a waterpark on deck.  There are all kinds of restaurants.  There are nightclubs and shows to go see.  There are movie theaters and spas.  It's a great way to travel and I would never argue that.  I just wonder if most people are aware of how many truly amazing cruises there are that most people don't really know about.

Do you really want to spend your time on the ship when you cruise?  If so, I have a great one for you.  Take the transatlantic trip on the Queen Mary II.  This ship goes from New York to England and vice versa.  It's a luxurious trip and it gives you all the time in the world to spend on the ship.  They have great food, great entertainment, great shopping, great accommodations.  You can't beat it.  It gives you that sense of living in a much older time and getting to experience the honor of travel as your ancestors did.

Extreme is your thing?  Well, you can cruise to either pole on icebreakers built and run out of and by Russia.  The cruise to the North Pole leaves from Murmansk and the the cruise to Antarctica leaves from Argentina.  You get great accommodations, because they have not just turned over a working ship for a cruise.  They have all the amenities, including swimming pools.  Just tell your friends that you went swimming while on a cruise to Antarctica.  No one will believe you, so take lots of photos.  Take some of the penguins and the weather stations too.

Now, if you take a river cruise, say to the Amazon, you may not be getting the luxury accommodations that you would find on a standard cruise line.  However, you will get to see the Amazon.  River cruises are one of the great compromises of travel.  Let's say you like to go on a cruise.  You get to move around and see lots of locations in exotic parts of the world.  Say your partner likes to get out there and explore an area to see how it works.  This is your middle ground.  River cruises run all over the world.  They go on the Mississippi, the Hudson, the Yangtze, the Amazon, the Nile, the Volga, the Danube, the Rhine, the Rhone, the St. Lawrence Seaway, you name it.  They don't have a lot of fancy stuff and they tend to have a smaller group of travelers, but they do spend a lot more time in port so you can see what goes on in the part of the world that you're visiting.  You get to see a lot more of the cities you stop in.  You have the time to go shopping on shore, so you don't need all the shops on the boat.  You have a chance to go to the opera in town, so you don't need a lot of shows on board.  If you want to go to a casino, you can just get off the boat.  It gives you a chance to try local restaurants, activities, museums, entertainment and shopping instead of doing so much on the ship.  It's a great way to travel.

There are cruises for the adventurous.  There's a cruise to Cape Horn, which is one of the most difficult places on Earth to get to.  As any sailor throughout history will tell you, the weather around that cape is horrendous.  Even if you take the cruise that goes there, you may not get to walk on that piece of land, because the weather may be too bad to stop.  It happens on these cruises.  They make no bones about it.  But adventure cruises are great for some folks.  They love to say they did some of the riskier things in life.  Cape Horn is one of those trips.  Some people also like to take a schooner cruise, where you can be part of the crew if you want to and help sail the giant ship.  Some folks like to go out along the big island of Hawaii where Kilauea is erupting.  Some people like to get up close and personal with whales and glaciers in Alaska.  It all depends on what you're looking for.

Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, and many other Asian countries have cruises.  There are all different kinds.  You can go on a Junk, a ferry, any number of private sailing boats, or a standard cruise ship.  In Ha Long Bay you can cruise around and see grottoes.  In Indonesia and Malaysia you can cruise from island to island.  You can dress up like drag queens and sing in Karaoke contests on some of the ones out Japan's way.  It's all about what you want to do.

Here's one for you, you can cruise the whole world.  They do have world cruises.  That's the creme de la creme of cruising.  It takes the better part of the year, and you never have to move your stuff.  If you really want to see the whole world, cruising is not a bad way to go.  You'll be on one of those ships that has everything, and you'll be stopping in a lot of ports and for longer than on a standard cruise.  If you are in no hurry and you want to see the world, try that.


But cruises are readily available pretty much anywhere that there's a suitable body of water.  Baltic cruises have been all the rage for years.  The elite love to cruise the Mediterranean.  The fjords of Norway have always been a big favorite.  To go to Pitcairn Island, be prepared to take a boat that only goes there every couple of months.  There are ferries that run from Denmark to Iceland.  There are cruises off the coast of Greenland, and through the inside passage up the west coast of Canada into Alaska.  They cruise along the Columbia River and the Kamchatka Peninsula. Cruising has a lot to offer, and I've been trying to let people know that there is more to cruising than just having fun on a ship in the Caribbean.  Be different.  Take a cruise that none of your friends have ever heard of.  Go see the North Pole.  Cruise the rivers of Russia.  Take a riverboat up the Mississippi.  It's all about adventure, and this blog has always been Adventures for Anyone.  Cruising is an adventure that anyone can enjoy.  Take a shot.  Choose something that everyone has heard of but put a twist on it by picking a cruise that isn't that normal to most.  Go through the Panama Canal.  Stop in the Galapagos to see what Darwin once saw.  Swim with pink dolphins in the Amazon.  Try to reach Cape Horn.  It's all about the adventure.

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