Why choose a cruise?

If you are contemplating your first cruise, a number of questions are probably going through your mind about this type of travel experience.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions travelers have about choosing the option of a cruise:

Isn't a cruise expensive?

Not when you consider all the costs of a vacation destination. A cruise represents truly great value for your vacation dollars. The ship serves as your hotel, gourmet restaurant, theater and show lounge, and transportation--all for a single prepaid fare. All you have pay for are soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, and souvenirs.

Then there is the comfort of shipboard travel: Unpack once, and you're set for the rest of the trip. Instead of rushing from buses and taxis to airports or trains, relax in a deck chair and let the oceanliner carry you effortlessly from port to port.

Will I get sea sick?

That is impossible to predict. It depends on a number of factors, including whether you are prone to motion sickness and the condition of the seas when the ship is sailing from port to port. But the good news is that there are medications for preventing and alleviating sea sickness. We recommend you consult your doctor before your cruise. All large ships also have medical staff on board to help out.

What is there to do on a ship? Will I get bored at sea?

There is never any danger of anyone getting bored on a cruise. Every day is filled with nonstop activity. The cruise director plans games, fashion shows, and other entertainment for days at sea. You can swim in the pool, sun on the decks, watch a movie, shoot decoys, and even practice your golf drives off the stern of the ship. In the evening, there is a main show in the ship's theater, and, at sea, most ships have a casino.

What's the food like?

Nothing distinguishes a sea voyage from other types of vacation as much as the food. Ships pride themselves on the quantity, quality, and presentation of their food--prime rib, lobster tails, chocolate mousse and baked Alaska. And food is everywhere, all the time. Hedonists can eat and drink almost nonstop 24 hours a day.

Does everyone gain weight on a cruise?

Naturally, the thought of all that wonderful and free food raises the specter of added poundage. But many ships offer a spa menu with tasty, but lighter, fare. Also to help in this area, ships provide a variety of exercise opportunities, from jogging tracks around the decks to elaborately equipped health clubs and exercise rooms. Most cruise directors even schedule exercise classes and aerobics on deck. Then, of course, there is always the opportunity to burn off calories by walking or swimming while in port.

Do shore excursions cost extra?

You may choose to take an excursion in port, which has an additional charge, or you may explore ports or shop on your own at no charge. Many people, however, plan to spend a few extra dollars on some shore excursions. In the tropics, excursions typically go to scuba or snorkeling areas. There are also sightseeing trips aboard tour buses. In Alaska, there are bus, helicopter, and plane excursions to see the glaciers as well as other natural wonders.

What else should I consider about choosing a cruise?

When choosing a cruise, it is important to consider carefully the type of ship and the cruise itinerary. Be sure the vessel will stop in ports that are of interest to you. We can help you sort through the various options and select a cruise that suits both your budget and your interests.

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