I’ve been thinking about the benefits of taking cruise and doing land excursions versus actually living in a city/town and doing things as they occur, during the duration of a vacation for a while, and today this kinda popped up in my mind to flesh things out. This is partially inspired by my cruise from earlier this summer, so I now am able to have a better perspective on things.
I guess I’ll start with the cruise first. You get to be surrounded by people who cater to your whims and after a long day, you can relax in the pool or bar or just in front of a TV with familiar shows on to comfort you. Oh and you get to take the occasional shore excursion into town. Is this necessarily the best way to travel? Not really. However, I’ll admit that it did have its perks, namely, plotting your events has already been taken for you; you only have to pick which one you want to embark on. You also don’t have to book, check out, and rebook a hotel/hostel room, which is nice to not have to worry about it. And for what it’s worth, just looking at the price of these excursions is a great bang for the buck (excluding the actual cost of being on the cruise in the first place). I mean, you get to spend at least half a day in another city/port town at maybe a hundred or so dollars, roughly. However, my main gripe is that you don’t get to spend nearly as much time as you want to when on shore. In Tallinn, I’d have loved it if I had more than an afternoon to explore and get acquainted with the city, yet I had to prematurely cut off my time because I had to get back on to the ship.
Now, looking at actually staying on shore for the whole time while abroad, there are some tradeoffs. Yes, you may have to worry about doing things yourself, but I do like that whole independence thing; it makes you feel like you’re really getting into the spirit of traveling. Not that traveling by cruise ship is a bad thing, but staying on land is a more accurate representation of the places you’re spending time at. Plus, it adds to your perspective while only spending half to a whole day in one place cheapens, if I may say so, your experience. You don’t feel as though you need to rush through the sights and sounds knowing that you can come back the next day-that was my primary gripe with the cruise. My mom and I admittedly rushed through the Danish and Finnish National History Museums because we were in such a rush to go through them before heading back to port, which is something I regret. Also on cruises’ shore excursions, the local interactions reaches a point where you maybe buy the odd souvenir and maybe ask for directions, but not actually take time to get to know them. It’s nice being able to say “oh I’ve been to this country”, but I’d rather be able to say that “I’ve experienced this and that during my time there”. Finally, I just feel that by touching the tip of the iceberg from land excursions from what the cruise companies offer, the whole experience is somewhat shallower than normal.
In conclusion, both types of ways of traveling have their own perks and disadvantages. To me, it all boils down to what you make of your time and experience when doing these options. What do you all think about it?