Some people like to cruise. Some people don't. Some are in between.

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At first, I disliked cruising. I could not for the life of me imagine myself stuck on one of those huge boats with thousands of people. Why would anyone want to do that? I would much rather be on my own where I can control when to go, where to go, how long I can stay at a certain place and who I chose to hang out with.

And then there was that first cruise that changed at how I view cruising. When our friends (a couple) invited us to join their large family on a weekend cruise to the Bahamas, we felt it was the right time. Not only were we with experienced cruisers, but we were in the company of friends as well. They said it was safer for first timers to go on a 3-day cruise with friends because if you didn't like it, you only have 3 days to suffer and you're not really suffering because you are having a good time with your friends. Plus, we got our tickets at a really good deal so it was almost a win-win.

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Our first cruise ship, otherwise known as the party cruise.

On that note, let me share with you MY yays and nays to cruising. And this is in no particular order.

Yays!

  • No hassle, stress free vacation. This is the biggest benefit of cruising. Once you paid your tickets, accommodations, dining and on board entertainment are all taken care of. Choosing a shore excursion is a different matter altogether, but more on that later.
  • You get spoiled. From your room stewards, to the dining staff, to the bar staff, even the activities director and entertainers, to just about any crew member ready and willing to please and meet your cruising needs. Aren't those towel animals so stinkin' cute?
  • All you can eat food at any time of the day or night. 'Nuff said.
  • Set itinerary. You know what time you embark and disembark, which place you'll dock next, how long you are going to be on that port, how many sea days (if any) you have, all activities and entertainment on board. Everything is set on paper.
  • The variety of food choices in one setting, American, Italian, seafood, Asian, barbecue/grill, a salad bar and a wide assortment of sweets and desserts.
  • You don't have to worry about how to get home when you have had a little too much to drink because you don't have to drive hence, giving most everyone an excuse to party the night away. An added bonus, they have child care so when you want to stay up late, for an extra fee, you can leave your child supervised in their care.
  • There are tons of stuff for kids and teens to do, supervised of course by the ship's crew, so the adults can have their adult time too.
  • You are totally disconnected from the outside world. There is no cellphone service unless 1. you are on US territory (Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands) and 2. you purchase their ridiculously expensive wifi/internet on board. Or if paying an outrageous phone bill for international data roaming does not matter to you at all because you gotta post on your instagram your latest photo of you drinking that pina colada in the Bahamas, then you are still basically connected to the "real" world and this would not apply to you. 
  • Cruising is almost like being in an all-inclusive resort, only floating in the ocean.
  • You get to play dress up one or two nights, depending on the length of your cruise. This is a chance to wear that three piece suit or your floor length evening gown. Looking glamorous is the name of the game. But you don't have to.
  • If you are into gambling (I'm not), a casino is ready and available once the ship reaches international waters.
  • Duty free shopping.

Nays!

  • You don't have the freedom to do whatever you please. There is an itinerary for everything (see one of the above).
  • You risk coming into contact with "strange" people. Of course, you can avoid them but being confined in a boat for a couple of days, there is always a chance you run into them again unless you stay inside your cabin forever.
  • If you are used to being spontaneous and changing plans the last minute, cruising is not for you.
  • Trying out the local cuisine and delicacies of the country you are visiting is almost out of the question as they only serve you typical standard food/snacks.
  • Sometimes when you visit a place, you realize you like it more than you expected but because your time off the ship is limited, you don't get to do much. You don't want to be left behind after everyone has embarked! The ship is not going to wait for you.
  • A cruise ship is like a floating petri dish. With the thousands of people milling around, you'll never know what bacteria or virus is growing at the moment. Outbreaks can occur and when it does, it can get nasty.
  • Big rough waves can be too much for some people. Seasickness is no joke. Not to mention trying to walk and stay balanced while the ship is swaying side to side.
  • Some cruise ships have rooms the size of a walk in closet. And don't get me started on the bathrooms. I'm lucky I'm petite.
  • It can get expensive if you don't watch your spending. Sure, everything is included after you paid for your tickets but remember, alcohol and soda are not included, shore excursions aren't, and so are those $20 photos, souvenirs, casino expenses and other odds and ends. It can rack up. Make sure you check your statements accurately. Most cruise ships add a daily tip/service charge or sometimes that expense that is not supposed to be there.
  • Shore excursions if purchased from the ship are very expensive! It is best if you wait till you get to the port and check out local tour guides. You can also do advance online research for tours you may be interested in. Or this is your chance to be brave and explore independently.
  • If you fall off the ship, accidentally or not, you may or may not be found.

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My 5th cruise, otherwise remembered as the slowest most relaxing cruise in history!

After that experience, hubby and I agreed we could never be on a cruise ship all by ourselves. It would have to be with friends or family. If we decide to travel to a certain place, we (I, most especially) would rather fly and stay there for a couple of days.

But whichever you prefer, as long as you are having FUN and having a meaningful and learning experience while traveling, then that is what truly matters.

Do you like cruising or are you more of an independent traveler?