First time cruising... hmm.

In my early twenties, I worked on an Italian cruise ship sailing from Venice through the Greek Islands. It was an experience I'm glad I had, but it didn't leave me wanting to go on cruise holidays. You see, when I travel, I like to feel like I'm discovering it on my own. I don't like feeling like a tourist. Unfortunately, when you are cruising, it can be hard to escape the people.

Fifteen years later I find myself booking a cruise holiday for my children and me to go on with friends. Clearly, cruising hasn't been on my radar. I was worried about the 'being stuck around lots of people' thing but wanted to give it a go.

And I was right. Stopping at tropical islands, I kept finding myself saying "Wow, look at this place. Imagine how beautiful it could be without all these people."

I always thought cruising could be a nice (and convenient) way to get a taster of a place, but I didn't feel this way. Eight hours wasn't long enough for me to explore and 'feel' the place, and having lots of people around that aren't usually there changes the vibe also.

Negatives of cruising:

Waiting and lining up for tables, getting on/off the ship.

If you try and eat healthily, food can become monotonous.

Plastic cups and melamine in main buffet dining room.

Lots of kids (on our ship at least).

Have to share your experience on an island with lots of other people swarming around.

Positives of cruising:

Kids have lots to do and if old enough can roam the ship by themselves

Seminars, massages, bingo, dancing, movies - lots of activities.

Adults only area at the back of the ship.

The balcony rooms are great for an escape - tranquil and beautiful watching the sunset as you cruise out of port each day.

Experience a few different places without having to pack/unpack.

Theatre performances each night.

The kids had a great time. They loved hanging out with friends, eating whatever they wanted (which stressed me out) and experiencing lots of things they don't do every day at home. Movies by the pool, mini-golf on the roof, waterslides, theatre shows and spending their money on arcade games and lollies without me knowing.

Would they like to cruise again? Of course. But would I book again? No. Cruising isn't for everyone. Some people love it; some people don't. But I'm glad I had the experience (for myself and the kids).

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