While I’m on my cruise, I wanted to share a collection of thoughts on their best cruise ever from some of my favorite travelers! I’ve definitely added a few more cruising destinations to my bucket list!
Finding Myself In The Galapagos
by Matt Long, Founder & Publisher of LandLopers
While I’ve enjoyed every cruise I’ve been on, my favorite is the one that changed my life forever. In 2009 I won a sweepstakes (yes, people do win them) & the prize was a cruise for two to the Galapagos with Lindblad Expeditions.
As an animal lover, it was a dream trip. Over the span of a week my partner & I walked with giant tortoises & swam with sea lions. It was extraordinary & I can honestly say that it was a life-changing experience, but not just because of the scenery and luxury accommodations: that trip was the catalyst I needed to start my own web site. I wanted to share my experiences & try to inspire others to get out there & have their own life changing experience.
So it wasn’t a spa or nice meal that made this my favorite cruise; it was a something intangible, something so remarkable that my life was never the same again.
An experiential traveler at heart, Matt Long shares his adventures with thousands of readers every day through his award winning site LandLopers.com. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Based in Washington, DC, Matt has been to more than 60 countries and all 7 continents. Follow Matt’s adventures on Twitter at @Landlopers, on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, & Google+.
by Simon Duvall, the brain behind #CruiseChat
Wow. It’s hard to pick just ONE favorite cruise, having been on over a dozen. I’ve cruised aboard the World’s Largest Cruise Ship, Allure of the Seas; sailed to Central America on the MV Explorer, known for Semester at Sea (though she also sails fun Enrichment Voyages for adults); and explored the waters of Alaska on Diamond Princess.
But my most recent cruise – an 8-night journey along the California Coast and into the heart of wine country – on Azamara Quest tops the list. What you might find surprising is that it was easy to forget I was on a cruise ship… it felt more like boutique hotel. With under 700 guests & over 400 crew, the Quest is intimate & perfectly sized. She can dock in smaller ports that big ships literally can’t get to. Azamara Club Cruises offers destination-focused itineraries, which means more time in port, late night departures & overnight stays. We were docked in the heart of San Francisco for 2 nights & 3 full days, just steps from Fisherman’s Wharf.
The highlight of the cruise for me was what they call an AzAmazing Evening… a special one night only event. From San Francisco, we traveled to the Napa Valley & the historic Inglenook Winery, owned by Francis Ford Coppola. We were free to explore the mansion & grounds. The best part? The wine was flowing freely & gourmet food & live entertainment awaited in every room of the mansion.
I have to say I was a bit spoiled by my experience on Azamara Quest; it’s going to be a big adjustment the next time I board a 3,000+ passenger ship. From the small ship, & the itinerary it sails, to the friendly crew & the nearly totally inclusive cruise fare, Azamara Club Cruises sets itself apart from the competition.
No Ports? No Problem
by Doug Parker
Cruise lines have to keep up with the trends of where people are vacationing, so a couple times a year cruise ships move from one part of the world to another, to meet the demand of vacationers. Last fall I had the opportunity to sail on one of these repositioning cruises aboard Carnival Sunshine, from Barcelona to New Orleans. The cruise was 16-nights & made the voyage with three port stops & a lot of sea days.
One takeaway from the sailing was that cruise ships really are floating resorts. This sailing had a lot of days at sea & I didn’t once get bored. Carnival Sunshine has over a dozen places to eat, drink & outdoor areas to keep me entertained, like the water park & ropes course. One of my favorite areas on the ship was Guy’s Burger Joint, created by TV personality & celebrity chef Guy Fieri, these made to order hamburgers are to die for (so are the calories)!
There always seems to be this misconception that cruising is so expensive & you need a lot of money to take a cruise vacation. I sailed 16-nights for $399, that’s under $25 per day! When you factor in the airfare & taxes, it was still under $50 per day. Not bad for a two week vacation across the Atlantic!
If you have the time and looking for a budget friendly vacation then consider a repositioning cruise.