by David Doolin
The cruise line business began in the 19th century. Once reserved for the very wealthy, it has become
the vacation package of choice for the budget conscious traveler. Great food, great entertainment, great
accommodations, great ports of call are all a part of cruising.
Compared to the cost of reserving a hotel at a top tourist spot, finding transportation, eating meals in
restaurants, and paying for top entertainment, a cruise can be much less expensive. Modern cruise ships
are pleasure palaces featuring excellent food and accommodations, as well as top entertainment…all
included in one price.
Cruises can be great romantic get-aways for couples. What could be better than basking in the sun on a
gorgeous beach during the day, or watching the sun set on an exotic tropical island at night? Then take in a world class Las Vegas style show to compete the evening.
They can also be great for families with kids. Our kids loved Carnival Cruise Lines Camp Carnival. It’s
a program on board ship designed just for kids. Activities are age appropriate with groups for different
ages. Whether your kids like swimming, video games, arts and crafts, sports, there is sure to be something
for everyone. The festivities at camp carnival begin with a disco night just for kids, followed by ice
cream sundaes. Parents love it because it allows them time to do what they want to do. Pagers are provided
in case your child needs you.
Carnival Cruises also provide some great excursions once the ship docks at the various ports of call.
(For an extra fee.) The activities are numerous and range from lazy days on the beach, to shopping trips,
nature exclusions, marine encounters, visits to historical sites and more. Helpful brochures are provided
as well as on board information sessions with lectures and videos to help you make your choice. You can
also purchase tickets on board ship for your further convenience.
Some of our favorites have been the Atlantis Submarine, the Turtle Farm, Stingray City and Seven Mile Beach
on Grand Cayman. Jamaica offers the Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios which is a 900 foot climb to the top of
the falls (in the water!). Don’t worry, its easy enough that the kids can do it. Great fun on those hot
tropical days! Not far from Dunns River Falls you can experience the Dolphin Encounter, in which you get
into the water and actually pet and play with the dolphins under the supervision of trainers. Kids and
adults will enjoy this one.
If your interest is in history and ancient culture, the Mayan ruins can’t be beat! There are two excursions
available from Cozemel, Mexico: Tulum and Chichen Itza. Tulum is absolutely stunning in its setting on the
beach. Although climbing of the pyramids is off limits here, the tour guides are excellent in presenting the
Mayan culture and history. Chichen Itza is further inland and requires a bus ride to get there, making the
entire excursion about 8 hours. It’s worth it though. There are many more ruins to see and you can climb the
pyramid there. An excellent Mexican buffet is provided by the local hotel there. Be careful, some of the
food is HOT!
Looking for a top vacation value? Book a cruise!
About the Author – David Doolin writes on travel and vacationing related issues. You can learn more
by visiting my blog, http://topvacations.blogspot.com.