Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sea Days or Port Days?

If my husband had his way cruises would have no sea days - just one port after another. Me, I like a nice mixture of the two.

We have been on a couple of 14-day Southern Caribbean cruises where just about every single day was in port. Halfway through I was exhausted, wanting nothing better than to sleep in till, oh, I don't know, maybe nine. Instead, I found myself staggering out of bed early each morning, awakened by - horrors! - an alarm of all things. (Isn’t that what you take a cruise to escape from?) Barely enough time to prop myself up in the shower, quickly down a cup of faux coffee, rush out the door, down to the gangway only to realize that as usual,I’d forgotten my ID in the mad panic out the door. Once ashore - and awake - I was always glad to have started so early, the entire day stretched out to explore, snorkel, shop, relax in the sun and have some umbrella drinks or ice cold beer at the beach. One more beautiful port to take in.

The downside to all the port days, though, is the price factor not even counting the most obvious one - shore excursions. If you’re not close to the ship, there’s lunch. There's drinks ashore, chairs and umbrellas at the beach, transportation, shopping, tour guide tips, ka-ching! It can really add up and in the back of my head I’m wondering to myself if I’ll ever get a chance to see what lunch is like on the ship, something I've paid for and am barely using.

How much you enjoy or don’t enjoy port days can be dependent on such things as shipboard activities or lack thereof, the weather, or how easy it is to get a chair poolside or anywhere remotely near the sun for that matter. This, of course, being dependent upon the number of chair hogs on your voyage - a topic all to itself. There are those who are content to simply like back, relax, read, whatever and never get off the ship. For them, the ship is the destination.

I don’t mind a couple of port days in a row. You can sleep in knowing you don’t have to be anywhere at a particular time. You can check out activities, or not. You can eat whenever you want and don’t have to pay for it. Port days are definitely cheaper. Well, except for those poolside buckets of beer. Or the drink-of-the-day specials. Or the shops being open. Or the casinos being open which, on the other hand, if fortune shines on you, they can be a lot cheaper!

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