INDIANAPOLIS, December 5, 2017 – There are two types of tourists – those who will, and those who won’t take a cruise ship vacation.  For those who won’t, the reasons are usually not wanting to be trapped on a boat, with people you don’t know.  Fear of seasickness ruining an expensive vacation. Not liking the food.  The lack of phone and computer connectivity.

Cozumel, November 2017

Cruise Ships Arriving Cozumel, 2017

If you’re talking about today’s ships, those are lousy reasons. You’ll be amazed at the size of these floating cities, and you’ll be impressed by the service, quality of the food, and the sheer fun of the adventure.

Not every Cruise Ship is the same

The Carnival Dream,  is the Panamanian-registered full-time home to 1400 crew from over sixty countries whose native languages and religions number in the dozens. Each cruise ship is as different as any vacation destination.  Each has its own personality, each crew brings their own skills, however, they are all united in their quest to make your cruise memorable and fun.  And safe.

What makes a perfect vacation for you and your family? Believe it or not, you can find almost any activity you would want on a cruise ship. Depending on where you want to cruise, the Caribbean to Alaska,  you can find sun activities, adventure, exotic ports of call, quality onboard entertainment, even casinos.

Or you can find quiet corners, take long walks with your cruise partner, or curl up with a good book.

Gaming at sea? Sure.

Tables or slots? Your choice. (Carnival Dream)


From the crew to your fellow passengers, a cruise let’s you meet people from all over the world. Food is plentiful and delicious.  From frozen yogurt to lobster, to cheeseburgers, to incredible regional cuisines.  As you move from port to port, you will be able to see anything from a Mayan temple to a Caribbean beach party .

Things to know before you go

The season of the year will dictate where you want to cruise from and to. A four-day Spring Break cruise out of Miami will have a different flavor than a family cruise in July, or a quiet cruise to celebrate your fortieth wedding anniversary in January.

For those wanting to enjoy a more relaxing cruise, one where the goal is to read, write, relax, cruise between October and February. There is a risk of weather in the Caribbean during hurricane season, but it’s usually manifested in changes of ports rather than full cancellations.

Late January – no winter, kids are in school, spring-breakers are home, studying.  This time lends itself to a more adult experience.

The more of you who travel at once, the smarter it is to travel by car.  Talk some friends into going on the same cruise, and drive together to the port. Even if it takes an overnight in a hotel, it will be cheaper than flying.

Plus, if you are a souvenir hunter, it is easier to transport your new treasures home.

Getting on board the Cruise Ship

When you get to the cruise dock,  parking is convenient.  For a typical charge of  $20,00 per day, you can park in a secured area.

As a U. S. citizen traveling from U. S. ports, you don’t technically need a passport. A certified birth certificate and state-issued photo ID will suffice. But get a passport for the long haul. And get the passport card, too – it’s like having a duplicate passport that’s always in your wallet. Keep that ID with you until you are on board. Then put it in your room safe.

Don’t bring booze aboard the ship at the originating dock.  Alcohol is expensive on board, but many ships offer an “all exclusive” package if you want to drink big.  When you stop in ports, you can purchase alcohol, but you will not be allowed to consume it on the ship.

Shore excursions are well-done and deliver what they promise, but they are also non-refundable; certain activities will sell out before you leave shore.  It is a good idea to contact the cruise line and ask what activities sell out and which are safe to book once on board.

Weather will affect your trip, don’t let a little weather bother you. If you went all the way to Egypt, would you skip seeing the pyramids because it was raining?

Mayan Temple in Belize

Mayan Temple in Belize (Photo: Tim Kern)

On board, you will feel the pampering that a dedicated, trained staff provides. It’s okay to be human here. These (mostly young) people work hard hours for not very much money. Be nice, tip a buck or two for their extra effort. You’ll have a better experience, knowing you’ve made a good impression.

Each crew member has a story, and if you can get them to tell you theirs, you’ll be incredibly wealthier for listening.

So, be part of the next cruise’s first-timers, as typically half the passengers are. And when you come back on your next cruise, you’ll be among the other half: veteran cruisers.

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