If you’ve been on a cruise before, then you likely have plenty of reasons why someone should take one. But if you’ve never been on a cruise, then you might wonder what all the fuss is about.
The truth is, there’s no shortage of reasons that people take cruises. And each person will have their own favorite reason for setting sail.
That said, there are still a number of things that make cruising more enjoyable for many people than a traditional vacation. Whether it’s the fact that you can pack as much as you want, or that you get to enjoy exotic ports — or anything in between — the best reason to take a cruise is in the eye of the beholder.
Below, we’ve rounded up nearly 70 popular reasons that passengers decide to take a cruise. If you’ve got someone who is wavering on whether a cruise is for them, just show them this list to help them decide.
Cruises offer the uncanny ability to “disconnect”
Are you inundated with phone calls and emails? Take a cruise. Yes, Internet is available, but it’s expensive. Meanwhile, there’s no cell phone service at sea unless you pay high roaming fees (or make calls through wi-fi). That means you have a chance to really disconnect on your vacation and come home refreshed… instead of feeling like you never left the office.
There are no limits on baggage
Are you an over-packer? Do you like to bring 10 outfits for five days? Or are you just sick of being charged $50 to bring a suitcase on a flight? Good news — cruises don’t charge for luggage and there are no (reasonable) limits on the amount of suitcases you can bring. So stop worrying about trying to pack everything into a small carry-on like you would on a flight.
You can visit multiple places in one trip
Maybe on a regular vacation you head to Cozumel. But heading to Cozumel, Jamaica, and Key West (or any other number of ports) on a single trip? The only affordable way to do that is with cruising. A cruise is like a vacation sampler. You get to hit several spots with only unpacking once.
Cruises are cheaper than putting it together yourself
True, you can spend as much as you want on a cruise. But in most cases, taking a cruise is much cheaper than arranging flights and hotels in several different ports on your own. After all, cruise fare includes all the basics, meaning you pay one fare and get transportation, lodging, food, and entertainment all included — instead of having to book them all on your own.
There’s tons to do without going far
Want to have a drink? Eat world-class food? Gamble? Climb a rock-wall? See a Broadway-style show? Play putt-putt? Ice skate? You can do it all on a cruise, and it’s all less than the length of the ship to get to. Nowhere on the planet is there as many things to do packed into such a close area.
Childcare is included with your cruise
Yes, the “kid’s clubs” on the cruise are for the entertainment of younger passengers. But really, they are a way to let mom and dad enjoy the trip without having to watch kids all day. Cruise lines know this and are happy to provide supervision in the kid’s club as part of the fare you pay.
It’s a great place to experiment by trying new food
Cruises are known for food. And much of it is included in your fare. Not only is that convenient, but it means you can try new dishes without worrying about the bill. Try something you’d never pay for at a regular restaurant? If you don’t like it, then it’s no big deal. Just let your waiter know and they will bring you something else. It’s the perfect test chamber to try new things.
You don’t have to worry about a ride home after the bar
Normally, if you head out to a bar, then you have to worry about getting home. That usually means calling a cab if you are out at the local watering hole. On a cruise, getting “home” is just walking back to your cabin. It means you can enjoy yourself without having to worry about getting home when you’ve had a little too much to drink. It’s safer all around.
Your own personal million-dollar balcony views
Imagine booking a hotel room that has the best views possible of the water or port. In that case, you would expect to spend a fortune. But that’s what you get with a balcony room. And since you are on the water, there are no buildings to obstruct your view. It’s a million-dollar view that’s available for drastically cheaper than most high-end hotels.
24-hour food service
Want a snack at 2 a.m.? Call up room service or head to one of the eateries on the ship. No matter when you get a urge to eat, there will always be somewhere on the cruise ship that is open and ready to serve you.
Have your own personal room attendant
If you stay at a normal hotel, you likely have maid service come and clean the room. On a cruise, you have a room attendant. This person cleans your room, but also delivers daily schedules, gets to know how you like the room prepared, and can answer any questions you have about the cruise. It’s like having your own butler… who can also make towel animals.
Cruises are easy to plan
If you’ve never been to a destination, you likely read all you can about what to do, where to stay, how to get there, and where to eat. A cruise basically does all of that for you. You don’t have to worry about planning an itinerary or making travel arrangements. You just book one cruise and your entire vacation is laid out for you. All you have to do is figure out what you want to do in each port (and cruise excursions can handle that too).
Cruises give access to world-class culture
We admit, most cruise ports aren’t steeped in culture. But they are good jumping off points to see the real beauty of a country. For instance, a stop in Belize City means you are a short excursion away from Altun-Ha — the vast ruins of a once-thriving Mayan city. It’s hard for most people to get access to these places without taking a cruise.
If you need non-stop action, a cruise has it
Belly-flop contests, go-karts, shows, dinner, waterslides… are you the sort of person who always needs something going on? A cruise ship offers a full day and night of activities all around the ship. If you are worried about getting bored, just know that a 1,000 foot ship with 15 decks always has something happening somewhere.
If you like to decompress, a cruise can do that too
Yes, there is always something going on if you are sailing on a cruise. But if you are the type that likes to decompress, you can do that too. Every ship has a spa, and if you have a balcony cabin, there is nothing more relaxing than sitting out on the balcony with a breeze and a view. There’s no better way to chill out in our opinion.
Cruises offer a family-friendly vacation
If you’re looking for a vacation that the whole family will enjoy, it doesn’t get much better than a cruise. Kids have plenty of activities and will love the kid’s area or hanging out poolside. Teens have their own special areas on most ships, as well as arcades and the freedom to explore the ship without being under the thumb of mom and dad. Parents have pool time, the beach, casino, and fine dining — with areas where they can drop off the kids for some alone time.
Cruises leave year-round… meaning they fit any schedule
These days there is no “cruising season”. Today ships depart year-round from most ports. That means if you want to leave in January to escape the winter cold, you can. If you want to take a cruise in the summer when the kids are out of school, there are tons of options. That makes cruising one of the most flexible vacations around.
There’s a wide variety of things to do on any cruise
Yes, there are lots of things to do, but that doesn’t speak to the variety of things to do. No matter what gets you excited, there’s likely something for you to enjoy. Like trivia contests? Gambling? Extreme sports? Comedy shows? Pool time? Art auctions? Just hanging out poolside with a drink in your hand?
Every one of these activities is happening on a cruise ship… on a single day.
You don’t have to deal with flying
Let’s face it. Air travel in America has become a hassle. Between cramped seats, invasive security, delayed flights and more, it’s simply not worth the trouble to fly most places any more. And while many people fly to their cruise port, tens of millions live within driving distance of a port. Not having to deal with airports is a major reason to love taking a cruise.
You can make your cabin your home
Most hotel rooms don’t feel like “home”, but on cruises, it’s encouraged to do some decorating. You’ll find cabin doors decorated with pictures and designs. Meanwhile, inside the cabin people love to hang decorations to spruce things up and make the already fun atmosphere a little more festive. Since the cabin will be your home on the ship, it’s a fun way to add personal flair to your room.
You can start the day with coffee on a private balcony
On land, hotels pay boatloads of money to get oceanfront property. That’s because they know that they can charge the most for rooms if they have a great view. At sea, every balcony offers a stunning view and you can enjoy it with a cup of coffee each morning as you greet the day… without breaking the bank.
Cruises fit any budget… no matter how big or small
Want to sail cheap? That’s absolutely possible as some cruises cost less than $50 per person, per day. Cruising can be among the least expensive vacations that you can find.
Want to live (and spend) like a king? You can do that too. From spending on specialty restaurants to high-end suites, to tropical drinks, it’s all available.
One of the greatest reasons to like cruising is that everyone can enjoy it no matter their budget.
Various trip lengths match any schedule
We’d all love to take a month off of work, but let’s be realistic. Sometimes you can only swing a few days off. Thankfully cruises come in all lengths, from 3-day trips to trips that are 10 days or longer (there are even 180+ day cruises around the world). So no matter how much time you can afford to take off, there will always be a cruise that can match your schedule.
Cruises are great places to meet people
With thousands of people from all over the world on a ship the size of a city block, there is a lot of opportunity to mingle and meet passengers and crew. If you’re a people person, you’ll find all sorts of new friends with interesting stories. Some passengers even meet on cruises and become lifetime friends.
You make your own schedule
Cruises sometimes get a bad rap of being strictly scheduled. The only thing that’s set in stone is when you need to be back on the ship when visiting a port (you don’t want to miss the boat and have it sail off without you). Apart from that, there are activities scheduled throughout the day and night, but you set your own schedule on when you want to eat, drink, and play. It’s all up to you.
Sex is great on a cruise
Want to spice things up in the bedroom? Nothing compares to a little hanky-panky with a beautiful ocean view, the smell of the water, and the breeze as the ship sails. Sex on a cruise ship is a fun way to break out of the ordinary and enjoy some romance with your partner. While you might want to avoid doing things on the balcony, some passengers do use it as a place to get frisky.
Cold this winter? Cruises offer a warm getaway
Let’s face it. Winter isn’t fun. However, it’s always warm in the Caribbean. And with cruises offering year-round sailings, you are never far from a chance to board a ship and get some sun. The best part? It’s usually cheaper to sail during the winter months.
Duty-free shopping is available everywhere
Duty-free shopping is a strange loophole in the law where places like ports and cruise ships can offer luxury goods without the taxes and duty normally charged. This means you can get things like alcohol and cigarettes at discount to what you’d pay on land. It’s a nice little perk that means you can stock up and save some money while on your vacation.
Everything you need is on the ship
Ok, maybe not everything you could possibly need, but unlike a normal vacation, a cruise ship is a floating city. Need to see a doctor? There is one on the ship. Something to eat? Something to drink? Forget sunscreen? You don’t need to find a restaurant or convenience store near you… there is one on the ship. If you wanted, you could go the entire cruise without leaving the ship and have everything you need.
No need to learn a new language
One of the biggest obstacles to visiting a foreign country is language. If you don’t speak the language of the local country you’re visiting, then it can be tough to enjoy yourself. The good thing about cruises is that the foreign ports cater to cruise passengers.
That means if you are sailing the Caribbean, every port will have tons of English speakers and English-language signs. You don’t have to worry if you don’t speak the language (although it’s fun to try!).
No need to worry about currency exchange
Think you need pesos to vacation in Cozumel? Think again. Just as cruise ports cater to American passengers by speaking English, U.S. dollars are also widely accepted. There’s no need to exchange money to buy lunch on shore. You can spend your greenbacks just like you would in America… and even put it on a credit card.
You get to leave the “driving” to someone else
On a regular vacation, you’re in charge of getting around — from your flight to a rental car to even heading out to dinner. On a cruise, you just show up and let the cruise line take care of everything else. You get to enjoy yourself while the captain and crew guide you from port to port. And if you want to go sightsee, you can book an excursion on the ship and the excursion company will take care of all the arrangements. It makes vacationing stress-free.
You don’t have to constantly spend money (but you can!)
If you’re a budgeter, then you likely hate the feeling of trying to keep track of spending. Every time you fork over $40 for lunch, or $20 for a souvenir, you’re adding it to a running total in your head. On a cruise with basics included, you don’t have to worry about forking over cash for every meal or having to pay for entertainment. If you like to drink, alcohol is an extra charge, but the cruise lines also sell flat-rate drink packages that allow you to budget without spending money on every drink. (But don’t get us wrong, there is plenty of opportunity to spend money on a cruise.)
It’s fun to dress up for formal night
Most of us aren’t millionaires and don’t get dressed up for dinner that often. However, cruises have formal night — an opportunity to put on the fancy clothes and eat a world-class meal. For some people, nothing sounds worse than having to put on a suit or formal gown. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go to formal night if you don’t want to do so. For those who like the idea, it’s a fun way to add a bit of elegance to their evening.
There’s an opportunity to have professional photos taken
If you’ve always wanted professional portraits done, then a cruise is the perfect opportunity to make that wish come true. Professional photographers are all around the ship — especially on formal night — taking photos of passengers if they like. It’s free to take the photos. You only pay if you decide to purchase prints after you see the end result.
You get to enjoy a billion-dollar ship for just thousands… or hundreds of dollars
Today’s modern cruise ships easily cost more than a billion dollars to build. For example, Symphony of the Seas from Royal Caribbean cost an estimated $1.35 billion. The cost is so high because of several reasons. First, the ships are big. Second, everything is custom-made. Finally, the finish is high-end and meant to last for years. However, while the cruise lines spend billions, you can enjoy your time on the ship for just thousands… and sometimes hundreds of dollars.
There’s no end of things for kids to do
If you are worried about keeping the kids entertained, you can stop right now. There is an amazing amount of things for children to do on the cruise ship — especially if you are sailing on the newest ships. From movies to ice skating to bumper cars, and then kids clubs, pool time, basketball courts, waterslides, and more, cruise lines go out of their way to entertain the kiddos. After all, busy kids mean happy parents!
There are always deals on cruises, making them more affordable
If you’re the type that loves a good deal, then cruises are perfect. The lines are always offering a rotating menu of special offers — everything from free onboard credit to kids sail free to 50% off rates to free drinks on the cruise. If you are searching for a cruise and don’t find a deal that appeals to you, just wait a couple of weeks and the line will likely offer some other incentive to book. (To be honest, most of the time the deals seem to result in the same end price.)
Who doesn’t like all you can eat?
If you like to eat heartily, then a cruise is the vacation for you. Most places on the ship are all you can eat, even if you may not realize it. Sure, you can go back for seconds at the buffet, but if you still want to eat more in the main dining room, you can always ask for another plate. Meanwhile, grab and go eateries on the ship don’t care how many times you stop by for a snack or meal.
Drink packages make it all you can drink
Yes, you can buy drinks individually, but if you are someone who likes to drink, then a package may be worth it for you. Cruise lines sell drink packages that give you the ability to pay one flat daily rate and have all the drinks you’d like. That way you don’t have to worry about your bill when you hit the bar… when you’re thirsty you just get a drink. To see if a drink package is worth it for you, try our Drink Package Calculator here.
You don’t need a passport to go international
Cruises offer the only way we know to visit another country without a passport. To be sure, it’s always a good idea to have a passport anyway, however, if your cruise is departing and returning from the same U.S. port, then it likely qualifies as a “closed-loop” cruise. In this case, you need only a government-issued ID and a birth certificate — no passport is required for U.S. citizens.
Cruises are the easiest way to visit many islands and ports
For many smaller islands in the Caribbean, it’s actually tough to visit. Take a port like Costa Maya, in Mexico. It’s actually next to a sleepy town known as Mahahual. To get there on your own, you’d have to catch a flight to Cancun or the smaller Chetumal airport, then figure out the long car ride out to the village. It could easily take you an entire day of travel. Or, you could just take a cruise. While you enjoy the day on the ship, you’re taken to exotic locations.
You can gamble without taking the family to Las Vegas
Do you love to visit the casino? Most people equate Las Vegas with gambling, but it’s not the most family-friendly place to visit. However, nearly every cruise ship offers a casino. It’s a fun way to pass the time without having to go to a vacation destination dedicated to gambling. So if you’re a gambler who wants a family vacation, then a cruise is for you.
If the weather is bad, just wait a little while… it will change
If you book a typical vacation and it rains for a week straight, you’re out of luck. But remember that cruise ships are floating hotels — if the weather is bad one day, they will be sailing somewhere else where the weather can improve. The odds of your vacation being ruined due to bad weather is highly unlikely. Sure it could rain a day or two, but once it’s on to the next port, there’s a good chance the weather will improve.
Cruises are great for family reunions
We mentioned that cruises are great for families. In fact, they are great for any age as there are things to appeal to all ages on the largest cruise ships. That means if you have a multi-generational group like a family reunion, then a cruise is ideal.
But not only would everyone be entertained, but with a cruise you don’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning after a large group. That’s worth the cruise fare alone!
Love to meet people from all around the world? Take a cruise and talk to the staff…
Sure, if you leave from a U.S. port, most of your fellow passengers will be from North America. Still, there will be some passengers from abroad and the crew will almost all be from somewhere other than North America. If you’re the sort of person who likes meeting people from other cultures, it’s an opportunity to meet lots of folks from everywhere without having to venture very far.
Cruises are a shopping lover’s dream
Do you like to shop? The cruising is the vacation for you. Not only are there shopping promenades on the ship — selling everything from candy to expensive watches — but ports of call cater to shoppers. Once on the ship you’ll get all the details at shopping presentations presented before each port of call. These presentations will tell you exactly where to go to shop, deals, discounts, and more. In fact, some ports even give you free transportation into town if you are heading to a shopping area.
The scenery outside your window always changes
You’ll never get bored with the view out your window. With the ship constantly on the move, the scenery changes constantly. From sweeping views of ports to the hypnotic movement of the ocean while at sea, the view is always different. One of our favorite things is to just spend time out looking at the water and feeling stress drip away.
You get to try things you can’t do anywhere else
Want to learn how to scuba dive? Take a trip in a submarine? What about see ancient ruins and then cruise on a speedboat down a wild river? Or maybe see glaciers or go whale watching? These are all things you can do on a cruise… and it’s just a start. Cruises give you an opportunity to do and see things that you would not be able to experience anywhere else.
Pack as much liquid as you want (unlike air travel)
Tired of having to put any liquids in tiny containers when you fly? And then you have to pull those little bags of liquids out for security. On a cruise, you can bring all the liquid shampoo and soap you want, without being treated like a criminal. It’s a small deal in the big scheme of things, but definitely a nice change from flying for a vacation.
You can see amazing wildlife
If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, then hang onto your hat. Alaskan cruises obviously give you a chance to experience the wilderness and all the animals — bears, moose, whales and more — that come along with it. But many people don’t realize that the Caribbean and other locations offer wildlife experiences. Want to see monkeys, crocodiles, and sloths? Excursions on Caribbean cruises can give you the opportunity to do just that in the wild.
Cruises offer a chance for independence for kids in a safe environment
You likely wouldn’t let your kids run the streets on a regular vacation, but a cruise is a little different. On the ship, it’s pretty safe to let your (older) children have some independence. This allows them to do what they would like to do while mom and dad also have kid-free time. You shouldn’t just let them run wild, but offering them a couple of hours to head to the arcade can let them feel like they are on their own vacation and not their parents’ vacation.
Even the same cruise is different on a different ship
Cruising is just as much about the journey as it is the destination. That’s because the ship is a destination in of itself. Each ship has its own personality, as well as features and amenities. That means even if you take the same cruise, it can be completely different aboard a different ship. After all, you spend most of your time onboard during a cruise, so the ship makes a huge difference to your experience.
The gambling age is just 18 years old
If you are under 21, gambling in Las Vegas is off limits. On a cruise ship, the gambling age is usually 18. That means you can pull the slots, throw the dice and yell blackjack before you can have a drink.
Some cruises are less than $50 per day, per person
It’s hard for most people to live on $50 per day… much less take a vacation for that much. Believe it or not, there are a number of cruises available for under that amount. They typically depart from the popular Florida ports, but we’ve found them sailing from ports around the country. The best advice to find these trips is to search for times like January or February. These are among the least expensive months to sail.
Cruise ships are “classless”… everyone is welcome everywhere
Yes, you can spend a lot more on a cruise and get a big fancy suite. However, that doesn’t give you much more than a bigger, nicer cabin. Except for a few exceptions, all areas of the ship are open to all passengers, as are restaurants and entertainment. There are very few areas restricted just to “first-class” passengers because there is no first class. There are some perks such as faster check-in if you book a suite or maybe an exclusive sun deck, but other than than, passengers are treated equally.
Cruises give you the opportunity to experience a private island
Are you a billionaire? Do you own your own private island? Don’t worry, not many people have enough money to own their own slice of the Caribbean. That said, you can enjoy a private island on a cruise. Cruise lines have purchased islands in The Bahamas and use them as stops for their ships. Passengers get an entire island to themselves that’s built especially for them.
Cruise casinos feature low minimums
If you like low stakes gambling, then you’ll love cruise casinos. While most large casino resorts jack up the minimums, cruise ships only have a small number of people to gamble on any given trip. That means they need to make the casino as attractive as possible.
To do that, they place it in the middle of the ship where you are sure to pass by and also have low minimums to bet — $5-$10 tables and penny slots are everywhere. If you don’t like to bet big, it’s perfect for you.
You can watch a big screen movie while sitting in a hot tub under the stars
There’s not much that’s better than sitting in a hot tub, relaxing under the stars as the ship sails through the night. Except that now most ships have a big screen in the pool/hot tub area where they show movies in the evening. That means you can soak, enjoy the cool night air, and watch a flick. It doesn’t get much better than that. (Oh, and did we mention they often pass out popcorn?)
Cruises are great for those with mobility issues
If you or someone you travel with have trouble getting around, then you should know that a cruise is a good option for a vacation. New ships comply with the American with Disabilities Act, and the cruise lines do their best to have features for disabled cruisers.
This includes accessible cabins, automatic doors, and public rooms with ramp entrances. As well, elevators can get you up and down decks. (Even cruise line private islands are accessible, such as Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay, which features things like beach wheelchairs and pool lifts.)
If you have mobility issues, it’s advisable to look for newer ships that can provide the latest features in helping passengers get around.
A cruise lets you experience the ocean
It may seem simplistic, but no other vacation lets people experience the ocean like a cruise. There’s something magical about the open ocean with a sea of blue surrounding you that is good for the soul. Flying over open water isn’t close to the same experience of experiencing a sunrise and sunset at sea… and you can only get that with a cruise.
Cruises allow you to stay active (if you want to)
Don’t want to get out of your workout routine just because you’re on vacation? Cruises aren’t just about eating and lounging by the pool. Every ship these days comes with a full jogging track (so you can get in a run with an ocean view) as well as a fully-equipped gym. Also, these are not typically small gyms like you’d find in a hotel. They are complete with cardio and weights, as well as all sorts of accessories to help you stay fit and feeling good on your trip.
Cruises allow you to keep your diet (if you want to)
Yes, there are plenty of opportunities to be bad and overindulge on a cruise. If you have the willpower, however, then there are options to help you stick to any diet, including vegetarian, vegan, keto, and more. It’s a good idea to let the cruise line know ahead of time if you have special diet needs, but even if you don’t let them know there are so many options that you will find something that fits your diet.
You can learn how to be healthier while on your cruise
Cruise ships aren’t just all about laying around and getting a tan these days. You can also get healthier. Seminars in the spa and fitness areas can give you advice on how to achieve whole-body wellness, including stress reduction, meditation, and more. They are usually free to attend, but keep in mind that you might try to be sold something as well.
It’s the best way to see Alaska
Word is spreading about taking a cruise to Alaska, and the trips are growing in popularity. The reason? Given the remote back country, accessing the area is tough to do by car. But a cruise gives you a front-row view to the wildlife and natural scenery of America’s last frontier. Meanwhile, you also get a chance to visit some small out-of-the way Alaskan towns like Skagway that are too remote to reach by traditional means.
Cruises offer perfect views of sunrises and sunsets
Stay in a normal hotel room, and you might have a good view of a sunrise or a sunset… if you’re lucky. But since cruise ships are at sea and there are no obstructions around, you can see every sunrise or sunset on the ship when you’re in the Caribbean. There’s little that’s better than having a cup of coffee with the sunrise and a tropical drink with the sunset.
Most people live within a few hours drive of a port
A couple of decades ago, taking a cruise meant that you had to depart from Florida. Today, cruises sail from Seattle, Los Angeles, Galveston, New Orleans, Charleston, Baltimore, New York, and more. Put simply, the odds are high that you live within a few hours drive of a cruise port. No longer do you have to worry about timing flights. It’s simply find a cruise you like, drive to the port, and be on your vacation!
Have more reasons someone should take a cruise? Let us know in the comments below…
I like what you said about being able to experience both a sunrise and a sunset at sea, and how magical that can be. My fiancee and I are looking for a place to have our honeymoon. We hadn’t considered going on a cruise, maybe we should look into that!
I like how you said that a cruise is a great place to experiment with new food. My wife and I have been wanting to do something fun for our 10th anniversary. It may be good for us to go on a cruise.
You make a great point that cruises are a great way to visit multiple places in one trip and keep it affordable. My parents are thinking of going on a cruise for their 50th wedding anniversary and they want to travel around the world, so I will definitely suggest that they go on a cruise. Also, the fact that you don’t have to worry about planning activities and finding hotels to stay in will be great for my parents so they can relax on the vacation.