Growing up in a blue collar family, trips were often few and far between, but with each visit to Disneyland, San Diego or the Grand Canyon, my childhood mind would quietly dream of the day I’d set off on grand adventures all my own. And set off I have, each childhood memory making me value and appreciate my ability to travel as an adult even more.
Since I met and married Stephen, we’ve taken several amazing trips together, including cruises to Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama and Hawaii. Our recent trip to St. Maarten was nothing short of fabulous, and we hope to keep adding to our list in the coming years with visits to Alaska, Egypt, Greece and New Orleans, just to name a few.
One thing our most recent trip made me consider is the difference between cruising and staying at a resort, which both offer very different, yet uniquely exciting, experiences. After trying and enjoying both options, the two of us put together a list of two top things we love most about each type of travel.
|Wind-blown while sailing to the Caribbean in 2008.|
* Value – As much as we enjoyed our resort experience, we can’t deny the fact that cruising still seems to offer the most bang for our buck in many cases. Not only are most meals included in the base price of a cruise, which can sometimes be the same or lower than the cost for a resort stay of equivalent length, but they are also usually all-you-can-eat. While we were incredibly fortunate that our hotel stay in St. Maarten was complimentary, we spent a significant amount of money for meals on-site, many of which were good but not quite on par with those we’ve enjoyed on our cruises. The resort also lacked as much variety in the number of restaurants and food options to choose from.
We also spent a good deal on cab fare throughout the week, since the secluded location of the resort made it difficult to get to the starting point for many of our excursions, to restaurants or to other places around the island. (The hilly terrain and narrow roads left us too uncomfortable to rent a car on our own.) On a cruise, transportation to and from excursions is often provided, and many ships dock at a central location, where it's easy to get off and walk to shops and restaurants, albeit touristy ones.
* Variety – Cruising gives you the ability to visit a number of different locations during one trip without paying for extra airfare or dealing with the hassle of traveling from place to place on your own. The thought of going to sleep in one country and waking up in another with no work on your end is definitely exciting!
|The Westin St. Maarten, a blissful place to kick back.|
* In-Depth Exploring – Staying in one place for a few days gives you the chance to see more and learn more about a certain island or location, as opposed to the typical day or mere few hours you might get via a cruise ship stop. You’ll have more time to head off the beaten path and enjoy local attractions you might not get to experience within the more heavily “packaged” experience of a cruise.
* More Downtime – Being in one place for an entire week made it easier for us to relax, compared to our Hawaiian cruise, when we were in a different port each day and eager to explore. As on-the-go tourists who like to pack in a lot of activities, that style suits us overall, but being in a place that forced us to take a more relaxed approach ended up being an unexpected plus. Kicking back with cabana-side margaritas and spicy tuna sushi rolls? Yes, please!
How about you? Do you usually go for cruises, resorts or something else, and do you prefer one type of travel over the other?