One of our very first articles on Bruised Passports, Cruises for Young Adventure Seekers, dwelt on our love for Cruise holidays. Cruises often get a rap in the travel community for being the lazy option out, but we must admit we love them. We go on hectic holidays (Yes, those are a thing! Consider for instance, our jam-packed Road Trip in Spain) so often, that every once in a while we love the idea of escaping to a floating city where everything is catered for – entertainment, food, drinks, and accommodation. What’s more – you get to see so many countries and cities in a short span of time.
But we must admit the giddy excitement one feels on booking a cruise holiday that visits 10 different countries within a fortnight is often followed by confusion. Is it possible to do justice to each country within a day or two? Where does one start? Does one opt for excursions offered by the cruise company or not? How does one make the best of a cruise holiday? These are just a few of the questions that spring to mind.
Fear not, we are here to solve this Herculean cruise conundrum in five easy steps 🙂
1. Do Your Research
Unplanned adventures and cruises don’t go hand-in-hand. Make the best of your time at ports of call by researching beforehand. Read about prominent attractions and landmarks of the cities you will be visiting. More importantly, read a bit about the culture of the city. This will help you decide whether to dress conservatively or not and will make it easier to communicate with locals.
2. Try the Local Food
Local food is considered one of the best ways of familiarizing oneself with the pulse of a city. If you’re a cruise buff (we chanced on this quiz by Travel Associates which is quite an accurate measure of whether you are one or not!), you would know just how seductive the vast and endless buffets of your cruise ship can be. But don’t let those buffets lure you into skipping a meal when you’re out and about. Make sure you try flavourful gyros in Athens (Greece), fragrant pesto in Genoa (Italy), crumbly falafel in Haifa (Israel), and crisp arancini in Sicily (Italy).
3. Don’t Try To Do Everything
Treat your cruise holiday as a tasting platter—it gives you the opportunity to sample a number of countries during the course of a single holiday. You can always re-visit a country or city that tickles your fancy. Instead of cramming every possible landmark onto your itinerary, try to visit the local food markets, and only the choicest monuments. Of course, if your cruise ship stops in Cairo, a popular port for Red Sea cruises, don’t forget to visit the Pyramids 😉
4. Stick to the Centre
While sampling a new city, the key lies in savouring its newness and working your way through select landmarks, people and food. Don’t be in a hurry to see “everything” that a city has to offer—it will only ruin your day and leave you disappointed. Stick to the oft-pedestrianized city centres unless you want to spend half your day commuting between different landmarks. Read more about exploring a city in a day in our article on exploring the Spanish island of Mallorca in one day
5. Explore Independently
If all that research has left you feeling invincible (ooh yeah!!), venture out of the ship on your own. Skip the guided tours offered by cruise ships—instead use public transport, talk to locals, and visit street-food haunts to plunge headlong into discovering a new city. How else would you discover places like the Star & Bucks café in Israel? 😉
A word of caution—if you have mobility issues, it might be a good idea to opt for transport offered by your cruise ship.
Those are some of our favourite ways of exploring places whilst enjoying a Cruise Holiday. Do you enjoy Cruise Holidays too? Or would you never be seen in the vicinity of a Cruise ship? 🙂
Are you a foodie? Don’t forget to check out our drool-worthy (pun fully intended!) photo essay on fine-dining on a budget on cruise ships