Do you cruise? According to the U.S. Travel Department, international travel only accounts for about $123 billion of the $621 billion spent by Americans on travel. In contrast, as reported by the Canadian Tourism Commission, Canadians have actually been steadily increasing their overseas departures year over year. So it would appear, that when our southern friends take vacations, they are doing so domestically.
The Brits used to be in the same boat, but -- perhaps having their interests piqued when The Duchess of Cambridge ceremoniously christened the Royal Princess ship in June 2013 -- a record-breaking 1.79-million British holidaymakers took a cruise that year. The Daily Mail UK also reported that 21.7-million people worldwide plan to book a 'floating resort' in 2014.
The top destination? The Caribbean, of course. Beaches and Bermuda shorts are followed by the allure of Mediterranean and European ports. Far-flung destinations in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and South America also prove to be popular. Bookings to Alaska are up as well, and I have it on good authority that one of the best ways to see the country is from a ship deck.
Here are five more reasons to consider a cruise:
Reason #1 Rather than biting off more than one can chew, cruising offers a taste of other countries. From my own experience, I don't think I would have ever discovered the beauty of Cartagena's old town, if not for my cruise through the Panama Canal in early 2012. We only had time for lunch, but it is a place I imagine myself returning to in the future. It would seem others are having the same daydream, as it is the one board that is consistently re-pinned off of my Pinterest.
Reason #2 "I think people are drawn to what we offer because all the planning is taken care of for you," explains Paul Heyden, President of Holiday Cruise Line. "If you go your own way to plan a vacation, it's on you to figure out how to make the most of every day. Going on a cruise lets you relax, recharge, and allows the vacation to happen to you." He makes a good point. I have certainly been overwhelmed by the options in some destinations.
Reason #3 There is a level of support that isn't always there otherwise. "We take it as serious business when vacationers put their plans in our hands. It is our mission to deliver and take care of any problems immediately," says Heyden. Talk about taking a load off and just letting go.
Reason #4 Unpack once! Two sweet words that can make or break a vacation. Trust me on this.
Reason #5 See the best of the Bahamas, West Coast U.S. or Mexico. North Americans can get their feet wet with short sojourns offered by the likes of Holiday Cruise Line. Their Bahamas Celebration ship travels round trip from Florida to tropical Grand Bahamas' Island. I have mentioned this affordable two-day sail in this space before and still think it, as well as the three to five day getaways that Princess Cruises operates out of Los Angeles, are great ways to see some sunny ports without breaking the bank.
So I will ask again...do you cruise? If so, I'd love to know your reasons and favourite destinations in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Photopin.com and The Travel Presse.
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