I went on my first cruise when I was around twenty years old. A girl I had a crush on found a good cruise deal and asked if I wanted to go. All I really knew about cruises were that they were a prize on the back of Cornflakes boxes, and that the idea of being stuck on one with this girl sounded like a pretty good idea.
On that cruise I fell in love... with cruising. Since then I've been on dozens of cruises all around the world. I've traveled by plane, train, automobile, horse, camel, foot, and bicycle, but cruise ship is my favorite method.
As someone in his mid-thirties, people often find it surprising that I go on cruises. Even when I'm on the ship, people assume that I'm crew. I've helped folks in the computer lab who assumed I must be the tech there, and I've been complimented many times for my role in the production shows.
Confusion aside, cruising has a lot to offer the younger passenger. It's sometimes an uphill battle convincing my friends to come on cruises with me, but once they do they're almost always hooked. And I love meeting other young cruisers on the ship, because we all feel like we've discovered a big secret.
So what makes cruising so great for young people? Here are a few of my favorite things:
The old people. I don't really interact with older people very frequently in my normal life. I spend time with olders generations of my family, but that's not the same. I love meeting seniors, especially the ones who are adventurous enough to spend weeks at sea traveling the world. From them I hear stories I don't hear anywhere else, and I get to immerse myself in a perspective steeped in experience.
Most of the things we like to do aren't crowded. Bingo may be packed, but the attractions that appeal to a younger crowd are often abandoned. On my last cruise with Royal Caribbean I got to spend ninety minutes on the Flowrider surf wave with just my friend I was cruising with. That would have cost hundreds or tohusands of dollars back in my home of Las Vegas, but it was totally free on the cruise.
It's a great opportunity to get away. I'll reluctantly admit that having limited internet access is one of my favorite parts of cruising. I'm on the internet for my work and social life all day, but I love to decompress and not have internet during sea days. It's especially great during the long five-course dinners I have with my friends. No one is checking their phones.
Food and the gym. Lots of us younger folks like to work out and eat healthy, which can be difficult during travel. But a gym is never more convenient than it is on a cruise ship. Just ride the elevator up a few floors and you're in the gym. Need post-workout protein? Walk across the deck and have a steak (or five).
You get to see a lot of places. While my favorite days are the sea days, mainly because I love working while at sea, the format of port days are also amazing. Although there are sometimes immigrations and a shuttle to downtown, very often you just step off the boat right into the downtown area. You can wake up, have a big breakfast, and immediately be in a foreign country with no hassle. Fill the day exploring a new place and then return back to the ship for dinner and a good night's sleep.
Even though you're only in any place for a day or two, having no overhead or hassles means that you can really make the most of that day. Some cities can be seen in a day, but for the others you can decide whether or not it's a place you'd like to come back for more time in the future.
- The cost. Where else can you get unlimited food, accomodations with twice-daily housekeeping, transportation to several countries, and all sorts of activities for $45-100 per day? Whether you're a backpacker or someone who prefers a bit more luxury, cruising can be an excellent value.
Don't be scared away from cruises just because your grandparents love them too. While they're definitely designed for an older crowd, younger people are routinely surprised when cruising becomes their favorite way to travel. If you're new to cruising, take a look at Royal Caribbean ships. They tend to have things like mini-golf, rock climbing, and flowrider surf waves.