Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cruises-Great Vacation Value for Budget Conscious

The cruise line business began in the 19th century. Once reserved for the very wealthy, it has become the vacation package of choice for the budget conscious traveler.

Compared to the cost of reserving a hotel at a top tourist spot, finding transportation, eating meals in restaurants, and paying for top entertainment, a cruise can be much less expensive. Modern cruise ships are pleasure palaces featuring excellent food and accommodations, as well as top entertainment...all included in one price.

Cruises can be great romantic get-aways for couples. What could be better than basking in the sun on a gorgeous beach during the day, or watching the sun set on an exotic tropical island at night? Then take in a world class Las Vegas style show to compete the evening.

Cruises can also be great for families with kids. Our kids loved Carnival Cruise lines Camp Carnival. It's a program on board ship designed just for kids. Parents love it because it allows them time to do what they want to do. Pagers are provide in case your child needs you.

Carnival Cruises also provide some great excursions once the ship docks at the various ports of call. (For an extra fee.)
Some of our favorites have been the Atlantis Submarine, the Turtle Farm, Stingray City and Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman. Jamaica offers the Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios which is a 900 foot climb to the top of the falls (in the water!). Don't worry, its easy enough that the kids can do it. Great fun on those hot tropical days! Not far from Dunns River Falls you can experience the Dolphin Encounter, in which you get into the water and actually pet and play with the dolphins under the supervision of trainers. Kids and adults will enjoy this one. If your interest is in history and ancient culture, the Mayan ruins can't be beat! There are two excursions available from Cozemel, Mexico: Tulum and Chichen Itza. Tulum is absolutely stunning in its setting on the beach. Although climbing of the pyramids is off limits here, the tour guides are excellent in presenting the Mayan culture and history. Chichen Itza is further inland and requires a bus ride to get there, making the entire excursion about 8 hours. It's worth it though. There are many more ruins to see and you can climb the pyramid there. An excellent Mexican buffet is provided by the local hotel there. Be careful, some of the food is HOT!

Looking for a great vacation value? Book a cruise!

David Doolin writes on travel and vacationing related issues.

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