Cruise vacations have been around for a long time, but the days of the Love Boat are long gone. The modern cruise is full of adventure and activities in addition to the relaxation they’re so well known for. We decided to host a Twitter Chat to tap into the cruise community for their best tips and words of advice for planning the best cruise vacation.
What is a Twitter chat? For those not familiar, on the third Thursday of each month from 2 to 3 p.m. Pacific Time, TripIt holds a monthly chat on Twitter using the hashtag #TripItChat. Every month there’s a new travel topic where we encourage participants to share advice with one another. You can learn more here.
Here are some of the key takeaways from our last #TripItChat on Cruises.
Going in style
Cruises may not appeal to every traveler, but for those bitten by the bug there’s no better way to travel. We were curious, so we asked our followers what is it exactly about cruising that they love so much and frankly, the answers were overwhelming.
- For @ angelamarvel the ability to see multiple destinations without having to pack and unpack is key.
- Cruises are also great for families as @travelermom points out – she loves the fact that she can relax as the captain does all the hard work.
- Many people enjoy the whimsical and fun aspects of cruising, like @anhnguy3n who’s a big fan of the towel animals left on his bed every night.
- Value is also the name of the game when it comes to cruising and TripIt fan @ke_hud says she loves trying new foods without wasting money.
Best of the best
With so many types of cruises around the world, from expedition to large mega-ships, we wanted to know which cruise experience our followers enjoyed the most.
- Cruise expert and chat co-host @OrlandoChris said his top cruise so far was with @AzamaraVoyages – high praise from someone so well traveled!
- Highlighting an increasingly popular cruise style, @JeffTitelius said his Christmas market river cruise with @VikingRiver was a personal highlight.
- Many of our followers named an Alaskan cruise as their favorite cruise experience – there’s just something about seeing calving glaciers from a boat!
- Cruises can also be adventurous as chat co-host @earthXplorer reminded us when he said his Antarctica cruise was truly the experience of a lifetime.
Not all ports are made the same
Cruises are the sum of its parts and those parts are the various ports of call that are made. From Skagway to Jamaica, and even Istanbul and Bora Bora, ports of call around the world are many and varied. True to form, our followers had their own very strong opinions as to which are the best ports in the world to visit.
- Going with a crowd favorite, @AirSeaTravel said that Aruba beats all due to the great water activities on offer there.
- Did you know that many cruise lines own private islands? Well, they do! And @SunViking2 said their favorite was the Royal Caribbean’s Haitian island of Labadee.
- Cruises come in many sizes and shapes, as @DropMeAnywhere pointed out when they said that crossing the Panama Canal was their favorite port activity.
- For chat participant @chrisjashton, he believes the journey is all about exploring the past and said his favorite ports included Naples, Athens and anywhere he can find ancient ruins.
See the world
Many of those who haven’t yet taken a cruise often have certain misconceptions about them, including that they’re only for Caribbean vacations. That’s certainly not the case. Great cruises can be found in all corners of the world including these non-Caribbean favorites our followers have at the top of their bucket lists.
- Going with the unconventional, @flyingwithfish said that he would love to take an overnight ferry between the UK and Scandinavia.
- Echoing the travel dreams of many, touring the South Pacific with Paul Gauguin Cruises sits firmly at the top of @DropMeAnywhere’s cruise bucket list.
- Choosing an up-and-coming cruise destination, @FrannieFeds said any cruise that stops in Croatia would be her dream come true.
- Other destinations that featured prominently in our chat included: Alaska, the Arctic Circle, the Baltics, Southeast Asia, and the Galapagos.
A family affair
Many families choose a cruise vacation as their ideal way to get away from it all. Not all cruise lines are made the same though, and our followers certainly weren’t shy when asked to list their favorite cruise lines for families.
- Chat co-host and cruise expert @CruiseBuzz surprised many when she listed @MSCCruisesUSA as her pick for a family-friendly cruise line.
- In what was perhaps the least surprising answer of the day, @ZeusCarver said that Disney is great for families. That means though that they offer fantastic programming for adults too, not just kids.
- In spite of some recent bad press, many Twitter chat participants named Celebrity as a great line for the entire family, including @jancotravel.
- Many others joined the family-friendly list including Princess Cruise Lines, Holland American, and even Lindblad Expeditions.
There can be only one
It seemed like the entire chat was leading up to the last question because, well, it was. We asked the impossible question for our followers to name their number one, top, most favorite cruise line and why. The answers were, well, you’ll see …
- Loving a bit of pampering, @MikeWFaust said he loves his premium lines like Holland America and Princess.
- Another expert with tons of experience, @CruiseRadio said there was nothing quite like his unique small ship Alaska adventure with @UnCruise
- Celebrity Cruises made an appearance at the end when @HostAndy said he loves the great service he gets whenever he sails with them.
- @markenroute summed up the feelings of many of our chat participants when he said, “ For me, the smaller the boat, the better. Fewer than 100 people means more shore excursions and a more laid-back feel.”
Don’t forget to join us for the next #TripItChat on June 19th, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. Pacific/5:00 p.m. Eastern when we’ll be talking about flying tips!