Holidaying on a cruise ship does kind of defeat the idea of travelling off the beaten track with nothing but your backpack and a minimal idea of where you’re going. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to travelling. While I love backpacking, one of my first holidays abroad was on a cruise ship which sailed around the Mediterranean. It was certainly an experience and perfect if you like having nice meals and talking to the older generation. But which one is better?
ADVANTAGES OF A CRUISE
1. You wake up in a different country every day
I have to admit, it is quite a nice feeling to wake up in the morning in a completely different country. There’s no awkward travel arrangements to make, you don’t have to sit on a bus for hours and because you travel while you’re asleep you don’t even realise you’re going anywhere!
2. Nice food
You can’t really complain about sitting down to a nice meal overlooking the sea. You don’t have to do any cooking and you don’t have to hunt through some obscure market to find something to eat. It’s like eating in a posh restaurant every night!
On a cruise ship you can book yourself onto excursions so you can see all the sights without having to worry about transport or bookings. Just wake up and go! Travelling simplified…
Having access to a shower and a bedroom which isn’t communal can be considered quite a luxury in comparison to backpacking. You won’t get woken up by other travellers coming into your room at 4am and there’s no queue to have a shower!
ADVANTAGES OF BACKPACKING
1. It’s cheaper
If you’re looking for a cheap way to see the world then a cruise holiday definitely isn’t it. All that nice food and the fact that you aren’t sleeping in a smelly hostel bunk bed comes at a premium. Excursions and drinks often cost extra as well. With backpacking it’s much easier to do everything on a budget. Accommodation is very cheap and you can save money by preparing your own meals.
2. More freedom
Although a cruise ship is likely to have everything you could ever want, food, drinks, swimming pool etc, you are stuck there until the ship docks. Once it arrives at its destination you’ll probably only have a few hours to explore. Get back late and you will literally miss the boat. When you take a cruise holiday everything is very regimented which may not suit someone who likes to do their own thing. When it comes to backpacking you literally have the freedom to go wherever you please. Many people find this lack of constraints very liberating.
3. You make your own entertainment
On a cruise ship all the entertainment is already organised for you, and unless you love singing and dancing, it may not be to your taste. However, when you’re backpacking you can make your own entertainment, whether it’s playing a drinking game with the other hostel guests, relaxing on the beach or going out for a meal.
Both backpacking and cruising have their positives and negatives. It’s difficult to find fault with the good food, drink and facilities you’ll find on board a cruise ship. However, for the price you could definitely travel a lot further by backpacking and probably have a lot more fun!