Cultural Experience | Florida

15 Reasons to Take a Cruise

Set Sail for Good Times!

Okay, so most of the time when you think of a College Tourist, you probably think of a student studying abroad. While that’s certainly one of our main focuses here, we like to include all kinds of travel. Are you a College Student? Are you traveling? Congrats, you’re a College Tourist!

One of the biggest times of the year for College Tourist travel is spring break. A lot of students head down to the Florida coast or off to Mexico. I decided to take a different route. I decided to take a cruise. I booked the room with one of my best friends, Robbie, and my Step-Sister, Stephanie, and her boyfriend, Ethan, joined us as well.

Cruises are a great all-inclusive getaway. We’re lucky enough that a few ships leave right out of Baltimore, Maryland, which meant there was no hassle of taking a flight and then making it to the terminal. All we had to do was drive down I-95 and get on the boat. Our weeklong trip was only $700! That’s about $100 a day. Pretty comparable to some hotel deals. If you’re looking for a fun getaway that’s not too expensive, you should consider a cruise:

  1. Fun Ports of Call: I could spend an entire cruise at sea just enjoying all the fabulous amenities that the ship offers, but it’s also great to get off the boat for a bit and explore on shore. On our cruise, we stopped in Cape Canaveral, Nassau, and Freeport. From gorgeous tropical waters to fun local culture, each destination offers something new and unique. Some cruises even have their own private islands for guests.

    Freeport Harbour Bahamas

  2. Dancing: Whether you’re dancing at the deck party or in the night club, you can always find some good music to jam to. Our cruise offered several theme nights in the club on deck two. My favorite was the 70s Disco Night. I bumped, hustled, and shook my groove thang to the hits of Donna Summer, the Bee-gees, and other classics of the decade. I wasn’t afraid to let loose on the dance floor and have a good time. You can dance anywhere, but not having to pay cover on the cruise was certainly a bonus.

    Dancing the night away

  3. Yummy Food: All your meals are included on the cruise! Okay, so this is factored into the cost you pay for the cruise, but it’s nice to leave a meal without having to deal with the check. There was a fancy sit down restaurants, pool deck buffets, and a 24-hour pizza place. Vacation is the time to indulge, and what better way to do so than with delicious food? I even got a little adventurous and tried frog legs. The best part of the meal was, of course, dessert.

     warm chocolate melting cake

    I may have pretended I was on the Disney cruise and turned my warm chocolate melting cake into a Mickey Mouse

  4. Towel Animals: If you’ve ever been on a cruise before, you’ve probably seen these. I’m pretty sure every cruise does them. If you’re not familiar, basically, every evening, your room steward turns down your bed, tidies up, and creates a fun towel creation. One night we had a monkey hanging from our blinds. Another night we had a cute little elephant. We tried to request a dolphin via post-it note. Our room steward had a good sense of humor about it and left us a “new dolphin” that resembled a lobster.

    Towel Animal

    Our “new” dolphin

  5. It’s Like One Big Party: Everyone on a cruise is looking to have a good time. If they’re not then they’re in the wrong place. Even the crew gets into the act. At dinner, all our waiters made a conga line and turned the restaurant into a big dance party (see more dancing!). All day people are enjoying themselves, which keeps the party atmosphere going.

    cruise dance party

  6. No One Judges You For Being a Tourist: When I’m in NYC, I like to blend in. I hate standing out and looking like a “typical tourist.” However, on a cruise, it’s fun to indulge in the hawaiian shirts and festive times. Robbie and I really hammed it up for a fun photo session taking our tourist idea to the max.

    tacky tourist costume

  7. Shopping: There’s shopping on the ship and shopping in the ports. You can find everything from expensive handbags to cheap goods. Some ports offer both luxury shops like Gucci, Fendi, Coach, etc. as well as straw markets with handcrafted wares. It’s fun to try and haggle your way to a better deal, although some store owners can be just as pushy.

    freeport straw market

  8. Fun in the Sun: My happy place is a warm spot by the water with a good book in one hand and a drink in the other. I got to enjoy this both on the sundeck of the ship and on the beach in our Florida port. Some cruises sail through colder climates, but I am all about the warm fun in the sun.

    coco beach ocean

  9. Free Mini-Golf: I am not sure if all cruises offer this, but I was super psyched when I discovered the mini-golf course on the top deck. I didn’t even find it until day four! I got to challenge my friend to a few rounds and won a putting contest. Mini-golf is one of my favorite beach vacation activities, so it was cool to have it included on the cruise.

    carnival pride mini golf

  10. A Chance to Escape the Cold: It snowed on our way out of Baltimore! However, by the time we made it down to Cape Canaveral, it was smooth sailing with sundresses, swimsuits, and shorts for the rest of the cruise. I was glad to break out some of my summer wear in early spring.

    snow on cruise ship

  11. Live in the Lap of Luxury: Okay, so you may not have the fanciest room on the ship, but you get to take in some pretty luxurious accommodations. We even got to witness some true luxury up close when we visited the Atlantis resort in Nassau. There were a few yachts parked in the harbor, and one even had a helicopter on it. Excessive? Maybe. I still really wanted a tour of it.

    yacht with helicopter

  12. Piano Bars (and other bars): I love a good singalong. One of my favorite spots on the the ship was a piano bar that held a nightly singalong. Patrons could call out the songs they wanted to hear. You can bet there was a lot of Billy Joel and Elton John, along with some other classic tunes. That wasn’t the only bar, of course. The boat featured a themed sports bar, several lounges, and poolside cocktails. There was also a great comedy club, and every comedy club needs a well-stocked bar.

    carnival pride piano bar

  13. Festive Times: Cruises love themes. As I already mentioned, there was 70’s Disco night. We had the good fortune of being on board for St. Patrick’s day. There were several themed events throughout the day like trivia competitions, a shamrock scavenger, and a nighttime party. We even found a leprechaun roaming through the ship. I imagine other holidays are just as fun onboard.

    St. Patrick's Day on Carnival Pride

  14. Karaoke: No cruise is complete without at least one round of karaoke. I am a terrible singer, but I don’t think you’re really supposed to be “good” at karaoke. Bad equals good, right? My step-sister and I sang a rendition of the Britney Spears’ classic, “Ooops…I Did it Again.” We were pretty bad, but the audience still had fun with it. On a cruise, there’s karaoke almost every day, so no excuse for not trying at least once.

    freeport karaoke

    I was forced to sing karaoke as punishment for losing a content. The audience was punished as well.

  15. Formal Night: In college, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to dress up. I still love to get all dressed up for a night out, so I was very excited for formal night. My friend donned his tux, and I got to break out one of my nicer cocktail dresses. Most cruises have some kind of formal night. It’s nice to switch from the cruise casual of florals and swimsuits to a more refined and elegant wear.

    cruise formal night

Courtney Guth

University of Maryland | 31 stories

Courtney Guth is a senior English major at the University of Maryland College Park actively seeking an answer to the age-old question, “so what are you going to do with that?” Her answer currently involves working in communications and development for a small non-profit in Washington, D.C. If she’s not exploring the nation’s capital, she’s probably watching an old movie, attempting to cook, or losing her voice at a Maryland Terrapins’ game. She believes the adage that “the world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page” but why just read when you can write?


One response to “15 Reasons to Take a Cruise”

  1. […] to one spot. I’ve seen them off the coast of Ocean City in the summer and spotted several on my cruise this past spring break. Dolphins are highly intelligent marine mammals. They are often very social, which mean they’re a […]

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