Which cruiser ‘type’ are you?

Sherri Gardner HowellBlount, Farragut, Kitchen Table Talk

Last week I wrote about my love of travel and of cruising in particular. I want to expand on that, not just because SGH Go Travel is my new obsession, but because I find the “types” of cruisers to be distinct and interesting in their differences.

I’m not going to compare river cruises and ocean cruises. They really are two very different animals – perhaps like an Appaloosa and a Zebra. They are closely related but are not the same species.

This is about ocean cruisers. And, while there are still a few cruise lines that I have not sailed with yet, I have questioned my fellow travel advisors/agents, and they say my “type-casting” is true across the brands.

Which one of these questions would you want the answer to before cruising:

  1. Do these stops on my itinerary have any UNESCO World Heritage sites?
  2. Are the stops on my itinerary sunny and warm with little chance of rain?
  3. Does this ship have a Thermal Spa room?

Which one will be the first experience you share with friends and/or Facebook:

  1. Today I stood amazed at Sagrada Familia cathedral and wondered what Gaudi would think of it 135 years later!
  2. Best day: Secured a private cabana on a private island for the day and drifted away to paradise!
  3. This is me in my “Thriller” make-up, getting ready to perform on the ship’s Centrum stage!

If you have two 1s, you are what I call a Destination cruiser. With two 2s, you are a Resort Vacation cruiser. Two 3s will get you the Ship Lover designation.

Here is how I describe the three types:

  1. Destination Cruiser: If what you want is to see a certain part of the world/country without having to drive, fly or ride the rails every few days, cruise. Unpack once, sit back and let the captain take you

    Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia church is always a must-see at this port-of-call.

    to your next port of call. Spend the day exploring Barcelona, Skagway, Malta or Athens, then hop back on the ship and get ready for the next stop.

  2. Resort Vacation Cruiser: Relaxing by the pool with an umbrella drink in hand has great appeal for many cruise lovers. Throw in a day under a cabana on the ship’s private

    Floating cabana on Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas, is a beach-lover’s paradise. (Photo by Tim Aylen)

    island, great food and late-night entertainment, and it’s the perfect vacation. For these cruisers, the destination doesn’t matter – as long as it’s warm.

  3. Ship Lover Cruisers: It is true that you can sail for days and be completely entertained without ever getting off the ship. The largest cruise ships offer everything from bumper cars to escape rooms to wave riders. All have

    Selected Royal Caribbean staff and officers compete in a “Chopped” style cooking contest to entertain guests on an Atlantic Ocean crossing.

    what on land would be a decent-size waterpark. There are programs for the teens and children, adult classes in line-dancing, ballroom dancing, “Thriller” dancing and educational sessions on art and history. The casinos offer their own kind of thrills, and the lounges and theaters keep the entertainment going. There are trivia contests, family game nights, libraries and card tables. And yes, Bingo.

I know that no one fits exactly into the boxes I built but knowing what “type” of cruiser you are helps you pick the best cruise and get the most for your vacation dollars. I find there is really no need for a Resort Vacation cruiser to fly to Europe and cruise from Barcelona to Rome. Chances are good they would be happier sailing out of Miami for three island stops.

The Ship Lover cruisers are normally driven by the size of the ship and the length of the cruise. While I sometimes find I want a Destination cruise – and I have had some incredible ones – I am most likely to gravitate to the Ship Lover category if I can only do one cruise. If my Ship Lover choice lands me in a fantastic destination, it’s a gold-star winner.

That was our wonderful experience when we sailed from Seattle to Sydney, Australia, spending 21 nights on the ship with long periods of sea days that had no port stops (up to 7 nights at one stretch). Sydney was fabulous, and we stayed five days to see the sights, but what we loved most was sailing across the Pacific Ocean.

The great thing about cruising is that it is not hard to find a good match for your “type.” And if you are an undecided or truly love the perks of all three types, there are cruises that give a small taste of all the above.

Sherri Gardner Howell has been writing about family life for newspapers and magazines since 1987. She lives in West Knoxville, is married to Neville Howell and has two sons and three grandsons.


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