Why This Adventure-Seeker Is Going on a Cruise

“Real travelers” don’t go on cruises. Or do they?

Palm Trees in Puerto Rico

These are the last words I ever thought I’d be writing on this blog: I’m going on a cruise.

For years I’ve been backpacking the world, traveling carry-on only, living with nothing except what’s on my back, and mostly letting the universe guide me through bizarre and oftentimes unforgiving situations. I love that kind of travel. That’s the kind of travel you grow from. That’s the kind of travel that touches you, inspires you, and acts as a platform for personal growth.

Well this is not that kind of travel. And I’m pretty excited about it.

Adventure Travel is a Mindset

While hiking volcanoes and finding freedom at altitudes of 15,000-feet can be a life-changing experience that changes the way you see the world, this is not all that adventure travel is. Adventure travel is a mindset.

Adventure travel doesn’t have to mean trekking through the mountains of Southwestern China. It doesn’t have to mean traveling to weird and offbeat places or having once-in-a-lifetime experiences with local from far-flung tribes.

Adventure is about curiosity. It’s about seeing the world with fresh eyes, and opening yourself to every experience that comes your way. If you’re curious about the world around you, you will find adventure wherever you go, every single day.

Why I’m Going on a Cruise

I’m going on a cruise for the exact reason many travelers likely avoid going on cruises—because this isn’t that life-changing type of travel. It’s a vacation.

And you know what? I need a vacation. Right now, I don’t want to go backpacking or live out of a suitcase. I just want to sit by a pool and wear a Hawaiian t-shirt and let everyone else cater to me for once.

As you know I’ve been battling some health issues for the past 18 months. Well now that I’m starting to feel better, and the worst of it is (hopefully) over, I deserve a little bit of R&R. I deserve a little bit of beach time (no—a lot of beach time) and I deserve all-inclusive 24-hour room service.

I won’t have to worry about where to eat—there are at least 10 restaurants on board the ship. I won’t have to worry about getting from place to place—every morning I wake up at port in a new country. I won’t have to worry about booking accommodation—my bed travels with me.

And for the first time in a long time, I wasn’t packing a backpack, but a suitcase, and was met with the challenge of packing for a vacation, not for a RTW trip (which shoes should I bring!?).

San Juan, Puerto Rico
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Don’t Travel for Travel. Travel for You.

I won’t lie—I used to get judgey about the way people traveled. I didn’t like the all-inclusive style of travel where every day was a self-serving feast of luxury. Now that I’m a little older (31—can you believe it?), I appreciate that luxury a whole lot more. 

In some ways it touches on the typical traveler/tourist debate. “You’re a tourist,” I’d proclaim. “I’m a real traveler.”

But after a few years of travel, I’ve come to realize that we’re all just tourists in a new place—there’s no actual difference between a traveler and a tourist. Everybody has different priorities in life and everybody wants different things out of travel. And that’s fine.

If you want to travel the world for months or years on end, by all means, do it. I urge you to. If you want to take a vacation, stay in a resort or go on a cruise, by all means, do that, too! You don’t have to pigeonhole yourself as a certain type of traveler.

Travel however you want to. It’s your trip, after all.

My Eight-Day Cruise Itinerary in the Caribbean

My Eastern Caribbean cruise on board the Carnival Vista is taking me to The Turks and Caicos, (back to) Puerto Rico, Nevis & St. Kitts, and St. Maarten. And I’m taking my friend Kate along with me.

Carnival Cruises is organizing this trip, so indeed, they’ve made it hard to say no. Under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn’t have thought to go on a cruise. But it also brought me to the realization that all types of travel are not only okay, but should be welcomed and embraced.

And I’ve learned that cruises aren’t just for old fogies, either.

Just like with any kind of travel, you need to make it a priority. If hitch-hiking through New Zealand is something you’ve always wanted to do—go do it. If going on a cruise is something that has always peaked your interest—add it to the top of your list. I’m not going to judge you (not anymore, anyway), and nobody else has a right to, either.

Just stay curious and never stop adventuring.

READ NEXT: Everything I Did Wrong on My First Cruise (and Even a Couple Things I Did Right)

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  1. Good read. Adventure is about curiosity. It’s about seeing the world with fresh eyes, and opening yourself to every experience that comes your way!

  2. Cruises kick ass. Okay, Oceania Cruises kick ass – because I was blessed to be invited on a trip with them and have never been on another cruise before in my life. We started in Athens and wound up in Rome. It was quite possibly one of the most amazing experiences of my life and changed my thinking about cruises 100000%. I used to think they were for OLD FARTS or families with obnoxiously loud kids… But Oceania Cruises was neither. Sure, there was an older crowd on board, but not so old that there was a whole wing dedicated to doctors just in case someone croaked. HAHAHAHA! Looking forward to hearing what you think about your cruise! 😉 Maybe one day we will be on the same cruise #presstrip 😛

  3. I hope you had a great time on the cruise – and yes, you’re so right! Adventure travel is a mindset. Wish more people would understand that 🙂

  4. I’ve got my first cruise booked for later this year! Leaving out of Charleston and heading to Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, and Amber Cove. I’m so excited because my normal vacations include filling the day with all the things we could possibly do wherever we are, which leaves me exhausted and needing a vacation. I’m looking forward to the R&R, sun, sand, and a few fun excursions. Glad you’re less judgey (and doing well)!!

    1. Ah, you’ll have a great time. Make sure you visit the Margaritaville at the port at Grand Turk—the party was popping off! It’s prime for people watching! I definitely recommend booking some shore excursions through your cruise line, though. It makes things infinitely easier.

  5. I didn’t have to read your whole message to figure out why you have grown out of your judgeyness. I used to look at all you could do, hiking on the top of those mountains, & wish I could do that. Congrats on getting better! I’ve been diagnosed & receiving treatment for 20 yrs w/ much improvement, but still limited. Now my knees are shot, a late manifestation for me. Good luck & enjoy your cruise!

  6. Completely agree with Albert. Cruises aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we love going on cruises. Some nice things include unpacking once, relaxing, not worrying about how you are getting to the next place, or where to get your next meal. It is really fun! Hope you and Kate enjoy and bon voyage!

  7. That’s a great itinerary for the Caribbean. I’ve not traveled on Carnival, but do travel on cruise ships every year! The cruise ships have an amazing pool setup in the Turks. You’ll get an awesome time to relax there. And Puerto Rico is one of my favorite places. I love the feel, the people, the food!

    The only thing you can never control about a cruise is they type of people that will be cruising with you. It’s a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world. I suspect you’ll have lots of Brits on this cruise. EVERYONE outside of the U.S. has so much more vacation time to travel.

    Enjoy! As a first taste of cruising, don’t let this experience (good or bad) keep you from trying other cruise lines and itineraries. It’s an amazing way to explore foreign destination, albeit, for shorter experiences in each port.

    1. We had very few Brits on this cruise, actually! Most were midwesterners or from the South. But we loved getting to know the staff—they come from all over the world and had so many stories to tell!

      The reality of cruising turned out to be quite different to what I expected (it always does, doesn’t it?) but we ultimately had a fantastic time and I will definitely be cruising again in the future! Cheers, Albert 🙂

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