Cruise or Cruise Tour?
Many ocean cruises and river cruises often come with the option of extending your stay, either pre or post cruise, with a land tour. One of the most popular and widely known cruise tours are those associated with Alaska cruises. These land tours can encompass up to a week’s extra stay. A popular river cruise land extension is the one often offered on the Mekong river cruises. Generally pre or post stays on river cruises are only for two or three days.
When faced with the choice between a cruise or a cruise tour, what do you do? Here are some points to consider.
• It all depends on how much time you have for your vacation of course. But considering most often – unless you are very daring or you live near the cruise port – you opt to fly in at least the day before the ship sails. Flight delays are all too common, and missed connections are stressful if you haven’t left enough time to travel. So, if you are going early anyway, why not extend it a few extra days and take advantage of any pre-cruise activities on offer?
• Flying a long distance to begin your cruise also means crossing time zones. We all know about the dreaded jet lag. It is especially bad travelling to Europe. Having a few days to recover and acclimatize with a pre stay is a wonderful way to begin your cruise.
• Flights again can be problematic when disembarking as your flight options may range from almost impossible to totally inconvenient. So stay a few extra days at this point. After all who wants to leave their vacation behind to face reality if they don’t have to!
• And then there are the economics. Yes, pre or post stays may elevate your budget requirements quite substantially depending on the city. But as you usually have to find accommodation, transportation and arrange at least some sightseeing to pass the time when you fly in early/out late all this is – to borrow a menu phrase – at a la carte prices. And that as we all know is more expensive than the buffet. If the pre or post stay is attached to your cruise, the hotel stay is less expensive, your transfers will be included, and there will be pre-arranged guided tours. Everything is looked after except meals and at a lesser price for better accommodations etc. than your travel professional may be able to arrange independently.
• Continuing with economics, the cost of air fare per day of vacation spread over 10 days is less for example than that spread over a cruise-only vacation of 7 days . Or imagine that you decide that you really need a few days extra in Rome after being there so now you have to plan a return visit. That’s a whole extra round trip air fare to consider when you are already there.
• Oh, and that Alaska cruise tour … if you see just the coast and coastal ports of Alaska without venturing into the interior , you are only seeing a smidgeon of what Alaska has to offer. You can’t possibly return with the satisfaction of saying, “ I have seen Alaska.” Alaska has to be experienced. And what better way than a tour including overnight stays in Denali or similar, the famous domed train ride, the photographic opportunities of the wildlife, and so on.
The next time you decide to cruise, ask your travel professional if your ocean cruise or river cruise can be extended by the cruise line to a land stay. It will take your vacation to a whole new level.