I had gone on one cruise with my mom and my best friends to collectively celebrate our Quinceañeras way back in the 80’s. Of course it was fun back then, but now that I know better why would I choose to be stuck in the middle of an ocean with thousands of people being herded around like cattle? Or so I glibly thought.
As the Universe likes to play tricks on me, I was karmically set up for a lesson in modern-day cruising when I received an invitation for my family to go on a seven-day Western Mediterranean cruise aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic. What? A free vacation for my family of three that so desperately needed one? Why, yes! Who cares if we’re not “cruise people” if it’s all in the name of a job well done, right?
I’m here to confess that those seven days turned out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to us as a family and as individuals. Not only were we quickly converted into cruise fanatics, but we discovered that all our misconceptions about cruises did not apply to the Norwegian Epic at all.
If you also think you can’t cruise, then this is for you.
5 Common Cruise Misconceptions Busted
#1. You’ve been told: Cruises are only for old people and newlyweds.
The truth: Cruises are so ideal for families and anyone who’s looking for a total disconnect and a worry-free vacation. Aboard the Epic we saw so much diversity of personalities, ages and life styles, but for sure families ruled. They’ve done an amazing job at making sure kids are ridiculously entertained all day long at their Recess Kid’s Club, Splash Academy events, and Port Play while docked. This means that while the kids are having fun, the parents get to have their own fun doing whatever they please, whenever they please. Not many vacations offer that piece of paradise, huh?
#2. You’ve been told: Cruises are so limited and over-scheduled. You can’t to do what you want, when you want to because there’s a schedule and a dress code for everything.
The truth: Norwegian Cruise Line wants you to embrace your Freestyle spirit! Their main concept aboard all their ships is that you get to choose your experience with them — Freestyle. This means there’s absolutely no dress codes, no seating arrangements, no pre-scheduled dinner and show times. Every night you receive their Freestyle Daily in your room for you to check out all the activities, entertainment and shows happening the next day so that you can be captain of your own ship and decide what you want to do. And if all you want to do is lounge by the pool and watch soccer on a mega screen with an ocean backdrop (wait, is that my husband?!), then that is exactly what you will do.
#3. You’ve been told: Cruise food is terrible and the options are trite.
The truth: It was all about options and variety on the Norwegian Epic. In seven days we dined on Brasilian churrascería with an amazing bottle of Argentian Malbec; sushi and nigiri, Teppanyaki, Indian, Mediterranean dishes, and so much more. Every single restaurant we tried impressed us in one way or another. Even the buffet stood on its own!
#4. You´ve been told: The entertainment is awful and not worth it.
The truth: Can you believe in one week we got to see the famed Vegas show “Legends in Concert” and “Blue Man Group?” We missed out on the Cirque Dreams and Dinner show, but heard it was well worth it. These are just some of the shows you can catch on board the Norwegian Epic. The best part is that every night there’s fun kid’s parties at the Splash Academy and Entourage for teens so you get to enjoy these shows on adult time — if you prefer — while the kids are having a total blast on their own.
#5. You’ve been told: You don’t even get to truly explore the ports of destination, so what’s the point?
The truth: Yeah, 10 hours in Rome or Florence really, truly is not enough time to explore these impressive cities and their cultural history. Yet, those 10 hours in Rome and the Vatican are more than I had ever had in my 40 years of life. If you consider the cost of a Euro (at $1.24 USD per $1 Euro right now) and how difficult it is for one family to coordinate even a seven-day vacation together with days off from work, school, etc then the chance of visiting six European ports and even more of their surrounding cities and islands while on shore excursions, then the cost involved makes it all worth it. I loved being able to finally set foot in a city like Rome and throw a coin over my left shoulder to land in the Trevi Fountain in hopes the legend that it will take me back to Rome comes true. It’s amazing how many memories can be made within a time span of 6 to 10 hours. All that, plus no need to unpack and check into a new hotel from city to city.
So now, do you think you can cruise?
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Check out the forthcoming book I co-authored, Bilingual is Better: Two Latina Moms on How the Bilingual Parenting Revolution is Changing the Face of America.
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