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About a year ago I was one of those people who thought I would never want to take a cruise. I enjoyed traveling under my own terms — eating when and where I wanted; being able to avoid hoards of fellow travelers; exploring off-the-beaten-path sites; and, most importantly, not getting sea sick. Each of these notions was challenged when I took a class on Selling Cruises. The first thing which became evident to me was there is a cruise for just about every person. The key is finding the right cruise ship and itinerary. So I set off to test my theory. My husband and I planned our first cruise — a 7-day Alaskan Inside Passage Holland America itinerary in August 2009. Bottom line is this:

  • Loved unpacking only once. And, by the way, the use of space is typically very ingenious, so likely it is more spacious than you would expect.
  • I took Bodine and was never ill, even during a fairly rough night.
  • We had dinner with the same 4 table mates every evening and thoroughly enjoyed it — we even stay in touch with one of the couples. The other lesson was you could always discreetly ask to be moved.
  • Boredom was not a part of our vocabulary. Relaxation and excitement were. This is totally up to you to define.
  • Cruising through the Inside Passage allowed us to experience a broad area of Alaska. The greatest moment on the ship was rolling out of the bed around 6:30 in the morning and stepping out on the verandah to enjoy Glacier Bay.
  • Shore Excursions allow you to immerse yourself into the area you are visiting. The activity level and budget are the two things which help you narrow down the extensive list of options. You can, by the way, easily use a local shore excursion outfit and get a really personalized experience.

It took a lot of work to narrow down to the right cruise line, cruise itinerary and shore excursions. I only wish I had an expert to help me navigate through all of those choices. So yes, we will be going on another cruise. It will never supplant our independent travel style, but it is a great alternative way to travel. And yes, I still think there is cruise for just about everyone; it just takes getting to know the individual(s) and matching the ship size / style, itinerary and budget to that traveler.

Here are some highlights from our Alaskan cruise:

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