A Fuller Ship – Finding the “best” cruise means knowing what you really want.

Monday Mantra

A Matter of Opinion … A Matter of Opinion … A Matter of Opinion … .

Finding the “best” cruise means knowing what you really want.

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Says who???

I just read an article titled something like “The Deckadent Dozen: The 12 Best Caribbean Cruises” and my favorite Caribbean cruise didn’t even make the cut. I’m mildly ticked … but not really surprised. We each have our own idea of what’s ”best” when it comes to a ship and cruise experience.

Mom, Dad, and the kids are looking for waterslides, boxes of magically delicious Lucky Charms on the buffet, and a ship that calls at Port Canaveral, while the lovebirds over there would prefer to sail to romantic tropical islands in a secluded balcony cabin aboard an intimate ship that offers lots of two-tops in the dining room. That group of mature single ladies want a ship with gentleman hosts who will twirl them around the dance floor each night and some quiet nooks on deck to read and chat in during the day.

The cute chicks with the big hair, short skirts, and 6-inch stilettos want reasonably priced chocolate martinis and a lot of young, buff guys at the disco while the young, buff guys at the disco want a lot of cute chicks with big hair, short skirts, and 6-inch stilettos who have consumed a few reasonably priced chocolate martinis.

The gay couple seeks fine dining and great shopping ports and the stunning fashion-forward woman wants extravagant spa facilities, superb entertainment, and a lavishly appointed suite with butler. The executive couple demands reliable Wi-Fi, the college professor wants lectures and a well-stocked library, the fitness buff needs an elaborate gym, and the adventurer wants adventure. I’ll be damned if I know what that annoying family who do nothing but fight is looking for … maybe a really high space-to-passenger ratio so they can avoid each other.

And most of us want a little bit of all of those things (except for the chocolate martinis … yuk).White chocolate Martini cocktail with chocolate covered strawberry garnish. Shot on a red background with rose petals.

Was there ever a time when cruising was one-size-fits all? If there was, those days are as long gone as steamer trunks and being able to skip the boat drill. With today’s vast options, it’s vital to find the ship, the itinerary, the activities, and the dining experiences that reflect your very own interests and preferences.

You’ll still find me reading every word of cruise coverage that appears in magazines, newspapers, websites, and trade publications but when it comes to my vacation, I’ll decide what’s “best” for me.

–Judi Cuervo

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.