Confessions of a land-loving travel professional
I’ve got a confession to make. It’s rather embarrassing…but here it goes. I’ve never been on a cruise. Why is that embarrassing when 66% of Americans are just like me and haven’t cruised at all? I was raised on Lake Michigan and have been in and on the water since I was just a wee lass. Speed boats, fishing boats, yachts, sailboats of every size and shape, but no ships. Though most relevant to my shame, I’m on a leadership team working in the travel industry where I promote cruise vacations. #epicfail
Maybe you’ve never been on a cruise either and that’s why you’re reading this. You’re curious what it’s REALLY like when your hotel moves around instead of standing firm at the corner of ‘no motion’ and ‘not rocking’ streets. I still haven’t cruised on the ocean yet, but it’s a box I will check over Thanksgiving. I decided to first get my sea legs on a river cruise. My base fears of cruising center around the big ocean liners with their Titanic stance and mass populations. More on that experience in a later blog once I return from my Western Caribbean debut cruise. My partners at Viking provided an opportunity that worked with my schedule and it happened to fall right after my Mom’s 75th birthday so I brought her along for the ride.
Let’s start with my perceptions of river cruising:
1. It’s for retired people and I’m an active Gen-X.
2. It’s expensive.
3. It would be slow and boring.
Does river cruising overcome these perceptions or reinforce them? I summarized my personal experience below.
It’s for retired people and I’m an active Gen-X. While most of my fellow passengers would be categorized in the Boomer demographic, I would say they are very active Boomers and only two of them were fully retired (two girlfriends from Tucson in their 80s traveling Europe together). I met bankers, doctors, a clinical psychologist, college professors, and even a chief homicide investigator. My fellow shipmates are senior enough in their roles or have flexible positions that allow them to take a couple of weeks off and enjoy Europe in the fall without worry of kids’ school schedules, like me. Most did a few days in Prague before-hand and were either staying in Budapest at the end of the cruise or moving on to the likes of Rome or Paris, because one cannot visit those romantic cities too often.
I really enjoyed spending time with and seeing the world through more experienced eyes. Even though there were a few couples onboard my age, I found stepping outside my normal friend group was a welcome and unforgettable experience as I connected with people I will stay in touch with outside our cruise bubble (thank you, Facebook).
I loved not worrying about meals, tours, events, concerts, or schlepping my bags. Unpacking once while visiting three countries is priceless. Your goal is to enjoy your journey through Europe, not hate the logistics of it all. This was one of the few vacations, as a planning Mom/Wife, when I realized I didn’t return home exhausted from the trip.
Bring on the Ocean liners….I’m ready now. =)
About the author
Sandy is responsible for executing all marketing and advertising for Travelink and its sub-brands, Employee Vacation Programs and Privileged Journeys (luxury/VIP personal travel). In addition, she maintains a close relationship with American Express Marketing in New York and their Preferred Travel Suppliers globally to ensure all marketing and advertising channels are delivering the high caliber of results for which the American Express brand is well known. Sandy also holds an advisory board position for Travel + Leisure magazine and the German National Tourism Office in the USA.