This last summer season saw a notable influx of tourists choosing to spend their holiday cruising along gorgeous coastlines.
However, what some might have perceived as a seasonal trend is, in fact, an enduring phenomenon that shows no signs of going away any time soon.
Here are the top 5 reasons why Americans are still favoring cruising over other types of travel this fall:
Great Value For The Money
One of the main reasons why cruises continue to rise in popularity is that they offer excellent value. This is especially true of longer, more distant travels.
Let’s take a practical example.
A 7-day cruise, which departs from Miami and covers four destinations in the Caribbean, currently starts at $529 per person – this includes travel and lodging.
On the flip side, say you were to book a flight from Miami to just one of the destinations the cruise covers.
In this case, let’s assume you’re going to the Bahamas since it’s one of the most popular destinations for American travelers.
The cheapest two-way ticket (per person) right now goes at $262.
Though airfare prices have dropped this shoulder season, remember that you’ll still have to account for lodging expenses for a one-week stay.
Once in the Bahamas, you’ll find that the average hotel will set you back $150 a night. While it is possible to find accommodation that costs less than $100 a night, the 7-night total will still trump the $529 you’d pay on a cruise.
Since our hypothetical vacation is one week long, let’s also account for food and drink expenses.
Most cruises will charge an extra $200-$400 for unlimited drinks and food credit. Let’s assume a $300 average – that boils down to a $43 daily food budget, which is far cheaper than what you’d spend if you were to eat in cafes and restaurants close to your destination of choice.
When you combine the notable price difference with the ease and flexibility that cruises provide, it’s clear why so many travelers consider them to be the best bang for their buck.
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Easy To Plan
Most travelers have just finished dealing with the logistics of their tropical beach getaways and are looking forward to an even more hectic winter season – when it comes to planning their fall vacation, there’s just not that much mental space left.
Most cruises come with all-inclusive packages you don’t have to think much about.
Once you choose the line you want, the planning process is pretty much over. The extra time and freedom encourage you to sit back and enjoy your time off rather than obsess over your itinerary.
Packing and unpacking is also a breeze since you’ll only be doing it once.
If you were to fly to three or four destinations in the span of a week, organizing your belongings every time you move would surely take over your sightseeing time.
Cruises are nothing if not time-efficient.
They get you to 4, 5, or even more destinations in the span of a week, something that’s near-impossible to achieve through any other means of transportation.
Since most travelers want to experience as much as possible during their trips, taking a cruise is a great way to do that with minimal time and effort.
While it’s true that cruises are far less flexible than other types of travel, seeing as the itinerary is set in stone, the fear that once you set foot in the vessel you can’t get out until the end is usually unfounded.
Some cruises may allow you to jump on or off at ports other than their original set-off point, as long as you let the staff know beforehand.
However, always make sure to read your specific line’s policies or, better yet, contact the staff beforehand to ensure that’s actually the case.
Lastly, some cruises have a reputation for being too wild or, at the other end of the spectrum, too sedate.
The truth of the matter is that there’s a cruise for every type of traveler; you’ll just have to do some due diligence and find one that matches your energy.
A Sense Of Community
Those who strive for a sense of community during their travels will find themselves right at home on a cruise.
Traveling with like-minded people and sharing the same experiences fosters a bond that can’t be replicated through any other type of vacation.
A good fall trip ultimately revolves around the gorgeous views you get to see this time of year, and the scenery you get to enjoy on a cruise is just unmatched. If you’re cruising somewhere the seasons change, the ocean is mesmerizing, the sunsets are to die for, and once you get a glimpse of the stunning landscape draped in golden leaves, it’ll take your breath away.
If you’re still not sure whether taking a cruise this fall season will be worth it, we recommend booking a shorter trip of 3-4 days to see how you like it.
That way, the financial and time commitment will be minimal. In the end, if you’re left feeling like the trip was too short, you know what to do the next time you have some time off.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com