Do NOT Stay On The Ship! Explore Port Stops During Your Cruise Adventure!

So there are these “cruise snobs” masquerading as journalists. And their new bait is writing articles telling folks to stay on the ship in Nassau, Bahamas and other popular ports. Is this sage advice, or a hideous lapse in judgment? Cruise expert Admiral Tim Cruise believes it’s the latter.

We always get off the ship in Nassau, Bahamas! Here’s why.

Sure, there are spa specials on port days. And the bars are less crowded. And the water slide lines are greatly reduced. But cruise spas employ B-level masseurs at best, too much alcohol leads to cirrhosis of the liver, and water slides are much bigger and better on land. Bottom line – you’re not really gaining anything by staying on the ship during port days.

The entire allure of cruising is your hotel is floating to new exotic destinations almost daily. Not that there’s any shortage of steps on today’s mega-cruise ships, but it’s good to get off the ship and stretch your legs in paradise! Even if you don’t leave the heavily secured port area and tool about for an hour or so, you’ve still dabbled your toes into a foreign land and hopefully experienced a culture that’s a little different from that of your standard HOA. Even beyond the port, most cruise port towns are completely safe since the local authorities are well aware their entire economy depends on tourism.

Even better, join a planned excursion on an air-conditioned bus and dive a little deeper into the local area. Dip your toes amongst the tiny fish in warm teal waters. Test your language mastery as you experience or learn about local customs. Smell and sample foreign flavors. Walk through a rain forest. Swim through a waterfall. Stand in the spots where monumental historical moments that shaped the world unfolded. Shore excursions often afford unique and rare life experiences you won’t soon forget.

A few pro cruise port tips from Admiral Tim:

  • If you don’t have an early excursion, don’t rush to disembark. Wait about an hour and let the crowds ease.
  • Be ready for weather. Short tropical storms happen seemingly out of nowhere, so packing an umbrella or poncho is smart.
  • Opt for cruise-sanctioned tours. Norwegian Cruise Lines recently left several people at an African port when their non-sanctioned excursion returned a few minutes late.
  • Smaller ships have better access to some less-crowded ports that may be closer to the main attractions. Mega ships can’t or won’t dock in smaller ports.
  • Consider your stamina. Hot sun and bumpy streets might be a little difficult for some to navigate. Be honest, and plan accordingly.
  • Set your watch or phone to ship time to stay on schedule.
  • If you have cell service with an affordable international plan, switch off Airplane mode and receive all the calls and text messages you’ve been missing.
  • You can get back on early to shower and lounge with a good book overlooking the poor fools running back to the ship.
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