BackpackMr and I recently shed our budget traveler ways to give a cruise a try. We weren’t sure whether we would like it.
Spoiler alert: we did.
I have a complicated relationship with luxury travel. So I kind of hate myself for loving cruising.
I believe luxury travel is sterilized travel. It creates distance between you and the culture you’re trying to experience. It presents to you, on a proverbial silver travel platter, a version of a country that locals think you want. And luxury travel ferrets away what they don’t want you to see.
In short, luxury travel is rarely, if ever, the kind of immersive, transformational travel we advocate here at Rollerbag Goddess Global Communications.
It will not change you.
It will not help you grow as a person.
It will not afford you any epiphanies.
It will not help you challenge your limiting beliefs or paradigms.
That said, it may be just what you need.
In a world where we’re expected to work 60-80 hours a week, shuttle children around to endless activities, produce nourishing food for meals, maintain an immaculate house, wait an hour per medical appointment, engage online, grow our professional skills, network, lean in, advocate, stay informed and actively participate in our political system, workout, build our brand, have a spiritual practice, Kegel, maintain youthful skin and our vehicles, volunteer, exfoliate, buy and upkeep a house, pull weeds on our lawn, cover our grays, get a pap and a colonoscopy and floss regularly…..well….
It can be a huge relief to know you simply write a check and someone else plans your vacation for you, from start to finish. And if things go wrong, they’ll take care of that for you too.
After all, you only get a week or two per year. Why leave it to chance?
I get it. It’s understandable. Hard travel is one more thing to add to the list. Hard travel breaks you, so you can remake yourself like kintsugi.
That’s a lot of work on oneself.
And with all the demands and expectations placed upon us, sometimes we don’t want to be broken, yet again. Particularly not when we’re taking a break.
We just desperately want someone else to take care of us.
A cruise is exactly that. You don’t need to really plan anything, or worry about anything other than what to pack.
Sure, you can scroll through shore excursions and watch YouTube videos of the buffet lines.
You won’t need any guidebooks for your port destinations, as you’ll be shuttled to the posh, pricey, well-manicured places.
You won’t even have to learn another language, because all of the staff conveniently speak English for you.
You won’t be challenged, because the four blissful hours you spend in Jamaica doesn’t give you enough time to think.
But it’s just enough time to take in the view, drink a few “Bob Marley” cocktails and try some jerk chicken.
And two Bob Marleys in you may believe the bartender really is into you, not just flirting for tips.
Or is he?????
You will be coddled into a near-coma.
You will be fed.
And fed (with your dietary needs carefully adhered to).
And massaged with fragrant oils at the spa.
A Pina colada will always make sense.
And the rolling sea will rock you gently as you doze on high thread count sheets.
I loved cruising.
It took me to places in the world I’d never been. Like the Bahamas. And Jamaica.
And it took me back to places I’ve loved, like Cozumel.
It showed me that yes, I am worthy of being spoiled once in a while.
And when my complex, internal ethics monologue interrupted the experience and made me start to think about underlying issues…like, the wastefulness…the eco-issues…the sense of entitlement from some passengers…the staff who leave their families behind for nine months at a time to live in a bunk bed in the ship’s bowels just to make a living…well, it was easy to go back to our plush stateroom with the massive balcony, and gaze out to sea and just let it be.
We did it right: got the upgrades, did the spa appointments, booked the nice restaurants with the upcharge, tipped our people well. We did it because we figured we’d only do it once. It was, easily, our most expensive and luxurious travel experience, ever.
I have a complicated relationship with luxury travel.
And I’m cursing myself for loving cruising.
But I’ll have to quiet my incessant, internal ethics monologue once again.
You see, my sweet mother, RollerbagMom, has spent her whole life taking care of other people. And BackpackMr and I decided it would be cool if she could be coddled, just once. It’s something she would never do alone, and would never do for herself.
So we’re taking her.
Charish Badzinski is an explorer and award-winning features, food and travel writer. When she isn’t working to build her blog, she applies her worldview to her business, Rollerbag Goddess Global Communications, providing powerful storytelling to her clients.
Posts on the Rollerbag Goddess travel blog are never sponsored and have no affiliate links, so you know you will get an honest review, every time.
Find Charish on Twitter: @rollrbaggoddess, on Facebook at @rollrbaggoddess, and on Instagram at @rollerbaggoddess. You can also read more about Charish Badzinski’s professional experience in marketing, public relations and writing.